I Bought A House!

Introduction

I can’t believe I’m writing this post. I’ve been working towards this for so long and I wanted to document the full process from start to finish and recapping what I have done before 2020 to facilitate this process. I have put this post together from journal entries and drafts every day that something significant happened in the journey. Hope you enjoy reading and it gives a bit of insight if you haven’t bought a property before.

Saving Money for Deposit

2014-2020 Preparations

I’ve been wanting to buy property for as long as I can remember. The issues I have come into before now are that I have been self employed from the age of fourteen right up until the 2018-2019 tax year. This immediately put a spanner in the works because even though my turnover was good, my overall profits for the work I did ended up being quite low. This is just the nature of the work I was doing and all of the expenses I had as a result of running the business including hardwire and software costs. In addition to this I had to provide three years worth of accounts to be able to be considered for a mortgage and unfortunately I had lost large chunks of the tax year from when I had been working abroad at summer camp (not that I regret that at all, it was an incredible experience)!

All along I had been in touch with a mortgage broker who was a contact known to me through my accountant and bookkeeper I used for my taxes. Our email threads go back a number of years and periodically I would contact them to update on my situation to see if buying was an option. Unfortunately with my accounts as they were the mortgage I would have been able to obtain wouldn’t have bought me any property in the area so I carried on working and came up with a different solution in the meantime.

With knowing that I wasn’t in a position to buy, I did the next best thing which was to continually save. This is something I began with a Help To Buy ISA upon leaving university back in 2013 and since then I have moved to a Lifetime ISA and transferred it all into one pot. I thought that if I couldn’t get a mortgage then eventually I’ll have enough cash to buy a property outright (however long that would take me)! My opinion back then was a bit tainted so I thought if the banks wouldn’t lend me the money, they wouldn’t make anything off me for when I made a cash purchase. In hindsight this was the best thing I could have done as now I have a larger deposit to put down against the value of property.

Contacting Mortgage Broker

Tuesday 14th January 2020

I started a new email thread with my mortgage broker to get an updated calculation based on my new salary for the job I started in September 2019 and to see if buying a property was now an option for me. I am so glad that I am now in a better position to be able to get a mortgage under way. I’ve been provided with a rough figure of what I can work with in terms of property value when looking at houses and apartments.

Unfortunately there is a new issue I am facing though, I now live in Birmingham and properties here are out of my budget. Even if I look at single-bedroom apartments, with buying property by myself they only have one income to calculate lending on and it’s simply not enough! Back to the drawing board.

Contacting Mortgage Broker

Saturday 22nd August 2020

Today I have followed up with my broker on the mortgage. Since mid-March everything has been up in the air with the global pandemic so a lot has changed. To put it simply I am now back in Pembrokeshire having given up my apartment in Birmingham and I started working from home. The new situation means I am in a better position to buy now as property is cheaper down in Pembrokeshire and I have seen a few properties I’m interested in so I wanted to get the ball rolling again. The good news is that the properties I am looking at are now within budget and I’ve been given the go-ahead from my mortgage broker to get a property lined up.

Viewing Property

Monday 24th August 2020

Today a viewing was booked to see a two-bedroom ground floor apartment. I was concerned about the location of this one just because it was on a main road and I didn’t know how loud the traffic would be. Surprisingly the apartment was very quiet and you could barely hear the road even from the front of the property. The rooms were a good size and everything was in a decent condition to be able to move into with little to no work. I think I would replace the shower in the bathroom but that would be the only job I can think of.

My biggest concern with this property is that it is leasehold. There is a service charge and ground rent that is due annually equating to over a thousand pounds. This only breaks down to about £100 a month however it is something that I am very mindful of on top of any bills and my mortgage payment. After reflecting on this for a while I have decided a leasehold property just isn’t something I would like to pursue further. I am trying to keep my costs as low as possible at the moment and having that ground rent and service charge just to maintain the building and having a lease on the property just didn’t seem worth it. I know I have to maintain property wherever I buy but at least with freehold it is fully my responsibility and I can work on upkeep of the building myself to reduce costs.

