Buckle up, it’s a looong one.
I’ve moved back to my mum’s during lockdown and decided to give up my London flat, so I have the motivation to start this house-buying ‘journey’. I hate the phrase ‘journey’ but as this is a flipping epic saga it makes sense.
I set up alerts on Rightmove and draw up a list of must-haves and definitely-absolutely-no’s for my dream pad.
I want a period property with at least 2 bedrooms. Nice to have: my own front door. Very nice to have: a separate dining room, bay window and garden.
Alerts start pinging for properties but as it’s lockdown I don’t rush to follow up–big mistake–properties are getting snapped up in record time.
See a lovely 2 bed Victorian terrace with a garden on a quiet street next to a cute little pub. I think this is a contender, call up the estate agents and book a viewing. I’m told I’ll have to wear a mask and gloves and come alone.
Travel the 4 hours to Margate from Leeds to view, the house is lovely if a little small but perfect for one. As it’s peak lockdown there isn’t even anywhere open to get a cup of tea afterwardsand I have to wee on the beach. Fab.
Put in an offer at 10% under asking. Finally settle on £3k under asking. Offer accepted!
Then I enlist the help of a mortgage advisor as I’m told I need a decision in principle ASAP and I am financially deaf and dumb. Have to supply lots of bumph to the Estate Agents including proof of deposit.
All ticking along, I now have a solicitor and the bank have valued the house and approved the mortgage. Yay!
Luckily, I’m a first-time buyer and there is no chain. The current owner is moving into a new build which should be built in June/July. A bit of a wait but I’m not in a rush.
Been Pinteresting like a mad woman. I’m SO excited to have a house to make my mark on. I’m most excited about having a hallway weirdly and a front door.
Estate Agents have called with a bit of bad news, due to Brexit there are major supply shortages in the building industry, so the seller’s new build is delayed. Looking like August now.
I’ve managed to save some cash during my wait, so I splash out on some furniture as I own… none. I buy a sofa, a KING size bed and a lovely coffee table. Along with lots of pretty but useless things. Oh, and a Hetty hoover.
Won some vintage furniture on eBay for suuuper cheap. Have to hire a van to collect which my brother drives. Arrive to find that the walnut burr sideboard is the biggest piece of furniture known to man. I’d thought the measurements were cm. They are inches. It barely fits in the van or my mother’s house.
The waiting is getting unbearable now, still waiting for contracts from the seller’s solicitors and my mortgage offer expires at the end of the month. Lots of chasing.
Take a mini break to Margate and stalk my soon-to-be new house. Literally have a beer in the pub next to it and try to peer over the garden wall.
Get a call from the estate agents. The new build will not be finished until November!!!! But the seller can move in with her daughter when her daughter moves house which will be at the end of September.
Agree completion date for 24th September. So long but at least it is now set in stone.
Now have to get a mortgage extension which costs £70 but hey ho. Call my mortgage broker who helps me with all the paperwork.
A week goes by and no mortgage extension.
Another week goes by.
Yet another week goes by.
September 2021 – this is where the sh*t hits the fan
Still no mortgage extension. getting worried now as I’m meant to move in this month and now the seller is chasing ME. The cheek!
Start calling everyone and their mother to try and get this moving. No idea what the issue is, my circumstances haven’t changed, and it was approved quickly the first time. Surely, they just take the money and tick a box for an extension? Can’t help thinking how much easier this would be if I was buying with someone then we could tag team the calls. Also split the cost of everything… I’d practically be a millionaire. Oh well, at least I can fill the fridge with beauty products and paint the front door pink without having to consult anyone.
Finally get a response from the lender. Mortgage extension DENIED. They will not lend against the house as it’s next to a pub.
My mortgage broker calls his contact at the bank to ask if there is any chance it’s a mistake and is told no and that they would never lend on this property. Even though I had the offer for 6 months. The first valuer… what was he thinking? He could have denied the mortgage and I would have found another house and probably be in it by now.
Tell the estate agent who isn’t happy. WHY did no one tell me that you couldn’t buy a house next to a commercial property? Literally no one. Not one singular person.
Speak with my mortgage broker to go through my options, he has checked with a couple of lenders and they’re both saying that it depends on the valuer but most likely no. I could go with a mortgage lender who “lends on anything” but their rates are so expensive that my monthly repayments would be £200-300 more expensive.
So, I have to pull out of the sale. I have lost the house. My completion date is next week. Great.
September part 2
Obviously, I was absolutely devastated and had a dramatic walk in the rain while crying but then I just thought that I’d had a lucky escape, I wouldn’t have been able to remortgage the house and it obviously wasn’t meant to be.
The king size Simba mattress I ordered for the house move (sob) arrives in a compressed box and I have a vision of it exploding out and killing my mum. Look on their website and I should be good for 3 months… best get house hunting again.
Look on Rightmove, actually, SCOUR Rightmove for similar properties. Everything is more expensive now and not that much choice. I’m going to have to up my budget considerably. To the tune of £50-80k! Gulp.
See a near identical house to the cursed one on a nearby street, call immediately to book a viewing. It has 3 offers already. I offer on the spot, over asking and they say they will put it to the seller.
