I can’t believe it has been a year since my boyfriend and I moved into our new house! This is the first house we have bought previously; we rented a flat for two years. We officially got the keys on the 26th June 2016.
A Brief History
I moved 30 miles away from my parents to live with my boyfriend, so we decided to rent to make sure I settled in ok. The flat we lived in previously had three bedrooms; we had a flatmate for the majority of the time which wasn’t ideal.
We always had lots of problems with our flat and estate agents. The main problem was THE DAMP, and the reluctance of anyone to do anything about it! The mould was especially bad in our flatmate’s room: he has asthma, and it made him very ill, forcing him to move out. Oh, and we didn’t have any heating most of the time! We lived upstairs, and there was a family downstairs- it was one big house turned into two flats.
We then decided enough was enough. We never went house hunting, the house just kind of found us (things happen for a reason!). We had looked on Rightmove a couple of times just to give us an example of what was available and the price in our town, but that’s it. Then one day my boyfriend mentioned the new housing estate in town; we had a look online, and that same afternoon we went to speak to a sales representative about the houses. The rest is history!
How I Saved To Buy A House
I started my first job when I was 15; I used to be a waitress in a pub after school and in the evenings. From a young age, I was taught the value of money and the importance of saving. I made a rule for myself; I decided to save all my wages and only spend my tip money. When I completed 6th form and started my first full-time job as a chef, my parents just charged me a small amount of rent, so I was still able to save 80% of my earnings.
My parents were always careful with their money and never overspent, so that got passed down to me. Whilst I was living at home, I only bought what I NEEDED so that I could save the majority of my money. I always knew I wanted to buy a house one day- that goal kept me going! My boyfriend wasn’t so lucky though; he wasn’t taught the value of money and the importance of saving. This left me on my own to pay the house deposit.
I get a paid a little over the minimum wage, but I still managed to buy a house- I am very proud! It can be done, people- save more, spend less!
The Experience Of Buying A House
Like I said at the start, we didn’t plan to buy a house, it just kind of happened. I think if we had been looking at houses for a long time, then I would have found it more stressful. I am an anxious person, so I think I would have over-thought the whole process and found it overwhelming, but as it happened so quickly I didn’t have a chance to over think things.
The house we bought was a bran on a brand new housing estate: we started the process in February 2016- the house hadn’t even been built yet! We decided to go for a shared ownership scheme: we own 75% and orbit housing own 25%. I won’t go into details about how this works, but the property is leasehold; we are exempt from paying ground rent.
As we were first time buyers, we were offered an incentive of £10,000 to be spent on the house, or to go towards the deposit.
We decided to put the money towards the house: we had carpets laid, turf laid, shower installed, and many more things, so the house was ready for us to move into. In hindsight, we should have had the money for the deposit: my Dad is very good at laying carpets and general DIY so he could have done it cheaper, but we were in a hurry to get out of the smelly, mouldy and cold flat!
When it came to all the legal stuff, the sales representatives were very helpful; everything was pretty much done for us. We had a mortgage broker to sort things out because not many mortgage providers accept shared ownership arrangements. I got a bit stressed out about the whole process (who wouldn’t), but everything was well explained, and we had lots of help.
Our house is on the end of a terrace of 4 houses, and we have two car parking spaces. We have a front and back garden: there is plenty of room to extend our kitchen and have a porch if ever wanted to, and there is room to extend out the back or get a conservatory (always thinking ahead!). We have two bedrooms; our room is the one out the front, and the spare room is a man cave at the moment!
We obviously had furniture and homeware in our flat, but we decided to get rid of it all and start again (most of the furniture was falling apart, and homeware was mouldy). Sooo, we had a lot of stuff to buy! We bought the most important things first like a washing machine, fridge freezer, dining table, sofa and bed. The kitchen units and the cooker were included with the house, and so was the bathroom suite. There is a cupboard in our bedroom, so we put a wardrobe frame in there. We then bought the remainder of the furniture and turned our attention to homeware.
I feel like it takes a long time to make a house a home; it is still quite a blank canvas at the moment. I have a colour scheme each room, but still working on it! I’d say our house is 70% completed; I’m giving my bank card a break at the moment! Here is a little list of I need/need doing…
- Tiles needed in kitchen above sink, and walls need to be painted a sage green colour
- Herb canvas prints need to be hung in kitchen
- A little shelf is required for additional storage
- Copper coloured lights needed in hallway
- Plant table needed in hallway
- It would be nice to have pictures of the staircase wall
- Large grey rug need in living room to go under dining table; then the yellow one can go under the footstall
- A second small sofa
- Walls in living room need to be painted pale yellow
- Net curtain rail needed in bedroom
- A feature wall needs to be wallpapered in bedroom
- Some shelves and canvas pictures required in bedroom
- EVERYTHING needs to be done in the garden!!
We couldn’t be happier with our little house! I take a lot of pride in my house, and I like to keep it clean and tidy at all times. Owning a property is so much nicer than renting because you can design your home however you wish. I like the security of having a new house because it’s unlikely you’ll have any expensive building repairs to make (we have a 10-year building warranty). I’m glad we made a move when we did, because the price of houses in this area have already increased considerably.
Let me know about your housing situation: do you live with family? are you renting? Have you got a mortgage?