Interiors Lifestyle · February 17, 2018

What We Learnt Buying Our First House

How we did it, what we learnt and what we’d do differently…

In a couple of months time it would have been a year since I started browsing RightMove and knowing that I was in a position to say, ‘yup, let’s go and look at that one’. I can still remember the excitement so vividly, after the anticipation- and essentially, great unknown of saving for a solid couple of years- it felt like such an achievement to legitimately be able to play grown ups, and well, actually be adult enough to make one of the biggest decisions and commitments in my life. The second we were given the go ahead to put an offer in, Joe and I were on a bus to our local high street and taking notes of estate agents and peeking in every window we went by (at one point we walked into an estate agents and said ‘umm we’d like to look at buying a house? maybe?’) It felt unbelievably surreal but truly the start of a new chapter.

So, after reflecting just under twelve months later- I thought I’d put together a little post together with a few notes on what we learnt buying our house. Dotted in amongst interiors content, I thought it would make for a nice addition and helpful reference for anybody in the same position, and anyone looking to start getting themselves on the property ladder too. Obviously everyone’s situation is so different and unique to them, so this isn’t a one size fits all- but merely a look over the lessons we learnt over the five months across the process…

Get a mortgage advisor, or broker…

This is by far my most common piece of advice that I always, always give to anyone about to start house hunting. With Joe and I both being self employed, we essentially needed someone to help talk to us about everything mortgage related, breaking it down to someone who, in short, had no idea about the things (at one point I may have even asked him to ‘speak to me as if I’m 10!’) It was so helpful having someone help point out to us what a good offer or deal would be for us, how many years of accounts we’d need and to be the middle man in negotiations too. He came recommended by our parents (who have known him for years) and it truly made so much difference in the process, with him liaising with everyone from the bank to my accountant- and taking part of the stress away from a very new and daunting situation. If you’re self employed it also really helps to have a broker to guarantee your income to banks too- especially as for them you’re a candidate who they may need a little convincing on…

Realise everyone’s situation is different…

For once this one isn’t solely about comparison, but realising that everyone’s situation is different and buying a house is certainly not a one size fits all process. I read so many different things in the lead up to buying our house- but being two self employed people (one who was newly a sole trader, and the other who had been doing it for about 4 years) meant that it wasn’t as simple as just walking straight into a bank. We needed 2 years of accounts to apply for our mortgage, but this can often be 3 or even 1 depending on the bank and your work situation. Try to not look at how quickly, or slowly other peoples process has gone too. Fortunately being first time buyers we came chain free and moved to a chain free property, but know that in the future it definitely won’t be as simple. Everyone’s house experience is different- so don’t let horror stories scare you (but also be prepared that things aren’t always rose tinted too). There were times when we weren’t sure if it was even going to go ahead, times when we’d emailed and phoned the solicitors endlessly to chase things totally out of our control. It’s a new situation where you will feel like things are more often than not out of your hands, and that is totally, totally normal.

Know your budget…

Working out what we were actually able to afford was such a big part of the process for us. Having a mortgage advisor really helped with this and asking the questions ‘How much do I need to save’ and ‘What will that buy us?’ were two simple, but key things that we wanted to tackle months before we hit up Zoopla. Once we’d worked it out, it then took a couple of years of actually putting pen to paper and saving money before we could even get to an estate agents- but having a goal was such a big part of the task. Getting to that budget also meant factoring in the things we were willing to compromise on too. What area did we want to go for? Was it essential we had a garden space? Keep these things in mind from the get go- because all of these things help drive and shape where you eventually start looking to.

Save up and then save a bit more again…

It’s the boring part- but it’s true. Not only did we save up what we needed for our deposit, but having a little extra on the side was integral for us because if thee’s one thing we learnt- it’s that the cost that you see on first appearances isn’t always reflective of what you’ll be paying. Try and factor in fees, work that may need carrying out and also stamp duty (which is a big one, and thankfully, now not always applicable for first time buyers)! The offer you put in might not always be reflective either, so bear in mind things can change after the property is surveyed- and that may include work that could need carrying out before or after you move in. Megs recently did a wonderful and insanely comprehensive video to buying her house- so if you need any more tips on buying (and saving) I’d head to her too.

