22 January 2019

A year of being a home owner

*this post is sponsored by SelfBuild Live 

Can you believe it's been a year since I moved into my house? I dreamed my whole life that I would own my own house but I never thought I'd be a home owner by 26! I always thought it would take me longer to save or that there would be a 'right time'. It turns out that there's no such thing as the right time and that saving was easy when I put my mind to it (ok... stopped ordering stuff online I didn't need!). 

I'm now thinking about doing some home improvements over the next year now that I've got the basics covered. I'm so excited to partner with Self Build Live - a fab home improvement show coming to the Titanic Exhibition Centre from 22nd - 24th Feb. They have everything from interior design advice to kitchens, bathrooms, finance & more! Tickets are usually £10 get them for free using the code THATBELFASTGIRL by clicking this link.

Here's my reflections (and advice!) on being a first time home owner...

Finding the right home

People are always shocked when I tell them that I viewed three homes in a year... the third one I bought! I had a strong idea of my budget and what I wanted. I knew I wanted something with three bedrooms so I could have a guest room & a dressing room - my dream come true! I ended up buying a mid terrace house with three bedrooms. Downstairs is all open plan. It was built in the 1970s and I'm only the second person to live in it. The previous owners bought it new as a married couple & raised their two daughters here. A developer then bought it and modernised it. The minute I walked into the house I had a great vibe. I do believe you can walk into other people's karma. I knew a very happy family lived in this house & they had a great life. That's the start I wanted for my life as a home owner!

The mortgage process

I had been thinking for a while about buying a house so I thought I'd go and get some advice from my bank. I went to see the mortgage advisor there early on who advised me how much I'd need to save for a deposit. I ended up going to an independent mortgage broker when I found my house (I highly recommend him - Paul is based in UPS in Glengormley). He managed to get me a great deal with Danske Bank and made the process SO easy & educational. He also did things like home & life insurance for me. 

Getting it kitted out

After buying my house, I needed to get it kitted out. Please don't be like me & think you can do the whole house in the first month! You will give yourself major stress and fit is financially  impossible! My best friend told me to live in the house for a while to understand what your style is. I'm so glad I took her advice as a year later I probably want very different things to my original ideas! I have bought a mix of high and low pieces over the past year - from cool unique bits to TK Maxx bargains. If you have an ideas in your head, keep searching! Don't settle!

Learning to live alone

I'm not going to lie... the first three months on my own were so hard. I had never lived on my own and deciding to move in during the dead of winter probably made it worse! Learning to form my own routines was a challenge - change is always hard. I'm so glad I did it and endured the first three hard months. The mental side of living alone was one I had not anticipated. I thought I'd be having a party every night & didn't think about the nights I'd be on my own doing laundry! Be easy with yourself during your first few months if you plan to live alone. Also embrace it! 

My next steps

I'm so excited to head to Self Build Live (don't forget to get your free tickets here with the code THATBELFASTGIRL) and look for inspiration! I really want to find a good joiner to box in an alcove in my living room for extra storage & I'd really love to remove my bath (sorry but I'm a shower girl!) in exchange for a wet room style situation. There's over 250 local exhibitors at the show so I'm sure to find some great suppliers!

To find out more about the Self Build Live show, take a nosey at their website: 

Feel free to ask me any home related questions over at Instagram @thatbelfastgirl