UK Lifestyle and Interiors Blog

Interiors, lifestyle, arts and culture blog by award-winning writer, Nicole Mullen

Five things I wish I'd known before buying my first home

Buying your first home is, without doubt, one of life’s big achievements. The internet is saturated with advice and tips on getting your foot on the property ladder, but what about the little things that nag you weeks (heck, sometimes months) down the line? Read on for five things I really wish I’d known as a first time buyer…

Check everything - even the fridge

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of viewing the perfect home. Those marble bathroom accessories? Swoon! The hall table? Lust-worthy! It’s worth remembering, however, that most of the things you’ve fallen in love with are going with the previous owners on their new venture. So, before you stroke that table, or add those accessories to your mental shopping list, be sure to inspect the boring things. I learnt this the hard way when, upon moving into my first flat, I discovered the extractor hood didn’t work; the integrated fridge was, quite literally, falling apart, and the boiler was on its last legs. These are all things to consider when putting in an offer on that dream home.

Really research the area

It’s all fine and well having a brand spanking new kitchen, but did you know that the dump is within smelling distance? Or that plans are in place for a giant development to be built opposite you - meaning, potentially, years’ worth of noise and disruption? Again, it’s often the boring things that are overlooked amongst the thrill of buying a house for the first time. Repeat after me: boring things are important things.

Tumble dryers are your friend

This is especially true when buying a property with a tiny square footage. There are only so many radiators in one home, and so much a hairdryer can do when frantically attempting to dry the shirt that’s still damp from last night’s laundry. Whilst heated drying racks are amazing, they quickly lose their appeal when taking up valuable space in your home office. Plus, they only hold so much, and you might find yourself hanging bedsheets over the breakfast bar because, quite frankly, there’s nowhere else to put them. For those short on space, it’s worth investing in a washer/dryer. And, for those blessed with a utility room? Buy a good tumble dryer. The fancy marble table can wait…

Art is great, but it needs a place on the wall

There are currently thirteen framed pictures on my office floor. A year in, and I still haven’t found a place for them. If wall space is tight, think twice about buying yet another pretty picture. And, even if it isn’t, it’s worth considering everything else that’s going on in your home. Ask yourself the following before you buy that 50cm x 70cm Kate Moss print:

  1. Where will it actually go?

  2. Will it coordinate with other prints in the same space?

  3. Will it suit the current/planned decor?

  4. Will I still love it in a years’ time?

Perhaps, if I’d asked myself these questions, I wouldn't be battling for precious floor space in a room that is already turning out to be part-home-office, part-dumping-ground-for-stuff-I-don’t-need.

Don’t accept everything the previous owners offer to leave behind

So, the previous owners have kindly offered to leave a few bits behind to “get you started” - in exchange for a small amount of cash, of course. ‘Great!’ you think, before thanking them profusely for their generosity. Now, it goes without saying, that a kettle and toaster set are a handy thing to have when you’re first settling in and spending large sums of money on more important items such as, you know, a sofa. What isn’t quite so handy? Having to dismantle the broken wardrobe left behind in the spare room, along with attempting to fit it in the boot of your car on its inevitable trip to the dump. If the previous owners do offer to leave some things behind, be sure to ask exactly what it is they’re leaving; agree on what you need, and negotiate the best possible price - after all, you’re saving them time and money on removals.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before buying your first home? Let me know in the comments, below. And, don’t forget to follow me on my journey of making my first house a home over at @flatonthefishquay.