What I Own: Journalist Alex, who put a £75,000 deposit on her Hampshire home03/04/2023
Welcome back to What I Own – our property series where we chat to homeowners about their buying experience.
We are speaking to Alex this week, who lives in Hampshire with her husband and two young children.
She sold her first London flat in 2021 and moved into this three-bed property.
Alex shares what her experience was like, as well as her advice for buyers…
Tell us about yourself.
I am 31, I’m a journalist, mainly working from home but with some office days – but I’m currently on maternity leave. I live with my husband Dan, 32, and our two children, our daughter Minna aged one and our son Lando, four weeks.
Where is your property? What do you think of the area?
I live in Petersfield, in Hampshire. It’s a lovely bustling town, with a twice-weekly market and lots to do, surrounded by beautiful countryside.
When did you move in?
How much does your property cost?
How much was your deposit?
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
How did you save up for your deposit?
Over time. We sold our first flat, which had been shared ownership and the rest of the deposit came from savings.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you?
Because we had some hiccups in the buying process, we actually had to get a couple of mortgages.
It became more complicated when I started my first maternity leave, but we had a brilliant mortgage broker who kept it as painless as possible for us.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
We were living in a shared ownership maisonette in North Greenwich, which we sold in March 2021. As our own buying process was difficult, we then moved in with my parents in Essex while we tried to buy a house.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
Being on the property ladder, and having somewhere we could call our own and makes changes to as we wanted, was important to us.
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
This was actually the fifth home we tried to buy – unbelievably we had had offers accepted on four houses before this, all of which had fallen through.
When we saw this one we looked around it very briefly, saw potential, and made an offer incredibly quickly and then just had to hope for the best. It was very run down but we thought we could turn it into a happy family home.
How have you made the property feel like home?
We’ve done a lot of building work. When we moved in it still had a stairlift from the previous owner attached to the wall, plaster was peeling everywhere, everything needed rewiring and there was only a downstairs bathroom – not ideal with babies.
We’ve removed a decrepit conservatory, extended the kitchen, built two bathrooms upstairs and a new bedroom for the children. We’ve also painted every room in lovely colours which makes everything feel brighter and more homely.
We’re 95% of the way there with the renovation and I can’t wait for it to be totally finished.
What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?
We love to cook and socialise so we wanted everywhere in the house to be welcoming and open to guests.
What’s your favourite room and why?
Either the en-suite to the spare room, which is tiny and tiled in dark green with gold fixtures, which I love and makes me feel luxurious and snug all at once – or Minna’s bedroom, which she will eventually share with Lando, which is bright and comfortable and everything I wanted my children’s bedroom to be.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Yes, now after the building work we do, beforehand we definitely didn’t. We were always in each other’s way.
Do you have plans to change the property?
Not any further at the moment, we need to start saving again to sort out the garden at the front and the back of the house.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
Not now, but when the building was happening there were a lot, including having to rewire the whole house because the wiring was so old.
Do you want to feature 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 protected]
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.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
You sometimes might not buy your dream home straight off, being able to see potential in a house and being willing to do the work might get you a home quicker than holding out for something perfect.
The pain will, eventually, be worth it.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
We plan to stay here for at least a decade now and then see what happens.
Shall we take a look around?
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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