So much has happened in the past month that I didn’t really know where to begin! I was going to break it all down into smaller posts but that has just led me to procrastinate typing it all up so I’m going to just write it all in this post!
Last blog I shared our adventures in house hunting. We saw three properties and liked one of them enough to make an offer. Unfortunately, after a few days deliberation we received news from the estate agent that the vendors had moved forward with somebody else’s offer.
Having reflected on it, I’m not too surprised at this outcome and there are definitely a few things we’re going to do differently next time.
We view three properties with an estate agent for the first time, here’s how it went.
As I mentioned last week, we lined up a few viewings last Friday. We were looking within a town about half an hour drive from my husband’s family. We quite like this town as it has all the amenities that you need but the town centre still looks delightfully traditional and isn’t too busy to walk around (as much as I love London, the sheer amount of people can occasionally be overwhelming). My father-in-law came along too for moral and practical support.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for a day out. We viewed three properties that all cost the same, but were vastly different from each other.
I was exploring Pinterest the other evening and found a thoughtful article by Kristina a few years ago at Cents + Order about the questions you should ask yourself before buying your first home. I took some time to ponder them and my answers are below.
Before I continue, I should probably explain the ‘free money’ part of my post before people begin to think I’m running some kind of give away!
You may recall in a previous post how we had filled our Lifetime ISA. This is a special account that you can use for the purchase of your first home or retirement. You can save up to £4000 in it each financial year and the government will top up the balance by 25%. Well, we just received the bonus today, it was a good feeling! Even better was that for this first year you could transfer your Help to Buy ISA and receive the bonus on that amount too. It has given our house deposit fund a good boost.
The more I learn about the home buying process, the more I think it’s all about the acronyms. In most of the research I’ve done, the first step of the home buying process, before you even begin to view properties, is proving that your lender MIGHT lend you the money to buy a house. This is called an Agreement in Principle (AIP), but also can be called a Decision in Principle (DIP), Mortgage Promise or Lending Certificate.
The upstairs flat next to us has just been put on the market. I opened our door the other morning and there it was, the real estate agent’s sign standing tall on the fence. I let myself get a little excited as I googled the agent’s name and our street but the glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished once I saw the price. In a previous post I reflected on where we might like to live ultimately but London house prices are starting to make that decision for us.
(update: the flat sold less than two weeks later from when I posted this!)
I brushed off my disappointment at the local cafe where I take our son for my regular dose of caffeine and started checking the houses for sale on Rightmove.
Two of the terms I had to learn the meaning of in the UK when I started looking at houses and flats for sale were freehold and leasehold and I’d like to talk a little more about the difference between the two today.
We visited my husband’s friends over weekend. I had heard a lot about the guy as my husband plays in a band with him so it was one of those situations where you feel like you already know the person despite having never met. He and his wife have a son who’s a little older than our boy. We had a lovely time watching the babies play, eating delicious food and playing board games.
*ugh, this post took far longer to write than I ever intended. Sometimes life just gets in the way!*
Earlier this afternoon we signed a contract with our new childminder who will be looking after our son three days a week starting in May when we both return to work full time. I will be applying for childcare vouchers and my husband has drafted his application for flexible working to send to his manager tomorrow.
One of our dilemmas with our house hunt has been where we want to eventually settle. We currently live in Zone 3 London however my husband’s family live about 90 minutes out of the city.