It’s often perceived that buying your first home is a right of passage, in the UK at least. Like you can’t be a proper grown-up until you own some land with a box on it to live in. There is a stigma that paying rent is ‘dead money’. The topic of home owning is something that has had me torn for years. I think it’s why I have never been committed to saving money for a deposit until now (I appreciate I could have been saving in general and I have no real excuses for splurging my cash all these years!).
Renting has its pro’s!
There are huge benefits to renting, and I have been doing just that for 10 years. I have enjoyed the freedom of moving around the city of Manchester (with a brief spell back in my hometown of Newark in between), living on my own, with friends, and finally my partner in crime and confidant, Mike. There have been some fantastic landlords and some absolute monsters, but at the end of the day any maintenance issues are not mine to fork out for or even try to resolve. And when the time comes to move I love making a swift decision and being in a new place within a couple of weeks.
The types of property and the areas I have lived have also been diverse. Living outside of the city center in Fallowfield/Hulme in a terrace house with garden and ample on street parking was great when surrounded by friends. But we had all moved on from there within a couple of years. I enjoyed living in the hustle and bustle of the Northern Quarter in Manchester but wouldn’t want to buy an apartment there, it just isn’t viable long term. I am equally enjoying the slightly quieter but just as convenient Castlefield with it’s links to the metro and lovely walk along the canal into the city center. But again if Mike and I wanted to buy our current apartment you’d be talking over £200,000 for 1 mezzanine bedroom, 1 bathroom, and a parking space. During those 10 years I have collected enough to furnish a living space myself, and I’m used to the only cosmetic touches being some picture frames on the walls and the investment in a well placed lamp. I have spent zero pounds on maintaining a property and have experienced multiple new fridges, ovens, boilers and damp proof courses!
Having said all that, if I average my monthly rent in those 10 years to £300, that’s a whopping £36,000… (bork). But that is the price I have paid for the freedom of movement, paying the rates I want and can afford, and ultimately not being responsible for the maintenance. So why the Home Endeavour?? Why am I now all of a sudden hell bent on owning my own property, seemingly tying myself down to a lifetime of debt and being stuck in one place? (I’m really selling this home ownership thing aren’t I!). Well I have done some research and spoken to a lot of people over the years about the pro’s and con’s of owning a home. So here’s why I think actually, the time is right for us to make the leap.
Investment in your future. Yes you are making some sacrifices for a period of your life in order to save for that first deposit, but you are putting that hard earned cash to a future investment (snooze). No hear me out! If you make a savvy decision on your first property, you’re likely to MAKE MONEY when you come to sell that home. That increase in value is yours, and you could invest that in another property, or sell up and emigrate if that’s where your life took you. It isn’t a ball and chain (which has been my perception for so so long).
That home is yours, you own it! I cannot wait for the feeling of pride when we have really made a place ours. Whether that’s completely renovating a property, or just a lick of paint and putting shelves up without asking for explicit permission, having the freedom to do what we please is going to be such a great feeling. We’re already brimming with ideas on what we like and we don’t even know what type of property we will end up in! And don’t forget there won’t be any surprise landlord inspections or the feeling of panic when you accidentally scuff a side board! (Maybe just a look of disapproval from a grandparent).
We can finally get a pet. It’s difficult to find a landlord who would be happy with you having a dog in their property (especially if it’s furnished!), and even if they do there is always the extra worry that said pet will damage the property which could cost you your deposit. Don’t forget about the fumigation costs that most landlords will request the end of your tenancy. Owning our own home will mean we can finally get a dog which is something I have been obsessed about my whole life. Now the very real prospect of having a little furry friend join our team is enough to get me motivated to save up!!!
Hosting friends and family. Living in the city and renting apartments has been so much fun, but they are never big enough to do things like host Christmas, have family parties, invite people to stay for a weekend comfortably. When we buy we will be looking for more space, closer to our friends and family in the midlands. I’ve been daydreaming about hosting Christmas with Mike in our house and bringing everyone together under our roof. The thought makes me super happy and I can’t wait to make it happen.
Renting is the right thing for some people at certain times in their life. After buying you may even go back to renting at some stage. Truth is we don’t know where life is going to take us. For us at this point in our lives, it makes sense to make that investment in our future. Our home endeavour is going to be a positive one, because I finally see the reasons why it’s important for us. This positive mindset (which I didn’t have before) toward owning a home is what’s going to be spurring me on and ultimately ensuring I achieve my savings goal!
I’d love to hear about what keeps you motivated, whether you’re saving for a house or something entirely different? It’s all relevant in keeping our minds focused and keeping to that all important budget!