Diary of a First-time Buyer: Part Four - Home valuation reports, a waiting game

It’s been some time since I’ve had time to write about it, but my efforts to purchase a house have continued since my last blog in June. In this episode, my brother and I enjoy a great deal of waiting and some brief moments of worry...

Having now instructed solicitors and got them in touch with those of the vendor, the process of buying our new home began in earnest. The first order of business was to get the house valued to confirm its suitability as security for our mortgage. Well, almost. The first order of business was to have a minor panic attack upon realising that we forgot to consult Santander’s list of approved solicitors. (We were in luck – ours is on the list. No surcharge for us!)

Although Santander were offering a free standard valuation, they weren’t prepared to upgrade us to a RICS HomeBuyer Report – even if we paid the difference. This was something of a sticking point (I had to talk my brother down from a full structural survey), so we organised our own. This proved relatively straightforward – a brief internet search yielded a very reasonable quote, after which we left the surveyor to talk to the vendor (via the estate agents) about arranging a time.

Then we waited. Unfortunately, there was a gap of more than a week between the two surveyors’ visits, and each report was going to be important. The first, instructed by Santander, would determine whether we could borrow the amount we required. If this came in lower than expected, we would need to lower our offer, potentially jeopardising the purchase. The second report, which we instructed ourselves, would go into more detail about the condition of the property and provide some much needed peace of mind.

A little under two weeks later, we had a copy of both valuations in front of us. They both agreed that the property was worth what we were paying for it and that there was no risk of the building collapsing any time soon – excellent news, of course. The HomeBuyer Report, however, was also covered in traffic light ratings for the condition of the house. Worryingly, not one of these was green, seemingly at odds with the opening statement that the property represents a suitable investment.

Having read the entire report (line by line, several times), the general gist of it was this: the house, being from the early seventies, is getting on a bit. This means that while the condition is fair for its age, it’s unlikely to conform to current building standards and our surveyor recommends (at great length) that this be addressed in due course. Even the scary red lights for the gas and the wiring proved, on further reading, to be nothing more than a recommendation to have them assessed immediately by qualified professionals due to age.

Several of our surveyor’s comments included recommendations for our solicitor, so we forwarded these on, and then it was back to waiting...


Thinking of getting a mortgage to buy your first home?

Diary of a first-time buyer: Part One - The decision to buy

Diary of a first-time buyer: Part Two - Choosing a mortgage

Diary of a first-time buyer: Part Three - Joint tenants or tenants in common

Diary of a first-time buyer: Part Five - Completion at last


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