I just want to apologise in advance, this will likely be a long rambling post, but I want to try and cover every thing in 1 post. We are hopefully a few weeks from completing on the sale of our house and the purchase of our forever home. So I thought I would share what I have learnt along the way. Although this is the 5th house I have purchased in the last 17 years. My first one was when I was 18, a 1 bedroom town centre flat in Eastbourne for £36k. Now we are buying a 4 bedroom semi detached for £230k.
Instructing An Estate Agent
21st February we made the decision to sell our home and relocate back to Dorset to be nearer family. So first thing you need to do is find out the value of your home and then create a budget. We rang a couple of estate agents to come and do valuations and give us their price for selling. Within 3 days we had decided on an Estate Agent, their fees were 1.2%. Luckily it was the agent we purchased from, so they already had the floor plans still on their system. They also had the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) so that saved us £40. My husband took the photos of our home, and the house was listed on Rightmove 25th February.
Then it is a case of waiting for viewings, keeping the house clean and clutter free. Remove anything personal from sight, first impressions do count. As you know if you follow my Instagram I had literally just painted the hallway, and landing navy blue… so I just purchased a huge tube of magnolia paint and covered up my beautiful F&B walls, but it made such a difference when walking into the hallway, bright and airy.
Looking For A House
Like most people, I tend to always be searching Rightmove. We had seen a house that looked “perfect”, it had 4 bedrooms, garage, storage for coats and shoes, en-suite, and downstairs toilet. I had a list of must haves, and this house practically ticked all the boxes, so I drove down to Dorset and viewed it with my mum. We both fell in love with it, my husband hadn’t even seen it, but said it sounded perfect. We agreed to put an offer in that day. Obviously it’s better to wait until you have an offer on your property before making offers, as you will be proceed-able with the sale and more favourable. I know in some towns, properties sell so fast there are often bidding wars, luckily a small town in Dorset there is more flexibilty.
We knew our budget was tight, so we went in at 10k below the asking price. We made the offer with the instruction the house was removed from the market too. Unfortunately the vendor rejected our offer, so we decided to wait until our first viewings and re-evaluate the situation.
3 days after going on the market we received notice of our first viewing, it was going to be 10am on Saturday 4th March. The viewing went well, and the agents called an hour later to ask if they could come back for a second viewing that afternoon with their parents, so it was looking promising.
After the second viewing the agent rang us and said they wanted to think about it and would get back to us on Monday. That felt like such a long time, we had found our dream home and it was all resting on us receiving an offer on our home.
Monday came and the agents rang. They wanted to put an offer in. They offered 13k below asking price, so we discussed the fact we had found our dream home, and that we really need much nearer the asking price to try and secure an offer on it.
More waiting. Then the agent called again and said they could up their offer to 6k below asking. We accepted and our house was removed from the market 10 days after it went on.
Putting In An Offer
We finally could put in the higher offer, and we were in a much better position. Unfortunately some one else had shown an interest in the house after a second viewing and had submitted an offer. Luckily these people had a house on the market but no offer, although they didn’t have a chain and we did. So to secure the house, we upped our offer to the asking price and said that it was to be removed straight from the market. By Tuesday 7th March we had confirmation our offer was accepted, the house was off the market.
The Estate Agent has to submit all offers to the vendor, no matter how big or small. You do have to show you can afford to buy the house before going for viewings. Either have a mortgage in principle offer, or already have a mortgage that you are going to be moving. The vendors agent called our agent, received details of the chain, our solicitors details and then they issued us with a Memorandum Of Sale.
You will have to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf of the purchase and sale. Get a few quotes as their prices do vary quite a bit. I had requested a quote prior to the offers for approx sale/purchase price just to give me an idea. Then I created a spreadsheet to keep our finances and budget in order during this process.
You don’t have to use a local solicitor, they can be based any where. Ask friends and family for recommendations. From experience I have had a solicitor that wanted to raise enquiries about every thing and it slowed down the process so much, but then you want them to raise important enquiries. Some times they will want to find out more about public footpaths near the house, flood risks if you are near a river. I do keep a close eye on the process, when we sold our previous home, the road was not adopted, so I went out of my way and got all the information together before our buyer even made searches, that way we had the information to hand to keep thing moving along quickly.
Request a weekly update on the process, you won’t be the only case the solicitor is working on. I do find if you sit back and expect every one to do their job it will be a much slower process. Keep every one on their toes, keep in contact with your estate agent and your vendors estate agent.
Arranging A Mortgage
There is so much information out there about arranging a mortgage. You can either go to your bank or go via a mortgage broker. I won’t go into details about this too much. Luckily we are just “porting” our mortgage across to the new property which is free during the fixed rate period. The only cost we have, is the mortgage valuation on the new property which has cost £197. Being a 12 year old property we haven’t requested a survey or a home buyers report, in fact we have never had a survey on any property. Unless having a full structural report on an old property I don’t think they are worth it.
I can really recommend HSBC for mortgages, they lady arranging it has been so helpful during the whole process. They even offered a reduced rate house insurance too, so we have set that up and it will automatically start when finances are transferred. The official mortgage offer will be sent to you and your solicitor and it will normally be valid for 90 days.
When buying a property you will have to pay stamp duty, use an online calculator. A house costing £230k, the stamp duty will be £2100 and a house costing £260k would be £3000. Also if you are buying a second property it will cost even more.
Our Current Situation
We are currently coming up to 7 weeks since we accepted an offer on the house. Our mortgage is all arranged, mortgage survey completed, house insurance arranged. We have filled out the Fixture & Fittings forms ready for our buyers contract. Regarding the purchase our solicitor has had the searches back, and on Monday/Tuesday next week, our solicitor should be giving us our Contract Report, which will contain the Fixture & Fittings, Environmental Information, Sewers, Roads, Insurance and Services.
Exchanging Contracts is the day when solicitors will read the contract to each other over the phone. They will record it, and then post the contracts to each other. Once finished you are now legally bound to buy the property. If you pull out, your 10% deposit can be forfeit. You will need then arrange for your insurance to start from the day of exchange. A completion date will be arranged, it can be a few days later or a month later. They say it takes about 3 months to buy a house. So we are hoping within 5 weeks we shall be in our new home ready for the summer.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will get back to you. I will keep this post updated as things change.