Lifetime ISA Research

Tuesday 25th August 2020

This is quite an interesting one… It’s to do with my Lifetime ISA where my deposit money is currently held. At the moment my money is invested in a stocks and shares Lifetime ISA and I have all my money in a specific fund that AJ Bell / You Invest manage. It is the most adventurous fund that they offer so is the highest risk as well with more frequent ups and downs than other funds. I was looking into the process of withdrawing the money however as it is a government scheme where they pay a 25% bonus on deposits up to £4000 per tax year and there is usually a penalty for withdrawing your money. I know that when I agree on a property to buy I want to sell all of my shares so that the money is available as cash in my account and the figures I have to work with are guaranteed. If I left this in the market there is a chance that the money I wanted to borrow on a mortgage would have to increase if my deposit dropped in value.

I contacted AJ Bell / You Invest about the process of buying property and how you get your money out of the account without penalty as it is to purchase my first home. These accounts are dual-purpose and you can use the funds for purchasing a first-time property as well as saving for retirement to withdraw when you are 60. These two uses have no penalty however to get the funds from my account it would need to be requested and sent directly to a conveyancer (a solicitor specialising in property) who is dealing with the legal side of the purchase of the property. It was interesting to read through all of the guides I was provided with and the forms I will have to complete as I want to be as prepared as possible for when I purchase property.

Viewing Property

Monday 31st August 2020

Today I viewed another property in the shortlist I had created on my Zoopla and Right Move apps. This one was a three-bedroom terraced house with a large living and dining area, kitchen and bathroom downstairs and a small low-maintenance yard at the back of the property (plus outdoor shed). I had a good feeling when I went into this house and the street was very quiet which I liked.

There is some work to be done to move the radiators (they are weirdly positioned) as well as concealing electrics / pipes into the walls throughout the property. It looks like they have been trunked for speed of installation or just laziness but that would be something I would want to fix straight away. Secondly there are plastic pipes from the radiators down to the flooring which I would want to replace with copper (if only to where they are concealed under the floorboards etc.) This poses a problem when vacuuming or doing any chores as if you hit those plastic pipes they can split.

The property is overall in good condition and the kitchen and bathroom are certainly usable until I would be able to update them down the line. The work I mentioned above is just cosmetic and surface really and it doesn’t look like a huge amount of work is needed before moving in. The fact that I am speaking about the property like this is a good sign as it already shows I can see myself purchasing it.

Opening Offer on Property

Monday 31st August 2020

After viewing the property today I had a really good gut feeling about it. I still have other property to look at and will continue my search however I wanted to get the ball rolling with some sort of opening offer and negotiations that I could continue with alongside other viewings. I made a low offer to begin with which I fully expected to be rejected but I didn’t want to give myself no room for negotiations back and forth. I already had a final figure in mind for where I wanted to end up if a sale was agreed upon so I was working towards that as well. I’m going to be totally transparent with this blog post including figures. The asking price was offers in region of £90,000. This first offer I sent was for £83,000.

Offer Declined & Counteroffer

Monday 31st August 2020

The seller has come back with a rejection and a counter-offer but they have only decreased their position by £900, bringing the total to £89,100, which I don’t think is enough. I have also been researching property sales on the street and know that since buying two years ago the owner hasn’t made any significant changes to the property to add value to it. I am going to leave it a while now before I go back with any other counter-offer on the portal. The great thing about this is that everything is done online and I get email notifications with any updates!

Updated Offer on Property

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

I have made an updated offer on the property after careful consideration for £85,500. I am not sure what the seller is going to come back with but I think this is a fair counter-offer. I used the portal mid-afternoon to send this through and I am actually going to view another house a little bit later today. I feel so nervous every time I put an offer in on the portal, it’s such a big thing buying property and I think it’s the unknown that causes the adrenaline rush as the seller could come back at any point with a flat out rejection, counter-offer or even an acceptance!

