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Some good news on the flat-hunting front. I went to view a flat in… - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Jan. 15th, 2004

12:53 am

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Some good news on the flat-hunting front. I went to view a flat in Croydon last night (Tuesday evening), and I liked it. So, I made an offer on it today, which has been accepted. I've now appointed a solicitor, and made a full mortgage application (C&G have already approved it in principle), so things are moving there. It's still provisional at the moment (e.g. I could get gazumped), but it bodes well. If all goes according to plan then I should be able to move in by the end of March.

The flat itself is a 1 bedroom flat over a DIY shop (which makes it cheaper), just round the corner from South Croydon station. The bedroom and lounge are both pretty big, so there should be room for my accumulated junk (although I'll need to measure the width of the staircase to make sure stuff can be carried up there). The kitchen and shower room are smaller, but that's fine for my purposes, since I prefer showers to baths, and I don't tend to cook very elaborate meals. It's a Victorian place, and I have plans to unblock the fireplace in the lounge (currently just boarded up), and put a proper hearth in. But that's not urgent, so it can wait until after I've moved in.

Meanwhile, my graphics card is dying - it can only handle VGA mode, with a low enough refresh rate to give me a headache. So, don't expect much online activity from me over the next week or so until the replacement turns up.


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Date:January 15th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
Wow.. that was quick. I'd advise looking around a bit more, since getting a mortgage on a place is a pretty big decision, and probably worth spending some time on. At the very least, get a good idea of things like how noisy the place gets (we get a lot of noise from the street), rodent or pest problems (we have rats), and see how the DIY shop downstairs affects things (we live over a bookkeeper's and cigarette smoke from there tends to waft up through our floor). It might also be wise to look at water damage both to the flat and to the place downstairs - as we found out after we moved in, leaky bathrooms are a big problem in this place.

Glad to hear you found a possible place, though :) It does sound very nice, and the fireplace just rocks :D
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[User Picture]
Date:January 15th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. This isn't quite as rushed as it may seem - I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for (based on the places I've lived/looked at in the past), and the adverts for sales tend to be better than for renting. E.g. a typical Loot advert for a rented place would say "3 large bedrooms", which is somewhat subjective, whereas the adverts I've been looking at say things like "Bedroom is 12' x 10', lounge is 14' by 10'", so I've been able to do a lot of advance screening. Also, from a logistical point of view, searching for one person is much easier than hunting in a group.

Noise-wise, it looks fairly quiet there (I've wandered around at about 7pm on Saturday evening and Tuesday evening). And one advantage of flat-hunting at this time of year is that I can see how well the heating/insulation seems to work.

Beyond that (thinking of damp etc.), C&G will do a basic survey (a "valuation"), which they use to confirm that the flat is roughly worth the money they're lending me. (This is important to them in case I default on payments and they need to sell the flat to get their money back.) I don't have to pay for that, but I also don't get to see the report - I just hear the bank's decision on the mortgage application. So, if they agree to it, that probably means that there's nothing blatantly wrong with the flat.

There is a more detailed survey that I can have done (a "home buyer's guide"). That costs about 500 quid, and will check for things like rising damp. The estate agent said that lots of people who are buying small/cheap flats don't bother with them, so I need to decide whether I want one. I guess it's probably worth it for peace of mind. Some people say "If you're spending 100,000 quid on a flat, an extra 500 is nothing", but that's a bit misleading, since my deposit is more like 5,000, so the survey is a higher proportion of that. Anyway, I have a few days to think about that.
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Date:January 19th, 2004 12:15 pm (UTC)
Not sure if you'll be allowed an open fire (ie solid fuel burning - gas will be fine) - there are restrictions in London and environs following the clean air act - no doubt you can check on the web somewhere.
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