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Moving on up

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gazeLife’s lessons are usually learnt the hard way – through trial and error; falling and getting back up again.  Although this might be the case, on this occasion, I’m quite interested in learning a new lesson without getting bruised along the way.

Buying anything these days, whether it be a new car, a house or even a holiday ticket, seems to come with hassle.  That is to say that you start off feeling positive about the steps you’re about to take only to experience things differently to how you anticipated them to be.  There seems to be no such thing as a hassle-free transaction these days.

This realisation was fresh on my mind as I had just changed cars and although the results were gratifying, the process was not without its twists and turns.  That may be why I’m feeling so apprehensive about the decisions I would have to make in the following months.

Buying your first home is an exciting albeit terrifying experience – or so I’ve come to find.  I’m at the stage in my adult life when I’m seriously considering making the move from being a tenant to being a homeowner and the choices are overwhelming.  Firstly, I’ve had to re-evaluate my expenditures in relation to my income and this seems to have only served to leave me discontent with the amount of pay I’m taking home each month.

Next I’ve had to consider how much I’m able to borrow without neglecting to consider how much I’m actually able to afford in terms of repayments.  Then of course I had to decide if I wanted a repayment only mortgage or an interest only mortgage.  It was at this stage I believe that I realised how little I actually knew about the very thing I was trying to obtain.

The greatest challenge, apart from the realisation that I knew practically nothing about mortgages and would have to spend time studying and learning about them, is trying to put everything concerning my finances in place in order to be able to get the property of my choice.  I’ve had my bubble busted several times as I came into the whole home buying thing quite ignorant of the weighty decision I was making.

My idea of a first home was a lovely cottage style house with a minimum of two bedrooms and maybe even a garden thrown in.  After realising that to get this I would have to be earning more and have less expenditures, I reshaped my dreams to suit my budget.  I then began looking at one bedroom flats with no garden and off street parking!

Many people across the border who are thinking of buying their first home or maybe even already have one might be able to empathise.  This is by far one of the biggest decisions I have had to make till date.  The financial strain and emotional turmoil is almost enough to dissuade me from proceeding.  And that’s all before I start attempting to find a place that is within my budget!  It feels like there is no end to the torture.

As great as it is that anyone would make a move to buy their own place, some might ask ‘Why bother?’ in the light of all the stress and hassle involved.  I can’t say why anyone would want to make such a move, but I know that for me, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.  I weighed the pros and cons and saw that the benefits of owning a house far outweighed any stress that might be involved in obtaining one or even continuing life as a tenant.  I also thought of the fact that owning a house is an investment move that can, if chosen wisely, provide more money and security for me that any pension plan can.

The bit that is discouraging is finding out that there are so many wrong ways of doing it.  It means that I might have to compromise in order to get a good deal.  That is to say that in order to get a deal that works for me for now, I might have to compromise my integrity, my morals and my principles.  I’ve been told so many ways of ‘beating the system’ and making it look as though I was earning more than I actually was just to get a lender to loan me more money than they ordinarily would.

This reeks to me of foul play; the kind that if I engage in, would only serve to cripple rather than help me.  For all first time buyers out there, I understand the temptation.  I struggled with it also.  My point though is why do anything this weighty if you’re not going to do it right?  Why make such a big decision if for the rest of the time you are living in that house, your heart would be in your mouth every time the phone rings or a letter is posted through your door?  Why stretch yourself any further than you can afford to?

Every thing has a time and a season when it is supposed to be done in.  I’ve decided that with something this big, I would do things right.  Now that that has been decided, I guess I just have to chore along and try to do things the right and best way I can to get the best deal possible for me.  My only hope and prayer is that my experience wouldn’t be a negative one but rather, with my determination to move on up, I would remain unbruised and uninjured learning a life lesson that has a happy ending.

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