Friday, 27 January 2017

My journey to becoming a homeowner

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

Like many young people my age, becoming a homeowner is unfortunately no longer a given. In past generations it seemed the be the norm to be able buy a property as soon as you left home, however nowadays the road to your first home isn't always quite so easy, so I thought it might be nice to share with you my journey to becoming a first-time buyer.

I grew up in a cottage in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by fields full of sheep and horses, which almost certainly gave me my love for all things vintage. And although I loved spending my early 20’s living in a city, as I've got older my ultimate dream is to one day be back in the middle of nowhere - in a cottage with a butlers sink, vegetable patch and nothing but the sound of sheep! However, while we're quite a way off that at the moment, I'm still so grateful that we've been able to purchase our own place at all.

When me and my now-husband first started living together, the only option we had was to rent. Although we both had full-time jobs, we had no way of raising that all-important deposit, so buying was off the table. After years of living in the middle of a busy city, surrounded by noisy students, unable to do what we wanted with our flat (I blogged about my struggles personalising a rented home here), we were desperate to own our own place. However, what with paying hundreds of pounds on rent every month, getting together at least £10k for a deposit sadly didn't seem like it was ever going to be close to becoming a reality.

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

However, fate was about to step in. One evening I came home from work to a 'For Sale' sign outside our front door, and needless to say, freaked out. My hubby assured me it must be a mistake, or intended for another property in our cul-de-sac. But a quick phone call to our letting agents confirmed our landlord was indeed selling up, and had simply ‘forgotten to tell us’. We had a month to get out - cue mass panic searching for somewhere else to live. However, due to the fact that I was commuting via train at that point, and needed to be within walking distance of a station, it was slim pickings to say the least, particularly at such short notice. As a last resort we were forced to temporarily move in with the in-laws, whilst still looking for somewhere else to live.

Leaving the place that had become our home was tough (especially when it wasn't your choice to leave!) - I had become accustomed to city life, and having everything this offers right on your doorstep. However, the longer we stayed at the in-laws the more we were able to save, and when I then got a new job closer to home, meaning a train journey was no longer needed, it made more and more sense to use this temporary fix as a way of getting together a deposit and buying our own place.

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

After planning out our expenses to the last penny, and sacrificing on everything we possibly could (no more meals out, or cheeky trips to Topshop!), we worked out we could get together the amount we'd need in about five-six months.

So the search was on! I was initially desperate to return to city life, but financially that just wasn't going to be a possibility - everywhere seemed to be about 100k above our budget! We also looked into the then newly-introduced ‘Help to Buy’ government scheme, however decided against this as it wasn't quite right for our situation at the time.

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

The only option we therefore had was to widen our search, so started looking at properties slightly out of the city. After viewing numerous places that we either too small, too expensive, or got snapped up straight away, we were getting more and more deflated about the whole process, and felt that perhaps our 'perfect first-time home' just wasn't out there.

Then I stumbled across a house on Right Move that, although we'd initially dismissed, thought might actually be worth having a look at. I vividly remember arriving for the viewing, sitting in the car outside waiting for the estate agent and still feeling unsure (mainly because of the area - it's just out of a very small village). However, that changed as soon as we stepped foot inside. Whilst it's a classic first-time buyer property, it had so many features that were missing from all the others we'd looked at, such as a breakfast bar in the kitchen, conservatory, and larger garden that backed onto pretty woodland.

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

We definitely had what I call ‘the feeling’ walking around (I blogged more about this, and what to look for when viewing a property here), and as soon as I opened a door in the master bedroom onto an en-suite we were sold, and made an offer there and then.

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

A nerve-wracking 24 hours later our offer was accepted, and we were finally on our way to becoming homeowners! There then followed a LONG and frustrating process, which involved our exchange, completion and move-in dates being pushed back numerous times, however we eventually got the keys at the end of July.

Then the real work began! We've worked really hard to transform the house into our home, which unfortunately involved redecorating every single room. And whilst it’s not my dream country cottage forever home, I’d like to think it’s slightly closer to that on the inside than the day we moved in!

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

You might like to have a look at some of my room transformation posts here (I'd recommend having a look at the lounge makeover at least - that was certainly the room we started with anyway!).

My journey to becoming a homeowner from

Thanks for reading,
Sam Xx


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