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Buying A House: One Year On

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Can you believe next month it will be one year since we finally exchanged contracts and moved into the house of our dreams?

We had waited years to be able to have the opportunity to own our own home, and we saved and worked so hard to make sure we were in the best financial position possible to do it.

I won’t ever forget the worry we had, waiting those eleven days to find out if the mortgage had been approved or not. It was gut wrenching knowing we had found our dream home and it might slip out of our grasp with nothing that we could do about it. Thankfully, as you know, the news was positive, but I never want to go through something like that again. It was agonising!

So much has changed since we started the first tentative steps towards buying our own home last May. I fell pregnant with Felix, I got a promotion in work and moved branches, we welcomed Felix into our world, Neil got a promotion and new job and we have purchased two new cars. We have certainly been busy little bees!

It was so sad to say goodbye to my car “Lawro”, who had been with me since 2010 and was the biggest purchase I’d ever made. I saved £300 a year for 12 months in a stocks and shares ISA (and came away with £4000) and borrowed the other £4000 from my parents which I paid back at £400 a month for the next ten months. This little car got me all around north Wales, to and from Formby twice a week while Neil and I were log distance dating and took us to the south of France, just before Dexter was conceived. So many great memories.

Felix fast asleep as a newborn

Anyway, back to the house… as gorgeous as it was when we viewed it, we were a little shocked to say the least to see the state of it when we actually moved in. We now understand how easy it is to hide imperfections with nice decor, textiles and cleverly placed wall hangings! To say we’ve needed to do a lot more than we had hoped, has been an understatement, but we’ve enjoyed the small changes we’ve made so far and are embracing the big changes we will need to make over the coming months and years.

We started with the boys’ bedrooms and have created two stunning rooms, each decorated beautifully, exactly how I wanted them. From start to (nearly) finish, it has taken over six months, but I didn’t want to rush it and I made sure we saved and had the money for the bits I really wanted, including wardrobes, desks and storage furniture.

Nautical themed toddler bedroom showing striped navy and white walls, toddler bed, kallax unit and shelves

Our next job is to decorate our bedroom, get a new bed (desperately needed!), new furniture and sort a carpet. After that, we need to decorate the hallway and replace that carpet and finally we will move onto the dining room/playroom which was originally the garage.

The biggest job on our minds though, is our garden. We live in a very rural area and the garden is teeming with bugs. (I’ve never once been in our garden and not ended up with a spider on me at some point!) We are desperate to dig up the turf and replace with artificial grass and create a nice paved area where we can sit and chill while the boys are playing with their outdoor toys. We know this will require a lot of money, so now we are debating whether to save up or take out small loans so we can start enjoying it immediately. Being on maternity leave means every penny counts at the moment, so we will have to see what the next six months bring!

Felix's Bedroom - grey and aqua mountains painted on the wall behind a white cot

We honestly thought we were moving into a home we wouldn’t have to touch, but the reality is, you want to change everything just to our your own stamp on it. I’ve really enjoyed spending the time decorating the boys’ rooms, but of course I’ve had the benefit of time on my side, being on maternity leave. I will perhaps find the next rooms quite stressful if I’m back in work by the time we get round to them.

We still have a year left on our fixed rate mortgage and I’m hoping by the time we come to review it, we can either drop the payments by a fair whack or reduce the term by a good few years. Maybe even a little of both.

Neil and Dex at Burscough Wharf enjoying some brunch

I can’t wait to see what the next year of living in our own home brings. We’ve loved every second of being in our new village, making new friends and exploring everything it has to offer. I’m hoping the next update brings news of a new garden, newly decorated rooms and a reduction in our monthly mortgage payments!

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