Home blog: advice on buying a house from those who’ve done it


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Buying a new home is an exciting prospect – especially for the first time! Amy Cross and Steve Hunt told us about their experience of getting on the property ladder

Amy and Steve

Choosing the right home

The couple saved for three years before making their big move, making sure that they were financially equipped before going to visit any properties, Amy said: “We consciously didn’t go to view any houses until we had our full deposit ready, as we didn’t want to see our ‘perfect’ house and not be able to make an offer.

Amy and Steve came up with a checklist of essentials their dream house should include, which Amy said kept the couple focused. “It’s so easy to get carried away by original parquet flooring or large bedrooms, only to later realise later there’s no natural light or a tiny garden” she said.

After eight viewings, the couple put an offer in on a large Victorian-style family home which needed redecorating and a bit of TLC. For their first home they didn’t feel like taking on too much of a challenge with a large-scale renovation.

Living room

The buying process

Finding their dream home was only the beginning as the buying process was long and arduous. Despite both parties being chain-free, it took the couple four months before they finally got the keys to their house.

Amy said: “We hadn’t really factored in (time-wise or financially) some of the issues that arise on the legal side, such as the numerous indemnity policies and financial checks that must be done on anyone that gifted money towards our deposit.”

Amy and Steve lived in limbo after handing in their rental notice while they waited to move into their new home – but were lucky enough to stay with Amy’s parents in the meantime. It is recommended that you buy your home insurance prior to moving into your home. Read our complete guide to buying a house for more information.

Front door

After moving in

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the pair after they moved in, either. Within the first week they realised their entire bathroom would have to be gutted, due to numerous problems caused by a burst pipe and a large leak, which resulted in a rotten bathroom and kitchen walls. Something Amy said was a real pain: “Aside from it being a massive expense we hadn’t accounted for, it also meant we were without a working bathroom for almost two months, so we had to constantly go back and forth between family and friends’ houses to use their shower!”


Reflecting on buying a home

The couple were relieved when their first proper night in their new home rolled around, and all the legal struggles seemed worth it. They talked us through their favourite areas of their new home. “We love the living and dining room, it’s so light and airy, plus it opens straight into the garden which makes the whole area feel very spacious. We also love the bathroom though; it’s the only room we’ve completely renovated since we moved in, so it’s totally the style and look we want.”

When buying a home, Amy and Steve had a number of tips.

3 top tips for buying a home:

  1. Don’t get carried away. It’s easy to fall in love with houses that are totally out of your price range and then end up totally disillusioned by the reality of what you can afford. Read Admiral’s guide to house buying fees
  2. Don’t get too stressed during the process, it’s tough but keeping a cool head will be better in the long run. Ease the stress by finding a great solicitor
  3. Plan as much as you can, and always be prepared for the fact that some things might happen that you can’t predict or control- but don’t let unexpected surprises ruin the whole experience.

Read Admiral’s Ultimate Moving Home Checklist, as well as more in our series of home blogs:

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