House-y folk, are we in for the long haul? Okay, this is going to be a lengthy one, but I’ve tried to split things into sections to keep it simple. Essentially, this is going to be ‘My Story’ of buying a house, but that sounded way too naff a title. But yeah, I’ve had loads of questions about buying a place and thought it’d be a good way to cover things off. I did the whole thing on my own, and while I don’t want to keep patting myself on the back tooo much, I am pretty proud of that.
And a year or so back, I had absolutely no idea how the bloody hell I’d do it. Yep, I was getting there with savings and knew it was what I wanted, but it also sounded like the most confusing thing ever. Hopefully, some of this may help anyone who’s needing a little girl power (or guy power actually!) for getting on the property ladder. Kirsty Alsopp hat on…
I know, it’s something I’ll forever struggle with, but getting your shit together helps. I was pretty settled on the idea of buying on my own, but I did have to do some research into the whole thaaang – what I wanted, what I could actually afford and what the heck a Mortgage in Principle was. Starting out at the bank is a good place, as they’ll give you a much clearer idea about all of this. If you need a dummies’ guide, tell them, and they’ll make sure you know your stuff.
Post-asking the Halifax man absolutely everrrything, I did some boring budgeting… Trying to work out what I’d be spending a month, including whether or not I can still keep up nail appointments. Lol. It’s all pretty dull, but if you’re an avid list writer like me then you can find some enjoyment in it! I used the app Bobby a lot and still keep it on my phone to keep track – it allows you to input all your outgoing payments so you know exactly what you’re going to be spending a month.
SORTING YOUR SAVINGS
My house deposit was all my own money, putting down roughly 20%. It was something that took me a good couple of years to save up, but really – don’t ever think you can’t do it! It wasn’t like I lived on toast for two years, but I did save a lot of money in a reasonable amount of time, with a few sacrifices (curbing my ZARA spending was a good thing…).
My main help though was living at home. Yup, it’s not an option for everyone, but if you can make it through at your ‘rents’ house without killing each other then it’s worth it. I didn’t pay board, but my mum knew I was keen to move out and knew I could be sensible with money.
Another big thing was choosing to put the absolute maximum I could afford into my savings each month. On a standard graduate wage, I managed to stick about £1000 a month into my ISA. It was a big chunky of my income, but that amount adds up so quickly. Whenever I needed money, I’d dip into it, but the bulk would be left behind. I think the challenge of it kept me going!
Alongside this, and as a general life thing, I think it’s huuugely beneficial to try make sure you’ve got more than one source of income. Not only is this good in the long run if anything goes tits up, but it’s a real help with savings. I saw any earnings from my blog as payment for my house… An extra to top up my deposit fund. Even if it’s just selling a few bits & bobs on Depop, it all helps out.
A final thing I’d recommend is a Help to Buy account. It was a little too late for me (I started looking into it as I was looking at houses) but it’s something that can be really beneficial. I’ve told most my friends to set one up… Even if you’ve no plans to buy – just use it as a savings account, and if you do ever need it, you can end up with a good lump sum to go towards your first home.
GETTING OVER THE ‘ADULTY’ STUFF
The bit that scared me. I didn’t know what a fixed term mortgage was or even how I went about transferring the money. To be honest, it still blows my mind a little, but even as clueless as I am, I got there in the end. I managed on the essential info, then ambled through with the rest of it.
When my offer was first accepted, one of the first things I did was create a ‘Mortgage Stuff’ section in my Filofax… The least adulty way to approach something really grown up. Here I noted my basic timeline of what happens when – from offer acceptance to getting the keys. I had no idea about any of this, so just getting my head around it made things a lot less daunting.
Another thing that really helped was a friend who gave me the full range of documents she’d acquired while buying a place. If you have got someone who’ll let you have a nosey at all this stuff then it really gives you an insight as to what you need, what you’ll be receiving and in what order.
Kayyy, so in August I’ll have had my place a year, which has flown by. For a good 5 months we were renovating top to bottom, so prepare yourself for that if you’re taking on a project… There will always be more work than you thought!
If you are doing work on your place, try collect together some contacts for whatever you’re having done while the sale goes through. That’s one thing I wish I’d done, as I spent a lot of time trying to find plumbers and plasterers and people to stick lights up. Blehhh.
It’s also good to have a proper think about the order in which you do stuff. With the full renovation, there are loads of things I’d have done slightly differently – stripping the bathroom back to brick post painting the house interior white was one of them. I think I’m still hoovering up dust.
Right – overview done! There’s so much to think of when it comes to buying (especially when you’re doing it on your own) but the main thing I want to say is that you can do it. Whether you’re with someone or not, super sussed out with this thing or completely clueless, it’s possible and you’ll get there. I’m from a background where I’ve definitely had to work hard for it, but it pays off in the end and you feel more proud than ever!