How can someone buy an Aston Martin on Apple Pay but it's so bloody hard to buy a home!?
Updated: Aug 22, 2020
WTF is this blog about!?
Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many guest blogs on Get Woke Not Broke 👋
In this blog my mate, fellow Investment Consultant and newbie London flat owner Anna, gives us the low-down on her top 5 tips for wannabe homeowners.
My friends were laughing in a rooftop Jacuzzi, while I was inside on the phone to my solicitor discussing what cladding regulations mean for me. I remember thinking "how can someone buy an Aston Martin on Apple Pay, but it's so bloody hard to buy a home?". Looking back now, having been relatively happily locked down in my new home for more than 3 months, I realise that conversation was time well spent. I love my new flat and all the mini-projects it has brought with it. In this blog I'll go through some of the complications I came up against, and advice for anyone considering cashing in on those hella low mortgage rates on offer right now.
1. Have an "oh s*!t" fund and accept that buying your dream home does not justify using it
We all know the importance of having an emergency fund just in case things go wrong. But when scrolling through Right Move, it is SO TEMPTING to notch the upper limit on the price filter to the maximum you can possibly afford including every penny in your bank account. Don't do it. I am eternally grateful that my job and my partner's job have not been disrupted by Covid-19, but if they had, and we'd cashed in our emergency funds to buy our flat, we could be in big trouble.
2. Invest time in procuring a superhero solicitor
One thing to accept when buying/selling a property is that at some point, it will feel like it's all going wrong. I cannot stress how important it is to have a superhero solicitor that you trust for when this happens. A less competent solicitor can increase stress at the time of purchase, but also leads to complications when you go to sell if they have missed anything. We went for a superhero with loads of good reviews from people we know, this took longer to investigate, but paid off tenfold. The same goes for an Estate Agent.
3. Ensure you have interim accommodation
To my friends who let us stay with them while our flat purchase was delayed for a month for reasons outside of our control at last minute, thank you, I really didn’t fancy having to sort out a short term let in London with one night's notice. Delays happen, you need to be prepared for that. If you don't have angel friends that live near you, please see point 4 on comfy buffers.
4. Have a comfy buffer (different to "oh s*!t" fund)
Having an emergency fund and a comfy buffer are not the same thing - your emergency fund should be a totally separate "I never ever plan on using this" cash stash. This comfy buffer is for the fees that rack up all of a sudden. Basically - don't completely max yourself out on your mortgage deposit and stamp duty (which is gross btw), make sure you have a little bit more for all those sneaky fees PLUS your emergency fund (because who knows what 2020 will throw at us next!).
5. Accept it is going to require a lot of time, involvement and coffee
It takes reading through boring legal documents line by line (e.g. on buying my first flat with a non-superhero solicitor, the property address was incorrect…), emergency calls, negotiation (e.g. our buyer wanted all of the furniture chucked in for free...), and looking at photos of your dream home again and again for motivation. Be ready to make your flat purchase a priority, I promise it's worth it.
I also recommend setting a budget when buying and a lower limit which you will accept when selling, to ensure you don't get carried away.
Despite the above, I'm so glad this happened and I love my new home. I'm very excited for a Dale Winton style supermarket sweep now IKEA has reopened, plus my Pinterest boards are on fire. I hope the above helps you navigate as seamlessly as possible to your dream home, or even better, inspire you to buy an Aston Martin on Apple Pay.
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Now for the serious part: my blogs are for educational purposes only; they do not constitute financial advice. Please consult with an independent financial advisor for advice on your specific circumstances.