Bricks and Mortar

Next month I turn 29, and it seems to be more and more people common for people to ask me if/when I'm going to buy a house/get married/get sprogged up. Clearly these are people who don't know me very well! I'm not the marrying kind and certainly at the moment, but more likely for the duration, I don't plan to have kids.

The house issue is food for thought though. I sat down recently and roughly totted up how much I'd spent on rent in the last ten years or so,(since I first left my home town), and the amount was scary. I don't pretend to be a whizz about the property market, but I imagine it would have made a contribution to a deposit on buying a house, although I don't know how I would have had money to survive - lived in a box maybe?

At the moment I'm living in a houseshare which is great for me. I like the house and my housemates, and it's great for its proximity to transport links(I don't have a car), and closeness to the city centre. I don't see me housesharing forever but it suits me for now. Having moved 10 times in the last ten years I would like to stay where I am for a bit. I like my own space and the best part is that I can sit at my writing desk and look out of my window, while pretending I'm Carrie Bradshaw(minus the designer shoes but luckily got my Mr Big.)

And that brings me onto one of the many reasons why getting 'onto the property ladder'(I hate that phrase) is not so simple for me as for some of my friends. My boyfriend is older than me and already has his own place, so it wouldn't be a case of living together and putting my name on the mortgage. I really think things could go the distance and, although I don't want to go all morbid on you, have to be practical about the longer term future, and can't really rely on anyone else in order to have a place to live into my old age.

I know eventually this is going to bring me to a crossroads where I will need to make a decision; whether to get my own place or continue renting, maybe my own flat. I would say the balance is quite even between my friends my own age in those that have mortgages and those that are in the same boat as me(housesharing.) I totally respect and am kind of in awe of those of my friends who have mortgages, but at the same time everybody's situation is different.

In the line of work that I do, I come into contact with people all the time who are having their houses repossessed, and it doesn't exactly make me want to take the plunge. I see people struggling to make ends meet so they can pay their mortgage. I hear of people who get sizeable amounts left to them when relatives pass away, when really they would rather have the person around than their money. On the other hand I hear of older people who sell their houses to go into retirement homes, and their capital becomes quickly swallowed up by nursing home fees. As far as I'm aware if you have very little capital, the state pays the fees(at the moment anyway.) There really is no one answer.

It can make you feel a bit like an outcast to not own your own home or have the desire to. I fight against this because I hate the assumption that everyone wants the same things in life. At the end of the day houses, cars, and the gazillion gadgets on the latest must have lists become irrelevant; it's just stuff. I am fortunate enought to have a wealth of family, friends and love in my life. That's more than any house can ever give me.


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