Take a grown up to view the house…

Being a 24 year old woman, this sounds ridiculous but it was so so helpful having a grown up/older relative/established house owner/thereabouts at our viewings with us who knew what to look out for other than whether a bathroom had nice tiles. Looking for damp and signs that a surveyor might spot was so handy and meant we could be savvier when putting in our offer. Obviously you might be super clued up on this, but we weren’t particularly knowledgable- so taking someone who has been there and done it (if you can) really helped.

It won’t happen overnight…

Last but not least, things take so much time (Mel’s post was a good ‘un at addressing this). Even though there was no chain, we were still surprised at the endless back at fourth between all of the different people involved (remember there’s you, the advisor, accountant, your solicitor, estate agent, the sellers and their solicitors too). Being someone who likes to know WHAT IS HAPPENING AT EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY it certainly unleashed my inner Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly- but just know that most of the time everyone is tapping away trying to get things done- normally they want this to happen too! I promise it’ll all work out in the end though- just know that good things do come to those who wait and patience truly is a virtue.



  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Great advice! We bought our first place in July last year and we’d put the offer in in October… was NOT prepared for how long it would take! Your kitchen is gorgeous 🙂

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

    This is SO handy! Thank you! Huge Congratulations on buying a house too, that is SO awesome! 🙂 Saving is the hardest bit though without a doubt! So so hard!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  • Reply
    Flo la vita
    February 17, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I absolutely love the tiled walls in your kitchen, they are v cute xx

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 11:57 am

    This was an incredibly useful post! We’re looking to buy in the next couple of years and although there is so much information available online, it can have the opposite effect and seem so overwhelming. I’ll be saving this one for reference in a few months. 🙂 xx

    Sneha |

  • Reply
    Abi Street
    February 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    This is such a helpful post! Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous

    Abi | abistreetx

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    This is so helpful! Thanks so much for sharing, especially the tips about being self-employed! Definitely bookmarking this post!

    Anika |

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    This is so helpful! Thanks so much for sharing, especially the tips about being self-employed! Definitely bookmarking this post! 🙂

    Anika |

  • Reply
    February 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Your house looks beautiful! We are on the hunt as well but just got serious about it…we meet with the realtor next week and have met with mortgage broker like company and we have seen a few bad ones… thanks for all the tips! I can definitely see and imagine how much harder it would be to do all of this as self employed..

  • Reply
    Victoria Carruthers
    February 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Your kitchen is the dream! Just gone through a similar process so absolutely loved reading this! Xx

  • Reply
    February 18, 2018 at 3:16 am

    such an informational and helpful read!


  • Reply
    February 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Wow, this is such an adult post which actually make me want to be in the same position as you : be able to buy a house with my bf. I’m so happy for you that you are happy with the choice you made. And thank you for the advice.


  • Reply
    February 18, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I’m a fair way off buying a house, but this was still such an interesting post to read and I’ve gotta take notes! Being a student, its quite hard to keep saving but I’m gonna try my hardest haha!

    Lucy | Forever September

  • Reply
    February 18, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    This is such a good post, and so timely for me as I actually went to see a mortgage advisor yesterday! I’m thinking of buying a little flat to keep me going until my boyfriend and I have saved enough for a house. I just spend so much money on rent – it would be far cheaper to get a mortgage. Saving has seriously started now! Congratulations on buying your first home 🙂 xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    This is such a helpful post! Huge Congratulations on buying a house too, that is SO awesome! You have a beautiful kitchen. :))

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Buying a house seems to be more and more impossible! So pour of you for managing it and LOVE the pics!

    Ellie xx

  • Reply
    Luxury White Bedding
    May 14, 2018 at 10:28 am

    This is such a helpful post! Huge Congratulations on buying a house as well.

Leave a Comment