Posts filed under ‘Diaries’

Diary of a Home Mover: Disagreements over relocating

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Our new blogger Verity Good is blogging about home moving plans. This week: What to do when he wants to move but I don’t.

As we gear up for a flurry of new properties coming on to the market in the new year I am an estate agent’s worse nightmare. I really don’t want to move – ever. I adore our current house which we have lovingly restored over the years. I know it’s not perfect, it’s a townhouse and could be bigger but the central location and our wonderful neighbours (on both sides) more than compensate for the fact that we could use more space (who doesn’t?).

As a couple we have always agreed on every property move up the ladder and both knew intuitively where we did or didn’t want to live – up until now.  While searching for property online my husband has found his dream property – his not mine. Architect designed it is brand new – sleek and shiny with every mod con available plus all of the eco features he has always wanted. Reluctantly I went on a viewing – I suspected that once I stepped through the door I would be entranced, but I still need to be persuaded.

By moving we would be upsizing and down spending so it is the sensible thing to do but the thought of relocating a couple of miles north to a new area fills me with dread. I know I am totally irrational about this but having spent the last ten years in our current home seems to have made me paralysed by the thought of change, is this normal?

Sometimes watching Phil and Kirstie referee bickering house buying couples you do wonder what it is these people have in common? How could they possibly differ so much on where it is they want to live? But now I can sympathize, it is all to do with coping with change. In this current climate the temptation is to draw the curtains and hunker down. But maybe a new year and a new home has its appeal? Our kids would go to the same schools and friends and family will still be reasonably close by so what am I worried about? One step at a time and let’s see if we can sell first. Time to call some estate agents?

December 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM 1 comment

First-time buyer blog: It’s time to take a break from the home hunt

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Recently, things were looking up with our house hunting. We made the big decision of offering on a lovely house which was over the stamp duty threshold.  It was bigger than we needed, but has a lot of potential and could last us for a long time. The property had been on the market for eight weeks, had recently dropped in price and was being marketed through two agents. This vendor really wants to sell, we thought.

We were not discouraged when our first offer was rejected, as the vendor wanted to meet with us direct to negotiate a price. This was a new one for us, usually we are making offers direct through the agent and have never met the vendors.

On this occasion the vendor showed us around the house too, I got the impression the vendor liked the “hands on” approach to selling their house. We liked the vendor, the vendor liked us. We met the vendor a few days later, who put forward their price.  We went away and thought about it, went back to the mortgage advisor and was all set to make another offer, which would see us move up in price a lot more than the vendor would have to drop.

We booked another viewing, not the dreaded “third” viewing, but our second. It’s an awful lot of money we would be investing into this house so we wanted to be sure. We kept the agent up to speed and he knew how keen we were on the house.

The day before our second viewing the vendor took the house of the market. I was disappointed at the time, but now I’m relieved that it wasn’t further down the line and we didn’t end up being victims of the new menace facing potential home buyers – gazanging (where the vendor drops out of the sale after an offer has been accepted).

We have decided to stop looking for a house, for the time being. We’ll most probably start again in the new year. I was really hoping to finish this blog on a happy note, but it got to the point where it had consumed us as a couple. I’m quite a determined person, and after four months house-hunting I sometimes think I have failed a little bit.

We have learnt a lot, and that experience will hopefully hold us in good stead when we begin our search again. Fingers crossed….!

You can follow Emma via twitter at @polkadotcherry

October 7, 2011 at 2:09 PM 1 comment

First-time buyer blog: What every first-time buyer needs to know

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

So what is it really like for a first-time buyer in the current market? Previous blogs of mine would have indicated it’s been a bit of a slow process.  I can honestly say that when we started looking for our first home I didn’t think it would take this long.

I have learned a valuable lesson. Or several, actually, which I thought I’d share with you. Here’s what finding your first home actually requires:

A lot of money Not only for the mortgage, but for everything else that a first-time buyer may need to pay for within the first month or so. To list a few there is the deposit, lender/booking Fee (depending on your mortgage package), valuation fee, legal/conveyancing fees, stamp duty (if applicable), removal costs, insurance, plus a bit more if you need white goods for the kitchen or any furniture. The lesson here is to budget realistically right at the beginning.

A lot of time Househunting does take up an awful lot of time, not just the search on such websites as FindaProperty, but the research into mortgages, liaising with estate agents, and the viewings themselves.

