Generation Rent: Having a place to call home

Generation Rent: Having a place to call home

Dreaming of owning your own home? Yeah, me too. Here’s my recent experience of trying to get on the property ladder, being made homeless and my overall thoughts on being part of Generation Rent…

I haven’t written a lot of posts over the last year due to largely being distracted by my master’s degree and of late, I’ve been made homeless for the foreseeable future…

Writing it like that makes it sound a lot worse than it actually is so I’m just going to go into detail on the matter as it’s been playing on my mind a lot of late.

Greg and I have been together five years this year. We’re engaged, own two guinea pigs, share two cars between us and have officially lived together for two years. We’ve been talking for at least three years about buying a house and the beginning of this year seemed like as good as any to start looking.

The first house we put an offer on fell through as there were a number of issues that arose during a basic survey which we were not aware of prior to that so we decided to not take the risk. After looking at a number of other houses, we then found a house that we both liked which was all dandy and tying in quite nicely with our current rental tenancy ending so that we could then move into the new house.

Unfortunately, things did not go to plan further up the chain and we were left with the decision of pulling out altogether and starting afresh with finding a new property or stick it out for at least eight weeks in the likely event that the sale will go ahead. Through gritted teeth, we chose the former and have had a stressful time not only arranging for furniture and the majority of our worldly possessions to go into storage but also finding somewhere to stay temporarily.

Although eight weeks doesn’t sound like a long time, it’s a long time to have to pay for a hotel but too short for a short tenancy contract and then there are the further costs involved with that. We didn’t have the option of staying with family around Winchester/Southampton either as none of them live particularly close other than Greg’s brother, who owns a three-bed house with two small children and a dog. It seemed unfair to ask them for us to stay for that long so the only other option we have had is to stay with Greg’s Grandma, who lives just outside of Salisbury.

She was more than happy for us to stay and for that, we are both incredibly grateful. The downside is it means we have an hour and a half commute each way every day and have to fill the car up with petrol at least once every week. It also means we’re living with the minimal essentials as her house isn’t big enough to hold the majority of our possessions.

I’m not writing this post as a complaint against her as like I said, I am incredibly grateful for her generosity. I’m just fed up of having to commute over an hour every day, putting my career on hold just to ensure that we can secure that house and a mortgage company won’t find the tiniest issue with our application and therefore reject us thus ruining our credit rating.

My interest is in digital marketing and social media and while I do elements of this in my job, I spend the majority of my time doing a lot of mundane, repetitive, boring admin work which I’ve been doing day in day out for the past two years. I can’t complain about it too loudly though as it did give me the push into a specific career path I decided to do as I was vaguely interested in HR having previously worked in an HR job role and I do have quite nice colleagues. Meanwhile, I’m currently sticking with my job while I study my master’s and until we actually have a house of our own.

Only a couple of weeks ago, that dream of owning our own house felt like it was almost in our grasp as we were literally a day away from signing the contract. Now it currently feels like we couldn’t be further away from that dream.

The whole process is making me feel quite deflated of late as I’m trying to balance writing assignments and completing them on time for my masters, travelling for almost three hours a day to a job that I’m not that in to and while having very little space of my own.

In all honesty though, it’s not just this situation that’s caused me to feel this way. A lot of it’s to do with renting and feeling depressed at the amount I’ve spent on renting properties over the last six years. I started uni back in 2012 and never moved back home. I’ve just been living in rental properties ever since.

All of these have been houseshares as renting by myself would be out of the question (Although the last two years have just been with Greg, so I’m not sure that counts as much as a houseshare?) and the depressing thought is here is that over those last six years, I’ve spent almost £20k on renting.

Now considering that could be a good chunk of a house deposit, what do I have to show for that?

Absolutely nothing.

The majority of those six years, I’ve moved to a different property each year. Having to spend endless hours cleaning properties, sorting bills, pestering estate agents/landlords to fix things that have broken due to wear and tear, deal with a general rundown property and pack my life up into as many boxes as possible.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just fed up with it.

One year, my Mum bought me some Lush products which I used the majority of but as I packed them up, ready for an annual move, I forgot about them for several years and when I rediscovered them they had gone mouldy. That’s obviously no one’s fault but my own for not unpacking things properly. But what I’m trying to get at here though is that due to having to pack my life up frequently, I pack things away and forget about them and quite frankly, I’m just bored of it.

Perhaps my opinion will change on this when I have my own property and I’m just currently looking at it through rose-tinted glasses but I just can’t wait for the day if there’s an issue then I can just sort it myself. I’m not living on a pendulum swing of a six month or annual contracts where I don’t know whether the landlord is going to ask us to vacate or whether we’re welcomed to renew our contract.

I am also very grateful that I’m in the position of being able to buy a property with many thanks to Greg’s family. This isn’t a dig at my own family but I couldn’t rely on mine as they have less money than Greg and I do and without his family, I wouldn’t be able to buy a property probably ever in my life to be perfectly honest. Even if they did have the money, I’m one of four children so just imagine how much money our parents would have to fork out on us if they did? And even if my grandparents had the money to help, I’m one of eight on one side of the family and six on the other. I think by the time any of them had been able to help each of us out to be able to give us a decent sized deposit, it would likely cost as much as their house, if not twice as much!

Someone I used to go to college with was saying on Facebook the other day that it was looking very unlikely that her and her partner would ever own their own property. I don’t know the ins and outs of their situation but if you have seen the news recently it appears that they’re not alone. The BBC recently reported that up to a third of Millennials will face renting their entire lives.

It was recently reported in the news that up to a third of Millennials face renting their entire life. This is a depressing thought for those that are in a similar situation to me but aren’t as fortunate to be able to have family to help them with a deposit.

Now considering the eldest Millennials are now 35 so are likely to have children. Can you imagine that? Having to deal with issues like not knowing if you’ll be told to leave the house you currently occupy at the end of your tenancy or paying rent twice the amount of a mortgage but with children!?

Not that we want children anytime soon but Greg and I have discussed this before how we just wouldn’t be able to manage having a child while renting seeing as our previous rental property is about a third of the price higher than our monthly mortgage payments have been predicted to be.

Not even just thinking about children, working part-time whilst studying my master’s is not an option either for the same reason. We simply just would not have enough money to live and this stresses me out greatly as studying a master’s part-time and working full-time is incredibly difficult!

Although there are positives to renting where I’ve learnt to be independent, how to live with other people that aren’t your family and how to be sensible with money and not blow it all on clothes I’m lusting after on ASOS or those Topshop shoes I’ve been eyeing up for the last three months. I can also move out of the property at the end of my contract and not have to worry about the actual property other than giving it a good clean to ensure I get my deposit back.

But without sounding like I’m boasting though, I’m just looking forward to saying goodbye to rental property and being able to call a property “mine” where I can change the colour of it if I wish, move on my own terms and not be bound to a contract, fix things on my own terms and not have the worry of whether we have a permanent home for any future children we may have or that we will be kicked out for having pets or them destroying parts of the house which we receive a hefty fine for.

I hope that this doesn’t come across as me sounding like I’m self-entitled. I just needed to write a ranty post on the matter of renting, buying a home and becoming homeless.

What are your views on Generation Rent or renting and buying property? 

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