Five things I learnt buying a house

I’ll start by saying there were definitely more than five learnings throughout the process! But these were key for us in terms of finding the right home.

To start off with I’ll preface this by letting you know we were first time buyers and we were buying in Dubai. I do think though that whilst some things will vary depending on where you’re hoping to buy a property, a lot of the stages of the process will be similar – if not the same.

  1. Location, Location, Location: Kirsty and Phil I absolutely love you both and it kills me to say it….but for us, this wasn’t the case! In fact, it was the opposite. We started our search by agreeing that location was key above all other factors. You can’t move the house once you’ve bought it can you? But you can change things within that might not be to your personal taste. Well, in theory that it correct but once we started our search we realised that it isn’t that simple and a lot of the time you can’t make big changes to the property so you are restricted in ways you might not realise at first. Conclusion? Location to a certain extent is important however, we widened our search area and kept in mind access and this was what was key for us.
  2. We can’t afford to buy: I was starting to wonder if we would ever be able to buy our own house without bankrupting ourselves. The truth is, if you are realistic and disciplined, you can set a goal and with some (a lot of) determination – you can afford to buy. Maybe not straight away, and maybe not your ultimate dream home, but your own space and first step on the property ladder. Conclusion? Do the maths as well as the research. By combining certain factors such as watching the market and knowing when it’s a buyer’s market to forcing yourself to save that little bit extra (it really does all add up) to finding ways to make it work for you – a couple of things that made all the difference for us were a) buying direct from the developer and saving on agent fees as well as Land Department fees (Stamp Duty)
  3. Know what you want before you start looking: Not necessarily. As annoying as it will be for agents/developers who are showing you around, how can you really know what you want until you’ve seen a few options? We ended up buying a very modern design house which wasn’t at all what we had in mind but having looked around a few different styles, we realised the living spaces were more suited to our lifestyle.
  4. Stress levels: Buying a house is one of the most stressful things you will ever do in life. Apparently. Actually I found the big move day itself more stressful than the entire purchase and exchange process. If you’ve done your research and a have a time line in mind (as well as a plan b) then actually, the stress levels are pretty manageable.
  5. Deliveroo: Deliveroo and any other delivery service will become your best friend. Moving is tiring – fact. Moving is time consuming – fact. Moving is actually a full time job….although you already have one of those! Anything that makes life easier the last couple of days before you move and your settling in period basically becomes life. Conclusion? Embrace the takeaway. Or anything that gives you a break and some time out, whether it’s going to your favourite cafe for a coffee or enjoying a drink at home with a book or magazine.

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