A home owner. Me? A home owner? It still feels weird to say that! Let alone to admit that I’ve now owned my home for six whole months.
But, I’ve also learnt a lot in those six months that I had no idea when I decided to buy a house. I tried to devour everything I could find online but it still wasn’t quite enough to prepare me, especially as my experiences were a little different to the majority of stories I read about.
None of today’s post is to brag (and I really hope it doesn’t come across that way) but just to help you piece together the picture a little better. It might even help someone in a similar position, hopefully.
So first of all, some context: I bought this house by myself. I am the sole owner of it and didn’t receive any financial support in doing so. I did however have a Help to Buy ISA and my parents very kindly paid for the costs of renting a van to move. They also did the emotional and manual labour of helping me move which I am exceptionally grateful for. I also received a few pieces of furniture as moving in gifts; most of the rest were things I already owned from renting places previously so I didn’t have to buy everything from scratch. I’m also 25 with a ‘normal’ 9-5 – I’m definitely not on a hefty old salary! If anyone wants to know how I did it, let me know and I’ll happily talk about it. I can even write a blog post about it if you would like me to.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get into the post. Here are some of the things that I have learnt:
- There are lots of hidden costs in the process of buying. Solicitor’s fees, insurance costs, surveys, light bulbs, any crossover with your rented property… it can quickly add up! If you can, keep a little lump sum to one side to absorb it!
- There is lots and lots of paperwork. Buy an expanding file and keep it safe. Trust me. Even after you’ve bought it, there is a lot.
- You get a lot of freedom with decorating but it’s terrifying! There is literally no one to stop me from indulging a whim to paint everything pink.
- But you can put your own stamp on a place and change what you don’t like! Bye-bye stained office blinds.
- There will always be something you misremembered from your viewings. Due to COVID, there were massive delays between viewing my house and actually buying it so some things really surprised me. I was convinced the alcoves were wider than they were and that the loft hatch was tiny! Neither of these are true.
- There is no need to rush any big decisions or purchases. It will take a while for you to get used to a house and what works in it. It’s only now – six months on- that I’m starting to realise how I use the space and what I need in it.
- Your house to do list is never ending. There will always be something you can do or want to do in your house. Get rid of the idea of it being ‘finished’ and adjust to thinking of it as a work in progress. Plus, these things take time and money so won’t be done overnight.
- Don’t get overly attached to trends and Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest is great but real homes don’t look like that all the time. You can make all the decor choices you want but sometimes you need to dry your washing; funnily enough, I’ve never seen a clothes horse on Pinterest.
- Work out what matters to you. That might be location, outdoor space or style but you’ll seen realise what is important to you. For me, I wanted character and I wanted somewhere to invest my money, rather than buying my forever home! That influenced what I was looking for and how I decided to use my budget. Same goes for decorating: I wanted to get everything clean and cosy before beginning any big reno projects. My back yard is a nightmare but it’s not as important to me as having a living room where I can relax and an office where I can work.
- Location matters. Firstly, there is no way I could have bought a house down south and secondly, get to know your neighbourhood. You want to feel at home there after all! One of my favourite things is that I have a big park at the end of my street and it was definitely a ‘pro’ when deciding between properties.
I hope that helps! I’m sure I’ve got plenty left to learn but it’s certainly been educational so far.
Oh and don’t forget to let me know if you would like more house content on This Northern Gal please!