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My Top Tips For First Time Buyers

March 14, 2018
Everyone says that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do...no one seems to mention just how much of a mind-boggling minefield it can be as a first time buyer.

To try and lessen future first time buyers woes I've pulled together a list of all the tips and advice we've been given along the way and nuggets of info I wish we had known before we set out.

1.    If you're renting make sure you have a bank account and your driving license registered to your rented property address (you can actually get a pretty hefty fine for not having your driving license registered to your address). We were lazy and thought staying registered at our parents' was easier as then post would just go home instead of having to keep changing our addresses. It literally takes a 5 minute visit either to your local branch or account online to change your bank account address and will save you so much agro further down the line. 

2.    For the love of Christmas, make sure your address is identical on every document you need to provide. We have the most annoying address that seems to be listed differently on every single website ie Top floor flat, flat b, flat 2 or TTP...Just to keep things interesting. Basically the first line of your address and postcode must be an identical match for each proof of address that you send. If you live in a flat make sure you (and your partner if you're buying together) agree a set way of writing your address and then stick with it till death/end of tenancy do you part.

First time buyer tips isa help to buy house buying advice address proof of harry potter letter gif
3.    We had so many people recommend London & Country to us as mortgage brokers and they have been an absolute God send PLUS...NO FEES! That's right, an amazing broker...for free! They collect their fee from the bank instead of your pockets. They've been a massive help in explaining why some deals we thought were the best don't work for us or are actually more expensive due to cheeky hidden fees from the lender (cheeky cheeky). Thanks to them we've saved over £800 off our mortgage in our first 2 years which is amazing news when you're also saving up for a wedding and honeymoon! Holla being able to feed an extra 20 wedding guests!

4.    Solicitor or conveyancer? Hands up who has no effing clue what the difference is?

First time buyer tips isa help to buy house buying advice solictor conveyancer
After a quick Google it became quite clear that unless you are doing some fancy arse complicated selling/buying which lets face it most first time buyers aren't then your best going with a conveyancer. The best explanation I found is that a solicitor is a Jack of all trades kind of lawyer and dabbles in many forms of law whereas a conveyancer is a specialist property lawyer. Conveyancers are also easier to reach *apparently* as they are office based unlike solicitors who will often take on matrimony work or personal injury cases so will be in and out of court. And finally solicitors are likely to charge by the hour and want to meet face to face whereas conveyancers often charge a flat fee and you don't need to meet them face to face so business can be conducted via email or telephone.

5.    This brings me into my final point: HomeOwners Alliance. It's like compare the market or confused.com but to help you find a conveyancer for a fixed price. You just pop in your property details and voila a list of conveyancers, their fees and their rating from previous clients. Literally a life saver when you have next to no idea on how to get started when it comes to finding a conveyancer. Obviously make sure you pay attention to their review or rating from past clients as this is the most expensive transaction you have probably made so far so you want to make sure the people conducting it on your behalf are competent in their work.

6.    Use all and any government incentives you can for first time buyers. The Help To Buy ISA will give you 25% of what you put in each month up to £200. That's an extra £50 a month! Bear in mind that there is a cap on the value of the house you can use this ISA on £250k for outside London and £450k for in London. You can also combine these ISAs so if you're buying with someone else make sure you both set up a help to buy ISA and that's an extra £100 if you each put £200 a month into your ISAs.


First time buyer tips isa help to buy house buying
7.    Finally when putting in an offer never underestimate the power you have by being a first time buyer. Go in under the asking price, haggle for appliances, the curtains and hey even their cat if you take a fancy to it. You have no chain...that's a seller’s dream...use that power for the good of your bank account.

Hopefully some of these points will help you navigate the maze that is being a first time buyer. I know it’s stressful, believe me I’m in the middle of it, but just think of the end goal, that little place in the world that is all yours.

Good luck x

Disney Holiday & Proposal

October 24, 2017

Disney proposal video orlando world florida engagement video youtube holiday
I know I've already banged on about Disney World and what I will forever very biased-ly call 'THE BEST PROPOSAL EVER'. If you have somehow missed me banging on about it and have no idea what I'm talking about have a browse here to read the full story.

At the start of this year I made a New Year's Resolution to make a video to document each holiday we go on. I was in the middle of doing our Paris video when we went to Disney World and then I obviously dropped that project and got all caught up in wedding planning, venues and dresses. It took an age but I finally got round to putting together our Disney World Holiday video. There were quite a few tears making this not going to lie, happy tears but still a lot. Let me know what you think in the comments below, hope you like it!

