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What advice would you give to a first time home buyer?

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Posted 26th May
I’m looking for advice on doing the place up for the best price in the cheapest way.
The place needs a major revamp including a new bathroom and kitchen.

I know to shop through cashback sites and to shop around, a 0% fixed credit card could be an option and using the option of 0% interest deals with stores.

I’m currently living with parents have have no rush to move in.
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Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it for whatever nonsense figure you’ve dreamed up. That is the mistake of every newbie.
Edited by: "manbearpig" 26th May
48 Comments
Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it for whatever nonsense figure you’ve dreamed up. That is the mistake of every newbie.
Edited by: "manbearpig" 26th May
Have you already moved in?
morgie26/05/2020 09:59

Have you already moved in?


No, I am currently living with parents.
manbearpig26/05/2020 09:58

Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it f …Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it for whatever nonsense figure you’ve dreamed up. That is the mistake of every newbie.


I have set a side 25% of what the property is worth for referb, it doesn’t all have to be done in one go, I’m in no rush to move in. Thanks for the advice though
AnnieLey26/05/2020 10:02

No, I am currently living with parents.


Do you already plan to carry out the renovations before moving in? If not, I'd really recommend considering what may be possible as it just becomes so much more challenging once you're living in the house.

As well as thinking about what you will budget and spend on the renovations, perhaps decide if you plan to budget anything extra to attack your mortgage each month so before the next renewal you're likely to have moved to the next LTV bracket (if feasibly close to it) and be offered better rates. Of course you can't predict how your house value will change. Even if over payments aren't an option, it's worth being clued into how much you're paying off (based on your payments and then the interest back on) and where you're likely to be at the end of your current term.
Edited by: "morgie" 26th May
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deleted11933
You have a generic title but then say what you are doing.
Are you looking for advice for a first time buyer... or have you committed to purchase and want to know how to save money.. or?
morgie26/05/2020 10:06

Do you already plan to carry out the renovations before moving in? If …Do you already plan to carry out the renovations before moving in? If not, I'd really recommend considering what may be possible as it just becomes so much more challenging once you're living in the house.As well as thinking about what you will budget and spend on the renovations, perhaps decide if you plan to budget anything extra to attack your mortgage each month so before the next renewal you're likely to have moved to the next LTV bracket (if feasibly close to it) and be offered better rates. Of course you can't predict how your house value will change. Even if over payments aren't an option, it's worth being clued into how much you're paying off (based on your payments and then the interest back on) and where you're likely to be at the end of your current term.


I’m not in any rush to move in, I plan on doing it up before. I’m not currently looking into over payments at the moment, I would rather do that once all renovations are done with anything left over. Appreciate your comment
deleted1193326/05/2020 10:07

You have a generic title but then say what you are doing.Are you looking …You have a generic title but then say what you are doing.Are you looking for advice for a first time buyer... or have you committed to purchase and want to know how to save money.. or?


I have committed to purchase and want to know the best way to save money on doing it up.
manbearpig26/05/2020 09:58

Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it f …Double your expected refurb spend. Seriously, you won’t be able to do it for whatever nonsense figure you’ve dreamed up. That is the mistake of every newbie.


And it will wake twice as long.
Stick to the three quote rule. See what work others have had done close by. Use Checkatrade etc. I imagine finding a single builder who can do the majority/all of the work may be the best way to go, certainly with regards to "one throat to choke" for any issues and managing the renovation works.

When you get quotes from builders etc, also be sure to ask if it's the person you're meeting with/being quoted by who will be on site doing/leading the work........or if you'll never see them again and they'll just send in randoms who maybe aren't as impressive.

If a tradesperson is immediately free, be suspicious as to why they aren't booked up if they're that good! Although with the current situation of course there could be genuine reasons here to understand.
Edited by: "morgie" 26th May
morgie26/05/2020 10:14

Stick to the three quote rule. See what work others have had done close …Stick to the three quote rule. See what work others have had done close by. Use Checkatrade etc. I imagine finding a single builder who can do the majority/all of the work may be the best way to go, certainly with regards to "one throat to choke" for any issues and managing the renovation works.When you get quotes from builders etc, also be sure to ask if it's the person you're meeting with/being quoted by who will be on site doing/leading the work........or if you'll never see them again and they'll just send in randoms who maybe aren't as impressive.If a tradesperson is immediately free, be suspicious as to why they aren't booked up if they're that good! Although with the current situation of course there could be genuine reasons here to understand.


