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The things no one tells you about first time buying…

The things no one tells you about first time buying…

It’s widely accepted that getting on the property ladder, especially in the Capital, is a tricky, expensive business. It’s a sellers’ market and with soaring prices and last minute gazumps it can seem like only speedy Oligarchs get a look in!

But how can first time buyers better equip themselves to navigate the potholed highway to home-ownership? The answer is, there is no easy answer, but being aware of some of the hurdles along the way will certainly help.

1. Look at the dull stuff on viewings

Yes it has gorgeous period features, and the hallway is just the right shade of ever-so-pale grey (Farrow and Ball, Elephant’s Breath natch), but have you scratched beneath the surface to check out the things that are actually going to cost you a gazillion pounds when they need replacing?  All the boring things – How old is the metre? What’s the state of the wiring / fuse box? How’s the water pressure? Yes, they’ll think you’re a bit weird when you ask to turn on the shower but no-one likes a pathetic drip.

2. You will feel like Kirsty or Phil when making an offer

Which can only be a good thing, but unlike Kirsty and Phil, the vendors are unlikely to call back straight away accepting your hugely optimistic under-offer (because you’re not Kirsty or Phil). In reality, it’s a snail’s pace ping-pong game back and forth until you end up practically paying the asking price… because you’re trying to buy in London, and so is everyone else.

But that’s just the start of it – for the first time buyer the battle doesn’t end when the offer’s been accepted.

3. The Survey will sound horrific

There are a number of options depending on the level of investigation – to be safe you might want to opt for a ‘Home Buyer’s Report’ which delves a little deeper and will help unearth any grizzly truths before it’s too late. Unless you’re buying a shiny new off-plan, there are likely to be plenty of ugly sounding issues. Fear not, surveyors will always be super over-cautious so your best bet may be to enlist the help of a friendly (read: free) builder friend to help you fathom whether it’s a sound investment or a stinking money pit.

4. You may well be homeless

The time it takes between your offer being accepted and actually moving in can vary wildly – the phrase ‘how long is a piece of string’ was coined specifically for this situation. Delays in the chain, holidays and drop outs can mean you may be left in limbo – without a roof over your head and all your prized possessions packed into boxes.

This is when self storage can help. Shurgard has storage units of all shapes and sizes and whether it’s for two weeks, two months or longer, the comfort of knowing your possessions are in safe hands can relieve the pressure at this stressful time… giving you more time to concentrate on which shade to pick for the bathroom.

5. You will have to shell out as soon as you move in

You’re finally in and ready to start your new life as a fully bonafide home owner. Wickes is busy mixing your cheap version of Elephant’s Breath, your sleeves are rolled up and you’re ready to get dirty! But wait…there’s a distinct nip in the air and the radiators are stone cold even though you swear you turned the heating on. Better check that 70’s boiler you knew looked dodgy but ignored because those delightful period features more than made up for it.

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