Patience and a positive attitude I won’t lie, there has been the odd Saturday evening after a full day of disappointing viewings where I have been pretty hacked-off with it all. The thought of another potential viewing which included the smell of cat food, children crying upstairs, leaking roofs or tiger print décor was enough to make me want to throw in the towel. However, this does take a long time, it is a huge decision and a positive attitude goes a very long way.

An achievable wish list What you will and won’t compromise on. It took us quite a few viewings to realise what was really important to us.

A good relationship with estate agents After all, they’ll be the ones who will call you when a new property comes in. Registering for their email alerts and having the occasional viewing with them won’t be enough. They really need to know what you would like, and need to be kept updated if your circumstances or budget changes.

A tip-top house hunting partner I’m fortunate enough to be sharing this experience with my partner, Dave. I appreciate that not all first-time buyers have someone to share the experience with – both physically and financially. But even just having someone there with you for the viewings – spotting things you may have missed, and laughing with you at the things you wish you had missed makes the whole experience a lot more fun.

Follow Emma on twitter @polkadotcherry


September 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM 1 comment

First-time buyer blog: Do we go over the 0% stamp duty threshold?

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

For first time buyers, any property under £250,000 is exempt from stamp duty tax. This is only if you have never owned a house or flat anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. But it will only apply until March 24 2012.  Since we have begun our search for our first home, we have taken this for granted and restricted our budget to anything under £250,000.

It’s fair to say we have not been particularly successful in our home search to date. Yes, we were very cheeky in our first few offers – but the last property we saw really appealed to us. So we were a lot more realistic about our negotiations. Unfortunately, after talking to a roofer we were told that it needed a new roof. (as the majority of the Victorian terraces inReading do). Our final offer reflected the condition of the house. The last contact we had with the estate agent we were informed our offer was rejected, and the vendor had received a higher offer.

We felt quiet despondent at this point. We were very sorry to loose out on that last house, although we were not prepared to raise our final offer as we’d been told it needed at least £7,000 spending on it to improve the condition of the roof. As first time buyers, did we really want that hassle?

We are now looking at bigger properties, over the stamp duty threshold. Unfortunately, a good sized and good-condition property in Reading and surrounding areas is expensive. It’s an ideal location for commuters, as we are. Eventually, this will also be one of our biggest selling points when we come to move on.

We are weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of really stretching ourselves financially. So do we pay the 3% stamp duty tax for a property which is bigger, and is not “in need of modernisation”? We could be living in a larger property for longer, with more scope for improvements – this could mean less hassle and less expenditure in the long run with another potential move.  Or, do we take advantage of the 0% and use the money we would put towards stamp duty tax on a property which is cheaper, but needs some work doing to it?

Already this process has been quite stressful, it really does take up an awful lot of your time. We’re certainly in no rush to go through it all again any time soon.

September 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

Renting blog: What home improvements mean for tenants

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Most tenants get quite excited when their landlord decides to do some improvements to the property, as we were when we were notified that our windows were going to be replaced. Aside from the worry that our rent would go up, we were happy to say goodbye to rattling panes, a drafty toilet and an ad hoc latching system.

Week one, we hear that the contractors are going to arrive on Tuesday. They pitch up on Friday, remove all the frames and windows and replace them with double glazed ones and we spend the weekend with no curtains.

Week two, the contractors now have to plaster the gaping holes, which they do rather well until we notice that plaster not only has gone on the walls but on the carpet, patio and stairs. We spend another weekend living a in a fishbowl.

Week three, no sign of the contractors, nor of our downstairs toilet seat, which has mysteriously disappeared. I have given up on rearranging my room to be builder-friendly and hope the neighbours have enjoyed my strip shows. In between my housemate has to use the plunger to unblock a drain clogged with old paint and plaster.

We get our letting agent on the case who assures us he’ll get it sorted by the end of the week. And so now with two days to go, we’re waiting with bated breath for the reappearance of the vanishing contractors (and our toilet seat), hoping that all this ‘improvement’ will be worth it in the end. I’ll let you know when they turn up…

September 2, 2011 at 2:20 PM Leave a comment

Older Posts

Zoopla Mobile & Tablet Apps

Grab the App

Search over 1 million properties for sale or to rent on our site from more than 18,000 agents and developers, including all of the UK's leading names.

Posts delivered hot and fresh to your inbox. Signup for free to subscribe, (No spam... ever) and join over 16,000 others.

Enter your email address below:

Recent Posts

Follow Zoopla


About the Zoopla blog

The Zoopla property blog is maintained and edited by the Web Content Editor @ Zoopla Property Group Ltd Myra Butterworth.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 602 other followers

%d bloggers like this: