I met up with friends for dinner a few weeks ago. And, because we’re dull and old, once we’d exhausted the usual niceties, and run out of mutual acquaintances to bitch about, the conversation inevitably turned to property. A few of them have received substantial investment from the bank of mum and dad, and so have their deposit pretty much sorted. However, the others are attempting to scale the mountain all on their own – a pretty mammoth undertaking.
So, what did I glean from their experiences? Well, I’ll tell you one thing – you can’t magic up £50,000 simply by forgoing your daily flat white from Pret. That would take 63 years, give or take. And not to put a downer on it, but I’ll be dead by then.
It’s clear more drastic measures are required. Here are a couple of ideas that people I know are actually pursuing (believe it or not).
One of my friends gave up her flat last July to become a professional cat sitter. A quick Google search will bring up dozens of sites designed to bring pet owners and pet sitters together. Isn’t the internet just wonderful? Anyway, my friend’s plan was to do this for a year. And when you look at the numbers, it actually starts to look like quite an attractive prospect. Across the nine months she’s been cat sitting so far, she has had eight assignments, lasting between two weeks and two months. Whilst she doesn’t get paid for it, she gets to stay in the owner’s home for free. If we conservatively assume she was paying £700 a month in rent, that means she’s potentially saved £6,300 in rent since last summer. And that’s not to be sniffed at (unless you have allergies to cat hair, perhaps). Some of the houses she’s stayed in have been amazing, and they’ve been all over the city, which has given her a great overview of areas she might want to think about when it actually comes to buying her own place. Aside from one of the cats she was sitting going missing for two weeks, it’s all been smooth sailing. And the cat turned up eventually…
Another of my friends has been living as a property guardian in Homerton for the last couple of years. The flat is in a block of ex council flats that has been bought by one of those awful developers you read about. At some point it will be pulled down, and replaced by a glistening spire of glass and steel, with six figure flats being sold off plan to Russian oligarchs (probably). But until then, it’s empty, and the council needs fine young folk to look after live in, in order to deter squatters and avoid vandalism. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be expected to patrol the corridors using a lamp base as a makeshift weapon. Just having the lights on is enough. He pays less than half the going rental rate, so again, lots of pennies saved towards that deposit.
So, there you go. Keep buying those coffees – cats and condemned blocks are the way forward.