Updated Offer Declined & Counteroffer

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

So I’ve just had an update from the seller on my offer which has come through to my online portal. They have declined my updated offer however have reduced their counter offer by another £900, so now asking for £88,200. I do think this is a little low in regards to a reduction again as I did increase my offer fairly significantly in comparison so I think I’m going to try a different approach next time. I do feel like this might be a bit easy for the seller to just click a button and reject with a counter offer so I am going to email the agent instead. They have asked for a few details from me so I’ve just sent those over to the agent by email to begin with.

Credit Report & Preparations

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

I have been speaking to my mortgage broker this afternoon about my credit score (which is excellent and 999 on Experian I am proud to say) and I have just sent over a copy of my latest report to him by email. I’ve also been working to pay my credit card off early so it has a zero balance (or as close to as possible) and switch that to a full direct debit each month. Also I was dipping in and out of my free Starling Bank overdraft as they had provided a £500 interest-free buffer during the pandemic to help people out financially. I already had a large arranged overdraft with them so it didn’t require much work to get this approved but it did give me some breathing space throughout the summer. I wanted to make sure I was out of that as well to be in the best possible position for obtaining a mortgage. I also provided some other details such as my iPhone loan for the upgrade program and any other outgoings each month for a final updated calculation and to see who the best options were as lenders to me.

Updated Offer Sent to Agent

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

I have just emailed the agent with my final offer of £87,000. I think this is a fair amount for the property in question and what I have asked is for him to put this forward to the seller to consider and for him to get back to me. I have in the meantime left my existing offer and the seller’s counter-offer as they are in the online portal. I will see what comes back to me beforehand and update the portal accordingly if they choose to accept.

Viewing Property

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Today I viewed the third and at the moment final property I have on my radar and short-list. This was on the same street as the one I viewed the other day but it was a lot more dated and needed more work. I wanted to go and see it just to compare to the one I had seen already and give me an idea of something I could potentially buy at a lower price and work on. I think the asking price for this was incredibly high considering how much work there was to do. I would have had to basically strip the whole property including bathroom and kitchen to re-fit before even moving in. It was an end-of-terrace property as well and had quite a bit of damp that would need looking at. At the moment being a first-time buyer I think this is a bit too much work for me but it’s something I would look at working on in the future as I love the idea of renovating property.

Something else that made me uneasy about this property is that the elderly owner who used to live here passed away earlier in the year before the lockdown began and from a first glance at the place it doesn’t look like it has been touched (including possessions) since then. I’m not sure if this meant the owner didn’t have any family and the house wasn’t allowed to be touched until a sale had gone through or if it was left to charity etc. but seeing everything as it was left earlier in the year did make me feel a bit strange viewing the property. I felt like I was intruding a bit.

On the positive note, this also makes me more inclined to pursue the other property and continue negotiations. At the moment there isn’t a huge amount around that meet my criteria. I am looking for location (as I still don’t drive so I need proximity to a train station ideally on the Pembroke to Swansea line), supermarkets and other shops in walking distance, gas central heating (as I’ve had terrible experience not being able to heat a property sufficiently on electric in the past), within budget and freehold. I had shortlisted three properties that I could see a potential sale on and I have now viewed them all. There are others but they are pushing the budget too high and are asking for ‘offers in excess of’ so I couldn’t even work with them to negotiate a lower sale price.

Updated Offer Submitted via Portal

Friday 4th September 2020

It is now Friday and I am worried I might have put the seller off by emailing the agent with a final offer to consider. In the email I did state that I am a first-time buyer and have an agreement in principle with Halifax ready to go with if they were willing to accept my offer. As I have heard nothing back I am going to enter my final offer in the online portal now. This way the seller has the opportunity to respond and hopefully accept now that they have had a couple of days to think things over as I emailed the agent on Wednesday with this information. It’s now just gone 1pm on Friday, I’ll update you when I hear back!

Offer Accepted, Sold STC

Friday 4th September 2020

Oh my goodness. I can’t believe it, my offer has been accepted at £87,000. It just came through as an email saying congratulations at about 3:45pm. I need to get the next steps put in place now and I’m going to summarise what I have done here so you can follow along with the process. Firstly I have called Purple Bricks (the agent) to confirm my details and provide information for my mortgage broker as well. At this point the offer has been officially accepted by both parties and the property is now listed as Sold (Subject to Contract) on the website. This is all feeling very real now!

