Sunday 22 February 2015

Buying Our New Home

You are probably aware that we have recently moved home. It seemed to take forever from when we decided to sell and when we actually moved. Our flat in London was shared ownership so we had to abide by the housing association’s rules regarding the sale of our home.

When it came to looking for a new property we relied heavily on the internet simply because the area we were looking to move to was around fifty miles away. It just wasn’t feasible to journey up and browse in estate agent’s windows to keep up to date with new homes coming onto the market.

When we began our search we knew we were looking for a three bed house, which was a non-negotiable. A garage was something we would’ve loved for extra storage but not an essential. It was also important that we moved to an area that had good commuter links to London so we decided on one particular area to focus our search.
Daily I would search online for houses that were in our budget and that met our requirements. If something came up that looked good I’d give the estate agent a call. That moved on to calling other estate agents directly to see if they had any properties matching our criteria.
We spent a fair few weekends travelling to view houses, sometimes only one property for the day which sometimes felt like a waste of a journey. But as the houses with our preferences and budget were selling like hotcakes, we had to move fast.
There was one house that I particularly fell in love with (just from the online photos & description) after spending an evening searching through estate agent websites. When I called them to book an appointment to view the following morning, I was told that the viewing day was already fully booked. It sounds ridiculous but I was devastated, I and the other half wanted the chance to view it. Our names were put on a waiting list if anyone else dropped out but I didn't expect to hear from them. To my shock and delight I did receive a call a few days later and we booked in to go and have look.
We knew prior to the viewing that we would be making an offer and we did. One of the big selling points was the garden, it was huge and would've been ideal for Eliot. It also had a garage for our ever growing clutter. Unfortunately we didn't get that house as the owner decided the safest bet was to go with a first time buyer even though our flat had been sold.
Then one Saturday morning I received a call from a different estate agent about a house that I'd enquired about several weeks earlier. It had been sold but was now back on the market. We went round to have a look the next day and decided to make an offer. We completely missed a great deal of things that weren't great with the house as you may have already read about. Our offer was accepted and we really felt it was meant to be after the time we had spent looking. We're still working on it now!
My lovely friend Danielle helping with some DIY
Obviously with moving home comes plenty of expense, solicitor's, fees, furniture removal costs and estate agent charges. We had to cover the costs of the housing association's solicitors and pay them a percentage of the selling price. If you sell through an agent you are required to pay their fees.
An online company who offer a range of upfront packaged fees are My Online Estate Agent. Unlike local estate agents you may find on the high street, My Online Estate Agent offer their professional services with  lower commission rates.  They recently carried out some research which highlighted that British homeowners could have saved a whopping £3.5 billion if they had sold with an online estate agent  in 2014. My parent's have been um'ing and ar'ing about selling their home for years now. One of the reasons they've put it off is due to costs involved. As neither of them are internet savvy I will be helping them put their place on the market through an online agent when they finally decide to take the plunge!
Have you saved the £££'s by selling through an online agent?

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