It’s hard to know where to start with this blog post! This is such a huge, incredible, unbelievable announcement for me – and right now I’m so excited about it all that I can barely form coherent sentences. But here goes… as of tomorrow, I am going to be a homeowner!
Yep, me. Little old immature, ridiculous, perpetually broke me! I am joining the realms of grown-up-hood and buying property.
This year, while my business was falling apart and my income was taking regular nosedives and the entire travel industry slammed on the brakes, I somehow managed to get a mortgage and buy a flat.
Let me tell you, it has NOT been easy. It’s taken six months of drama, impatience, issues and delays to get to this point, and not too long ago I’d almost given up altogether. But tomorrow, I get the keys and move into my new home!
Buying Property in Covid Times
Everything was stacked against me already. A working-class background, a low-paid and unstable freelance career as a writer, a general lack of financial savviness, and absolutely zero chance of any inherited funds ever coming my way. And then 2020 reared its ugly head and made everything ten times more difficult.
From just being able to view flats in the first place, to getting all the paperwork done, everything has been harder and slower this year.
Early on, lenders pulled all the 5% deposit mortgage offerings due to the pandemic. I’d been relying on those, so suddenly I was forced to completely revise my plans. Thankfully, I was still just able to make it all work by opting for a Shared Ownership flat.
Even once I’d found a place, had a mortgage offer, and thought I was on the home stretch, I still had a huge set back when my lender (somewhat understandably) decided that a self-employed writer was too high risk during a global pandemic. Thankfully, I was able to scrabble together some extra deposit and find a new lender before I lost the sale.
From that point, it’s just been a painfully slow, but steady, process. Lot’s of delays, lots of waiting for replies, and LOTS of refreshing my inbox every 5 minutes whilst trying to get work done. I am so relieved to finally be reaching the end!
Just a Small Flat
When I describe it, I keep saying “just”. It’s “just” a small, one-bedroom flat. It’s “just” shared ownership. “Just” a starter, a first step.
Most of my friends who own property own houses, and I’ve always been a sucker for comparison. But this is MY flat. It’s big enough for me, and it’s a damn sight bigger than the room I rent in a shared house right now. And it’s all mine!
I didn’t think a self-employed writer would even be able to get a mortgage. Until this year I honestly thought no one would ever give me one. So the fact that I’ve managed to buy property on a freelance salary, during a flipping pandemic… well, I’m proud of that.
I did it (almost) all on my own, and I did it by blogging. THIS BLOG BOUGHT ME A FLAT!! When I quit my job to go travelling six years ago, I never would have thought that one day, my tiny little blog would pay for a property!
I’ve already started picking out furniture, and sorting all the important stuff like picking out a broadband service! Deciding which broadband provider to go with isn’t easy but you can use a postcode checker to see which is the fastest broadband in your area – this is what I did and found a brilliant Black Friday deal ready for the big move.
Moving to Dorset
This is the part I’m most excited about. Not only am I moving, but I’m also waving goodbye to Portsmouth (where I’ve lived for the past three years) and moving back to Dorset.
The flat is in Dorchester, just up the road from my childhood town of Weymouth where my dad and grandparents still live. One of my sisters lives around the corner, another in Bournemouth. (Sadly the rest of my many siblings still live miiiiles away). But suddenly, I’m going to be closer to family than I have been for years.
Which was the main reason I wanted to buy a place in the first place! I want to keep travelling, but I want my home base to be in the part of England I love the most – and I want to be near my family. In the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s “just” a tiny flat, or that it’s been the most stressful and difficult six months of my lift to get here. What matters is that I am genuinely making a dream come true.
I say I did I all on my own – but I’ve had help, advice, and support from a lot of people. So I just want to say a massive public thank you to my dad, who has done so much for me this year. And another one to my older sister Cheryl for being my own personal financial adviser and life-coach! They aren’t the only people to have helped me with all this, not by a long shot, but they are the two people I literally could not have done this without.
So, that’s my big news. I’ve been sitting on it for six months, too scared to announce things in case everything fell through. Even now, it doesn’t feel real! But it looks like it is.
And now I really should get on with packing. Wish me luck – I am going to need it!