First-time buyer blog: What you need to know about getting on the ladder
This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
In my last blog I wrote about the art of negotiation (or rather the lack of it). We didn’t end up getting the property we liked for the value we felt reflected the condition. Eight weeks from going on the market, it is still there, but we’ve moved on, as you often need to do in this game.
During the past few months house hunting (yes, we are beginning to wonder whether it really should take this long), it has been a huge learning curve. I’ve never read so many books, blogs, articles; watched so many programmes; or responded to as many tweets relating to property before in my life. It’s sucked me in. I’m constantly trying to find out as much information, advice and top-tips.
To make it a little easier for other first-time buyers who’ve just begun their house search, these are a few of my favourite reference points:
1. How to Buy Your First Home by Phil Spencer This has been a little gem. Brilliantly laid out, easy to understand, up to date and rammed full of top tips. Every now and then it’s great to refer back to refresh my memory.
2. Newspaper property sections One I always go back to is the Guardian, today the top story is “Mortgage rates hit record lows, but first time buyers remain squeezed”. It may not be the most uplifting article, but it does give you some indication of the current market.
3. Mortgage comparison websites You may already have your agreement in principle from one lender, but always worth keeping an eye on other options as you are continuing your search. Some lenders have come up with more attractive offers since we have been looking.
4. TV programmes I had watched quite a few Location, Location, Location episodes before we started our house search as I’m quite a fan. It’s entertaining, and sometimes I do wish I had Kirstie and Phil to call the agent with a bunch of cameras pointing at the phone to give added pressure. I got through a few episodes of Help! My House Is Falling Down before it scared me senseless, but it did hammer home the need to check drains and to pay good attention to your survey.
5. Twitter This adds the humour into the proceedings with estate agents, buying agents, sellers and buyers all giving their perspective on the property market. It’s pointed me in the direction of some great blogs, and it’s incredibly interesting to read things from a seller’s and agent’s point of view.
Probably the most information and advice we get is from work colleagues, friends and family who’ve been through the process before. Everyone has a different story to tell. It’s rather exhausting knowing that we’re at the beginning, with a long way to go….
Follow Emma on twitter @polkadotcherry.