Buying a house: The things you don't know - Part 2

All the things you don't know about buying a house
Last month we did a post on advice for first time buyers which you can read here.
Within in it we mentioned a lot of things that we actually had no idea about before we started house hunting so we thought it would be a good idea to offer up some more advice about all the things that come alongside buying a house that you may not really know about.

Water meter vs Rateable value bill

There's a wealth of arguments out there about the pros and cons of each of the above so I'm going to try and keep it simple. 

Basically any home built after 1990 has been fitted with a water meter, if you're moving into a house that already has a water meter you don't have the option to have this removed. That means around 1/3 of properties now have a water meter. With a water meter you are only charged for exactly what you use. If there you're a couple or small family then a water meter is probably the best option. With a water meter it's the norm to pay quarterly but you can pay in monthly installments.

If your house doesn't have a water meter than your water bill will be a rateable value bill which means your bill is based on the rateable value of your home (basically a value given to your home based on size and location). This means you pay one set price regardless of how much water you use. This is better for large families. You can pay your rateable value bill in full at the start of the financial year, half-yearly or in 8 or 10 installments.

If your house already comes with a water meter than you're going to have to learn to be more careful with water. There are lots of things you can do to save water and therefore save money. If your house doesn't come with a meter it may be worth thinking about. You can try a water meter out for a year and if you don't like it you can have it removed. We're both moving from houses that aren't metered into a property that is so we may do a post in the future on ways to save water and money.

Using an independent mortgage advisor

 We're not here to tell you what to do with your money but we will say that using an independent mortgage advisor is the best thing we did throughout the whole process.A lot of independent mortgage advisors can be found in estate agents, to use the mortgage advisor you don't have to be buying your house through that particular estate agent as the advisor is independent from any bank or estate agent. As they aren't tied to any particular mortgage lender they get a view of the whole market and can find the best deal for you.

You do have to pay for an independent mortgage advisor but in our opinion they are more than worth it. What we paid for our advisor is nothing compared to what he's saved us. Not to mention the fact that he's been there to calm our worries, offer advice, talk through all our paper work from the solicitor's and the surveyors and give people a kick up the arse when things weren't moving quick enough. He really has done an amazing job for us and I don't know how we'd have coped without him. I'm pretty sure that without him we wouldn't have got the mortgage we have and potentially not even the house we have.

Do keep in mind that as wonderful as we've found our mortgage advisor they are there to a job and to sell products, whilst a good advisor shouldn't push anything on to you that you don't want they will try to sell products to you so do a bit of your own research first. For example we were offered some very expensive house and contents insurance but we knew we could sort our own for much cheaper.

Solicitors searches

When you first start using a solicitor you should receive a break down of what you will be charged for. However along the way you may encounter extra charges. Our mortgage lender required extra land searches that we weren't originally quoted for so we were charged more. It isn't a huge deal but solicitors searches do cover a lot of stuff such as flood risks, mining and subsidence, land searches and electrical report so keep in mind that what you are quoted at the beginning may not be what you pay at the end. Make sure you have some extra money to cover any unexpected fees.

Read part one here for advice on valuations, mortgage protection and council tax.

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