First Time Buyers - Danielle's story
07 December 2021
By Jeremy Greer
We're always eager to hear about how real people bought their first home and what worked for them.
This week, we're featuring Danielle, who was able to buy her first home on her own, after initially planning to buy with a partner. Here's her story:
I didn’t have long to prepare to buy my first home - my plans massively changed (buying a 2-3 bed house with a fiancé turned into buying a 1 bed flat by myself) and as my landlord had given me notice, I only had a couple of weeks to view and purchase somewhere.
Initial saving and stresses
I used a Lifetime ISA to help me buy by maxing out the bonus on the first year. I did come close with some issues with my LISA, and a couple of unexpected costs that crept up, but the reallymoving cost calculator really helped when I was first stuck on how to move forward.
The market was crazy as I was buying while the Stamp Duty holiday was going on. Most places, by the time I had called to view, had already been sold! I put an offer in on the flat I eventually purchased about 5 minutes after viewing it.
The buying process
The whole process of buying was hit and miss. There are so many things that you aren’t told about. There was a lot of things I wish I had known - I really feel like purchasing property (at least the basics) should be taught. For example, once I had my offer accepted I really felt completely lost with what I had to do - the timeline on reallymoving helped me with an overall guide of not just how long things would take, but what I actually needed to do next!
I also really relied on my parents and my conveyancing solicitors to help explain things to me. Some of it was stressful as I worried a lot about making the wrong decision, but my solicitor took a lot of the stress out of it for me.
It took just over 12 weeks for my purchase to go through! This was with both myself and my purchase being chain free, and I paid for a rush service with my solicitor as I had been given notice from my landlord and had a deadline to meet!
In the end I bought a flat in Whitleigh, Plymouth. It’s a bit further out from the city centre than I was aiming for, but it’s actually a lovely quiet area.
The proximity of my property to my workplace is what helped me choose it and the fact that it had 2 private gardens really sealed the deal for me! Looking closer to the city centre was more expensive and most places only had courtyard areas (if any outside space at all!). Covid and lockdown really made me assess the importance of having my own outside space.
My First Time Buyer Worries
My biggest worry as a First Time Buyer was that I really did not know the process at all. I was very worried for almost the whole period of time until I paid my deposit. I was constantly panicked that things were going to fall through, or that the seller would have a better offer, especially with how crazy the market went with the Stamp Duty holiday! I was also worried about my whole mortgage application (if you can’t tell, I’m a worrier!) and I was concerned about anything that could go wrong with the lender.
I also was concerned about who to use for my removals firm, so I used the removal quote service to get a handle on who was reputable in my area. There are so many companies these days that you can’t necessarily trust so it felt good to have access to a variety of companies through reallymoving!
My circumstances changing during the process came with positives and negatives. When I was looking as a pair, I had double the budget so was looking at larger properties, however I was having to compromise on quite a lot of things I wanted, which was quite frustrating!
Buying on my own gave me the freedom to choose what I really wanted, and also let me use my imagination and visualise how I could make my property really mine! If anything, I did also find a bit of stress taken out as I only had to worry about myself and my own finances and credit score as opposed to also worrying for someone else!
Making my flat home
The best thing about owning my new home is freedom! I don’t have to ask about having a pet, and I can paint my rooms fuchsia if I want to and have no one to answer to! I also like that I’m no longer stressing about if my landlord is going to want to come over or give me my notice at any moment.
Advice I’d give to other First Time Buyers would be to research and have an idea of what solicitor you want to use before you make an offer. Although my solicitors were amazing, I did feel pressure to quickly source and instruct one after my offer had been accepted as I had no clue what to do.
Reallymoving says: Danielle's story is a great example of how sometimes buying a house can come with unexpected obstacles, but persevering and finding the right people to help you, can get you through it. She took advantage of our Moving Home Timeline and Moving Cost Calculator when she wasn’t sure where or how to start, and made sure to keep asking her conveyancer and family questions when she got stuck along the way.
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John on 03/07/2021