What I Own is a weekly series in which we chat to people who’ve taken the plunge of owning a home, rather than renting (but if you’re curious about renting, you should check out our other series, What I Rent).
Actually getting on the property ladder very often feels like a daunting prospect, with the massive deposits needed a major block for those who can’t have significant financial help from their parents or a partner.
In this series we want to explore the reality of buying a home, chatting about the process of finding a home, sorting a mortgage, and making the property feel your own.
This week we’re chatting to Nikki, 46, who’s a single estate agent.
Nikki recently bought her first home, a two-bedroom flat in Maidstone Kent, moving in in December 2019.
Hi, Nikki! Where were you living before this place?
I was house-sharing with my mum and her husband until they decided to move overseas. I looked into renting but quickly found it was impossible as it was too expensive.
How did you save the deposit for the flat?
I saved a 5% deposit by cutting back on general things as in nights out, pamper sessions, but because the housing association I was buying with insisted on a 10% deposit, my mum offered to help and gifted me the remaining balance.
I own a 45% share so my mortgage is £83,950, while the full price of the property is £205,000.
So how much do you now need to pay per month?
My average monthly spend is in the region of £1,000.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like?
The whole process was very easy, Trussle made it very simple, they explained everything so it was very easy to understand and sort the very best option to suit my needs.
They requested items and all I had to do was load things up on to their system.
How did you find the property?
I found the property via Rightmove. I just loved the flat the minute I pulled up to it just knew it was right for me, even though it didn’t have a garden – not all of the boxes where ticked but I just knew I wanted to live there
How have you made the flat feel like home?
I was very lucky as the property was only three years old and had been very well looked after by the previous owner, so on moving in I didn’t need to decorate.
This was a godsend as I did complete five days before Christmas.
I bought secondhand items and upcycled them and, of course, hit the January sales. I was also very fortunate to have been given a sofa from my dad, that once it was recovered suited and fitted in perfectly
Why did you choose Maidstone?
I had wanted to move back to this area for a long time as have many friends and family nearby.
This property was on the right side of town for me to drive back in to London for work saving me around a good half an hour (due to the current road works) but the higher junction on the Maidstone part of the M20 is generally a lot busier so this was perfect
Do you feel like you have enough space?
You can always want and use more space, but in fairness, this is perfect for me.
What are your housing plans for the future?
Having only been there for a very short time, I’m more than happy! I do aim to have full ownership as soon as I can and will be definitely going back to Trussle to do this.
I would ultimately like to be mortgage-free as soon as I can but that won’t be any time soon.
Let’s take a look around.
How to get involved in What I Own
What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK.
If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email email@example.com.
You’ll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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