I bought a house (not in London, obvs)

I have been so rubbish in the blogosphere recently. Life just got the better of me and I’ve had literally NO time. And when I did have time, I watched Made in Chelsea. And then I got writer’s block and just stared blankly at the screen and put Made in Chelsea back on and felt guilty for not writing. Vicious circle.

So anyway as work slows down just before xmas, here’s my first post in forever. Hopefully it will kick me out of this lull. I bought a house! I’m 31 and I’m a homeowner. SO CHUFFED.

The road to homeownership hasn’t been easy though, so I just wanted to share with you some of things I’ve learned (in a really dumbed down way, because let’s be honest, interest rates and mortgages are dullsville). So hopefully I can help some of you in some small way stick two fingers up to our generation of impossible deposits and relentless renting and get your own block of bricks.


My house buying journey (February 2015 – November 2015)

February 2013

  • Move home with parents and save hard for 2 years. Get laughed at and mocked for living with parents – suck it up

January 2015

  • Convince partner that even though we’ve only been together a year – buying a house is a good idea
  • Times our combined salaries by about 3.5 (rough estimate of what you can afford)
  • Look relentlessly on Rightmove and Zoopla at properties in London
  • Get depressed at what’s available in our budget in London – briefly consider living in a parking space

February 2015

  • View a few places in London – realise what we can afford is only suitable for Borrowers
  • Start looking in the dreaded suburbs. Find quite decent looking places, with gardens and everything
  • Say goodbye to our weekends and start viewing ones we like
  • Realise there is fierce competition and we have to be ruthless/on the phone every 10 mins to estate agents

April 2015

  • Find ‘the one’ – an adorable 3 bedroom Victorian terraced cottage with VERY bad decor (i’m talking diamanté heart shaped mirrors and a turquoise bathroom)
  • Put in an offer. Get outbid
  • Get in touch with a recommended mortgage broker. This was the best £350 we spent – our guy was the best – he gave us loads of advice (seeing as I knew nada) and helped us get the best mortgage product for our budget and understand what the hell all of the lingo means. USE HIM! Matthew Gallo

May 2015

  • Find ‘the one’ again and put in an offer. Get outbid

June 2015

  • Repeat – lose faith. Repeat – lose faith

July 2015

  • Really find ‘the one’ go mad with desperation and scream to estate agents
  • Offer 15k OVER the asking price – it’s a sellers market – they rule the roost. Bastards.
  • Offer gets accepted.
  • Be in constant state of joy and fear that we’ll get ‘gazumped’

August 2015

  • Choose mortgage product – get partner to read all boring details about interest rates yada yada – pretend to understand. We went for a 3 year fixed rate.
  • Apply for a mortgage to be approved in principal
  • Briefly fear all those credit cards I maxed out after uni have savaged my credit rating
  • Get mortgage approved in principal
  • Get real mortgage approved (thanks Nationwide, you rock)
  • Hire a recommended solicitor (we used Pat Astell Wood of Wortley Buyers who was also really really really bloody good and helped us clueless first time buyers cover our asses on more than a few occasions) USE HER!
  • Sh*t gets real

September 20115

  • Pay £810 for a surveyor to go in and tell us there is loads of stuff wrong with our house – including damp, unstable roof etc etc.
  • Try to negotiate cost of house down to vendors seeing as it is practically falling down
  • They refuse and tell us to get stuffed or they’ll relist the property
  • Suck it up and proceed knowing full well they wear the trousers and there is nothing else better on the market

October 2015

  • A lot of back and forths go on between lawyers, estate agents and vendors.
  • Some BIG legal problems crop up and indemnity policies are required
  • Feel out of my depth
  • Vendors refuse to pay
  • Our lawyer tells them to get stuffed
  • Vendors eventually pay indemnity policy to insure us for un-registered land (hurrah, small victory – stupid vendors)
  • Get told on numerous occasions someone at the top of the chain is going to drop out
  • Lose hope 8,0000 times – feel stress, real stress
  • Sign the draft contract
  • Realise i’m really boring and all I talk about is my house

November 2015

  • Exchange contracts
  • 2 weeks later – complete. Collect keys and move in! OMG…
  • Find loads of sh*t wrong with dream house – get ready to live rest of life paying a mortgage and fixing things
  • Spend a lot of time on ebay buying furniture. Now for the decoration – what shade of grey do you reckon?


So if you’re thinking about buying a house in 2016 – the best of luck to you! If you need any advice or recos, you know where I am.

Claire xx


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  • Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Oh gosh feeling more stressed than ever now. In a good way? We’ve been saving relentlessly too. Told ourselves 2016 was THE YEAR. But houses keep going up quicker and our “sure we’ve got a deposit and the SDLT…” is fast becoming “S**t we don’t have enough…”

    The 3.5x salary thing is worrying me the most though. We’ve been told by our broker we can go up to 4.5?! And some people will lend us 4.75x (but we don’t want to do that coz payment will be huge). Have banks really gone back to only 3.5? There are only about 5 people offering people like us mortgages any way…

    • Reply
      Claire Becker
      January 15, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Thank you! You will 100% get there! It actually wasn’t as stressful as everyone made out (once we had the deposit) I can’t stress enough how useful it was hiring a mortgage broker – Matthew Gallo was amazing and helped us work out all the figures and details. It was the best £350 we spent, honestly. If you’re serious about buying then send him an email and he will be able to work out exactly how much you will be able to afford. I”m not sure that the 3.5X combines salary is set in stone – but that’s what ours worked out as. He started by asking ‘how much can you afford on your monthly repayments’ and then works backwards from there. Happy to answer any other house questions – feel like i’m an expert in all of this now! x

      • Reply
        January 15, 2016 at 10:55 am

        Thanks hun! Will investigate 🙂 I start a new job at end of Feb so will need to wait for a pay check or two before we start looking seriously just gotta keep up saving in the meantime. Afterall solicitors fees don’t pay themselves and I should know, I am one haha

  • Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Also…..MASSIVE congrats haha. Should’ve said that first 😉 It’s the stress of house hunting talking!

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