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?

Follow Jeni as she recounts her experiences of becoming a buy to let investor for the first time.

Part 1 - It was that or a Range Rover

Part 2 - I've made £800 already and I haven't got the mortgage yet

Part 3 - The demise of Nathaniel Pig

Part 4 - Call off the dogs...

Part 5 - @***** bank account

Part 6 - Business bank account interview or Center Parcs?

Part 7 - Reality bites...

Part 8 - The method behind the madness

Part 9 - Join me in a buy to let fist pump?!

Part 10 - The silence is deafening  

Part 11 - Throwing toys out of prams

Part 12 - Stuck with the Mini... for now

Part 13 - Time is running out

Part 14 - The end of my sad little tale...

Part 15 - Just call me Peggy

Part 16 - A year on my buy to let portfolio grows by default

Part 17 - If Carlsberg made tenants - shame the same can't be said for the tax man

Part 18 - Always open the envelope

Part - 19 - OMG EPC FFS


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