House Buying Stress: Reduce the pressure with our stress-busting tips. A survey commissioned by estatesdirect.com highlighted that house buying was one of the most stressful things you can do in life; above that of getting a divorce, having a new baby, being made redundant or planning a wedding – survey at https://www.moneywise.co.uk/news/2018-08-13%E2%80%8C%E2%80%8C/half-first-time-buyers-sick-stress
“Stress – Dictionary definition: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”
Should buying a house be as stressful as you are making it?
We all know that purchasing a property, be it your first or fifth, can be very stressful. However, here at MO, we think it doesn’t have to be.
What causes the stress? Is it the financial enormity of the purchase? Your solicitor? Your agent? The vendor? Or is it possibly you? Are you creating extra undue stress that could be easily alleviated if you just trust in the people involved in the process?
I appreciate that this is the biggest purchase of your life, but within that purchase you (and the vendor) have budgeted for 2 main parties to help you – the estate agent and the solicitor.
As humans we struggle to let others take control, especially when money is concerned. Money is the one thing we are guarded about, the one thing we don’t even discuss with our nearest and dearest.
Let’s look at the people involved in your purchase who are here to help, what their roles are during the process and how you can use them to alleviate your stress.
Estate Agent –
Your first point of contact and constant go-between throughout the entire process.
You will meet your chosen agency on the day that you view that house you decide you can’t live without. Viewings should be informative, unhurried and a bit of fun! Your agent should be on hand from the second you enter the property to answer any questions you might have. If we don’t know the answer, then its our job to go away and find it out. Alongside collecting your keys on completion day, viewing the house should be exciting! The agent is there to help you visualise this house as your home.
Then, when you make an offer, the adrenaline kicks in. Did we offer enough? What if someone else offers more? Best and finals? Sealed BIDS! ARGHHHH.
This is the point where you need to use your agent and get a gauge for what the vendor is expecting on price. Are they looking for a quick sale? Ask your agent if there is any other interest? Has the property been on the market a long time? A good agent will guide you through this initial process and be able to manage your expectations.
Once an offer has been accepted, your agent should be on hand to walk you through the steps going forward. Before becoming an estate agent, I had no idea what searches were, what a ‘chain check’ was, etc. We estate agents do sometimes forget that the terminology we use is alien to the general public and that the step by step process of buying a house isn’t taught in school!
The most important piece of information buyers need to know? TIMESCALES!
There are always points of view circulating that you can buy a house from start to finish in a few weeks. This might have been the case many years ago, but not now. Nearly every buyer is shocked when we advise an average timeline of 12 – 15 weeks – why would it take so long?? Its at this point that your agent needs to sit down and explain the full process. Did you know that during quiet periods (the depths of winter and summer) sales should be quicker, because there are less of you buying. In a hot, fast paced market, sales will ultimately be slower due to the demand on the system!
Once the sale has begun in earnest, you agent should have a dedicated sales progressor. This person should be on hand to update you on your sale at any given point and should be chasing for news on a weekly basis, thus reducing your stress. We have a ‘Sarah’ – she is a ninja at sales progression and has the details of every running sale at her fingertips. Every good Estate Agent needs a Sarah!
What about a surveyor? Do I need a full buildings survey on the new build I’m buying? Probably not. Your agent can advise on all these matters. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the sale – we agents are paid to make this easier for all parties involved. Use us! We are total geeks on this stuff!
A good agent will also be able to give you a general run down of the legal (conveyancing) process too, as most solicitors will make the assumption that you know what they do. Did you know that you need to pay £300 upon instructing a solicitor for searches? What the heck are searches? Which leads us on nicely to our next helper in this process….
Without a solicitor, none of this would be possible, and for a fee (watch out it varies!) this person is your legal go-between. The solicitor deals with all the mind-boggling legal stuff that we mere mortals couldn’t even comprehend. They are also the direct contact with the other sides legal team. They are the glue that holds this whole thing together, but as we all know there are many different types of glue available……..
Your solicitor should be on hand to update you, help you with any legal forms, questions and issues that might be raised, but this is itself can be stressful. Like us agents, some solicitors forget that legal jargon isn’t something that we come across on a day to day basis. It is also assumed that you, the buyer, have a basic grasp of how a sale should run (see also agent!).
Some estate agents have in-house solicitors, some work with others on a commission basis and some are wholly independent, and don’t work directly with any. As an independent agent, we can recommend solicitors and would also advise that you shop around, as this can be a major stress causing factor. In order to minimize stress, we would advise that you talk to your friends – personal recommendations are worth their weight in gold and price does make a difference, so does location….
Cheaper, online, ‘one price fits all’ conveyancers don’t always deliver what they promise. As an independent agent, we would always advise using local solicitors as their local knowledge could save you hours of stress.
That said, sometimes even the local solicitors are hard to get hold of – in steps your ‘Sarah’. We agents are your piggy in the middle/therapist/referee/etc! We have contact with the four parties involved in the sale, and sometimes beyond if there is a chain.
What is your role in the process?
You are the most important person in this whole process, but that does not mean that you have to be the most stressed out, running about trying to keep a thousand plates spinning. You need to let go and trust in the people who are employed to guide you through.
Buying a house is a massive paperwork exercise and organisation is key. If you are providing everything that is asked of you, then it should be relatively pain free.
Nearly every sale will throw up something you hadn’t expected -maybe a damp issue or an unregistered title, or a wonky wall – but it’s all about how you manage these bumps! If in doubt, ask the agent. We have seen it all before and can advise on how to diagnose and help solve most issues.
Just take a leap of faith, trust in your agent and solicitor to guide you through.
And in the words of Elsa…..’Let it go!’