Before I continue, I should probably explain the ‘free money’ part of my post before people begin to think I’m running some kind of give away!
You may recall in a previous post how we had filled our Lifetime ISA. This is a special account that you can use for the purchase of your first home or retirement. You can save up to £4000 in it each financial year and the government will top up the balance by 25%. Well, we just received the bonus today, it was a good feeling! Even better was that for this first year you could transfer your Help to Buy ISA and receive the bonus on that amount too. It has given our house deposit fund a good boost.
Another exciting development is that we have booked to view three houses next week! All three are located within 10 miles of my husband’s family. We’re still not sure where we want to buy but these three places tick a few of our main requirements which are:
- Be freehold (find out more about that here)
- Be within our price range (this should be common sense but it is surprising how many people overextend when looking at properties!)
- Between two to three decent sized bedrooms (one has 4 bedrooms!)
- Have a good sized garden
- Have an good sized kitchen
Our criteria are still pretty broad at this stage in the game but I’m certain that once we’ve seen these places we will continue to narrow down our key requirements.
The first house we are seeing has been owned by the same couple for 50 years! The interior will need some updating and it also has a strange bedroom layout where you have to go through one bedroom to reach the other one. But it looks great outside and has an absolutely massive garden.
The second house is three bedrooms and the garden backs onto a lovely peaceful river. Unfortunately it is on a main road and doesn’t have central heating but the house looked nice enough to warrant a look.
The final place is 4 bedrooms (that we could even consider looking at a 4 bed place on our budget is a testament to how much cheaper homes are in this area compared to London). The interior is… interesting. Very bright and every room has a different patterned wallpaper but aside from this (and let’s face it, we can always redecorate), it seems to tick all of our boxes.
We still have to wait a week until the viewings which isn’t ideal and we may lose out on them for not being quick enough but even if we only end up viewing one, I think it will be a valuable learning experience. I feel like I’ve been all talk about buying a house but no action and finally the wheels are being set in motion, it’s all very exciting!
What were your criteria when looking at houses? How many did you view before you knew you’d found the right one? Do you have any viewing tips for these real estate newbies?