See other properties and call estate agents to be told that either an offer has been accepted (4 times) or it’s been sold with tenants in situ (in my ignorance I thought you could just boot them out, apparently not).
Book three viewings for the weekend and head down to Margate via a night in The Standard London with friends and Pisco Sours.
Thank god that every time I get off the train at Margate, I just adore it, come rain or shine, it’s always a vibe. Head to viewing number one: A very expensive 3 bed near the park with really cool decor, very my style, which I think blinds me a bit. The bathroom is tiny, no bath. But there is a bath in a bedroom! Really nice house though but FOURTEEN people are viewing it today. I really like it. Put in an offer as soon as I leave, just under asking.
My next viewing is another three bed in a better location but it’s a new build which I always said was a never, never, no, no, no… but it’s built in the style of a Victorian terrace and looks alright. Maybe a new build is a good idea? Look around… it is not a good idea. The living room is pokey, low ceilings, the kitchen is small too… no dining room or room for a dining table (where does one eat?). Weirdly the hall is massive (eat in the hall?). There are two bathrooms, but both are tiny with no windows and the cheapest-of-the-cheap fittings. All the carpet is that shiny Mrs Hinch grey. Everything is just builder grade and yuk. I’d have to rip everything out and the house isn’t cheap. I tell the estate agent that “I just absolutely hate it” end quote.
By the time the third viewing rolls around I’m knackered and just want to get on the train home and listen to a Podcast about murder. I wait around outside for 10 mins, no sign of the estate agent. I call them to be told that an offer has been accepted at asking and my viewing cancelled. Fuming, I tell them I’ve travelled the length of the country and I want to see it. They call the owner who is in thankfully and agrees to show me round. She even gives me a cup of tea! We have a chat for 40 mins. I really like this house; the location is amazing, and it has great bones. No garden though, just a small outside space. Hmmm.
I decide to put an offer in at £1k over asking.
So, I now have 3 offers on. The first property went with a LOWER offer but a cash buyer. Weird as I’m a first-time buyer, same thing. The second property (the one where 14 people viewed it) had 7 offers so it went to sealed bids. I put in a ridiculous offer about £11k over asking and probably over my budget. Didn’t get it.
The third house with the good bones. The offer was accepted. The journey begins again.
I have to do all the flipping paperwork again, for everyone, again. It’s just a faff to be printing off all these bank statements and payslips and signing all the bumph. In good news the interest rates have gone down since Feb so even though the new house is £60k more than the original (cursed) house, the monthly repayments are only £20 or so more.
In worse news I also need a bigger deposit so my mum lends me some money which hopefully I can pay back by the start of next year. Lifesaver mum. Thank you!
Valuation done. Mortgage approved. Searches done. Draft contracts received. I am mega paranoid about house buying now (obvs) so I email and call the solicitors each week. They probably hate me, but I just want to exchange contracts and get the keys in my grubby little hands.
I am majorly nervous about the house and I’m really trying not to get my hopes up too much. It’s been SUCH a long process and I feel like my life is kind of on hold. I’m crashing at my mum’s (so dating has been non-existent), all my stuff is in storage and I’m skint again with all the extra solicitors’ fees and much more spenny gaff. I daren’t even go on holiday as I don’t want to hold up the process. If they want me to move tomorrow, I will, I’ll actually hop in a time machine and move in last week, either or. But I’m trying to stay positive, if wary. Back on Pinterest which is a good sign. Nature is healing.
This process is like pulling teeth. And all the teeth have gone on holiday. For the month. There are still ‘outstanding enquiries’, a phrase which gives me a fit on anxiety… and possibly will forever more. What these enquiries are, I do not know. And since everyone is off for the whole of Christmas, there’s no one to ask.
It’s the 4th of January so the solicitors are back and well-rested after a month long break and I am renewed and full of righteous anger and desperate to make sure this sale goes through. So I email and call everyone involved… solicitors (and assistants), the estate agent, mortgage broker and also some firm I’m paying to progress the sale whose last representative Rachel (yes, I’m naming and shaming) told me, when I asked her to try and squeeze some info from the solicitors, that it wasn’t her job, it was my job. Well, she was taken off my case (presumed sacked) and when I told her replacement this she told me that is, in fact, quite literally their job.
I have discovered that the one missing piece of info that has taken weeks to get hold of and still not procured is an RX3. Means nothing to me but is now the ting I covet most.
I wake up in a cold sweat after reading about mortgage rates being the highest in years. My very good offer expires in March. If I have to get another mortgage I may very well not be able to afford the monthly payments. Again I call and email all parties involved letting them know exactly how many days we have… worryingly this seems like news to them.
However we now have the RX3! Whoop. And we can set a completion date. And we can exchange. And they want my deposit and fees… which I send. But when I ask for confirmation they have received the £43,000 (!!!!!) I get no response for over a day. I obviously then think I have been hoodwinked by some internet scammer out of my life savings.
Finally the solicitors confirm they have the cash (thanks) and apparently we can’t exchange because despite all previous paperwork saying the property was leasehold, it is in fact a ‘share of freehold’. The saga continues. GET ME IN!!!!
25th February 2022 – I’m in. The previous owner left piles of crap and grime but I am now legally a homeowner and I love my new house. What a flipping saga. Follow my home renovations of insta @chez.shez