So you want to buy a house..?
It’s a childhood dream isn’t it? Well actually not even a dream, it’s just the expectation. You grow up, get a job, get married, buy a house, have a family. It’s the fairy tale, the way things are in the movies but real life isn’t the movies, is it?
Well from where I’m sitting not unless you’ve won the lottery!
We rent our home in London, it’s a beautiful large 3 bedroom house on a leafy street with a park at the end, I love it and it feels like home. Unfortunately when renting there’s always a little uncertainty, what if our landlord decides to sell or increase our rent beyond our means – we have to move. Initially I found this unsettling so spent a lot of time looking at resources like the Ultimate First Time Buyers Guide by Totally Money and stressing about how we might be able to get on the property ladder.
I’d buy this house tomorrow if I had the money but sadly I doubt I’ll ever have the half a million plus these properties sell for! It would be great to have an asset, more security, to be able to decorate as we please and eventually leave something behind for our children. I’m not complaining; I’ve learnt to relax and am now happy with our situation, we live in an area we like and a house big enough for us and when we get to a position where we can raise a mortgage it would definitely mean sacrificing one of those things.
I still try to keep up with all the news related to first-time buyers and play with sums because I know our rent payments would cover a sizeable mortgage if only someone would lend us the equivalent! The Guardian has a great page on their website for all news related to first time buyers, currently full of details of the government’s ‘loan to buy’ scheme. Will it increase house prices or will those on the scheme end up in negative equity? Who knows, it’s a risk just like any large decision in life. It only applies to new build properties anyway which to me makes it practically irrelevant – locally new build houses are a premium and I suspect it’s more about helping property developers than first time buyers.
My biggest concern is our children’s future and currently I don’t feel that owning a home would improve that. After living in the countryside and seeing high unemployment I feel that being in a city with high opportunity and choice gives them a far more solid foundation even though this reflects in the house prices. My parents and grandparents owned their homes, it hasn’t helped me buy one and I hope and doubt that even if we had a home for them to inherit it will help my children buy a home (I have 3 grandparents alive).
The dream to one day own our home lives on but is shelved for the time being. What about you, do you rent and worry about how you’ll ever own or own and worry about interest rates and negative equity, or are you just a happy camper..?