What to expect when you get your first home…

“A house is made of wood and stone but only love can make a home…”

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People often say that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences you can go through in life and while this may be true, there is nothing like picking up the keys to your very own home. Whether it’s your first home on your own or with your partner, it is such a special time filled with excitement, nerves and high expectations. I’ve lived in a student house and halls and let me tell you something; if that is what you think having your own place is like, you are very much mistaken. You don’t really care for the aesthetics of the place, you spend the majority of your free time in your bedroom and I don’t even want to get on to the subject of the disgusting amount of washing up that is left piled high in the sink and on every work surface in the kitchen that has a space. The house just isn’t a home. But when you get your first home it. Is. Amazing. It’s yours. You feel like you’ve reached the peak of adulthood and it hits you when you’re sitting on the floor, surrounded by all your things packed into boxes, and you’re just like ‘wow, is this what being an adult is?’, and yes it so is. Living on your own is brilliant but, like everything, it has its downsides. If you’ve just transitioned from living with parents to having your own place, it is a huge reality check and you soon realise you have nobody checking up on you, no parents shouting up the stairs telling you dinners ready and nobody to do your laundry without even asking. Now whilst this might make you a little homesick, fear not and rejoice because you also have nobody telling you to clean your room, you can stay out late and not have to dread the missed calls from your mum and you can, let’s be honest here, have sex and not be on edge the entire time wondering if your mum is about to walk in on you (and believe you me that has happened to yours truly but that is a completely different and equally mortifying post!).

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Both me and Jon were really apprehensive because, regardless of living together for over a year both in our own place and with his parents, we had an awful experience living in our first flat together because of me being so ill and we just argued constantly. It also didn’t feel like ours because it was rented and fully furnished so the only things we had were our little bits and bobs. It made us really want our own place and we both wanted to work through our problems and most importantly, me to get better. We were really apprehensive about living together again because of everything that went on in the flat and considering we were only there for 7/8 months, a lot happened in such a short space of time. Moving into our home has been one of the best things to ever happen to us as a couple. We both are pretty settled in our jobs and didn’t want to move away from Northampton, even though at one point we did consider moving away either to London or somewhere by the sea like Brighton to pursue careers but everything we know is here; our families, friends and we’ve both grown up here, this is our home. Having a house is completely different, it is more homely and we both certainly see each other being here for a very long time. It’s a perfect family home with a beautiful big garden so yeah, we both see each other having our children in this home but you never know what is around the corner. The excitement of having our own place to decorate how we want and to furnish how we want was incredible! We had gotten a big grey corner sofa but it just would not fit through the living room door no matter what angle we attempted, so that was our first problem and to be honest our only problem. The house is newly refurbished so strikes the perfect balance between modern and rustic in which we have a fireplace that is a charming addition to the living room but a contemporary style kitchen.

When we came to view the house the first time, we both fell in love with the amount of character the place had and it instantly felt like a home. After what felt like a lifetime, in a matter of months we had signed our paperwork and paid the hefty deposit, finally we were handed our keys and headed straight home. For the first day or two we sat on cushions, ate takeaways and drank wine from mugs to celebrate our new adventure. And that is exactly what it is, when you move out in your early 20’s, a whole new chapter of your lives in your very own place. When the place is just a shell, it allows you to envision what can go where and what would look good on this wall. I am really big on art and one of my favourite pieces, that closely resembles Sera Knight’s ‘well deserved rest’, went on a feature wall and instantly added the character I had envisioned.

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Sera Knight – ‘Well deserved rest’

Now I’m sure if you too have your own place that you will know of the incredible high expectations you have with your new home and let me tell you; this home has completely exceeded both of our expectations, it is everything we expected and more! We are beyond happy.

So, here are a few of my personal top tips to prepare you for your first home:

  1. Prepare! You’re making a huge decision so ensure that you are 100% sure on the location, cost and person you are moving in with. Are you absolutely certain that your partner, whether you’ve been together 4 months or 4 years, is going to stick by you fully? Getting a house isn’t all fun and games, it costs a lot!
  2. Decide whether you are going to rent or get a mortgage. If you are going to make a commitment to renting or buying, just make sure that you fully do your research. If you’re renting be sure to check the condition of the property not just the inside aesthetics. Is it fully insulated? Does it have double-glazing? What is its energy efficiency rating? Because all this stuff will add up to the cost of your winter bills and on top of all the other bills, can you afford it? Does the rental agreement come with a very strict contract or is your landlord more relaxed? With most mortgaged properties, they are usually built more efficiently and with modern technology because the term of your agreement is usually on average of 25 years. Your mortgage means that when the term ends, it is completely yours meaning you could potentially increase the equity thus making more money in the long run. But it is a huge commitment! Do your research!
  3. Do a calculation of your average monthly out-goings on bills and make sure you have enough left over to live from until you’re next paid. If you don’t, you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure and you may be back in you old childhood room back at your parents’ sooner than you think.
  4. If your place is new/unfurnished, do you have enough for essentials? Essentials being; fridge, washing machine, sofa, bed, wardrobe/drawers, etc. These things all add up.
  5. Try and shop savvy. Ebay is fantastic for bargains on home essentials at a fraction of the price compared to buying direct from a retailer. If you plan your move around a bank holiday also, you’ll have the time to move in without taking days off work and you can benefit from the bank holiday sales!

And after you’ve worked out all the money don’t forget the final, most important thing. Have the most amazing time on your new adventure! Make plenty of new memories and enjoy every minute. You are so fortunate to have a property in this market, so if you are one of the lucky ones, ensure that you are having the most fun whilst you’re young. Have parties, take a million photos and make it your happy space. That is the key to making the most out of your first home experience!

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Much love x

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