Last Friday I was watching quite possibly my favourite television show Location, Location, Location with Phil Spencer [bit of a personal hero] and the quaint & kooky Kirstie Allsopp. Kirstie was bemoaning the seeming lack of ambition and drive [specifically towards buying a house] of her clients.
She commented that unlike her clients, who were both in their late 20's or early 30's and had done neither.. she had passed her driving test at 18 and bought her first property at 21.
Which is exactly what I did.. well I was 17 when I passed my test, but now I'm just splitting hairs.
Also.. to be fair.. I wasn't the daughter of Baron and Lady Hindlip which MUST have helped Kirstie with the home buying thing... but I digress.
The reason I mention all this is because the show sparked a conversation between me and hubby dearest about property & money and about how our upbringing and subsequent experiences with them had framed our lives.
My husband's Dad was in the military and they moved a LOT.. he is in the military and moved a LOT.
In his world order buying a house was something you did when you retired.
I on the other hand had a very different experience.
Although my Mum and Dad started life with pretty much nothing.. by the time I, the last of 4 came along, they were set up financially.
We only moved once when I was a kid... from a very nice suburban house in Brighton, to a bloody gorgeous house on the seafront in Worthing. .. albeit one that needed a LOT of work.
My mum knew inately how to make a home and she knew how to make money out of property. I was too young to understand that at the time, but although we only moved once, I do remember being dragged round just about every house that ever came on the market in Mum's price range for over 10 years.
She didn't like brand new ones.. I remember that.
I have a very vivid memory of an agent explaining that a new house we were looking at on Longlands Avenue had a built in vacuum, and that they were.. 'the very latest thing'.. I was about 9.
My brother had bought a flat straight out of university.. he had a really well paid job in the city mind you.
My sister Sue had bought very young too.. and had already moved up to a better place.
It was the 1980's.. Mrs Thatcher wanted us all to buy a house... home owners being historically, more inclined to vote Conservative.
That may have been a factor I suppose.
Now I tell you all this by way of a bit of background. Maybe it will give some incite into why I knew at the age of 21 that buying a property was not just the right thing to do.. but the ONLY thing to do.
When you understand that.. maybe you could explain it to me, because I sure as hell don't know.
My own parents didn't OWN a house until they were 39 & 48... but I was so sure that I bought mine when I had been in my FIRST full time job after university for only SIX weeks.
I hadn't even finished my probationary period.
I didn't have a deposit.. so I had to get a 100% mortgage.
I wasn't even earning enough money..
My annual salary at the time was £5000... I needed £7000 to get the mortgage.. so I went to my boss and asked him to fib for the mortgage company.
Just think about that for a second... I had worked for him for SIX weeks and I was asking him to lie for me.
Another very vivid memory.. he sat me down in his office one lunchtime and said to me. 'Can you actually afford this mortgage.. I mean REALLY.. you've done all the maths ?'..
I said 'Yes'.. which was a lie really because I had no idea what my actual outgoings were going to be.and he said.. 'OK, if you promise me that you can really afford it.. then OK'
I moved in 6 weeks later.
I'm not sure that I ever thanked him to the extent that I should have for what he did for me back then.
I say..'to the extent that I should have' because without Danny I would never have got that flat.. and that flat was the springboard that secured my entire financial future.
I sold it 2 years later for more than double what I paid.. and after a huge crash in the late 80's early 90's [which I survived] I sold my next flat for double what I paid for it.
With that money I bought my current home, which is worth almost double what I paid.
So Thank You Danny.. you have no idea how your help affected my life... and I will be forever grateful... because without you I might not have this.
As it turned out.. when I had paid all my bills at the end of the month.. I had only £14 left over... and that was BEFORE I did any grocery shopping. But my Mum fed me for the first 12 months, and did my washing too.. so I managed.
She often told me that I had to get my prorities straight...
I HAD to pay my mortgage.. I didn't have to EAT !
How right she was.
Thanks Mum !!