Buying your first home is a big thing for a misanthrope. It gives you somewhere you can call home, and the security of knowing you own the bricks and the land they’re assembled on.
Or, in other words, it gives a misanthrope security that they can finally threaten to call the police on people who won’t get off their land. As well as knowing you can lock yourself away, and there is no need to see people outside of business hours.
The trouble is, buying a house isn’t cheap, and it certainly isn’t easy. Even to just slightly consider the prospect of perhaps, one day, owning your own house, you need to have a fortune in your bank.
People at least 30 to 40 years your senior will gladly tell you how they purchased their house for a few thousand, and how they simply walked into their bank, asked for money to buy a house, and walked out with their mortgage agreement. And I’ll tell you now – it’s one of the least helpful things anyone will say to you, especially when they now tell you that same house is worth, at least, 2500% more.
Basically, you won’t be buying a house like theirs unless you’ve stumbled across a fortune, or found a way to exist without needing nourishment or worldly belongings, and are able to work at least 24 hours a day.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a house. And it can be a nice house too. And best of all, it will be yours, with a roof, locks, and fences.
Here’s a guide to buying your first home… And fair warning, you are going to have to interact with people.
Choosing a House
It’s a good first step, assuming you have already gotten your head around the potential financials. That means you know how much you should be able to spend, and are now looking for a home within your window of affordability.
First things first, set up an email alert, perhaps on Rightmove, for houses within your price range and in your chosen geographic area. You’ll then get an email every time someone decides to put their bricks and mortar on the marketplace.
Eventually, and this may take a while, you’ll see a few houses you like and decide to go see them.
There are a few possibilities when it comes to looking around other people’s homes. You’ll either be shown around an empty house by the estate agent, who will know everything about what you don’t care about and nothing about what you do. Their positive spin on everything will create a hurricane with your negativity. The kitchen/diner, in reality, will actually be a tiny kitchen with a two seat table in the corner blocking you from opening half of the cupboards. Any reasonable person would describe this as a ‘kitchen’.
Or, you may be shown around the house by the current homeowners (especially when they’re selling on Purple Bricks).
When this is the case, there is no acceptable answer than ‘Oh, that’s nice’, even though it smells of dog and you’re thinking of what you would immediately change.
This is no joke. We were actually shown around one house by a guy who said he didn’t want to move, who’s garden shed had a bed and TV in it, and a loft with tanks of frogs. Believe it or not, we did not buy that house.
Putting In An Offer
We were lucky, and we found a house just two weeks after we were finally ready with our mortgage agreement in hand. And even though you’ve already fallen in love with the pictures of the house, you have to play it cool and make sure your face doesn’t give you away. Taking a poker player along with you to viewings will be an advantage, but most importantly, get a second opinion.
Then it comes to making an offer… This is the part when you say to someone that you think their home looks great, and you want it to be your home, but then hypocritically make an offer less than they were hoping for. It’s hard to feel like you’re not about to offend someone.
We offered £6,000 less than the asking price. It may have taken them a few days to think about it, but they eventually took it without a counter offer… So, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And what’s the worst that can happen? You pay a bit more.
Buying A House
If you thought you’d already spoken and met too many people, then you’re in for a nasty surprise. Now you need to actually get all the balls rolling, and annoyingly, they’re not all the same size, with some taking a lot longer to get to the end than others.
You’ve got to sit down with someone who will arrange your mortgage and life insurance and will want to know everything about you. Everything from listing your dangerous hobbies to asking about STIs and how many takeaways you’ve eaten in your life.
Your mortgage broker will soon know more about you than your parents, and it can be quite the eye-opener for your partner.
You also have to arrange a conveyancer to work on your behalf to handle all the legalities, and they will be the bane of your life for the next few months. If you’re not on the phone chasing them up, you’re working through the pile of paperwork they gave you and busy jumping through every hoop they ask you to.
