When Vickie Stone, 30,  bought her first home just one year ago, she thought she knew all she needed to about a house, having lived in over fifteen properties thanks to her parents’ jobs. Yet, despite the spreadsheets, checklists and thorough mathematical sums she still learnt a few things along the way. Here shares three key things everyone should consider when purchasing a new home – whether it be your first or last…


1 The preparation

I wouldn’t have been able to take my first step onto the property ladder if it wasn’t for some careful planning, sacrifice and financial preparation. I, like many others my age, moved back in with my parents for ten months in order to save up a deposit. This seems like a fairly short time in retrospect, but I’d researched the local market and worked out how much deposit I should need. My next step, and yours, should be getting finances in order. I began to pay off my credit cards and checked my credit status to identify any potential problem areas. I chose Credit Expert to help with the latter and my report highlighted that though I had a good rating, I wasn’t on the electoral roll and I’d also made a slight error by reducing my credit limit on my cards as I paid them off. I would have been better off showing I could handle credit by keeping my limits the same while paying the debt down. You can find out more about the Credit Expert Report and learn similar lessons online.

2 The search

My budget in part helped define my search area and from there I set up property alerts on websites, as well as registering with local estate agents – passing on the key considerations off my checklist to filter what was presented to me.  If you can afford to make changes to a property you might be less rigid about your approach to your property search, but I knew I wouldn’t have immediate cash for corrections so I made sure the houses I saw were ones I could move straight into. When viewing properties I made sure I did all the sensible things; I visited during the day and at night, checked out the neighbours, I even looked up my postcode on the police website that tells you about crimes in your area. During viewings I felt the walls, ran the showers and looked at the roof. What I didn’t do was feel the walls at the back of cupboards or check if windows physically opened. You can therefore naturally assume that I now have a damp problem in my beloved kitchen, which also features a double glazed window that may as well be a glass wall. Take a checklist with you when you look around houses and don’t be afraid to visibly run through it; a house is a huge investment.

3 The move

I moved into my house roughly one month after planned. This was because I made the mistake of going through the solicitor and surveyor my bank recommended. Our family solicitor had recently retired and so I had little choice. In retrospect, I should have sought out a personal recommendation because the firm in question seemed to view my move, desires and my priority in their workload as very flexible. I think the key point to remember for the move is to establish expectations with both sides early on. From exchange dates to when certain forms should be signed and progressed, it’s important to put a schedule in place and get people to confirm and stick to it, or you’ll find your careful planning spiral out of control.

I’ve now moved into the maintenance phase of my move; I’m buying furniture gradually and decorating rooms when my work schedule allows and I’ve even started planning for an extension to my kitchen. What better way to rid a wall of damp than removing it altogether? I’ve already set up a savings spreadsheet and I’ll be reviewing my credit rating before I head to the bank, but I’m pretty confident I’ll be swapping the broken double glazing for some French windows by summer.


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