I moved out of my parent’s house and into my first flat when I was around 23 years old. Me and my (now) fiancé rented a lovely – but small – flat under a rent to buy scheme. That essentially meant it was a slightly reduced rent rate (as we were in London, it still wasn’t cheap) and we were supposed to save the rest towards a deposit. Amazing! I thought this was our chance to really get ourselves on the property later. The value of the property when we took it on was around £170k. A huge amount of money at the time, and even now it’s almost unthinkable. But, we had a couple of years to get our deposit together and we needed 10%. Between 2 working professionals with no children, it seemed viable. We worked hard, 4 jobs between us. We even did summer boot sales to give us a little more disposable income.
Anyway, after a year or so, the managing agents valued the property. We all expected a little increase. That’s what happens with house prices. There was a LOT wrong with the flat and the building at this point. Not down to us; it just had lots of new build problems. There was the faulty heating system, broken lifts, damages communal doors and a few more things that I won’t go into today.
We anticipated a little increase on the property price but not that much because of the state of the communal arrears. Well, when we got the valuation letter through I actually had to laugh. The property had increased in value from £170k to over £300k. I mean seriously. I get the property market is manic but we didn’t stand a chance now!
We’re still renting now but I feel much more in control and clued up. There are tools online to help you track your home’s value. This is an interesting little calculator from SunLife that can help you work out much your house has made you. It’s also super motivating to see how much of an investment buying your own home is. We’ve moved cities now to a much more affordable part of the country and I feel like we might finally be on the way to owning our own home within the next couple of years.
There’s no shame in renting. I mean, it’s less responsibility and you don’t have to worry about repairs. But it isn’t cheaper. If we didn’t have to move 3 times we would have had enough money for a deposit already! Every time you move, the deposits, fees and removal costs soon add up. I’m talking close to 3k each time! So fingers crossed this is the last place we rent. Plus, knowing that the landlord could end your tenancy every year is so unsettling. Even more so with a family. At the end of the day, you’re still living in someone else’s home, no matter how homely it feels. I’m really at a point now where I want security. Real security.
We love this house and our landlords are lovely. We’d like to think that if they decided to sell up they would give us first dibs. But hopefully, they hang tight for a couple of years! I feel like we will own our own home one-day because it’s an investment for our children and us in the future. But if you’re going solo in life with no financial support from family than it might take a little longer.
Watch this space. Homeowner coming soon!