Did you know, you’re not allowed to just have money? If you have money when you’re trying to buy a house, you’re looked upon suspiciously. You now have to prove where every single blasted penny has come from, just in case you’re a drugs lord laundering money.
It’s also time to send in the surveyor. He will walk around the house, writing down that he doesn’t know what the floor is like under carpets, and doesn’t know what the wall is like under the wallpaper. Included in this is them not knowing if the guttering is blocked, and not knowing if the boiler has ever been serviced.
The only thing they will point out is that there are no doors downstairs, completely circumnavigating around the point of ‘open plan’. The document they produce will take you hours to read, and it won’t be as enlightening as you would have hoped for. Although, conversely, you don’t want to read one which is too interesting as that would mean there are a lot of issues.
Chances are, many months will pass and it will feel like you’re getting nowhere, despite already owing a few thousand pound to the people working on your behalf. Although, you’re not sure they’re actually working and instead just sleeping at their desk for at least 6 hours every day.
But the day will come when you’re asked to agree on a date to complete. It may not feel like that day will ever come, but trust me, it does without much warning. And with that, you then have to pay 10% of the sale price.
Handing Over The Money
You’ve worked hard to earn that money. You’ve watched it grow from just a few measly pounds to an impressive total. You can’t help but feel pride, and love for it. And here you are, now expected to hand it over after all these years, knowing you’ll never see it again.
I’m not going to lie, it’s an emotional moment, and making sure you enter the correct bank details is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do because we’ve all heard those horror stories. After the 104th double-check, you’re finally ready to press ‘Transfer’.
But it’s not over yet. You’ve now got to ensure you have home and life insurance in place, paid off all your bills at the old address, and arranged the removal van. And before the big day comes, you’ve then got to do another transfer for the rest of the money as well as paying all the fees you owe (see the above paragraph for details on how to do this).
The Big Day
It’s all been building to this day. You’ve scavenged boxes from work, supermarkets, friends, family, and other people’s bins on recycling day, and now every room feels like you’ve built a cardboard fort, towered high to the ceiling.
And the moment has come when you pack up the van and play the best, biggest, and the most stressful game of Tetris in your life. The sofa is on its side, the dinner table looks drunk, and clothes are spilling out from everywhere.
If you’ve chosen to move on the day of completion, then you’ve made it even more stressful for yourself, especially if you’re part of a long chain of house sales. Luckily, there were only two links in our chain, and surprisingly, we owned a house just after 10 am in the morning. And it was surprising because we booked the removal company for the next day having assumed it wouldn’t go smoothly…
When you hire a removal company (I know, even more people to meet), you’ll be amazed not just at the speed in which they pack your life up in their van, but how organised they make your life look when it’s all piled up.
To your new house you all travel, where you unpack the lorry in record-breaking time because the lorry blocks the entire road, and have to decide in a second which room to place everything.
And that’s it, you’ve now moved into your first home, and once you’ve paid the delivery drivers, you haven’t got to see anyone until the next time…
The First Few Weeks
There’s something about owning your own home that makes people flock to it. We’ve had more people come see our little house in the past few months than came to see us in our previous flats over the 5 years we spent renting.
It’s also when you actually learn why the previous owners sold their home, with every little fault making itself known. The leaking conservatory roof. The toilet seat that won’t stay up. The hot water timer not working. The big hole in the wall of the front room. The broken integrated fridge. The list goes on.
That means you’ll now spend at least the next 12 months cleaning, fixing and decorating. But that’s not a problem, because you’re now about to make it YOUR home. Every badly painted, ghastly wall you paint makes it look like yours, rather than someone else’s.
Except, you can’t crack on with it straight away because if you’ve just finished renting, you have to clean that place first to have any hope of getting your deposit back.
But now, that miserable little flat is the problem of someone else. You’re no longer helping to pay a stranger’s mortgage, you’re paying off your own mortgage…
Isn’t that amazing!? YOUR OWN HOUSE.