Welcome back to What I Own.
This week we are talking to Kyra – a teacher who moved into her first home a year ago, during lockdown 1.0.
She lives in the West Midlands with her partner and their adorable rabbit Bonnie.
This is what Kyra had to say about her home-buying process…
Tell us about yourself Kyra…
I’m 26, although only 25 if you don’t count the year we have just spent in lockdown. I’m a history teacher at a secondary school in Staffordshire.
Where is your property and what do you think of the area?
I live in Cannock, about five minutes away from my parents. It has the Cannock Chase which is definitely its best selling point and was a lifesaver over the last year.
We can actually walk to it from our house which is great. Although traffic is a huge problem in Cannock. For a small town, it takes ages to get from one side to the other.
When did you move in?
We moved in April 2020, about three weeks after national lockdown was announced.
How much does your property cost?
Our property was on the market for £165,000.
How much was your deposit?
We put a 5% deposit down of just over £8,000.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
Our monthly cost comes in at about £1000 for mortgage and bills. We split this 50/50.
How did you save up for your deposit?
We both lived at our parents’ houses while we were saving for our deposit. We were lucky that neither of us really needed to pay board, so we could put everything into our savings. We both had a Help To Buy savings account, which was really helpful.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Were any parts challenging?
Getting our mortgage was the easiest process of buying our house. Luckily, we secured our mortgage in January last year, before the world went crazy. As our house was only three years old, the bank didn’t need to do any searches on the property so our mortgage was granted pretty quickly.
Where did you live before this?
We both lived with our parents before living together.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
We were eager to get onto the property ladder. I rented houses while I was at university and much prefer the idea that this house is ours and we can do what we want with it.
We were very lucky that we could live with our parents, so had the time to save for a deposit, otherwise we would have probably had to rent. I imagine it would be hard to rent and save at the same time.
How did you find this property?
We viewed quite a few newish properties. We couldn’t afford a brand new new-build and we also didn’t have the patience for the process. We found our house online and fell in love straight away.
How have you made the property feel like home?
We’ve done everything that we can to our house, that’s without breaking the budget and also been fairly limited due to lockdown restrictions.
The first thing we did was paint over all of the magnolia. We started with a nice white canvas and have added splashes of colour over the year. We ripped out the worktops of the kitchen and also laid new flooring in the porch and kitchen.
We also changed the downstairs bathroom into a utility to give ourselves more storage space. The toilet is pretty much in the middle of the kitchen so we didn’t really use it anyway. I’ve really enjoyed accessorising – I think most of my wage has gone straight to Dunelm, the Range and B&M this last year.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
I think if anyone says ‘yes’ to this question they’re kidding themselves. I would never say no to more space, but we make it work for us. We only have one drawer in the kitchen, which isn’t ideal.
Do you have plans to change the property?
We have done quite a lot to change it already. Our next project is to rip out the bathroom, we don’t use the bath so are considering just having a big shower, giving us more storage in the bathroom.
Long-term we would probably look at extending. I would also like to have an en-suite built in the master bedroom but that probably won’t be for many years.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
Not really. As it was a bit older we haven’t had the usual snagging issues like other people with new builds have, as most of these were resolved before we moved in.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
Don’t try to rush it. Although we have achieved a lot in one year, things that I bought for the house before we moved in have already been sold on Facebook marketplace because they just didn’t suit. I would say it’s probably best to just wait until you’re definitely certain on something.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?
I love our house. It doesn’t have the biggest ground floor plan, so we would either look to extend, or maybe look into a new-build. I do get jealous watching people who can choose everything about their house, I think I would like the process of choosing options etc.
Shall we 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 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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