Tourists in London - Duck Tours

August 13, 2017

Duck Tours London Tourists day out boat bus
I don't know if it's just me but I love love love being a tourist in my own city. So when Duck Tours offered me free tickets to go on their Duck Tour Bus I jumped at the chance, so did Fiancé Knowles and my flat mate and her boyfriend!
I've been on a Duck Tour before in Branston in America and it was awesome. I was a bit worried that the novelty factor of driving a massive yellow bus into the water would lose its effect but really didn't need to! The only difference was that this time I kept watching the side, you know just in case a tidal wave should decide to rear its head and soak us all.
Duck Tours London Tourists day out boat bus sightseeing
Taking the tour in the city I love so much actually added more novelty. I thought I knew London, thought I knew the ins and outs...I was wrong. The Tour guide was full of insightful facts and stories...as well as awful dad jokes to keep us all entertained.
Duck Tours London Tourists day out boat bus sightseeing
We were definitely a mixed bus of tourists, Londoners, children, parents, couples, grandparents and a ‘lovely’ loud America who made it her business to make it known whenever she missed just one word of whatever the tour guide said (made all the more annoying when it meant him repeating one of the awful dad jokes I previously mentioned).
Duck Tours London Tourists day out boat bus sightseeing
The blogger and Instagram obsessive in me loved the different view of London from the Thames once we set sail. Once my brain eventually accepted that the bus was in fact able to float and ‘drive’ on water I really enjoyed the Thames portion of the experience. Just a word of warning it goes against all your instincts to begin with and my whole body was literally screaming abandon ship while replaying that scene from The Office US where Micheal drives into the lake. Thankfully the most drama we saw on our trip was the closing of a bridge resulting in a slight detour.

Duck Tours London Tourists day out boat bus sightseeing
If you get the chance definitely do give Duck Tours a go. Great for showing visiting relatives round London without having to get them to walk everywhere and you learn loads along the way. Below are just a few of the facts I learnt on my day with Duck Tours:
  1. 1. The flag that flies outside Buckingham Palace when the Queen is in residency is the size of a tennis court
  2. 2. In 2007 it was made illegal to break into Buckingham Palace after Micheal Fagan did so...twice!
  3. 3. Intricate lion heads line the Thames wall to help mitigate flooding they are the source of the saying ‘When London stinks the Lions drink’
  4. 4. It is possible to get the door man of the Ritz to crack a smile if you quack at him loud enough
  5. 5. You will feel like a prize idiot quacking around London
  6. 6. At its fastest the Thames moves at 6 knots an hour, thankfully the Duck Tour Bus/Boat moves faster!
  7. 7. The city of London used to close around 9pm and if you got stuck you'd have to pay a small fee to a boat to carry you across as there weren't many boats. Often half way across the less trustworthy boats would normally stop and demand more money to carry you the rest of the way safely
  8. 8. Loud Americans are annoying but being typically British resulted in some stern tutting and eye rolling from us and nothing more.
 We had a great time on the Duck Tour and it's definitely something i would recommend to all ages especially tourists and wannabe tourists!

My Travel Wish List

August 08, 2017

I seem to constantly be on Instagram or Facebook or twitter getting jealous of where people are travelling or on holiday and the same thought always crosses my mind...I need to add that to the list.

So here it is my, in no way definitive, travel wish list of the places I want to visit one day.

Croatia - Fabsickle recently went there and her blog on her travels has made me want to go even more!

Hawaii - this is where I've got my heart set on going for our honeymoon.

The Floating Light Festival - this is held in May every year in Hawaii, unfortunately our honeymoon will be in September so it gets its own entry as I'll have to go back for that!

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi - this one actually pops up on Pinterest all the time and from the first time I read about it it's been on my list. I mean if it's good enough for Shay Mitchell then it's good enough for me! You can even take a virtual tour here.

 

 Lake Como - I nearly managed to convince my mum and sister to go there last year but then pesky costs got in the way and we changed our destination...damn you bank balance!

Thailand - not to go to stroke heavily sedated tigers or ride beaten elephants but to explore all the islands and beaches. There's also a really great elephant sanctuary in Chaing Mai that a friend of mine visited that sounds too perfect for words.

Venice - cheap prosecco, pizza, gelato and gondolas everywhere, did I miss anything?

Canada - it’s been on my list for quite a while and is getting more and more prominent...might even make an appearance in the honeymoon if we're lucky. 

 

All the Disney Parks - as you may know Disney holds a special place in my heart, here's the reason if you didn't. What self-respecting adult wouldn't want to visit all the parks?!

Berlin - I actually have family there and yet have never gone. Think I'll avoid it in the winter though, I'm not built for the cold.

LA - after spending my teens watching 'Laguna Beach' and 'The Hills' I feel I owe it to myself to follow in LC’s footsteps.

Singapore - I just want to stand under those trees...you know which ones I mean.



Philippines - have you seen the beaches?! A friend of mine went a few years ago and since seeing his pictures it's been a firm favourite on my wish list.

Bali - firstly it looks like Instagram heaven, secondly it looks like my kind of heaven!

Iceland - Northern lights and the Blue Lagoon

Lapland - SANTA!!!

Sydney - so I saw an episode of Modern Family where they climbed the bridge...that I want to do that.



Northern Ireland - Giant’s Causeway looks like it was designed not a cause of nature. I have to go see it for myself!

Vietnam - I have no idea, I just need to go there, be there and explore.

Maldives - I went a while ago but I'd love to go back before global warming does its thing and floods them all. The coral is incredible and snorkelling in Maldives in the rain is a memory I will always treasure.


So there you have it my Top 20 on my Travel Wish List. I wonder how many I can cross off on our honeymoon.

What's on your Travel Wish List?
 
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