I am 30 years old and have always lived in a house share. If you didn’t gasp with shock, you should, because living with a load of strangers (and friends at times!) sucks. It’s all fun and games till someone nicks your cheese or leaves a hairy mess in the shower. A housemate we had last year (I won’t name names, but he looked a bit like Ryan Gosling which is why I think he was let in in the first place), would throw out plates and glasses (he didn’t pay for surprisingly), instead of washing them up! Lazy sod – still makes me angry!
My boyfriend and I have been together for over 10 years and feel its more than about time we live alone. BUT, we live in London, and in London you have a choice. You can either a) rent your own flat and spend at least £1,200 or b) live in a shared house and spend about £600-800 for a room depending on the area, which would leave you money to save up a deposit.
We decided pretty early on, that we would try and buy if possible as I really don’t like the idea of handing over more than a grand to a filthy rich landlord. So we pay £750 between us now for our one room, in a house of six, which means we can save up for a deposit. Three years later, after faffing around saving (frankly, we weren’t very good at it for a long time), we have a decent deposit, and thought, why not!
The bit where I admit I don’t know what I’m doing
Thought you were going to get expert advice on buying a house eh? Oh no – not from me, I’m totally clueless, so I did my usual and asked Twitter!
Twitter, as usual, is full of amazing people who have experience I don’t and got the advice to start looking at flats (to see what kind of thing we want and what we don’t), and to contact a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker is a professional who will ask you about your finances to find out what you can afford, and then find the best mortgages out there for you. Though, its wise to check out what deals you can find yourself too – just incase!
Now, the big mortgage broker question is, do you go with a small broker who can give you lots of attention, or a big one who looks after thousands of applicants? I don’t know the answer, but you can choose between a free one (they will get commission though) and one that charges a fee. Also be aware that some cover the whole of the market, while others don’t. Do your research. I have looked at reviews and have recommendations, and decided to talk to the ultimate big boy – London and Country (although haven’t 100% decided if we actually proceed yet) – and have got a decision in principle.
If you have strong feelings on what kind of mortgage broker you should use, please let me know in the comments. Anyone you recommend?
The flat viewing
I’ve spent years looking at potential houses online (and ones that were never going to happen), as well as being obsessed with such shows as Location, Location, Location. I even applied to be on the show, because I trust Kirsty and Phil to help me. Spending this much money on something is terrifying. But nope, the show never got back to me! I promise we’ll argue and be good TV!
So I just got to the point where I thought, sod it. Lets arrange some viewings with some properties and inquired. That very next day we got a million bloody phone calls from estate agents and was booked in to view two properties that evening! ARGH! GROWN UP STUFF!
We were shown around two flats in the Southfields area of London and to be honest, could see myself in both. The thing is, I’ve never really lived anywhere nice before (apart from my parents of course). From student housing, straight into dodgy house shares with mold and peeling paint. So is that normal? If you see a house that’s ok (and this is London, there isn’t a lot out there for the money we have), do we just go with it? The estate agent has panicked me a bit saying that it will go soon. So how do you know when do you pounce?
Also, we couldn’t have been more than three minutes in each flat looking around. Is that it?! That’s all the time you get to decide if you’re going to drop hundreds of thousands of pounds on a property. Sure, I know you get to go back for a second look (cheers Kirsty and Phil), but even then. Doesn’t seem enough time for such a big decision!
Will keep you updated! Please do let me know if you have any tips.
Want some deals?