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Tuesday 15th October 2019

Mortgage madness: confessions of a millennial on the property ladder

Keys
Who puts keys around their neck? That's a silly idea.

Good post-Brexit day to you today. How is Armageddon going for you?

Don’t worry; I’m not going to harp on at you about the [forthcoming/recent] generation-defining episode which [might consign/ has consigned] us into the political equivalent of a Mad Maxian desert wilderness. I am far too much of a yammering man-child with insufficient real world experience to provide anything like a coherent argument on the subject so I tend to avoid in-depth analysis.

Indeed, as ill-equipped as I am to discuss the referendum, I find that I am equally unprepared to face any of the actualities of adult life.

Aged 24, my parents were:

  1. a) Married
  2. b) Homeowners
  3. c) Contemplating starting a family
  4. d) Born-again Rastafarians*

*possibly untrue

Despite my superb dating advice, I am uncompromisingly single, am terrified by the prospect of children and begin hyperventilating every time I hear the word ‘mortgage’.

In this sense I judge myself relatively similar to many British people in their 20s, though I doubt that other people are also haunted by the ghost of an 11th century crusading Knight.

There are some, however, for whom ownership is not just a pipe dream. A school friend of mine and his partner have recently done the unthinkable and taken a step onto the property ladder.

In May 2016, Sam and Charlotte took out a mortgage to purchase a house in Ilchester, a village in Somerset, and began renovating the property with an aim to starting a joint household.
Accordingly, as a means of educating myself and anyone else out there who is thinking of taking a similar step, I asked Sam a few questions about the process so far.

How big is your mortgage?

(He gulps slightly) £ 158,000.

Property
He says his name is Sir Bartholomew.

Who is your mortgage provider?

 Virgin Money. We shopped around for a bit and they stood out compared to competitors. A nice bonus was their offer of £300 cash back.

What was getting the mortgage sorted like (Difficult / Easy / Scary etc.)?

When we actually got to it the whole process was ridiculously stressful, despite being told that I had an excellent credit rating for a mortgage for years. The main thing to say is that you’ve got to be really careful about filling in the paperwork – especially when someone made a few incorrect salary assumptions that nearly cost the mortgage.

That was you, wasn’t it?

Yes.

You bellend. How did you prepare for buying the house – did you have a plan?

Save, save, a little crying, and more saving. In terms of a plan we sort of went with the flow. Being newcomers to the housing market we were spent the majority of the time on sites such as Money Saving Expert.

Why did you decide to buy a house in the countryside?

Property millennials
Here are Sam and Charlotte, proud owners of a new home.

For us, it was a combination of perks that come from a house outside of the city. The property has a great garden and is in a lovely area with hill walks and beaches adjacent. I do have to commute a fair distance daily to get to work but we both agreed that it was worth it for the chance to get on the property ladder. We took the opinion that paying rent to a landlord was chucking money away and, since we don’t live in London or Bristol, we had the option not to join generation rent.

What’s the first thing you’re getting sorted in your house?

Ermm, there are a few things to get sorted in the house. Probably the boiler and heating system first, as that is blocking the plastering, which we need to do before we can resolve the rising damp… no big deal. First thing we did though was paint the outside – hides the mess inside.

Jesus, sounds like there’s a lot to be done. Is anything working?

(He ponders for a while). Well, since it’s an old house (I think that’s the justification; I’m still learning) we get unmetered water! No comments from me about how long people stay in our shower – when we get a shower that is.

Do you feel that homeownership is an important next step in your relationship?

Yes, we both wanted to move out, neither of us wanted to rent and want to be with each other, why not. Live for today, mortgage for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.

How are you not constantly terrified?

 I self-medicate. I’m kidding: when you’re going through the process with someone else it makes the whole thing less scary. I think that doing it on your own would be terrifying.

 

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Drew Guppy

Drew Guppy

Mouthy blogger

Somerset man lost in London. Trying to get a bit less woeful with money.

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