The next step is for me to call my mortgage broker to let them know. I have just been on the phone and confirmed that I’ve had an offer accepted and gave the final agreed price as well. I sent over a payment to my mortgage broker of £100 and this was for basically all of the work so far in getting the mortgage agreement in principle in place and researching the market for me. I also told him the value my Lifetime ISA was at and that I would update him next week on the final value once the sale had been completed of my stock.

I have just sold my Lifetime ISA shares in full. This is now going to begin the process of converting this into cash so it is available and safe in my account with them. This is subject to change from the current value but I hope this will complete as quickly as possible and the markets don’t change too much before now and when this happens!

The final step for me to complete this afternoon was submitting my conveyancer’s details to the agent and to let my mortgage broker know as well. I went with the same local company, Lewis Lewis & Co, that my parents used for their property a few years ago and with them being fairly local things can be sent back and forth easily and I can always pop in to one of their offices if needed. I made sure that the seller, agent, mortgage broker and conveyancer all knew each other’s details and were aware who would be carrying out the various bits of work and that was the summary to my Friday.

What an exciting way to start the weekend! I don’t want to get my hopes up too much at the moment as there is still a long way to go and I won’t let it go to my head too much (until I have the keys at least)! The next steps now are finalising the mortgage arrangements, deposit, legal process and property searches/surveys etc. I’ll keep you posted on the progress as always.

Documents Needed for Mortgage

Monday 7th September 2020

Today I am eagerly awaiting the completion of the sale of my shares with the Lifetime ISA. I have since realised that this probably won’t complete today as the markets are closed in the US with it being ‘Labor Day’ there. I think about half of the fund I invested in is held in American companies/assets so this will likely come through as a final figure tomorrow now.

I have been in touch with my mortgage broker again today and sent over some documents they need for the mortgage. These include my bank statements for the last three months as well as my payslips for that time period. I have now emailed all of these over and actually included a full twelve months so that they could see my salary pre-furlough as well from September last year when I started this job.

I was made aware of some issues that might come up with the furlough situation as lenders are more hesitant to lend to those on furlough. This is because they are worried about redundancies coming about when the scheme ends at the end of October this year. I can totally understand this so my mortgage broker said that there are less options available than usual however with a supporting letter from my employer this should be no problem.

Mortgage & Legal Paperwork

Tuesday 8th September 2020

Today has been another busy day with documents and the next steps. I had a phone call with my employer to explain that I am looking to purchase property and if they could send over a supporting letter. It basically had to include details about my job and that I am due to return to full-time work as of October. I had this through early afternoon so sent this straight over to my mortgage broker as requested.

I had a phone call with my mortgage broker as well. He took details of my bank account where I wanted the direct debit for the mortgage to come out of. There was also a £200 fee to pay to The Halifax building society. I wasn’t 100% sure of what this was for but I think it’s basically to get the mortgage underway. I gave my credit card details for this so that it gave me a bit of leeway for paying it off next month. After I sent over the letter from my employer, I noticed that this £200 was charged to my credit card almost straight away so I can only imagine this next step is now in progress!

I went to walk Bailey this afternoon and I had a lovely slow walk and was more mindful of taking my time and enjoying the walk. I returned about an hour later to a big document in the mailbox! The legal paperwork has arrived. This is from my solicitors thanking me for choosing them for the conveyancing process as well as their terms and conditions, estimated costs and third party charges and some forms to fill in about my first-time buyer status and identification etc. I am going to have a sit down now and read through this thoroughly.

Finally for today my stocks and shares have been dealt. Unfortunately before the close of business on Friday the stocks took a little downturn so I was about £400 down from what I was expecting when I sold them on Friday afternoon. It doesn’t matter too much mind as I am thankful for the extra money I have in the account from the gains the stocks have made as well as the government bonuses. I let my mortgage broker know the final figure of this as well so he knows how much I will need to borrow.

