*This post was written in collaboration with the Post Office.
We’ve been on the property ladder for a few years now. Buying our first house was one the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I loved everything about the whole process from start to finish. Both Hubs and I have always been interested in property, so heading round to have a nosy at different types of houses was so much fun. Our first viewing ignited something in both of us and we became so passionate about finding the perfect house for us. We would sit for hours adding new properties to our ‘must view‘ list. I made so many appointments with estate agents that in the end we found ourselves on first name terms with a few!
For us, buying a house was something we wanted to get right the first time. We wanted our first home to be our forever home. That meant spending an incredible amount of time thinking about what kind of house would suit us when we bought and what would continue to suit us as life took its natural course. The trouble with buying a forever home from the outset, is that the prices of the houses we really wanted didn’t always match our budget. We’d saved hard for some time and Hubs had downgraded his car so that we had the best chance of purchasing the right house for us. We pooled our savings and had a respectable sum. At the time though, we knew it wouldn’t quite be enough.
After many months of searching, we finally found the house we wanted. I’d been told numerous times that I’d ‘just know’ once I walked into the property I’d want. I must admit, I thought this was a little far-fetched. We’d seen so many, they all had good and bad points. It had to be a compromise, right? Wrong! The very first time I walked through our now front door, I knew this house was for me. This would be the place I settle, get married and have children in. I wanted it and I wanted it now!
Inevitably, this property was one of those that we really had to stretch ourselves to afford. At the time I was still on an apprentice’s wage and so it would be down to Hubs to pick up the bulk of the costs. We left after that first viewing with a heavy heart. Wanting the house so much, but wondering if it just wasn’t meant to be.
After much thought, plenty of to-ing and fro-ing and even a few tears. We decided that we really did want this house. It was too good to let go. So, we decided that we would talk our situation through with my parents. We went back to show them the house and they fell in love with it, just like we had a week or so before. They could see the potential it had and how much Hubs and I had pinned our hopes on this place becoming our home.
We’ve all heard the old saying ‘never a borrower, nor a lender be’, but it was becoming increasingly clear that borrowing money from my parents was the only way we were going to get the house of our dreams. We had the majority of what we needed, but my parents were more than willing to give us a helping hand to secure our future. We sat down as a family and agreed on the amount we would need to borrow in order to get by. We made it very clear what the funds would be used for and most importantly we agreed on payback terms. Its not unusual though for parents and children not to have a payment plan in place. In fact according to research completed by the Post Office, as much as 87% of first time buyers don’t have an agreement in place. It can be a really difficult conversation to have and if it’s something you are struggling with you can use this Conversation Guide to help make things easier for everyone! My parents are great and there really was no pressure from their side to get the money back. I wanted things to be clear-cut though, so we devised a monthly payment plan. In my eyes, proactive reimbursement of funds shows the lender how grateful the borrower is. Plus, I didn’t want to be indebted any longer than was necessary.
Would I borrow again?
I absolutely would! For me, the borrowing process was made very straightforward because we’d spent some time agreeing on terms before any money was exchanged. The fact that everyone knew where they stood made me feel comfortable and the fact that there was a payment plan in place meant that there was no confusion further down the line. I didn’t find the process stressful at all as we were able to buy the home that we had fallen in love with and I know it made my parents happy to know they had helped us in achieving that.
Some interesting statistics…
- The majority of parents don’t formalise and agreement with their children when they lend them money.
- One in six first time buyers are taking long-term loans from their parents in order to buy a house.
- Parents loan an average of £24,347 to help their children get on the property ladder.
Did you have any help when buying your first house?