Tuesday, 26 November 2013

10 Tips For Buying Your First House

tips on buying your first house
As you may know if you are a regular reader, a month ago yesterday Chris and I moved into our very first house! The last 30 days have sped by, but it has been so lovely to have our own space and I am excited about the ways that we can make it our own.

As fantastic as it is to now be a homeowner, the process of buying a house, can be pretty stressful at times, especially if it is your first!  I knew very little of the process, and we really learnt as we went along, as I suppose most people do, but I thought I would share with you some tips which I learnt along the way, accompanied by some iPhone photos of the big day;

1. Don't settle
If you think you have found 'the house' I would suggest going to view a couple more properties before you take the plunge. If it is the one, then by doing this you will know for certain and never have any doubts. I'd also suggest viewing the property twice before you put in an offer.

2. Ask questions
Make a list of questions to ask on your second visit. Is there anything that could change your mind? Make sure you ask these questions first, but you can also include anything else you are inquisitive about.
first home keys 3. There is no guide book
Seriously, every house purchase is different. Your solicitor won't give you a list of the things that need to happen, nor will they know how long it is going to take (although I gather 3 months is the standard if there are no hold ups).  Prepare to be a little confused. I hated this as there was no check list for me to tick off, you literally just have to wait for the solicitor to send you things to sign.

4. Keep on top of it
Although it is all incredibly difficult to understand, ask your solicitor as many questions as possible and try to take in the answers. Write everything they say down somewhere, or better yet communicate via email so that you have their answers written out for you. For some reason though, solicitors are stuck in the dark ages, and all the documents need to be posted for you to sign. Why on earth they don't just send it to you in an email and get you to print it out I will never know, it would be so much quicker!

5. Get Packing
Start packing your things away gradually once you have found a house. This is a great time to have a good clear out so that you don't move into your new house with a load of old tat (I'm sure you don't have tat, but I did!) Start collecting some boxes together to put everything in, The Co-op does some banana boxes that are just the right size for bits and bobs!
10 things I learnt about buying a house 6. Get Insured
There may be some things you need to know in order to organise you home insurance. First of all check a comparison site using the information that you do have. Then give the cheapest company a ring, and find out all the questions they will ask you (the comparison sites don't ask you everything). You can make sure you ask these on your final viewing (see number 7). Some of the questions that my insurer had me stumped on included;

Are there any trees nearby? How far away are they? Do they overhang the building? How much higher than the building are they?
Do you have any flat roofs on the property
How do the external doors lock? (1 key, yale etc)
Is there an alarm system?
How many fire alarms are there?
Is it in a neighbourhood watch area?
Are there key operated locks on all windows.

If you are fully prepared it means that as soon as you know the sale is definite you can get that insurance purchased! Also, if you are buying the house with a partner, don't forget about life insurance! Ask around and see if any of your friends know a financial advisor you can make an appointment with.

7. Re-inspect the house
Make sure you do one last viewing immediately before exchange just to make sure the house hasn't fallen down! Also, I found this was the perfect time to ask the seller questions about the house such as...

Where is the gas/electricity/water meter?
Where is the stop cock?
Where is the fuse box?
Where is the boiler and how does it work?
Who is you internet/phone/electricity/water supplier?
Who is your current home insurance company?
Can you show us how the cooker works?
Who do you currently get your house insured with?
What day does the bin man come?
8. Get Organised
The moment you have exchanged contracts, which will often be about a week before the move, get ready to do some manic phoning around.  The most important things you will want to sort out are the following;

Gas and Electric
Water Company
Home insurance

The most essential for us was the internet, since we work from home and all of it is done online. I organised for a man from virgin media to come in the afternoon, and by 2pm we had fully working internet and phone line (even if we didn't actually have a phone itself).

I called British Gas to inform them we would be moving into the property, and I sorted out my payment plan.  The man on the phone told me he would ring me on the day so that I could give him our gas and electricity meter readings. He also gave me a number to quote if he couldn't get through to me. I also did the same with Southern water.

If you are a first time buyer like I was, you may need things like a fridge or a TV. I had organised for the TV to be delivered the day we moved in, and the fridge the day after.  We were able to do this because the seller had already moved out, so there wasn't that awkward swap over on the day, waiting for them to move their stuff out. If this isn't the case for you, I would suggest getting things delivered on the day after, unless you can get an evening delivery.

9. Get your details changed as soon as you have exchanged
You will need to change the address on a lot of things, so if you have time it really makes sense to do as much as possible before you move. Our new driving licences actually arrived the day we moved in! Write a list of all the things you will need to change, here are some things to consider;

Driving licence
All banks and building societies
Student loan company
Any magazine subscriptions

10. Pack like a pro
Make sure your essentials are easily accessible. For me this was all the tea and coffee supplies including the kettle, as well as the cleaning products. Since we only lived about a 10 minute drive away Chris ferried all of our things to the house using our camper van. Meanwhile I cracked on with the cleaning!

It is a real learning curve that is for sure, but if you take these tips into consideration it will make life just that little bit easier. Thanks to my friend Kate who gave me lots of handy hints as she moved into her house about 2 months before us. I'm not sure I would have been quite as organised had she not been there telling me what I should do!

Do you have any tips you can add for those buying a new home?
Laura xXx


  1. These are all some really useful tips that I will be using in the future. Thankyou xxx

  2. Thi is a really handy list, I'm not looking to buy but a lot of stuff here is also useful for anyone renting and moving, I've often had to do a lot of waiting for a phone line and internet which can probably be avoided if you phone as early as poss.

    1. Thats true, i guess a lot of it could be applied to renting :) Thanks for reading!

  3. We've moved home twice and my top tips would be:
    1. Search out any discount cards or vouchers for new home owners. Focus (before it closed down) used to do a 20% homemovers discount card and I think a few other shops have the same.
    2. On the day of the move, pack a box to hand with soap, toilet roll, tea bags/coffee, biscuits, milk and the kettle. Nothing worse than arriving at your new home and not being able to make a cup of tea! :-) x

  4. Like you many people are in need to Sell my house fast for cash fast. Now days there are so much companies doing this. But people should choose the best one. A few days ago I have taken a service from a company around. They are best around.

  5. "Excellent article!! Very informative.
    If anyone is looking to buy, sell or rent properties in Hyderabad . Visit http://www.homesulike.com/ for assisted property search."

  6. Thanks for the list, Laura, very helpful! When do you think the best time to buy home insurance is?

  7. Nice Tips. This tips are very useful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  8. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work Loft conversion companies

  9. I enjoyed reading your post. We are also hunting a house and lot and its really hard to find the best one. Anyway, thank you for sharing this experience.

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