Lifetime ISA Deposit Value

Tuesday 8th September 2020

To begin with, I opened a Help To Buy ISA with Lloyds Bank back when I left university because I read about the 25% government bonus payout after you complete on a mortgage. I started by funding the account with £1200 (a single maximum £1000 payment permitted in addition to the first month’s £200) and continued to pay in £200 a month religiously. The Help To Buy ISA only allows you to deposit this amount per month and if you miss one month, you can’t go back and counter-fund the account. I kept this in cash and moved it to Barclays Bank when a better interest rate was available with them and then to Skipton Building Society when they launched their Cash Lifetime ISA. As the Lifetime ISA was a new type of account with similar benefits, I was able to transfer my entire Help To Buy in within a certain timeframe. The benefit of a Lifetime ISA is that you can deposit up to £4000 per tax year, with no limits on when you can deposit that amount through the year. In addition to this the 25% government bonus is paid directly into your account so you can see it and also gain interest from it. After another year or so and lots of research I decided to switch once more and invest my funds in May 2018 with AJ Bell / YouInvest. I chose the most adventurous fund to buy into as I knew it would be in there a while. At this point I had deposited £8200. I funded the account with £4000 in the 2018-9 tax year, another £4000 in the 2019-2020 tax year and a top-up of £311.36 this September to round up my final figure. With the 25% government bonus on all of my contributions and gains in the stock market my deposit totalled £21,550 so my mortgage was for £65,450.

Conveyancer Paperwork & Lifetime ISA

Thursday 10th September 2020

Today was another important step in the process for me. I gave my mortgage broker a quick call to ask him if I should proceed with the next steps with my conveyancer. Once I had the go ahead I caught the train into Tenby to visit one of their offices and provide a list of documents and identification. I have listed those things I provided to them today below:

  1. ID & Proof of Address (Passport, Credit Card & Statement)
  2. Signed & Dated Client Care Letter (Duplicate)
  3. Signed & Dated Terms & Conditions (Duplicate)
  4. Client Questionnaire (Purchase/Funds Information)
  5. Land Transaction Tax / Stamp Duty Questionnaire
  6. Lifetime ISA Withdrawal Document & Forms

Once I had done this I returned to Kilgetty and got in touch with my Lifetime ISA provider to let them know my conveyancer’s details and how much they are to withdraw (the full £21,550). This will allow them to withdraw my deposit from the account and hold this ready for the purchase of the property when the mortgage comes through and the handover happens.

Since I received the paperwork a couple of days ago from my solicitors I have been reading through everything in detail and getting the relevant information filled in and signed off so that I could pop in to the office to provide these today. The reason I went in to the office instead of posting the documents to them is that they needed to see my original identification and proof of address for anti money laundering measures and security purposes. That sums up everything I have done today in regards to the property.

Mortgage Approval Received

Friday 11th September 2020

I just received a phone call from my mortgage broker telling me that my mortgage had been approved! Halifax include their fee in the amount you can borrow so I just had to deposit another £300 or so into my Lifetime ISA to make it up to the property value combined. Very exciting to get this news before the weekend. I have just contacted my Lifetime ISA manager to update them on the amount my conveyancer is going to withdraw for my deposit and also to my conveyancer/solicitors to keep them updated as well.

Now that I have had my mortgage confirmed by Halifax and my mortgage broker, I have sent my solicitors/conveyers a payment for £500 (as requested in their initial letter to me) so that they can begin the necessary work. I also realised that to release funds from my Lifetime ISA I needed a ‘wet signature’ document which means the one I digitally signed wouldn’t be accepted. So I sent that to my solicitors by post including a new copy of my client questionnaire with the allocation of funds updated.

Mortgage Offer Letter & Life Insurance

Wednesday 16th September 2020

Today I received my mortgage offer letter from Halifax building society. This document details all of the mortgage terms, repayments, interest rates etc. and I scanned these in to have a digital copy on my phone. I also got life insurance arranged which covers me if I can’t work and may be unable to pay the mortgage or insurance premiums due to illness as well as as (a bit morbid) terminal illness or death. So if either of those two eventualities happen, the mortgage will be paid off in full. I’ve opted to have this cover start on 1st October so that I’m covered before the mortgage officially kicks in.

