Following in the footsteps of a friend? who has done something similar, I’ve decided to keep a basic track of the house buying process. More for my own delight in efficiency and organisation than anything else, but I like to think it’ll be helpful for other first time buyers.
Do bear in mind that if something took us two weeks, it doesn’t guarantee it’ll only take you two weeks. Every house sale is different, so just see it as a time guideline.
We started looking around properties in April 2009. We decided to look at non-terraced houses (from a sound point of view) and we knew we wanted a garden, garage and/or driveway, within 3 miles of the train station to allow for commuting and three bedrooms to allow for a guest room and office.
We saw an upside down house, a multicolour bungalow (twice), a tiny house, a big smelly house and a house on a marina. In all the initial viewings we looked at the space, facilities and general order. We realised we wanted to move in somewhere with no work needed, which led us to see the house on the marina again.
On the second viewing (mid May – we could only do house stuff on weekends) we thought ahead about what we wanted to lookely more closely at and what questions we wanted to ask the vendor. We looked in more detail: up in the room space, at the state of the wooden balcony (being by the marina made me suspect [correctly] the wood could be damp and rotten), kitchen space issues (we’d need to sacrifice the washine machine for a freezer or visa versa) and vermin issues around marinas (rats, ducks etc).
The day after the second viewing (Alex advises to not jump on immediately or you look too keen and you won’t get a good deal) we rang the estate agent to make an offer. It was ?12,500 under the asking price as we had to consider the following:
– replacing the upstairs and downstairs wooden balconies
– new downstairs toilet and basin
– purchase of our white goods
– making an interior door to the garage (needed as we’d be putting the washine machine and dryer in there as per the kitchen space quandry)
– solicitor fees
– moving fees
– survey fees
We wanted to stay in budget, hence why we factored in all costs. We were also aware that we wanted to stay under the ?175,00 mark – over this and you have to pay 1% tax on the house. However, we also said we’d like to negotiate fixtures and fittings. At the same time, we put in a lower offer than that which we were willing to pay, preparing for the offer to be rebounded and needing to raise it a little.
This means you can say ‘we’ll also have the curtains, light fixtures and that nice wardrobe for ?xxx’ and it’s counted outside of the purchase price.
The estate agent came back twenty minutes later, said they understood our offer as it was in keeping under the stamp duty bar and that the vendor would accept ?175,000 on the dot. After a quick chat, we called back to confirm the offer of ?175,000, and thus began the next stage of the buying process: fiddy bits.
So to review:
1 month: house viewings (over two weekends)
1 day: offers made and accepted.