So we brought our very first house this year, and to say I was naive about the whole thing is an understatement. So I thought I’d share what I learnt and what I wish I knew about buying your first home. Take note the calming picture above..so I don’t get too stressed when writing this.
Despite the fact you will have had a survey done on the home, they don’t always pick up all the problems in your home. Enter a mould infested bathrooms and a do it yourself plumbing. These are things which aren’t easy to spot. Sadly buyers can hide a lot of things with well placed furniture.
When you get the paperwork through from the solicitor, you must check the contents page. After all, this is where it will show you what the current owner is leaving behind. You don’t want to find out that they have taken the oven once you have moved in! Or you don’t want to presume they are taking their wardrobes, and then find you have one to dismantle and remove before you can take your belongings. Therefore, make sure you check before moving day exactly what is being left behind, and talk to your realtor if there is any confusion. And if you do move in and find essential items missing, you can look online on sites like Ebay to find a quick bargain item for your home!
Get a check on your boiler within the first week of moving in. This is super important because you don’t want to rely on what the buyer has said about it being fine, because as bad as it sounds some people aren’t honest and just want to sell. You will be surprised how many people move in to find out that their boiler isn’t working properly. Therefore, it’s so important that you check this.
You can find a professional company who deal with plumbing and heating to come and check out your utilities in your home. That way, you can have peace of mind that everything is working efficiently. And you could even set up an ongoing maintenance schedule with them so that everything continues to stay in good working order.
Before you move into your new home, you need to make sure the electrics are working safe and sound. You don’t want to move into the property and find out that the lights aren’t working correctly. For one thing, you need to find out from your realtor where the electric box is situated in your new home. As this article says, you can then check if there are any shorts in the wires that could cause a fire. Annoyingly the guy said that all the spot lights came with LED bulbs, which turns out when we moved in they didn’t. Obviously he had switched them. Which meant we spent a small fortune getting LEDS in over 30 lights. This is where I regret not going over the contents more thorough.
Take note of what the house is like when you visit. We visited in January and the owner had most of the windows open. He said it’s because the neighbours both have their heat on full during the summer so the house gets lovely and warm. Turns out he had the windows wide open to hide the dog smell. The excitement of getting our keys was short-lived when we were hit in the face with a stench of wet dog, seconded by the sheer amount of dog hair on the carpet. So within the first week we were forking out over £500 for a new carpet downstairs.
I wish I had taken more note of the condition of the wood work, ceilings, and front door. We knew we were only going to have about £4000 to do the place up to our style. Of which a £1000 had already been put aside for emergency maintenance (like needing a new boiler or something drastically going wrong), then another £1000 for the flooring and getting turf outside because it was all paved. So really our budget was more like £2000. In my eyes that was for paint, pretty things and building the bookcase and wardrobes. Silly me. I didn’t think about needing emergency plumbing work for the downstairs bathroom, or tiles to redecorate due to mould rotting through everything. I also didn’t think about needing all new carpet, or floor paint for the beams under the rotting carpet.
Everything needs fixing. The doors are all patchy and covered in random bits of plaster. There are patches over the ceiling which means 90% of the ceilings need painting. And both the front and back door ideally need replacing because they don’t shut great, and are so scratched up by the dogs they look pretty dreadful.
It’s a work in progress. Funnily me and Richard always said how we’d love to do up a house from scratch…I invisioned this happening when we were much older, with a much larger budget, and not with an active 1-year-old.
If it’s your first house and you don’t have much money left at all for repairs or renovating, I’d recomend looking at a new build. As most of these houses come in pretty good condition. Older houses inevitably mean problems. I’ve known 5 couples in the last year who have brought older houses, around the 70’s 80’s mark, and all are struggling one way or another with doing them up.
But it will be worth it, and I can’t wait to take you all through the process, which I will start once the mini building site has gone!