Mortgage approved!

Last Monday, Habito contacted me to advise that Nationwide had agreed our mortgage in principle – subject to valuation. Progress!

The valuation was scheduled for last Thursday (Valentine’s Day) and was being done at the same time as a RICS HomeBuyer Report that I had commissioned. We weren’t expecting to hear anything until this week, but the surveyor called me shortly after his inspection. It was not good news.

Although he liked the property in general, there were a number of issues he wanted to advise me of. Things to do with the external condition of the building, lack of parking space and kerb appeal, the poor state of the windows and a few other issues. His general feeling was that the price we had agreed to pay (£225K) was too high and that he would have expected the property to be in immaculate condition for that sort of money. When I asked him what he thought it was worth, he suggested in the region of £200-£210K. Oh dear.

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Mortgage shenanigans

Following on from my bold decisiveness when selecting a solicitor, next up to sort was the dreaded mortgage application.

I had already received a few draft mortgage illustrations online, one of which resulted in a basic Decision in Principle (DIP) document being sent to me. This came in useful as after having my offer accepted last week, the estate agent immediately wanted to see proof of funds. This DIP document was accepted for that purpose. But the figures on it needed to be adjusted and I wanted a more solid comparison, so decided to consult my friend again, Mr Google.

Last time I took out a mortgage (back in 2010), I met with a local broker to help find the best deal available. I had a really positive experience and ended up with a stonkingly low rate deal from Barclays. So this time around I thought I’d try the broker approach again – but decided to add a modern twist.

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Pick a solicitor, any solicitor

Well that was easy. After doing a bit of reading, I discovered there was no real benefit to choosing a local solicitor for conveyancing duties. So I decided to pluck one out of thin air.

I had bookmarked the site reallymoving (full of useful tips for anyone going through the house buying/selling process) and filled in the details to obtain a bunch of conveyancing quotes. These got sent to me via email, at which point I started reading reviews about the various companies and balancing this against their quoted prices.

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Making an offer

I’ve not slept much these last few nights – my brain has been in overdrive thinking about the apartment we viewed on Saturday. We had come to a decision: that we would like to make an offer!

But we had not considered the possibility of moving this soon. Our house is not yet ready for sale. So the sensible option of selling first, then renting followed by buying with the cash is out of the window. We will need to improvise 😉

I see only two possible options:

Option 1: We put our current house on the market immediately, and hope it sells quickly. The nice bit about this option is that we wouldn’t have to borrow any money. But there are several negatives I can think of – such as potentially having to accept less for our house than we would have otherwise liked (i.e. sub-optimal time of year to sell, not had time to decorate/stage it for sale etc). There is also the delicate issue of me having to transition to full work-from-home status – something my employer hasn’t yet formally agreed. Then there’s just the hassle factor of moving – we would much rather have some overlap to provide flexibility.

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In love with a (different) property

We decided to make a weekend of our visit to Kent and stayed in a lovely Airbnb that I managed to snag for less than £35, including breakfast). The weather was cold and a little drizzly but that didn’t matter. We were on a mission.

Since booking the initial viewing on Tuesday, I had lined up a second property to view an hour after the first. Although not one we were seriously considering, the opportunity to nose around another curious property that we had known about for several months was too much of a temptation to miss out on. Then on the day before we were due to visit, Mrs FmC tacked on a 3rd viewing for around lunchtime. This was a nearby apartment that, again, wasn’t a serious contender – but something about it intrigued us and it would give us something else to compare.

So on Saturday we were up early and set off on the approx. 2.5-hour drive to the Kent coast. We arrived outside the Airbnb (where we could conveniently park for free) around 20 minutes before our first appointment at 10:00, giving us just enough time to walk downhill into the town centre.

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