Sunday, 18 February 2018

Confessions of a First Time Buyer - Under Offer and Under Pressure

They say moving home is one of the most stressful experiences of your life, at this exact moment of time, I would whole heartedly agree with that sentiment.

I wasn't intending on writing about this part of my life, I was going to quietly buy a house and then do a post on the new place and perhaps document our turning it into our home process. However, I have found myself knee deep in the stresses of home buying, relocating to a new place you don't really know that well, and being a first time buyer who quite honestly hasn't a clue what she's doing. I have never felt more daunted by being a real fully fledged grown up than I do right now. So the only answer I seem to be able to provided myself is to write about it. It's unlikely to solve anything, but it may be cathartic, and perhaps if you too are in a similar situation, you may take some comfort that it isn't just you!

Now I realise that this post is a bit first world problems. I am essentially moaning about the stress of being in the fortunate position of being able to buy my own home (albeit with a lot of help from my dad, who I will be forever grateful to).  But so far it is a stressful process, and all the things that could possibly go wrong are pretty frightening!

We're currently renting in Twickenham, where the possibility of buying anything other than a flat the size of a classic Mini Cooper is laughable. By this I mean we actually looked online, went LOL, and immediately started searching for other locations. We wanted somewhere that was affordable, with a reasonable commute to work, wasn't a million miles away from our friends and families, and was a nice place to live. The only place that ticked all these boxes was Reading, which is albeit a little further from our friends and families than we originally hoped for, but you can't have it all, especially not in this market!

We started house hunting in December, which let me tell you, is not the best time of year to be looking at houses if you want a wealth of options (I can actually hear you rolling your eyes and saying Duh!). But we did find it helpful to get to know the areas that we might like to live and get a feel for the town. Shortly after Christmas we found a house! It obviously needed work (hello 1970's gas fire!), but due to this and a busy road (more on that later) we would be getting more space for our money. We went home to discuss it and mull the whole thing over, the down sides are that it isn't in our preferred area and I was quite concerned about the road. Its quite busy and because the house has single glazed windows its a quite noisy inside the house too. We decided that it was, just about, an acceptable compromise for the space and the price, and made an offer.

Once our offer was accepted, we instructed a building survey, this is where the stress comes in. Up until the survey came back it had been pretty plane sailing and we were arrogantly pleased with ourselves!

This brings us to the present day, we have received and digested the report, and boy oh boy is it a long and expensive list! Now I know what you're thinking, it's 180 years old, what the fuck did you expect the survey to say?! And we did expect quite a lot, a large proportion of items on the list we either knew about or suspected. The problem is that the few we had not anticipated are potentially really big (read expensive) jobs. So we're now in a position of having to decide if we want to take on that much work, and if we do, is the house worth it to us. By 'we' and 'us' I mean me, Ciarán is more attached to the house than me at this point, two people buying together brings with it it's own set of complications, you both have to agree, and you can't let yourself be annoyed with the other for having a different opinion. My current feeling is it's one thing taking on a big project, but quite another to take on a big project for a house I don't love!

We have decided we need to go back to the house and look at it again this week, but this time armed with all the information and decide if, had we had this information to begin with, we still would have made an offer. I'm also beginning to panic about how loud the road was, but I'm not sure if I've built it up to a Formula 1 race track in my head, and the reality might be pretty acceptable...

Wish me luck!

And take a deep...

P.s By the way, none of the photos in this post are of any of the houses we have viewed so far, figured it would be bad form to go plastering someone else's house all over the internet!



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