That’s great advice, thank you so much.
Get mortgage protection.
Don't think she is in a rush to move in tbh.
You can often get show kitchens incl appliances and bathroom suites at absolutely knockdown prices from the likes of Jewsons, B&Q and other kitchen and bathroom suppliers. Look for end of line sales and stuff too. Get one builder to do all the building element and or finishing for you. Saves time hassle and money. Builders prefer working this way too rather than bits and pieces. Gives them 8-10 weeks solid work. Best of luck. Often ask builder to factor in supplying material at trade price as they get better discounts if they have accounts set up
fearghalg26/05/2020 10:42

You can often get show kitchens incl appliances and bathroom suites at …You can often get show kitchens incl appliances and bathroom suites at absolutely knockdown prices from the likes of Jewsons, B&Q and other kitchen and bathroom suppliers. Look for end of line sales and stuff too. Get one builder to do all the building element and or finishing for you. Saves time hassle and money. Builders prefer working this way too rather than bits and pieces. Gives them 8-10 weeks solid work. Best of luck. Often ask builder to factor in supplying material at trade price as they get better discounts if they have accounts set up


Great advice, thanks.
Don't be tempted just to go for the cheapest of everything (carpets, furniture, etc) or you'll end up just buying it all twice!
If you're going to get a new kitchen/bathroom. Go to places like Wren, B&Q, etc, sit and make your kitchen up. (I don't think some places let you take the design with you now though) but get the price and then go to a smaller independent place and see if they are cheaper.
Wren etc only have certain sized units per range, the more expensive range being the range with more sizes whereas an independent store they can make up 'made to fit' units and are normally more flexible.

Always keep track of how much money you are spending on everything. The last thing I'd want on a house is negative equity unless you plan to live there the rest of your life.

Always get multiple quotes from each trade. Don't fall for the patter people give you like 'Ah well it's a big job'
'Ah you see this bit is difficult'
'I'll need to use this special unicorn rainbow adhesive that costs £30 per tube' etc. These people do this for a living. It might be annoying having to do a certain part but they know fine well how to overcome difficult situations.
Never give them any cash until the job is completed. If it is a lot of money they may ask for a certain amount each time as the work is completed per stage which is fine.
Like a quarter each quarter of work is finished.

At the end of the day, a shower is a shower, a toilet is a toilet, a sink is a sink. They all work the same way. Don't fall for paying over the odds for stuff like a whirlpool bath that you'd only end up using once a month or something like that.

I wish you all the best OP.
Buying and doing up a house is in the top stressful things to do in life, especially your first, the worry is sometimes hard to cope with.
If you have long hair tie it up because you'll end up with none
I’d say if it’s a do-er upper, have really clear design ideas and plans for how it’s going to look before you start... it’ll save you time and money rather than starting something & undoing the work when you change your mind later on. It’ll also help you to focus on price comparisons rather than being blinded by everything that’s available! I want that... and that, and that one and that one etc. Do lots of research so you know what you really like, how it could look when finished and how much it’s likely to cost
Cloeeez26/05/2020 10:57

If you're going to get a new kitchen/bathroom. Go to places like Wren, …If you're going to get a new kitchen/bathroom. Go to places like Wren, B&Q, etc, sit and make your kitchen up. (I don't think some places let you take the design with you now though) but get the price and then go to a smaller independent place and see if they are cheaper. Wren etc only have certain sized units per range, the more expensive range being the range with more sizes whereas an independent store they can make up 'made to fit' units and are normally more flexible. Always keep track of how much money you are spending on everything. The last thing I'd want on a house is negative equity unless you plan to live there the rest of your life. Always get multiple quotes from each trade. Don't fall for the patter people give you like 'Ah well it's a big job''Ah you see this bit is difficult''I'll need to use this special unicorn rainbow adhesive that costs £30 per tube' etc. These people do this for a living. It might be annoying having to do a certain part but they know fine well how to overcome difficult situations.Never give them any cash until the job is completed. If it is a lot of money they may ask for a certain amount each time as the work is completed per stage which is fine.Like a quarter each quarter of work is finished.At the end of the day, a shower is a shower, a toilet is a toilet, a sink is a sink. They all work the same way. Don't fall for paying over the odds for stuff like a whirlpool bath that you'd only end up using once a month or something like that. I wish you all the best OP.Buying and doing up a house is in the top stressful things to do in life, especially your first, the worry is sometimes hard to cope with. If you have long hair tie it up because you'll end up with none


