9 November 2015

How not to buy a house

I understand that there are a lot of factors to consider when looking to buy your first home. Proximity to decent schools, good transport links, low crime rates and natural lighting are all important things to consider. Some people may focus on energy efficiency, others may just want a big garden. Many people like to move into a home that doesn't need a lot of work doing to it, one where you just throw some cushions around and it feels like home.

I, however, considered none of these factors when I bought my first house.

My first house was bought after one quick viewing, on a street I knew very little about. The house had no double glazing, no central heating, and the bath was made out of metal. For some inexplicable reason, at least one wall in each room was painted in the most hideous dark red shade you can imagine... in gloss paint. On top of this, the house was absolutely full of ... I'm trying to think of a nicer word to use than 'junk' but there isn't one that fits! Years of collected ornaments, paintings and other knick-knacks were found in every available spot in the house.

The place was dark, incredibly cold and completely uninviting.

On the other hand, it was cheap. Really really cheap. So cheap that we bought the house, fit double glazing to all the windows, installed central heating throughout, and replaced the cold metal tub and Victorian plumbing with a shiny new bathroom suite - and still hand change from £50k.

Thankfully, I don't live in the same house anymore - my brother does! But the improvements we made added plenty to the value, so that we managed to make a profit while still giving my bro a great deal. He's been there a good long while, making improvements all along, and now the house really does feel like a proper home - it's so hard to think of it as the same chilly hole I moved into so many years ago!

Though my first foray into house buying didn't turn out to the be the disaster it so easily could have been, I definitely feel like I've learnt a few things to go forwards with! I'd love to start thinking about moving house again but it would be very different this time round! Since I'm not in such a rush to move I can afford to take more time to find the right house, not just the first one I see under my budget!

Lightbulbs Direct have been researching into what factors would dissuade someone from buying a house, and I'm definitely more likely to go along with the majority now than in my younger and more stubborn days. After crime rates, the thing most likely to put people off a purchase is if the property needs a lot of work doing. I feel like after fixing up that first shed of a house, I've done my bit - I don't want to do anything harder than painting a few walls in the next place we call home!

The next biggest factors are not having enough space - needing more space would be my primary reason for moving so we'd definitely be avoiding anything not big enought for us all, and beign badly lit - we all know how important light is as a blogger so a dark space would be a big no-no too!

Of course, to buy this imaginary spacious, light and airy, fully decorated dream pad - we'd have to sell our current place first and thankfully the same research can give us a few ideas about which areas we should work on to get the most potential return on our investment!

Since dark rooms and low EPC ratings are a turn off, one simple change would be invest in low-energy bulbs - these save energy AND money, and can help a home look bright and inviting. Clean and tidy rooms is an obvious one, I mean what kind of buyer would  move into someone else's mess? (In case you missed that earlier, me.) I can't do much about the style of the building, or the neighbours, but I can make sure the d├ęcor is nice and modern, and that the place smells good.

Of course, if I manage to get the house all newly-bright, clean and tidy, well-decorated and nice-smelling - - I might not feel such a strong urge to move out of it!

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