My husband and I are first time buyers. Actually right now we are already owners of a flat. The flat. But our road to ownership and happiness was long and bumpy. Exactly not what I was expecting. I actually used to laugh at articles saying that buying a property is one of the most stressful experiences in one’s life.
It all started over a year ago, when one of our local estate agent handed me in a leaflet with their latest properties to buy.
At the time we were renting lovely (but unfortunately badly managed) two bedroom flat in SE19. We have been already saving up for a deposit after a visit to one of the leading UK’s mortgage lenders few years back. Based on that one experience we knew we had to save hard and long before buying anything.
The flat that caught our eye was newly refurbished Victorian property. And it was amazing! We thought we could at least go and see.
Sure enough we liked it. Price was terrifyingly high but thanks to estate agent’s smooth talk we got ourselves a meeting with their recommended mortgage broker. And don’t get me wrong, I am glad that we got convinced to do that. If we haven’t , we would be probably still renting, paying somebody else’s mortgage.
Mortgage broker we spoke to was a very nice man (it is my opinion only; somehow Rupert, my husband, and him took an instant dislike to each other). He gave us good and honest advice and was very cautious to keep our mortgage repayments at low level. But we couldn’t afford the flat we liked.
And from that point, knowing how much we can afford to borrow, we started actively looking for our perfect home.
We knew that we wanted to stay in the area we were leaving in, we knew it had to be at least two bedroom flat with a big and spacious lounge and storage space. Nice kitchen. Ideally first floor and above.
I think there were few more requirements but I can not recall them now. Oh, and a walking distance to the train station.
It was all very exciting: looking at flats online, seeing what’s out there, planning and dreaming. Suddenly we realised how many estate agents there were in our area, how many ‘For sale’ and ‘Sold’ signs there were around.
Every time we went out we would notice new signs and say to each other: ‘Oh, that’s a nice place. Who is it with? We must look it up online when we get home’.
We were both first time buyers and we knew nothing about the process. I grew up abroad and have only been in the UK for several years. Most of our friends didn’t own their own place and those who did had it for few years already and their memories of the process were already a little bit tarnished. They would say ‘I hope it all will go well for you’ and I would smile thinking ‘Well of course it will: we want to buy a property, we will find a lovely place, shake hands with the seller, job done!’.
But it is never that easy.