The diary of newlywed buyers – Entry 2

Entry 2: Bribery cupcakes and buying in a hurry

We had a ‘For Sale sign up, one very poor offer, and were about to find out that without a decent offer on our house there was nothing we could do to secure a new build.

One of the things you’re never really told before you start to look into a new build property is, unless you have an offer in writing for your current place it’s unlikely that you’ll be considered a serious buyer.

We felt under pressure to get a reasonable offer as soon as possible for fear we’d miss out on our dream home. Should we take something significantly below asking price to make sure we’re not at the back of a very long line?

With a sensible head on it’s a no-brainer, don’t rush. Buying a home does strange things to people.

We’ve learnt a lot on our buying journey. Here are some tips we picked up along the way:

Be flexible

Even if you have your heart set on a particular location, be flexible and you’ll be surprised what you can find if you just broaden your horizons.

Look for inspiration

Start with grand expectations, why not? Get inspiration online, eg. Pinterest and Home Ideas to get a feel for something you’re looking for; we didn’t know we wanted sky lights and an island cooker until we saw it online.

Don’t rush

Try not to be swept away by the perceived sense of urgency, if you miss out on a place because you’re taking your time, then that’s just the way it is. Buying a house isn’t the sort of decision you should make on a whim. You wouldn’t spend £200,000 on a car without test driving a few and having a bit of fun.

Negotiate

Some developers stick to their guns with the asking price but unlike a resale purchase you actually have some room for further benefits such as; better flooring, improved kitchen units or in some cases white goods. Ask for it you’ll be surprised what they can offer.

The market was up, probably the busiest it’s been in some time thanks in no small part by Help to Buy, a scheme we hoped to use where a smaller deposit is required based on an equity loan. The developers had lots of potential buyers interested in their dream new builds and they weren’t shy in telling us!

We viewed a lovely development in Deanshanger on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, not a location I was very familiar with. We could get a 4 bedroom, with a study, lovely kitchen and it was detached with a garage at a very reasonable price.

The ladies in the marketing suite were very friendly, they informed us the house wouldn’t be finished until the end of the year, they couldn’t sell that particular plot yet and demand was very high, they suggested we kept in touch regularly and as soon as we get an offer in writing for the place we were selling we should let them know.
With a little luck we could nudge ourselves to the front of the line, but a first time buyer with cash would get the first offer.

I found this very frustrating but agreed to play along, my wife Shelly seemed really keen on the place, it had a lot going for it, so she stopped by the marketing suite on her way back from work driving fifteen minutes out of her way just to pop by for a chat, even dropping off the occasional (bribery) cupcake!

It was possible someone buying our property might only do it if they could move in quickly so we were looking at rental properties close to Wolverton station in the event that everything we owned and our two moggies had to be temporary relocated while we wait to move into the our new place.

Why go through all this trouble?

Because the appeal of moving into a place unlived in, fresh and new, built to a high standard and with a 10 year guarantee property would ensure we weren’t left high and dry.

The dreaded date approached where the lot was released for sale and we were yet to receive a decent offer. In the meantime we had around 14 viewings at our house and were starting to wonder if anyone was going to buy it. What was putting them off?

Sure it had a few quirks, it was built in an estate without gas so no central heating, storage heaters are something you get used to. The garden needed a little work, the spare bedroom was a little small and my 8 year project to turn an alcove into a built-in wardrobe never really got finished, but we loved the place and were sure someone else would too.
It felt horrible, we spent weeks thinking about the house in Deanshanger, we had seen others but this was the place we felt we could be happy in and was right for us for so many reasons. We called the developer a few days later and they said a young couple were interested and agreed a sale…

That was a very quiet evening in our household, the rug had been pulled and we weren’t sure what our options were.

 

Next time – Let’s look at resale homes instead

Written by Martin and Shelly, buying newlyweds.

 

The sales market is moving fast, therefore you need to be at the front of the queue when a property hits the market.
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