Life Insurance Policy Confirmed

Thursday 17th September 2020

This morning I had my life insurance policy and documents received. I set up my account online with Legal & General and confirmed some additional information about my health history. This is going to begin (as mentioned above) from 1st October and my first direct debit payment comes out mid-October before switching to 1st the month in November onwards. This allows enough time for the direct debit to fully be set up and for the policy to start.

Life Insurance Health Check

Tuesday 22nd September 2020

Today I had a letter in the post from Legal & General saying they may contact my doctor for medical records to support my life insurance set-up and declarations. I don’t need to do anything as I’ve already given them permission to do that and they might not contact the doctor surgery but they needed to write to me and let me know. I had nothing to do after receiving this letter but I added it to my house-buying folder.

Life Insurance Policy Documents

Thursday 24th September 2020

Today I received a confirmation / welcome pack for my Life Insurance and Critical Care cover with Legal & General. This had all been confirmed previously by email however they always tend to send out paper copies when you take out a new product with them. I’ve popped these along with my documents for my mortgage and the cover starts 1st October for me with them.

Lifetime ISA Funds Withdrawal

Thursday 15th October 2020

I haven’t had any updates in a little while but knew that things would go quiet for weeks as the searches were being completed. However, today I received an email from AJ Bell / You Invest where my deposit money is held in a Lifetime ISA. As mentioned above I had to submit forms and declarations to them from my side and my conveyancer did as well to be able to get the funds ready. As it is a Lifetime ISA with a government bonus the money has to be withdrawn by the conveyancer for the purchase of the house. I had confirmation today from them that they had received everything needed from my conveyancers. So this means that within the next week or two that money will be moved out of my Lifetime ISA and sent to my solicitors. Not a huge development but at the moment anything that comes through is exciting as it means I’m one little step closer to getting the keys!

Searches, Checks & Contract Received

Friday 16th October 2020

I’ve been out today and only just got back after 8pm on the train. I returned to a large envelope from my solicitors/conveyancer. Upon opening it I saw a cover letter and a load of paperwork included which seem to be all of the searches completed, checks, contracts ready to sign! I have had a quick glance over this tonight but as it is so late I am going to go through it all tomorrow, sign where needed and scan all of the documents into my mortgage folder for safekeeping.

Paperwork Signed to Return

Saturday 17th October 2020

So now that I have had chance to sit down and thoroughly read through all of the paperwork provided to me yesterday, I have now signed everything ready to return on Monday. I got one of my neighbours to witness me signing the mortgage deed and land transfer deed. I also signed the contract as required and included a cover letter for my solicitor. My conveyancers have asked for details on when the gas central heating boiler was installed or the latest service documentation from the seller. Otherwise they will need to get it serviced before the contracts are exchanged. In addition to this they just wanted to check about any incidents of flooding in the property during his ownership as there is one area of high risk of surface water within the property report. It isn’t anything that is of massive concern to me as my property is half way up the road which is on an incline and the area they are referring to is a fair distance away from the property but they are just doing their job and ensuring everything is okay. I’ve read through everything on the property report and it was quite interesting as I have never seen a document like that before. It contains a lot of information including where the boundaries are, land registry information and maps including drainage (including sewage), incoming water and gas lines to the property and surrounding area.

Paperwork Returned to Conveyancer

Monday 19th October 2020

Today the documents were returned to my solicitors/conveyancer as required to proceed with the purchase of the property. They received these early enough in the day for them to be taken to their main branch/office so this should mean nothing gets held up at all. I am really hoping to receive a date now for the completion and handover within the next week or two.

Lifetime ISA Funds Moved

Tuesday 20th October 2020

I logged into my Lifetime ISA account this evening to find that the funds have now been withdrawn for my deposit on the property. The funds have moved from my account to my conveyancers so that when the transfer of funds and keys is completed they have this to go alongside my mortgage. It was quite a shock to log-in and see my money gone but it’s nice knowing one more step in the process is underway. I’ve been advised that the funds should reach my solicitors within 3-5 business days via BACS.

