Update your blog! The voice in my head shouts about once a month. And as you can see from the post below it's been much more than 30 days since anything's been added - contrary to the nagging voice.
I've finally made it onto the housing ladder and bought my first flat.
Even with my organisation skills I still underestimated the task of dealing with solicitors, banks and furniture stores, but I'm there. I'm in and almost sorted.
Where have I moved?
Teignmouth. A dramatic 3 miles away from my previous residence in Dawlish. It's like Dawlish, but more seasidey and less prone to dramatic sea wall collapses.
Anything else that's changed?
Not really. I'm still working in Exeter, still blogging and generally doing everything else I did previously. I do now get to be involved in proper adult conversations about mortgage rates and bin collections. I imagine the novelty will wear off on this pretty quickly.
Why the hell are you telling us this?
Because throughout the process, the same voice that keeps reminding me to blog also keeps wondering why the process of moving is so stuck in its ways. So, here's two loosely based marketing things which if you're:
- A) A Solicitor
- B) Someone whose services or products could be sold to first time buyers...
You should really read on.
Often the bane of people's lives, without gloating the solicitors I picked actually turned out to be surprisingly efficient, friendly and useful. But finding them was a complete shot in the dark.
As I've not been in this part of the world for long, I literally went through the first set of results in Google to find solicitors. The quotes I got for conveyancing were so similar that they had to be ruled out by other means which included:
Trying to obtain quotes on a Saturday. This ruled 6 of them out automatically as phoning them led to an automatic answer phone.
Lesson 1: I'm busy. The weekend is when I can get the most of my moving done. So, if you're not available on a Saturday, you're not getting my business.
Trying to obtain quotes on weekday lunchtimes. They were all out at lunch. That meant they were crossed off the list.
Lesson 2: I get it - even solicitors need to eat. But if your clients only have lunch breaks to phone you then putting your answer phone on doesn't make communication easy. Ruled out.
The next solicitor’s website didn't even make it clear that they even did conveyancing.
Lesson 3: Make it super, super clear the services you offer. Ideally a page a service. I don't have the time to rifle through pages of copy to see what you may or may not do.
The next solicitor didn't clearly list their location
Lesson 4: Make sure you make it super clear where you're based and how I can reach you. Ironically, working in Exeter meant it was actually easier to use a solicitor up there rather than Dawlish or Teignmouth because I couldn't reach others in their opening hours.
Lesson 5: Finally, mention that you’re friendly and professional. Now I know that they're buzzwords. Anyone could write them on any site. But expanding on this with a decent 'About Us' section finally sealed the deal. And that's how I decided on my solicitor.
First Time Buyer Mortgages
Next on the list is mortgage providers, who again did a pretty decent job at getting everything sorted.
I even got this awesome welcome pack from Halifax when I arrived. It had wine, crisps, picture hooks and a screwdriver set. Whoever works in the marketing department - hats off to you. You got me through some very hungry moments.
Alongside the eating, I've had a serious amount of buying to do. It's probably been the most amount of money I've ever spent in a 2 week period. I've needed everything. Beds, crockery, lightbulbs and a bucket. You name it I've probably bought it.
But if I was a retailer, I'd be trying to get in front of these people, yet there weren't any 'first time buyer' discounts. I'd assume this was because they simply didn't know. But if you know there's a customer out there, who needs what you sell and everything that might accompany it (bed, mattress, pillows, duvet sets for example) then why would you not want to tap into that.
Lesson: I don't have one, but if you can get in front of people at key stages in their life with relevant products and services its worth spending some time trying to target these people.
The voice in my head is also aware of all the other things I need to catch up on, so I'm in the process of drawing up posts on recent trips to BrightonSEO and DigitalExeter, both of which deserve some attention.