Buying a house has always been hard, You save all the money you can scrape together then put your hope into a lucky bank you’ve chosen to give you what you need to make your dreams reality. We brought our first house almost 4 years ago now. We gave up holidays and luxury to obtain our goal. It was full of whirlwind of high and lows as we went through the application process and then the actual buying of our house. We Ended up needing a broker after our bank refused to lend to us and went for a house we could afford. Once a bank told us what we could get we had to go for a cheaper house. I thought that would be stress over once our offer was accepted and we found our house. We then spent a long time chasing solicitors and dealing with the drama that comes with buying a house. Also add in the fact i was pregnant and working full time it meant i cried way more then my hormones should of allowed for. I thought once we had moved in that we would never have to do it again, i loved our little fixer upper house but it appears the neighbourhood has gone downhill as new people moved in and we no longer want to live in our own house so we have decided its time to go. So here we are in a pandemic moving house and But this is how it is different now,
First of all obviously with the pandemic going on it means that buying a house is so much harder, Buying a house is counted as a business transaction so viewing houses and all the little bits that come together to enable a house sale is allowed no matter if in a lock down. House viewings are done in face masks. You can only view a house with your bubble at a time so viewings cannot be done as quickly. This means viewings can take days to take place at a time. I once asked to book a viewing for a house and they wanted to book me in ten days later! One issue i had is that a lot of places wanted only online viewings and i personally don’t think i would be comfortable buying a house i have only seen through a screen. This means that i can not see the area around the house, listen to the area around and get a gist of the the neighbours which is why we are leaving so going in blind was not a option when it came to viewing.
Currently the government has a holiday on stamp duty. Which is great and a big saving to many, many people. However this means the market has gone crazy. So many houses are going for sale and buyers are biting up anything that comes up on the market. This panic affected us when buying. A house we liked was a bit too much money for us. Our first broker told us we had the money so we went for it as there was a offer on the house we wanted already so we wanted the house due to its location. We rushed looking around and decided that the house was the one we wanted and put the offer in which was accepted.
This caused a lot of issues for us. Whilst we liked the house as time went on and we viewed again we realised how small the house was in fact. We realised that the house had alot of issues from our soclicitor finding issues with the house which set of very red alerts. As solicitors are completly swamped at the moment taking on so many clients issues take alot longer to move. They promise six weeks to move but we where 8 weeks in when we decided to pull out after our mortgage was rejected.
Our mortgage was rejected due to many points, The main being our broker lied to us and also gave us the wrong figures on what we could get and as well as that he applied with too little information then what was required. Then there was the big issue that is affecting many, many people at the moment…Covid.
Banks are now being way more strict with their lending criteria. Covid had become a list of questions on many, many forms. All applicants for a mortgage have to prove that they can work through further covid lock-downs. They have to be “covid secure” that means no time off, no loans, no acceptance of government grants and no furlough. I have spoken to many people who are in the same situation right now have been turned down for small loans and mortgages just because they where furloughed or accepted a loan based on the corona-virus. Banks are also trying to process as much deals as they can as so many are buying and selling that this means that they can make money in the long run but need to make sure their selection is for the best. I can understand why but it is not a fair way to decide someone can get a mortgage.
James is self employed and as i no longer work as i became a stay at home mum there is no longer my employed paycheck as a stable salary is now gone. James now makes double our salaries and didn’t have to stop during covid as he works outdoors.However the banks are being really judgemental of those who are self employed which is not right at all. Also only a few banks will give to self employed at the moment and accept this years books so it is SO,SO much harder to get a mortgage being self employed then ever before. With that you also have to prove if you had to isolate you can still keep an income.Which we could as we have insurance and contract work to others. But again it’s another hurdle to jump through.
A mortgage decision can now take months. The survey on the house can also take months and the full connection from searches to solicitors doing their bits and bobs to connect the dots take even longer. My in laws are not moving till January and they sold and brought in September. Selling your house is hard too, you need to keep competitive with others whilst also getting the best deal. We sold and took less so we could get out quickly and get the house we wanted at the time.
So my advice to anyone buying now is look if your covid secure if you are not contact a broker to get advice. Do not look at a house without getting a broker to look at your file to see how much you can get and get accepted for. Also do your research into the best brokers in your area. We went with who we used last and they messed us over big time. We tried another and got a realistic amount we could borrow and we went for a house we loved for less money pulling out of the old deal. Take your time when looking around don’t rush, look at many, many places to get your moneys worth. Before we pulled out we looked around and realised we where paying too much, The house we wanted was a semi with lots of trees and on a hill and the new house is detached, bigger and is quiet and still near family a 3 minute walk from the old house. I wished we didn’t rush into the first house but thankfully some issues came up that meant we had to rethink and i think we’ve got a better deal.
Get a full home buyers survey. Your banks survey is basically a quick run round the house to basically check its there and it’s worth. However we paid for a full report to put our mind at ease so we wouldn’t buy a house that may fall apart the next day. We picked up the need for a new electricity box so we will be getting someone in to test the electrics to check if we need to lower our offer.
We are still awaiting our mortgage to be decided on which has took 4 weeks but we should hear this week. So remember your sale and purchase will take longer and patience is a virtue. You won’t be out in 6 weeks like they promise and it will be pure stress. People are slow on the selling and buying process such as paperwork and helping with querys.
We have decided that houses might fall in value next week so if we do not move we could loose out when buying again. There is also lots of people pulling out because banks are refusing to lend. So if we do not get our mortgage this time we will go into renting until the corona virus calms the housing market a bit but here is to hoping we get our dream house and our mortgage goes through.
Then maybe i might sleep again and not refresh my phone constantly. That and i won’t live in boxes anymore. Good luck to all of you buying and selling houses right now. We all know we all need it!