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5 Years of Home Ownership

Five years and 1 month ago, Grant and I purchased our very first home together. It wasn't the romantic buyers dream you might envision of a young couple buying a home. We had possibly the worlds smallest buyers funds and we didn't the opportunity to be picky in any way at all. In fact we could only afford two houses in our entire town. Yes, just two.



Fives years back, I was 20 and Grant was 23. We both earned minimum wage, we had been renting for a year and we had struggled with balancing a poor income, saving for a future and paying all the bills. It was a rough and miserable year. We even sacraficed decent meals just to add a little extra into the pot. After a year of saving we had acquired just £6000. In terms of buying a house, this is not a great deal of money and nearly everyone I know buying a house is trying to save a figure many many times that. We were desperate to buy somewhere whilst house prices were low, so that we could actually have the chance to own a home. This purchase was more than just wanting to own some bricks and mortar, it was a way to relieve our finances slightly and give us a better chance in life to have financial stability, despite our crap jobs.

It was 2011 and out of the two houses we viewed and could afford, we didn't like either of them. But of course, we bought one anyway. Beggers can't be choosers, y'know. We spent just £3500 on the deposit, taking out the highest rate mortgage you've ever seen! Lenders were particularly iffy about lending and to have even found a lender whom offered a mortgage on just a 5% deposit was a freaking miracle in itself. The rest of our money went on solicitors fees and buying a few essentials such as a fridge, washing machine and vacuum. It was soon gone, but we had bought a house!

Our home buying process was absolutely nothing like what you might see on Location, Location, Location. We had absolutely no specifications whatsoever, other than it must be a house with some amount of outdoor space for the dog. We didn't care how many rooms, we didn't care where it was, we didn't care what it looked like inside, we just didn't care.

In a world where we put so much emphasis on owning the best things, handbags, interior items, cars and houses alike, we were greatly laughed at by anyone and everyone for this house. It had a lot of issues and we did not have the funds to fix them.



It didn't look half this pretty from the outside when we bought it, mind. Whilst we knew we needed to do a lot of work to the house, we soon learnt the never ending list of problems with it. The back door was rotten so badly that you could see right through it. The first time we put the immersion heater on for a wash, half the tank emptied onto the stairs beneath it. And we soon understood the important difference between single glazing and double glazing and how freaking cold the entire house was during winter! (not to mention we didn't even have central heating). It was ugly, dirty and depressing. It was not a move-in ready kinda house, but we moved in anyway.

Buying this house was a real learning curb, both in DIY and home ownership. Owning my own home wasn't half as enjoyable as I had hoped. Our neighbours were nasty and spiteful (I learnt an important lesson there!) and our budget on home renovations was so small that we had to opt for cheap everything, from the kitchen to the flooring, whether we liked it or not! It took two years to complete and we spent every available penny each month on it. But we did learn all new skills, and we did absolutely everything ourselves, none of which we had ever done before!

But you could definitely say, this house was never really ours in our hearts. We bought it out of being sensible (although some may disagree with me there!) and planning ahead for our future, not because we loved it or felt passionately about it. Despite all that, we were paying less here than our rental home (not that we ever saw any of that money back on the stupidly high interest rated we were on!) and when we sold it three years later we had made a profit five times the amount of our original £3500 deposit. We definitely could never have saved that amount in five years otherwise! Our intentions were always to make money on this house so we could move onwards and upwards and it worked.

Unlike our ugly home above, which I was more than glad to be leaving, almost two years into owning our new house, I fall more and more in love with it every day. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to sell up and move on - not that I plan to anytime soon - but it was the original plan, before we found 'the one'.


When we were on the lookout for our second home, we still had a really small budget. Our intentions were to increase the deposit and have a smaller mortgage. We wanted another renovation project and somewhere we could make more money on. The problem was, everything in our budget either lacked potential and had already been done up in a rental-style way or they were too overpriced and we felt after renovation we wouldn't make any money on them.

I had seen this house on rightmove but completely disregarded it as it was over £20,000 above our budget. But as our options diminished and the market value increased, we too had to add a little extra to the pot, taking out a larger mortgage and reducing our deposit. Whilst we had no intentions to up our budget by £20,000, I couldn't help but take a little viewing could I? It was a bad decision as we absolutely fell in love with the house before we'd even left the hallway. By the time we made it to the basement we were already considering what kind of offer we could put in. We knew if we were to buy this house, it would have to be a long-term home and we would need to spend years renovating it and putting money towards it. There was no quick fix on this house and cheap would just not do it justice.

Eventually we bought the house. We didn't just buy it, we paid over the asking price for it. Yes, we absolutely went over and above our home buying budget and I do not regret it one bit. Things are definitely financially tougher than we would like living here, and this house does need a lot of money to renovate it (more than we have)! But, we feel so incredibly thankful to even have the possibility to buy a house like this! Having options and picking a home we loved, was once just a dream to us. We'll be renovating this place for many years to come, in a style we actually want, and I have no plans on moving in the near future, even when it is complete. I'm sure we wont live here forever, but I wouldn't half be too disappointed if we did.

To think that we've been paying mortgage repayments and every other household bill for five years (some six!) is a strange feeling that does make me feel very old, particularly as I have many friends who still live at home. It's been a long five years and we've come a long way since our first home. We still have those crappy jobs, (although we earn a little more than minimum wage now) and whilst we're probably not your average stereotype for home renovators and we don't have a large pot of money (we still have no central heating!) I'm pleased with our choices on this one. Our jobs are mundane and completely boring and sadly we're not able to start careers in anything interesting, but I think our renovations make us a little bit more interesting, ambitious and gives us something in life we do enjoy (and sometimes hate at the same time too!). Call us bonkers and a bit weird "why didn't you just buy a new-build?" will forever be the question I'm endlessly answering, but I don't care - I wouldn't have changed the last five years of home ownership for anything.


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