First Time Buying – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Immy Robinson
By Immy Robinson

November 2017

First Time Buying – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

After months and months of scrolling through Rightmove I had lost hope of ever finding my ‘perfect’ first home. Was I being too picky? My requirements were simple; a living area big enough for a small dining room table and a couple of arm chairs, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a garden area. This appeared to be too much to ask.  I viewed property after property thinking from the wording and the photographs that this could be the one but I left them disappointed my dreams and aspirations shattered.

So often the ‘spacious’ living area was barely big enough to swing a cat. The ‘lovely modern’ bathroom was damp and windowless. The ‘double’ bedroom was a glorified cupboard. The ‘fantastic’ conservatory looked like a stiff breeze could blow it over. The property lacked a front door… I could go on…

I did look at some auction properties that caught my eye but buying one of those required meticulous planning ensuring the mortgage was in place, solicitors were ready, builders were on hand and budgeting for costs, fees and repairs would have to be spot on to ensure I could actually afford it which is a little daunting for your first home. With an auction the fall of the hammer then leaves no room for backing out. I felt it was too risky for me.  I would have felt something of a minnow amongst sharks in the auction room.

Was this just what I had to expect from my first time buyer budget or was I looking at it with naïve eyes and had what I was looking for all along been right under my nose?

As it turns out yes –A beautiful old Georgian House in Blandford had come on to the market at a price way out of my league. I admired it almost weekly thinking how I would love a house like that. Not only was it out of budget but I had rather rashly ruled out Blandford as a place to buy.

One day I noticed the property had been reduced (still over budget) and I booked a viewing. Going through the front door I knew I had to have it. It was a semi-detached Grade II listed home, beautifully restored in quintessential Farrow & Ball colours with a sitting room, dining room, kitchen, orangery and downstairs WC. Upstairs were three double rooms and a truly lovely bathroom and WC with a shower & claw foot bath. Outside was a paved terrace leading to a stunning wild flower garden which was not over looked by anyone. Did I mention the cellar with 8ft ceilings which covered half the foot print of the house and had light and electricity perfect for conversion?

Well of course I made an offer which didn’t stretch my budget.  The fact I was a first time buyer in a position to go ahead was attractive to the seller and as a result I got far more than I ever thought I would for my first home.

So what have I learnt as a first time buyer?

  • Look at the unexpected
  • Search in areas you originally ruled out
  • Do your research and view properties you think might be a little over priced and make an offer
  • Do not buy the first thing you see and think ‘that’ll do’
  • Get a clear idea of your mortgage options before you make an offer
  • Choose a reputable solicitor
  • If it’s an older building definitely get a proper survey it could save you thousands
  • Get your insurance ready to go before exchange so you have time to look at different quotes

Even the best of solicitors and agents can’t speed up the searches so be prepared to be patient but luckily for me I experienced an extremely smooth sale as the vendors had employed an estate agent who knew what they were doing.  Who was it?  Symonds & Sampson of course!

Although I work in the industry, I am not an estate agent and was fairly clueless about what buying a house entailed. My biggest tip is seek advice. It is a huge commitment and you must ensure you have made the right choice.

I have been in my home for over a year now with no regrets.

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