The journey from house to home

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In February 2017 I decided it was time to give up on renting and become the homeowner I’d dreamed of since I was 16. It turns out finding a house to make a home is a lot harder when purchasing than it is when renting.

Luckily I was able to escape some steps as I invested in a mortgage broker. This saved so much time. They’re also worth the money you fork out for them. A broker will get you the best deal they can with whatever you can bring to the table. Even though I’d been saving since I was 16, I was still limited in what banks would give me a 90% mortgage. But like I said, luckily I was able to escape this hassle.

When it came to finding a house I was somewhat limited in location. Nottingham is my city of choice and I love it here. But it’s not cheap to live within a 15-20 minute walking distance. So there was compromise on the type of property I would end up buying.

A new build was not for me. They’re incredibly boxy and too modern for my industrial interior design style. Not to mention they’re also very overpriced for what you get. Going into the search, this was one property type to cross of the list instantly.

The first house I walked into in March 2017 was the one. A traditional Victorian end-of-terraced house with two bedrooms and heaps of potential. It had previously been rented out and the owners aesthetically refurbished it. Emphasis on aesthetically refurbished. The day viewing the property my offer was accepted. Then the real trouble began.

A new build was not for me. They’re incredibly boxy and too modern for my industrial interior design style.

There’s a reason you pay so much to have an extensive homebuyers report. They tell you every possible thing that could be wrong with the property and then some. But the main problem was the house had been down-valued and the owners were not willing to negotiate on price despite the work that would need to be carried out to fix the structural issues. I may have lost money in the process of walking away from the property, but it was a small loss compared to what I may have had to pay out in the long run.

The next couple of months I decided to stay living in the rented house I was in. With all it’s own structural damp issues the house was still lovely. The landlord didn’t want to part with it, neither did they want to fix the problems so back to the property market it was.

After the first house fell through I decided to look further afield. This whole process of buying a house tied in with Manchester Arena Bombing and many other ISIS terrorist attacks. As a result of this I had talked myself out of inner city living. Many house viewings later and there was nothing that gave me the feeling that the first house did.

Despite my reasons for not wanting to be close to the city centre, the house I bought in the end was a couple of streets closer to town than the one I had previously attempted to buy. I had to compromise and realise that a first house is not going to be everything you want it to be. You can’t have the perfect location, the desirable off-street parking and garden. That’s not possible in city centre living even if you’re not a first-time buyer.

The house I bought in the end was a couple of streets closer to town than the one I had previously attempted to buy.

So this time last September I was in the middle of a bidding war for the house that I now get to call my home. At one point I had to walk away from the property. A cash buyer had come in with an offer I couldn’t compete with. However, everything aligned and they withdrew their offer and my offer was accepted instead. This December marks a whole year in my own home.

It’s been a long year since then. But what’s new there?

Moving is honestly one of the most stressful things anyone can go through. If it’s not the packing, it’s finding a company to move you or renting a van big enough to fit everything in. After that it’s the stress of unpacking. Before I could even think about that though, I had nightmares about the removal lorry not being able to fit down my very narrow double parked terraced road. Luckily it did.

If you’re a fan of interiors or just want to see another side to my creative life as a designer, then over the next couple of months there will be a series of posts to document what the house used to look like compared to how it is now. It’s incredible how much a new paint colour can make a place feel home. Plus a little bit of building work, new doors, and some new DIY skills learnt along the way.

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