We're homeowners! My thoughts on the house buying process

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After a long, emotionally draining twelve months of saving, two weeks ago my husband and I officially became homeowners. It has been a strange process for us as we haven't been down the traditional route of buying our first home, our landlord several months ago came up to us and said he was selling the house we were renting and we just didn't want to leave. We have a lovely spacious garden - enough room for a house extension, the neighbourhood is lovely and quiet and five minutes one way we're in the countryside and another five-minute drive in the opposite direction and we're in the main town, it's a very convenient location.  Knowing how much we wanted to buy the house we have been living in and waking up it seeing it every morning put a lot of pressure on us - when we started saving we had no savings in the bank and we only had a few short months to get enough money for a deposit. But we did it, with the help of a Help to Buy ISA we were able to put down a 9% deposit (which we worked day in and day out to save for, with no help from our relatives) and twelve months later the deeds have been handed over and the house is officially in our name.

When we started the house buying process, I was surprised by the lack of information out there for first-time buyers. It can be a little bit of a maze and if you get stuck with solicitors like ours who didn't inform you of the steps they were taking, it was very frustrating. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be writing a few honest posts about the house buying process, but today I thought I would jot down a few of my thoughts about what I learnt from buying our first home.

It can be very long winded

Firstly, the process can be incredibly long-winded, even if you're not in a chain. Once we had our mortgage approved, we assumed that the house would be ours overnight, but it took almost thirteen agonising weeks of waiting and it was an emotionally draining process, wondering each day if something was going to go wrong and we wouldn't get our home.

Emotions are high

I didn't expect to be so emotional during the process. What should have been one of the happiest times of our lives, was full of tension, anxiety and tears.  In retrospect, I should have had more faith in our solicitors and ourselves that it would all be okay in the end. 

You need to do research

Always do your research and make note of every step you need to take in order keep the ball rolling. There had been several times where our solicitors forgot to inform us of a pivotal stage in our mortgage application and because we had done our research, we were able to give them a steer in the right direction. On the other hand, don't get hung up on some of the horror stories that are out there, there's a lot of horror stories on forums and just because it happened to someone else, it doesn't mean it will happen to you.

Somethings don't always go to plan

Like everything in life, sometimes things don't go to plan and you need to make yourself aware of every eventuality.  We had issues surrounding our completion date, through no fault of our own, but it all worked out in the end. The worst thing you can do is lose your stride - remain positive.

You learn who your best friends are

Buying your first home is an expensive process from saving up for the initial deposit to surveyor fees, bank fees and solicitor fees. When buying your first home it is very likely that you would need to sacrifice nights out and social events to save some cash. Luckily for me, I have the most supportive friends who were by our side all the way, but there was a few who were less supportive and didn't understand why I needed to save the money so quickly.

It's worth it in the end

Despite all ups and downs, you go through when buying a house, it is all worth it in the end. The moment where you get your keys or you enter the building that is finally yours is an overwhelming experience and something to be really proud of. I know how fortunate I am to have my own home and I'm looking forward to making it a space that reflects mine and my husband's personality.

Have you bought a home before?

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