My Adventures in House Hunting

I have now been to see 10-15 houses in the last 6 months and I’ve still not found one we want to buy.  House buying/selling is incredibly expensive now, so as a buyer I’m thinking twice but third and forth times too!  I’m not saying a house has to be perfect, that would be dull but there are certain things that trigger warnings in my head.

So here’s what I’ve learnt in my 6 months of house hunting….

1. Let the estate agents show it, don’t do it yourself.  

A) you’re paying them a LOT of money, make them do some work.

B) It’s beyond awkward walking around a house with the owner trying to be enthusiastic about anything you can see. And then trying to think of an appropriate goodbye, when you know you are never, ever setting foot in that house again.  Maybe this is an #Englishproblem?

2. Clean your house, and then clean it again.

Then call round your most picky friend or relative to pass muster. Having a dog I know I could be ‘nose blind’ to smells, so having someone to check my house doesn’t smell of wet dog is essential.  And I know it’s not easy to keep it clean (especially living with kids and animals) but do a deep clean to start with and then clean as appropriate going forwards.

Today I went to visit what looked on paper like a lovely house.  Was confronted with three bathrooms FULL of black mould and loos that hadn’t been cleaned in the last…2 years? Delightful! The estate agent suggested I could always replace the bathrooms (they were THAT BAD!) not for the price they were asking!

3. De-clutter…but not too much.

I quite like family pictures around the house, books and of course children have toys in their rooms. It’s normal and makes me like your house, also I get to see how you use/need storage.  Houses without ‘stuff’ are cold and clinical and frankly a bit weird.  I can think of three houses, that have put me off as there were only beds in the bedrooms, what’s up with that?

4. Insane Colours

Now I know not everyone’s taste is the same and hopefully most people can look past a room layout or room colour, but there are a lot of people who really, really can’t.  So tone down super bright colours and if in doubt white paint will make any room look better. Dull but sellable!

5. Finish up DIY jobs.

I found a house that I LOVED, double fronted Victorian, right sized garden, it even had a back porch but…so so so many DIY jobs that needed doing. Peeling paint in bathrooms – ‘why?’ of course sprang to mind – looked up and all the vents were blocked, easy in a normal house to sort but not one with 17ft ceilings and a shower underneath! Wouldn’t have even noticed them if they’d been clear. Plug sockets were off, ceiling roses missing/bare wires, all the garage windows smashed. Lots of little jobs which became quite hefty, once you started adding them up.

6. Get certification

The Victorian House of dreams had a pretty big nightmare lurking. Had a chat with the owner, a builder and he had done a beautiful jobs installing reclaimed fireplaces and floorboards etc. Now as you know from my electrical nightmares with this house, I am maybe a little paranoid when it comes to electrics now.  So I asked who’d done the work on the electrical re-furbish of the Victorian House and I got this answer ‘Well I did them all, I’ve got no certification but I know what I’m doing’. WTH??

That was a MASSIVE red flag and that’s that house was out of the running. I know how much it cost to just re-do the lighting circuit of this house and the Victorian House was three times the size, so re-doing all of it would be about 10k.  If he’d said, ‘I did it but I’ve had it certified and it’s safe, here’s the paperwork’. I might have been slightly more accepting.

7. Stuff you can’t change and does affect the price of your house whether you like it or not.

We went to see a 10 year old estate house. It was super clean and tidy, perfect amount of bedrooms and downstairs was a good size. The nice lady owner showed us round and then we went into the garden…oh my word…. the road noise was awful. I hadn’t appreciated from the map that the road which was a fair distance away was so loud. This is a super busy 24/7 road,  living with it would be horrendous.  We aren’t even that picky we live on a main road now, but not being able to hear anything in the garden other than traffic is not good.  I think the road must be higher than the garden or something?

However she wanted the same price as other houses on the same estate, which were much much further away from the road and quieter. Just nuts!. Funnily enough I’ve just seen it re-list this week with a new estate agents, so I don’t think maybe anyone is being honest with her or she’s just desperate to hit that amount?

8. Internet

It’s like having mains gas (not as common as you’d think in the country) or electricity it should be on house details what your average speed is. If you have a good speed show it off!! Here’s a good little site to test your speed. Tell your estate agent and make a massive deal of it if it’s good and be upfront if it’s a bit rubbish.

If people work from home on the internet and you have a good speed then that is a massive selling point. My parents get 1.2mbps on a good day if the wind is blowing in the right direction. That practically means no Neflix, video chat, uploading files or photos to the internet and surfing is pretty painful. So working from home would be next to impossible…or living in the 21st Century, to be honest!  Which is fine AS LONG AS YOU KNOW!   If we lived there we’d be stuffed.

9. Big up your local facilities

We’re about to get a new school behind us and a cinema down the hill, the estate agent will be making a lot of this when we go to sell. Look around in your local neighbourhood and see what could attract people.

What’s your best selling tip??  I’m off to look at Rightmove again, wish me luck!

 

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