How we bought a house in 2011

I know that generally in January, everyone is looking forward, making huge plans for the year ahead and planning what to wear when you fit into your skinny jeans again (yes, I’m also on the diet bandwagon this year).

But, with going back to work this past week or so, feeling hungry (It is no longer acceptable to have wine for lunch and chocolate biscuits for brekkie, dammit) and feeling like the Christmas holidays went far too quickly, I’m left looking back at 2011 and thinking, where did it go?

Well, I know the answer to that question. It went on the house. I’ve not really talked about our move process before on here as of yet because we were so giddy with finally moving in and getting stuck in with all the DIY, so here’s a little bit about our big move in 2011, month by month.

At the beginning of 2011, Joe and I decided we’d love to buy a house. After a lot of bad experiences in our flat, and with the possibility of a rent increase, it would work our cheaper and more convenient to be on the property ladder. Plus, it’d be all romantic and stuff <3
We were first-time buyers with no knowledge whatsoever on how to buy a house. If you are new to it also, never be afraid to ask questions! It’s easy to assume that estate agents and solicitors will explain everything to you. They won’t. Don’t be embarrassed about feeling ‘stupid’ when you don’t understand their fancy jargon. We learned this the hard way. Sad but true, people assume that because you are young, you will be pushovers. My mum taught me better than that.

February & March
In February, we had already seen a few houses that we liked the look of and had even viewed one or two just to get the feel of things. We had also seen our mortgage advisor and signed away our life all the documents. This gave us an idea of how much we had to play with, and what kind of timescale we were on. In March, we found our house and knew it was what we were after – a family area, good size, big garden, potential room for driveway, in need of modernisation. Lovely jubbly.

April was the month of the offers. When we had our parents take a look at the house and a few other family members, we were all a bit giddy at the thought of actually taking this very grown-up step. We put in our initial offer and it was rejected. Uh-oh! What was frustrating is that the seller had not actually been to the house – it was inherited. They were therefore in no rush, and were holding out for higher numbers. Eventually, after a short bidding war with another couple, our offer was accepted.

We had the survey done on the house in May; A really nerve-wracking experience because a lot of areas came back with warning or advisory notes. And where there were traffic light systems, often it came back red. However, we were fortunate enough to have family that know what the jargon means and it turns out it wasn’t as bad as we thought. Luckily all of the problems, we were already aware of. For example, it was highly recommended we get a new bathroom. Duh! The previous bath was rotted! (P.S We will have our bathroom done very soon! Will absoutely have a post on it shortly.)

June, July & August
The months of panic. During this period, there were unexpected curveballs thrown our way. Firstly, the land at the back of the house (essentially, part of the garden) technically didn’t belong to anyone. We had to renegotiate this with the seller’s solicitor to confirm that they would purchase the land, register it, and then sell it to us with the house. Secondly, the seller couldn’t find the deed to the house *mind explodes*. This was all sorted with no problem but the waiting around was horrible. Especially since all of our mortgage documentations were only valid if we moved in before September. We were cutting it very close. We finally got the go-ahead mid-August and we collected the keys on the 26th.

September, October, November & December

The rest of this you will have seen on my blog, as I started writing about it once we had the keys in August. Because we still had a week’s lease left on the flat, we took the time to gut the house whilst having the comforts of the flat. It was currently not in a state to live in.

In many ways I feel like  a lot went wrong during this process, although I think a lot of it was down to impatience – after all, we found the house in February, were given an estimated moving process time of up to eight weeks. It actually ended up taking a lot longer. But, not to sound ungrateful or like an absolute misery guts, I’m glad it was complicated and stressul. It made us both realise just how much we wanted it and how lucky we are to be on the property ladder at all. Hopefully we won’t have to go through it all again anytime soon though. Phew.

Karen x