Sho, what a big moment in life. Buying your very first house.
I have to say that spending almost every Sunday looking at houses is exhausting (and relationship testing – you try looking at house number 6, after 2 hours, when you’re both HANGRY!). And we didn’t even do it for as many weeks/months as some others have. That process of looking at houses online daily, only to see them sold before you can even click “send” on an e-mail enquiry, is just crazy! That’s just how the market was at the time. But now we know it was for a reason and we are so happy with where we’ve ended up. The picture in the image I’ve shared is from the advert…soon this little front will look different, with some improvements about to take place.
If, you’re looking to buy a property, I though I’d share a little of what we learnt during the process of finding and buying our home:
Go, just do it. The time might never quite feel perfect but you’ll figure it out (as long as you’re not over-extending yourself financially – obviously!);
Spending money on a house is darn scary. I don’t think that’ll change, not for us anyway;
Patience is required. You might not find the right place too quickly;
You don’t always get the first one you put an offer in on, and that’s ok (especially when you end up buying the nicer house 2 doors down, like we did);
Get all your facts straight and do the maths. Banks in South Africa don’t offer pre-approvals at the moment. But, do not despair, Mortgage Originators are the bomb and have oodles of experience. They’ll be happy to look at all your finances and tell you what your affordability is. Their advice doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get that amount from the bank but it feels so much better going into a house knowing “the bank will probably give me around …” or “we’re just looking at this one for fun”. It really does help.
Always go look a second time, always! (not everyone does though. This is just my personal feeling). You sometimes get all excited at the first viewing, and miss some serious stuff. It is good to go back and see if you still feel the same or whether you missed something;
Don’t be a hero or too full of pride. Not everyone is an architect/engineer/builder so don’t try to be one. Especially when buying a run down or old house. You’re about to spend a lot of money, so you need to be wise. Once you’ve found a house you are interested in, take some people along with you, who have bought a house before, and maybe a builder type person. They have a better eye for the little things you might miss. We took our parents to the first house we put an offer in on, and we took a builder friend of ours to the one we’ve now bought. We felt SO MUCH more comfort after they had weighed in. Trust me, they ask questions you will never think of asking (e.g. “Is there a weir in the back garden?”, – Cue me thinking “I’m sorry, is there a what?”);
We also chatted with one of my bosses, who knows his stuff. It is amazing the peace you can feel after chatting with someone who knows a bit about the area and could tell us whether it seemed like a good investment to make.
Sometimes you might have to re-look at your initial list of requirements or “must haves”. The property market is what it is and your ideal home, at the right price, might not be available straight away. And sometimes you can’t tick every box. Plus, some place might have potential for you to add your style changes;
Go with your gut, you’ll need to take that leap at some point.
And lastly, always be grateful. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to buy a house of their own.
You’ll be seeing so much more of our little place on this blog I am sure. We love DIY and did some projects straight away, so, I’ll hopefully post those soon. I’m still learning with this blog thing so please bear with me. When it comes to making this page awesome with well edited pictures…it might take a while 😉