Thank you so much, some great advice here, I think that because I’m young and a woman some builders might think They could pull the wool over my eyes, thank you so much.
I'd also ask the estate agent what they estimate the cost to be for the refurb and how that s reflected in the buying price - then compare it to the ceiling price on the street and area.

It really is incredibly stressful doing a refurb so be mentally prepared and ensure you have support around you to give you trustworthy advice, also speak to the references of the builders. Best of luck
AnnieLey26/05/2020 11:08

Thank you so much, some great advice here, I think that because I’m young a …Thank you so much, some great advice here, I think that because I’m young and a woman some builders might think They could pull the wool over my eyes, thank you so much.


Haha I'm a young woman and a qualified painter and decorator. Work alongside all different trades and I still get that 'naive young woman' treatment if I get building work in mine. They don't realise I've already asked guys in work!
Just the way the guys are in that environment!
Edited by: "Cloeeez" 26th May
Cloeeez26/05/2020 12:00

Haha I'm a young woman and a qualified painter and decorator. Work …Haha I'm a young woman and a qualified painter and decorator. Work alongside all different trades and I still get that 'naive young woman' treatment if I get building work in mine. They don't realise I've already asked guys in work!Just the way the guys are in that environment!


I know it’s awful isn’t it, even when I take my car to the garage then men there would rather talk to my partner than me and it’s MY car, he doesn’t even drive..
BluebirdRobin26/05/2020 11:23

I'd also ask the estate agent what they estimate the cost to be for the …I'd also ask the estate agent what they estimate the cost to be for the refurb and how that s reflected in the buying price - then compare it to the ceiling price on the street and area.It really is incredibly stressful doing a refurb so be mentally prepared and ensure you have support around you to give you trustworthy advice, also speak to the references of the builders. Best of luck


That’s really good advice... the house that we’re buying is a deceased estate so needs doing up, we’ve talked through our plans with our agent and they believe that a £20k spend in the right areas would add an extra £30k of value on top, backed up by Zoopla estimated values and recent sold prices on Rightmove... I can’t wait to get started, we’ve spent so long planning how each room will look and have already bought wallpaper, lights and even a washing line! (Plus each room has been planned out on a really geeky PowerPoint presentation, pictures of our ideas have been added & even tcircled for each specific element that we like!)
Edited by: "shelliebish" 26th May
If you're not planning on living in the property for awhile then get electricity & gas with a low standing charge which might save you a couple of hundred pounds a year (every little helps).
Identify stuff that you need and set up deal keyword alerts on here.
AnnieLey26/05/2020 10:10

I have committed to purchase and want to know the best way to save money …I have committed to purchase and want to know the best way to save money on doing it up.



With regards your original question of: What advice would you give to a first time home buyer?

Don't run before you can walk.

You haven't even exchanged contracts and you're planning refurbishments.



Edited by: "HappyShopper" 26th May
as said above, so many things can go wrong during the conveyancing process that you shouldn't count your chickens before they are hatched. however, it is always good to have a plan and to budget in advance. everything will cost a ridiculous amount, which is why it is difficult to buy a place that needs doing up if you don't have any experience, but if you bought the property for the right price, they are the best bargains.

i bought a really run down house when i bought my first house, and like yourself, i was still living at home at the time. it took a whole year to renovate and costs quite a bit of money as my mother had a say on the renovation and she had expensive tastes so i got carried away myself! luckily my mother and brother let me borrow their money to help with the renovation. when i moved in, i had to wait for my payday to buy furniture!

get a full survey and that will often throw out a lot of work that is needed immediately on an old building. if you plan to live there, then put in good quality kitchen and bathroom as they will last longer and will make the place look really nice.
Double check everything in the house, be nosey and look in cupboards etc, when we bought our house we found that the kitchen wall cupboards did not have any tops to them, they looked fine until you opened the doors 😁
And as someone else has mentioned you buy everything new and they will all last 4 or 5 years and pack up at the same time.
Stay with the builders when they renovate anything. You can't trust them as far as you can throw them. Do not be embarrassed to tell them you don't like they way something looks. Do not pay in full up front.

