I imagine that being a first time home buyer in the UK can be as stressful as in any other country. It’s a very different commitment to any other thing that many of us have done in the past.
However, as a Spaniard, I thought that the most complicated thing would be to find a house that met all our requirements, and to find a good mortgage deal.
Well, I was wrong… those were only little details compared to what was coming next.
In our case, my partner and myself, it only took us less than 2 months to find a house that we liked, and we were lucky when we proceeded with the offer. From there, we used a mortgage advisor to find the best mortgage deal, and we started the buying process that lasted 4 months.
The process consisted mainly in House surveys, results, re-negotiations and requests to the owner to make some repair works based on the house survey results.
The main house surveys will also give you details on things like the pollution levels, the risk of flooding, and any other aspect that might be a risk for the occupants or to the property.
I am very grateful that my partner is British, and therefore his family and friends could give us some advice about previous House buying experience, and even professionals that could help us to understand the surveys or the rough cost of future repairs. Some information can be overwhelming, and sometimes things look worse than what they actually are.
I would also recommend having an extra budget, do not stick with the cost of the property only… plan ahead the extra costs that you may have. It will make a huge difference, it will give you a peace of mind for unexpected expenses or tax costs that will come in the middle or the end of the process.
Finally, another aspect to take into account in England, it’s the low construction quality… Unfortunately, being such a humid country, the damp is a very common problem in many houses, and it’s something that the buyer should be prepared to deal with prior or during the ownership.
I have been living in England for 10 years and it isn’t something new to me, however, when you rent a property you don’t have to deal with the repair costs, something that changes when you become the owner. So, try to check everything properly in advance, book the most complete house survey for peace of mind, and keep some savings for anything that may come in the future.
Price in UK can be very different, London city is definitely more expensive than others cities, or other areas. The suggestion is always to have a clear idea of what you can get for the mortgage and having a list of "must have" in your future apartment.