Understand Your Position // The House Diaries

This is the first in my new series: The House Diaries! Anyone who knows me vaguely probably knows how ready I am to move my bum into my own house. I have probably been ready to move out since before I went to university, and every year since then I am more and more ready. I struggle living at home with my parents due to the lack of space, freedom and privacy, and for my mental health and well-being, it is really clear that I need to live in my own space doing my own life things.

To start out, I am a university student, student paramedic and have multiple jobs although currently (early 2019) I am in a rubbish position because I am in the process of changing jobs, but my old job finished a month ago and its taken months for my new job to start so I am majorly struggling for income. I am in a long term relationship with my boyfriend who is in the process of qualifying with a teacher and he currently has a teaching bursary and a contract ready for next year. We are both quite low maintenance, the only thing we regularly pay for is our gym memberships and we are really good at saving money. So that is where we stand life wise.

We had decided that we did not want to rent as renting in England is expensive and like throwing money straight down the drain. In a lot of cases (especially where we want to live and with our restrictions) it would be cheaper to pay monthly for a mortgage than for rent on a house. We spent lots and lots of time looking at online mortgage calculators to find that technically we could get a mortgage so we put it off for a while due to being super busy, then we went to speak to the mortgage adviser based at our building society.

Basically because I had just changed jobs and in my new job I was no longer self-employed (I have been self employed for the majority of my work for almost 3 years) the money I was earning meant nothing as my new contract was zero hours. So I have and still do earn over the tax threshold (and have done for 3 years) but this means absolutely nothing when trying to get a mortgage. The amount they offered was what we expected if it was worked out on me being self employed, but there was no way around it.

What we did learn is that the amount we had saved for our deposit was really good. She was impressed (seeing that I am just 21 and my boyfriend is just 22) and basically our deposit is what we would need for quite an expensive house in the future, so that is really good. We have our deposit in high interest savings accounts (which I will go into on another post) and although the interest rates are not great, we are earning a couple of hundred pounds every year by just having our money in a good place.

So it was back to the drawing board. After realising that being a university student is not the problem (as so many people said to me that it would be) but actually it was just the poor timing of changing jobs, we needed another plan. We have looked into renting again, as the issue with renting is usually people begin to rent then decide to save, however we have already saved (and will do our best to keep saving) so we are in a better position. I know there are other mortgage providers but this got us thinking and we really do not want to stretch ourselves too far especially as being a home owner is expensive and can be really expensive when things go wrong. When we thought about it, I really liked the idea of having a year where we can get a few items of furniture and get used to running a house, and if something breaks (like the boiler) it is not on us to pay for it. The mortgage adviser said that once I have a contract as a paramedic (which should be roughly in a year), we will be well on track for getting a house. This means that we have a year where we need to find somewhere to live. We have some time to move out as obviously we still have rooms with our parents, but we need to find somewhere cheap enough so that we can save, but it has to fit our lifestyle (aka a garage for my motorbike and a garden for our boat).

We have plans this weekend to speak to all the letting agents in our area so we can get ourselves on the list for looking for a house. This is important to us as we see how quickly houses get rented out where we live as there is a high demand and short supply. We do check Rightmove regularly to get an idea of what is going (currently 3 flats and that is it) and we also plan to put a feeler out on our local facebook page asking if there are any private lets going (which hopefully should be cheaper as there are less fees associated with it).

The take home from my post is that you need to understand the position you are in and be realistic. I would love to move into my own house, but we just cannot do that right now. What we do know is that we have a good deposit and good income so renting would be viable for a year or two until we find what we like. Sometimes the option you have to take up is not the one you really want, but that it okay because if it fits at the time and still makes you happy (and is sensible) you really should not be putting your life on hold forever (life is short and be happy). If we did not have a deposit saved then this would likely be a different story. It is really important to be realistic with what you can afford vs what you want, and also to be sensible when it comes to money. If you spend quite a lot, there need to be a decision on what is more important, items or a home? The good news is that once you are realistic with your lifestyle, you can get excited to making steps towards buying a home (even if you are planning for years down the line).



The House Diaries Series
Understand Your Position
Optimise Your Savings Part 1

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