I was talking to a few blogging friends yesterday when the discussion turned into a first-time buyer mortgage conversation and it reminded me I have never shared how we got onto the property ladder.
Now before I share this journey, I want to reiterate, I’m not a finance blogger or a financial advisor. This is just a blog with an honest record of our journey to a debt-free life and early retirement. We have made financial mistakes in the past and I am sure we will hit a few more stumbling blocks in the coming years, however, we are going to keep going and sharing the raw truth in that journey.
So, back to our first-time buyer mortgage journey. Throwing this back to 2006/7 we decided to start looking at mortgages and buying a home. We had been renting a house with my brother since I turned 18 however we felt it was time for our own space.
We were recommended a mortgage advisor and at the time 120% mortgages we normal, not for everyone, however, they were used as a stepping stone onto the property ladder. For us, it was perfect, as we had very little saving and the option of the family helping with a deposit was not something we could rely on.
Fast forward a few months, the mortgage is in place, we had put in an offer on a house and it was accepted. Perfect we thought, rolling through the process to get the survey’s processed etc.
Then we got a phone call that changed everything, the seller had pulled out, we were back to square one and financially at a loss. Devastated didn’t even cut it, I cried so much. Our mortgage advisor was not around as he had just had a baby which was poorly, so I didn’t want to bother him. Thinking I was being helpful I rang to the mortgage company and explained the situation, however, I hadn’t realised at the time in doing this I had activated a 14 day period for us to find another home or our mortgage offer would be retracted.
Panic set in, we had been working so hard to get the mortgage and now it could be pulled from under our feet.
Thankfully we found a place that we loved and all was well in the end, or so we thought.
Our mortgage was with Northern Rock, in the last few weeks of our purchase going through Northern Rock hit a pretty rough patch. The same patch that saw them go under as a company in its current form and the government taking on the mortgages. It was a tough time as we were unsure if we would complete and if we did complete what would happen to our mortgage.
We are one of the fortunate ones though as we were able to remortgage eventually and break away from the trap of interest rates that so many got stuck on.
Even though we had a tough time getting onto the property ladder, I don’t regret it one bit. Yes, it is a huge debt, one that is scary when you look at the numbers. However, it is a debt that also allowed us to have children and turn our house into a home for a family of 4. It is a debt that will eventually become our retirement fund (sooner rather than later hopefully), I like to look at it as an investment.
Lots of lessons were learned on our journey to getting a mortgage and to be honest, I will never forget the journey to get here, I will, however, be very grateful for being able to get on that first step.
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