I can’t believe I am finally getting to write this after what feels like the longest time sitting on the biggest secret! Alex and I bought a house and today we finally got the keys and completed the sale! I cannot believe that I am 22 years old and a homeowner – absolute madness! I feel so overwhelmed, grateful and emotional about this. I am beyond blessed to be my age and have a home to share with my favourite person in the whole world.
When Alex and I graduated from University last November (2019), we made a plan for the following year and outlined some goals we wanted to work towards. Florida was big one which obviously got binned because of Corona, but the other big goal was to buy our first house together. We set a timeline to start looking at properties in January 2021 as we would use the whole of 2020 to save enough for a deposit between us.
To our surprise, we were able to save more than we thought and were in a position to start looking into searching for houses in June 2020. Going into lockdown did play a role in this as I was working full-time from home without the expense of running my car to Hereford and back each day, paying for parking etc. We also weren’t going anywhere for social things like meals/shows/pub/rehearsals so it soon started to add up. However, I will say that Alex and I aren’t huge spenders – we don’t wear designer clothes (we are pretty much Primark brand ambassadors), go for expensive meals or for drinks in places that cost £10 for a cocktail etc. We are generally good with money and if we are going to spend it’ll be on something bigger like a holiday or the odd big treat rather than regular spending on materialistic things.
Another thing that really helped was being able to live at home rather than rent somewhere whilst we tried to save. Each to their own, but being in our position we personally didn’t see the point in renting and viewed this as ultimately wasting money when we could live at home for a year and save, save, save. Alex was able to live rent free and I paid my mum a small amount towards the food and bills but really we were supported to save as everyone knew it was a goal for us to get our own house in the foreseeable future and we are really grateful for this. It did mean going back to living apart for the year but it was worthwhile knowing that’ll never happen again. We’re stuck with each other!
Whilst family have been really helpful and supportive, I am also really proud to say that Alex and I have paid for absolutely everything ourselves. Family have kindly gifted us some things for the house as housewarming presents, but the deposit, mortgage fees, solicitor fees etc have all been paid for ourselves 50/50. Whilst I would never knock anyone whose family have been in a position to gift them deposits etc, I have to say that it feels so good and rewarding knowing that we did this ourselves. We came straight out of uni into full-time work and study and worked so, so hard to be able to be in this position. We sacrificed a lot this year (including not being able to see each other for almost 4 months) so I am just beyond happy that something so incredible came out of what otherwise has been a pretty shoddy year.
I also have to say that, whilst at times things were a tad overwhelming, I expected the house buying process to be much more stressful than it actually was. We had our offer accepted the 6th August, got our mortgage application accepted on the 2nd September, exchanged contracts on the 1st October and completed/got the keys on the 28th October – around 2.5 months start to finish. Everyone told us that buying a house is the most stressful thing etc and we found that as long as we stayed on top of everything it was actually pretty straightforward. It probably helped that neither us, nor the people we bought from had a chain and that we were in a really good position to get a mortgage etc due to our work history and low outgoings, but nonetheless we were pleasantly surprised by the speed and ease of the process which I’ll talk more about another time.
Having said that, this whole Welsh firebreak lockdown did almost grind things to an abrupt halt. When I say I sobbed when I found out we were going into a national lockdown just a week before we were set to get the keys, I mean it. It was awful. However, thankfully the lockdown has not effected the housing market or prospective sales in the same way as before and we worked with the estate agent to ensure we completed the sale as safely as possible. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if we lost this house on top of losing our holiday to Floria this year but thankfully it didn’t come to that.
We are now the proud owners of a 3-bedroom, semi-detached house in Abergavenny that has parking, a conservatory and a downstairs toilet – everything we could have asked for and more. Cosmetically, things are currently rather outdated as we bought from an elderly couple who needed to move closer to family but they have created such a lovely and well taken care of family home that is going to give us the best start. There are lots of things we would like to change and renovate eventually but this just makes me so excited to make this house our own.
I’m so excited to start documenting all things house related on this blog too! I’ll be sure to record our renovation and journey as first-time buyers to look back on. I’m also hoping to write some posts to document our search, the process of getting a mortgage etc so comment below if you would find anything like this helpful as I will try and make it informative rather than just a memory for me!
I’ll leave it there for now as I am still a bit in shock and just enjoying the bubble of being a new homeowner and taking it all in. I’m excited to get stuck in and start turning this house into our home (just need Alex to agree to let me have a dog next – maybe one day!). Thank you to anyone reading this who has helped or supported us over the past few months and here’s to the start of a brand new adventure!