Also, check youtube, if you can see something you can do yourself DO IT YOURSELF!!! At least this way you know it's done properly.
Edited by: "MadeDixonsCry" 26th May
Be aware you’ll cop for full council tax, even if the property is empty, and even if there’s no kitchen / bathroom in. Varies from council to council, but they’re all so strapped for cash after having budgets cut, all concessions and discounts were cancelled around here a few years ago
HappyShopper26/05/2020 14:00

With regards your original question of: What advice would you give to a …With regards your original question of: What advice would you give to a first time home buyer?Don't run before you can walk.You haven't even exchanged contracts and you're planning refurbishments.


I have exchanged contracts
juggler126/05/2020 16:37

Be aware you’ll cop for full council tax, even if the property is empty, a …Be aware you’ll cop for full council tax, even if the property is empty, and even if there’s no kitchen / bathroom in. Varies from council to council, but they’re all so strapped for cash after having budgets cut, all concessions and discounts were cancelled around here a few years ago


25% single occupancy discount
MadeDixonsCry26/05/2020 17:19

25% single occupancy discount


That doesn’t apply on empty properties, sadly. Unless the op is going to say they’re living there, and alone.
juggler126/05/2020 17:27

That doesn’t apply on empty properties, sadly. Unless the op is going to s …That doesn’t apply on empty properties, sadly. Unless the op is going to say they’re living there, and alone.


So let me get this straight, if a property is empty council wants full ctax but if one person lives there they are happy to apply a 25% discount?

Daylight robbery.
As others have said, being a woman is a disadvantage...its taken me 2 & a half years to get some decent tradesmen & had cowboys twice as far as possible, get recommendations from friends & family, then you can see their previous work for yourself. Good luck!
MadeDixonsCry26/05/2020 17:31

So let me get this straight, if a property is empty council wants full …So let me get this straight, if a property is empty council wants full ctax but if one person lives there they are happy to apply a 25% discount?Daylight robbery.


It's to discourage homes to be left vacant, in some councils, the council tax is 150% / 200% after a year or two of being left empty.
Edited by: "lukman2k" 26th May
MadeDixonsCry26/05/2020 17:31

So let me get this straight, if a property is empty council wants full …So let me get this straight, if a property is empty council wants full ctax but if one person lives there they are happy to apply a 25% discount?Daylight robbery.


That’s correct. Onceover there was a free 6 months so long as no furniture was in, then an additional 12 months, for renovation, so long as the property didn’t have a working kitchen and bathroom ( so deemed inhabitable) so, there could be a stand alone tap and one kitchen cupboard, and no roof, and the property was liable for council tax. That’s just the criteria they used, kitchen and bathroom. Builders and renovators would hold back and put the kitchen and bathroom in last, for that reason, but it all changed when councils lost a lot of their budget funding a few years ago.
lukman2k26/05/2020 17:40

It's to discourage homes to be left vacant, in some councils, the council …It's to discourage homes to be left vacant, in some councils, the council tax is 150% / 200% after a year or two of being left empty.


I can't help but think there must be a better way of doing this.
AnnieLey26/05/2020 17:08

I have exchanged contracts


yesterday you were making an offer and waiting to see if it is accepted and today you have exchanged contracts?!
DIY as much as possible.
Painting rooms and wallpapering is easy to learn and can save a lot of money.
Tiling is a little trickier but easily doable.
Swapping a bathroom suite is surprisingly easy as long as you do everything methodically.
Fitting a basic kitchen probably isn't something you want to just try on your own but a friend or family member whose done it before show you and help.

Even if your not happy with anything more then painting stripping out the old wallpaper, bathroom and kitchen will save you a good amount.
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