5 things I learned as a first-time buyer – 2 years down the line

Today’s blog post is about what to expect after becoming a first-time buyer.

First: Well done if you manage to get through the gritty process of getting onto the property ladder! Gone are the days with dealing with landlords, annoying estate agents wanting £££ for no real reason, flatmates and their passive-aggressive behaviour or council tax/bills that needs a name update every 8 months. I think the admin work in those days was similar to the one of a first-time-buyer, to be honest. Yes at times, those days were FUN (besides all of the above) and they’ll be filling you with nostalgia eventually, but aren’t we glad it is over?

So sweet – The previous owner left us a Welcome card

Now, let’s get onto my top 5 things I learned in the last couple of years.

1 – Period and older properties need more work.

Thought you could do that DIY ceiling light fixture change in half-an-hour? Think again and double that time if you live in a period property. You will find out that some walls are made in 100-year-old building material. Think plaster mixed with horse hair that crumbles when you want to do as little as hung up a frame. Or you may find out your electric circuit cannot work with the latest German kitchen appliance without ripping the house apart. *sigh*, goodbye fancy induction hob.

2. Finding good local tradesmen is key

If the fridge, a boiler or the shower breaks down. Who are you going to call? Well, YOU. You’ll need to sort through after-sales hotlines, troubleshooting manuals, youtube how-to tutorials and finding good local tradesmen. And if you are lucky: that person in your family who is great at that stuff but they might get tired of it soon enough. Being a homeowner is serious adulting stuff. As a friend here are my previously used go-to trade platform (always ask 2-3 quotes): https://www.ratedpeople.com and https://www.checkatrade.com

3- You’ll be broke for a while

Because you are already broke from paying a huge deposit plus the various tax whenever something breaks during the first year, or you need to redecorate or buy appliances/furniture. There is always a concern about money. Yes, you’ll need to pay for tradesmen because let’s be honest they don’t teach you carpentry, painting or tiling skills at school or in most jobs (if you are in the construction trade then well done, your house is less likely to fall appart). I am not in favour of getting into debt for any reason but some 0% interest loan schemes may come handy to finance essential projects (See my kitchen transformation blog post here, etc). Oh and let’s not forget you are now solely responsible for Home insurance, Council Tax, Ground rent if you live in a leasehold property, plus possibly maintenance charges.

4- You may be more interested in politics.

If you have a mortgage (if you are a first-time buyer there is a 99,9% chance that is the case), you may become more interested in political and economic stability. Because you put your life in the line by getting that mortgage and missing payments may mean the bank can evict you and you will be left with NOTHING (sorry but I didn’t say this blog post was fun). Therefore you will be nervous of any drastic change in the economy that might crumble the value of your property, decrease buyer prospect or increase the likelihood of job loss. Don’t be scared. In case of job loss yes that would be terrible (there are insurances for that though), but if there is a property crisis, everyone will be concerned and perhaps the government could help out. Or perhaps not but anyway all new homeowners are a bit scared about that I think. Like a dear friend once said: “I will not worry about what does not exist yet!”

5- You will learn manual skills you never needed before

It is possible that you will learn a new skill and will enjoy it. If that is not your thing then tradesmen and interior stylists can do the job for you. I have personally enjoyed painting and redecorating my home and my partner found a hobby into carpentry. Youtube is a great platform for how-to videos and Instagram and Pinterest are great for finding inspiration. Blogs are great too for that.

In a nutshell, homeownership is an adventure and I am so happy to experience it. I would have never been able to have my own pets otherwise and that is something I cherish very much. Also, my partner and I are still together so I think we are solid after all we have been through. Haha.

Have a lovely day,