I’ve been renting homes more years than I care to remember now. I’ve found the older I get, the greater the effort it takes to do a move to the next hiring. Hopefully now though, my days of being a tenant will soon be coming to an end.
I have to admit, we’ve lived in some great and not so great homes over the years. Many of which we wouldn’t have been able to buy. There’s the time we lived in a flat in a converted barn. Far out in the countryside on a working farm. Only the upper part of the barn had been converted into a flat. The lower half was still stables to house the farm horses.
What we didn’t realise when we moved there though, was that horses kick about at night. The sound of their hooves tapping on the stone floor can be quite loud in the still of the night. The sounds used to travel up into our bedroom and wake us up. Then there was the really harsh winter when all the pipes froze. They hadn’t been properly lagged and were a bit more exposed in the stables than they should have been. We ended up travelling down to my in-laws and staying with them while the pipes defrosted!
There’s also been the lodge house, the converted mental hospital, the farm cottage…
However, being a long term tenant isn’t fun. You can’t settle down. You’re having to move every couple of years. You make improvements to the property you’re in for your on own comfort. Then it’s happy days for the landlord, who’s got it all done for free. And please don’t get me started on deposits, inventories and check-ins/outs!
With the stamp duty incentive now reduced to £250,000 and reducing further, to £125,000 on the 1st October. The craziness of the housing market over the last year. Which was brought on by the Covid pandemic having us all locked up for weeks. Is starting to cool off a bit. That mad rush for people to move between lockdowns has eased. The Guardian reports that buyer activity should continue to ease over the coming months. And a steadier period for the market may lie ahead.
All of that coincides nicely with some of my pre-planning a few years ago. Always in the hope that I may one day be able to finally get on the housing ladder. I’ve saved money, made money and managed my finances for the better. The time has now come to finally be able to buy a (small) home of our own.
I’ve been using an affordability and loan calculator to work out the size of mortgage I can get. They also let me work out how much it would likely cost me per month playing with different rates. And how much I could afford to pay in mortgage payments. I’m doing this so I know before applying for a mortgage. So I can see what’s for sale in my price bracket.
Houses in my price bracket tend to be small terraced houses. Some are 2 up 2 down. Some have had an extension put on the rear. I’m looking for one with an extension but I also want to be able to convert the loft. So many of these properties have ground floor bathrooms (usually in the extension). I want to get a bathroom upstairs and allow for a small home office space downstairs. This is because I’m now splitting my time between the office and home working.
Here in High Wycombe, where I live at the moment, house prices seem fairly stable after the flurry of activity recently. It’s a nice enough place to live. Although it has 2 steep hills which wear me out when I have to walk up them. The town itself has all your usual high street names like M&S, Primark, Sports Direct, TK Maxx. It also has a small market on Tuesday, Friday & Saturday. There’s even a chair museum!
There are good train links to Oxford & Birmingham. And you can be in London Marylebone in as little as 25mins on the direct trains. Outside of the town there’s plenty of countryside to lose yourself in. If you’re a dog owner, there are lots of places to go walking. There’s the Rye (pictured above), Hughenden Park and Penn Woods to name a few.
Marlow is a beautiful nearby town. If you like rowing you can join the club there and row on the Thames. It also has a pretty high street with lots of places to stop and eat or grab a coffee.
Buckinghamshire also has 13 grammar schools and we have 3 of them round here!
I really think that in the coming months, it will be a good time to buy. Interest rates are low and the cost of mortgages is still low. I think they may even have reached their lowest point ever!
Are you thinking of buying? Let me know in the comments below.