How to buy your first house

Buy them. Buy them all!

On Thursday, I had never viewed a house in my life. This morning, we posted the papers to some solicitors requesting to buy one. This, therefore, is my infallible, 12-step guide to becoming an instant home-owner:

1. Buy the first house you look at on the same day you first see it. This saves time and effort.

2. Speculatively offer to buy that house for less than the owners want, and without a mortgage of any sort in place. This makes negotiations more exciting.

3. Offer to buy the house the afternoon before you go to Valencia on a stag weekend. This focusses the mind.

4. Make sure you also have a short-notice job interview in a different city the next morning. This stops you spending too much time thinking about house-buying.

5. Arrange to meet the couple selling the house on the evening you first see it. Make sure that at least one of the couple's parents has written a geological textbook. Ideally, make sure they have also owned a house you used to live in.

6. When you tentatively make an offer for the house, make sure that the estate agents want EVERYTHING sorting out the next day, when you will be in a different city and then a different country. This removes the need for protracted negotiations.

7. Leave everything to your other half to sort out frantically the next day, including arranging a mortgage over the phone, finding a solicitor, and chasing the estate agents.

8. Once your other half has brilliantly sorted out all this in one day, make sure that the estate agents don't clarify what's going on by the end of that day, so that she can spend the weekend worrying that the deal isn't happening whilst you're boozing it up in the Valencian sunshine.

9. At the start of the next week, once you're both briefly in the same city again, misplace at least a couple of documents that are vital to finalizing the agreement to buy the house.

10. The next morning, post off your acceptance of the agreement anyway.

11. Then stick up this blog post before anything has been finally finalized, guaranteeing by public declaration that the whole deal will fall through. Possibly because a wind farm is dangerously close by, or a Cold War bunker.

12. Sit back, relax, and become a property magnate.