First time house buyer in London

house sold

So we have bought our first house here in London, and it has probably been one of the most stressful and wonderful thing, all at the same time.

It has taken us a loooooong time to save up for this house, and there have been times where I had to decline going out to eat with friends simply because we had to save.

Not going out is hard, because here in London it is the preferred way to interact with each other, so at times I have felt quite secluded from others on the journey to getting our house.
So is it really worth it? YES! Well….overlooking all the problems we have had with renovating our house, the fact that it is our very own house makes a huge difference. There is the fact that I can get just the kitchen and bathroom design I want, that you don’t have to worry about decorating the house and not getting the whole deposit back, your rent won’t go up and having to worry about a landlord that might end your lease. Best of all though, you are now paying off your own mortgage not someone else’s.

Our story to getting a house: 

we moved to England in 2008 just when people started feeling the financial crises, and we decided from the beginning, that we would never live beyond what we could afford on one of our wages,  just in case. So most of the other persons wages would go straight to a savings account, should one of us be without work, especially as I was working as a freelance makeup artist and the movie industry was starting to suffer as well, just as I was getting into it.

After a few years we had gotten to know London a bit better and decided to move to a nicer part of London, but again we decided not live beyond what we could afford on one of our wages, as we had then also started talking about buying our own place, and knew we would need a lot for a down payment on a mortgage.

We put our flat for sale in Denmark, as we where only allowed to rent it out for 2 years, and moved into 35 sqm flat, thinking it would be for no more than a year….that turned into 2. We had a hard time selling our flat in Denmark, as the market was almost dead there, so we were paying for that place and the place in London, and at the end we had to take a lot off the asking price to get it sold, which obviously left us with less money for our down payment on a house over here.

On top of that I broke my ankle quite badly and had to have my ankle operated on several times, which is not good for someone who is a freelancer.

Even though we had partly owned property in Denmark, buying in London is something completely different, as there we were on a waiting list for the flat, and when we got a flat , we paid our part ownership and moved in. Whereas here in London things are a lot different and we felt quite lost at times, as we didn’t have parents, or anyone really, that could help us to understand how everything works regarding buying a house, and what you need to look out for.

But we were still determined on buying our own place, so for over a year after having finally sold our flat in Denmark and knew how much we had for a down payment, we looked at places at every opportunity we got. You quite quickly get a love hate relationship with real estate agents, as most of them just seem to waste your time even more by showing you something completely different than what your requirements are.

Our requirements were, something that could use a bit of updating (so we could put our own stamp on the place), at least one separate bedroom and a bit of outdoor space, like a small garden or balcony. But as our budget was very small, this is quite big requirements for London.

It feels like we have looked at thousands of places, and I have lost counts, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was something like 60-70 places. And we did also find about 6 where we put an offer in, just to have someone come in and offer more than we could, we even came so far as to sign the mortgage papers at one time to have the place taken away from us.

But finally we found a place, and we where even so lucky that it is an actual house, might be one of the smallest houses ever build, but a house never the less. It was defiantly not love at first sight, but it had potential, as you will hopefully see in my later posts.

We have done most of the renovations our self’s, and after 8 months of working on it every opportunity we have, we are about half way there. I am not going to lie, there has been a lot of tears shed over this house, including a burst water pipe when having to go to Denmark for a funeral, the rotten floor when we took up the carpet or when we found out that there where a crazy building restriction on the house, that meant that even changing the garden doors, we would have to apply the council for permission.

But at the end of the day, I am today writing this blog post from a shaded spot in my very own garden,  watching the cat play in the grass, being happy like a little kitten despite being 12 years old, and I feel very appreciative of what I have and proud of getting through what it took to get here.

Look out for before and after pictures of the house coming soon.