On Sunday, it’ll be a whole god damn year since I bought my house. A whole year. A full 366 days. WHAT?! That’s absolute madness. I still feel like I’m house sitting and the real owners of this place are gonna come back off holiday anytime soon.
Thinking back to September 11 2015, and I remember it all going through court so, so well. I took the afternoon off work, I got dressed up all smartly, I trotted off to court and I exchanged keys with the previous owners that afternoon.
I also remember so vividly walking through the front door – MY front door – and just wandering round the empty rooms, staring at the blank walls and wondering what on earth I had just done.
I had just bought a three bedroomed cottage, with garden and a parking space. Blimey.
I learnt SO many lessons throughout the process of getting there (during the 14 months leading up to that moment I had also inherited a house, renovated that house and sold it which involved an intense bidding war – I don’t do things by halves), so I thought I’d share with you those lessons that nobody told me when I was going through the entire process.
It’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever do
Yes, I know kids and marriage are both also pretty expensive, but this is the only one I’ve experienced so far and I can tell you that it is beyond the most expensive thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve got direct debits coming out of my ears for all sorts of things – house insurance, furniture that I bought on HP, cat stuff – and when I think about how much I used to spend on ASOS every pay day, I wince and think about how many nice trinkets that could have bought me for my shelves.
Yes, my disposable income is a lot less than when I lived at home (obviously), but I have to realise that it’ll all be worthwhile in the end when I’m 45 and mortgage free.
Furniture costs a lot more than you think it does
When I had my completion date set by the solicitors, I would spend lunch hour after lunch hour munching on a sarnie and either flicking through catalogues, Pinterest or blogs for some home inspiration.
Turns out that you need an unlimited bank account or some huge sponsorship deals to make your home look like that.
Now, I was lucky in the fact that I had some money put aside to be able to deck myself out with some of the basics – I was actually able to eat off proper plates in the first week of moving in rather than having to eat off paper ones – but even with that money saved, I still do a bit of a wide eye at the amount of money that I’ve spent so far.
I’ve not even bought anything fancy or splurged on a sofa, but because I literally had nothing, I had to start from scratch and had to buy things fairly quickly instead of taking my time and hunting around for deals.
Obviously, if you’re going from renting somewhere to buying, you’re going to have a lot more stuff which you can bring with you. But if you’re moving out from living with your parents, ask around if people can donate or lend you things that you can use until you get everything sorted out.
It’ll take you a lot longer than you think to have your place ‘just right’
I moved into the house properly towards the end of September / beginning of October, so I *VERY NAIVELY* thought that I was going to be all settled and done by Christmas. I envisioned cosy Winter nights, hot chocolates in front of the fire, and candles flickering on my nice new matching coffee table and TV unit.
Hahahaha. Hahaaha. HA. Ha.
Get your head out of them there clouds, Jess.
It’s a year later and I am still moving things around, thinking about new furniture, buying odd bits and bobs and finding new ways of doing things around the rooms.
Just this weekend I was using that Dulux visualiser app to see what colour I could paint the walls in my lounge (if you haven’t used it yet, it’s SO much fun and makes me feel like I’m on Changing Rooms).
You’ll have a bit of a breakdown around ‘becoming an adult’
Since when did I take days off work and spend them weeding the garden? Gross.
You’ll realise how much more freedom and independence you have
Now, I’m very lucky that I grew up in a household that was very trusting and I was never really limited to where I could go and when, but living on your own or living outside of your family home just grants you that absolute freedom to be able to do what you want, and when you want, without any judgements.
Wanna eat that 3 day old leftover lasagne for breakfast at 10am on a Sunday? You go ahead and have it. You do you.
You’ll get carried away with plans, hopes and dreams
I moved in with hopes and dreams of getting a dog / knocking down walls / getting a spiral staircase / renovating the rooms to my exact wishes, again, all by Christmas.
None of that has happened.
You’ll undoubtedly get caught up in the ‘omg isn’t this the best thing ever look at all this space for ACTIVITIES I have now!!!!!’, but try not to let that take you away from what you actually need to do. Yes, looking up Westie breeders in your area is all well and good, but do you actually have a mattress to sleep on?
It’s the best thing you’ll ever do
Even though I whinge about not ever having any money because I’ve got bills coming out of my account left, right and centre, I still walk through the front door every day after work and have a little punch the air moment.
This house is mine, and I can’t wait to see the people, the moments, the laughter, tears and life that it gives me over the next few years.
So – have you bought a place to live? What did you think of the whole experience? I found mine relatively stress-free, as thankfully I had a lot of supportive people around me throughout the time, but I know a lot of people have very different experiences. What are some tips you’d give other people?