Deposit Transferred to Conveyancer

Monday 26th October 2020

I had an email today from my conveyancer confirming they have received notification about the transfer of funds so they will receive my deposit soon. In addition to this they said they were chasing up the queries that were raised as they hadn’t received a response yet but fingers crossed they’ll have the information soon. They also asked if I had a preference to a date for exchange of contracts and to take possession of the house. I replied to say as soon as possible!

Proposed Ownership Date

Thursday 29th October 2020

This afternoon’s email from my conveyancer was an exciting one! I have been given a proposed date for exchange of contracts and taking ownership of the house A WEEK TOMORROW. Friday 9th November was what they suggested and I immediately replied with a yes. They said that the seller’s conveyancer has come back with the requested information and there is nothing of concern with the risk of flood enquiry. The only thing that was said was that the seller was unable to provide an installation certificate for the boiler so they have asked for them to provide a suitable Indemnity Policy to cover the lack of the appropriate certificate. I have also contacted my work just in case I need time off at short notice which has been approved (it’s only likely to be collection of keys but just in case).

Home & Contents Insurance

Friday 30th October 2020

With the proposed handover date of Friday 9th November I needed to get home insurance arranged to begin that same day. This needs to be sent over to my conveyancer once arranged so that they and the bank know that the property is covered from day one. I took out an insurance policy for home and contents, using my mortgage broker who put me in touch with an insurer. I had a phone call to provide all details and I also found out that the home was built roughly in the 1920’s to 1930’s. I’ll find out more about it soon but the woman on the phone with the insurance company took a look at the property to make her best judgement. I let my solicitor know that my insurance was arranged and that I will forward over policy information once received.

Remaining Conveyancer Fees

Saturday 31st October 2020

Now that the date is approaching for completion on the house purchase, I received an invoice for the remaining fees for my conveyancers today after we had agreed on the proposed date a couple of days ago. This needs to be paid by Thursday 8th November so that the transfer can take place on the proposed date. I already paid them £500 at the beginning of the process so they could begin working on the purchase and searches. My remaining balance that I sent today via BACS was £408.40. The total fees I have now paid to my conveyancers, Lewis Lewis & Co is £908.40.

Home Insurance & Handover Date

Thursday 5th November 2020

Today I have had confirmation from my conveyancer that the sale is going ahead as planned and the handover will happen tomorrow. They have actually received the funds from my bank already so could exchange contracts now but my home insurance policy is still not in place so I am leaving it as tomorrow. Unfortunately the people I spoke to last Friday haven’t got a policy in place yet for me so I am going to have to get one myself online so this doesn’t hold anything up. This evening I have purchased a new home and contents insurance policy with AXA and I did it as a one-off payment and the most premium plan they offered for £235.65. I did this for peace of mind and to know I can complete any work I want before moving in as well.

Key Handover, I’m A Homeowner!

Friday 6th November 2020

I noticed early this morning that my Halifax mortgage is now showing in my account (literally about 1am or so). As I previously had a current account and credit card with them, which have since been closed, I had access to online banking so re-downloaded their app. I had an email from my conveyancer this morning saying that the handover of keys had been arranged and everything had gone through and been completed. I was able to pick up the keys from the previous owner at the property between 2:30pm and 3pm today. I arranged to go down with my stepdad Mark after he had finished work. It was great to finally get the keys, nine weeks to the day after the sale being agreed. I have bought my first home!

Summary & House Tour

Sunday 8th November 2020

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry. It’s quite a long post but I wanted to be as open and honest about my buying experience as possible. I visited the property again with Mark yesterday (Saturday) in the afternoon to measure up the kitchen and look around again. I also put the heating on 15C so that the house would begin to warm up a bit. Everything was working well with the boiler and I returned in the evening with my mum as well to turn this down to 10C and to drop off the steamer to take the wallpaper off when we begin work there. Here is my very first house tour, I’m going to be documenting the renovation process and work throughout. Have a lovely evening!

2 thoughts on “I Bought A House!

  1. It’s interesting to see how the process plays out in the UK vs the US. I’m glad that you persevered and reached your goal of home ownership, Glen.

    Liked by 1 person

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