Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The reality of being a single homeowner in your mid-twenties

I was lucky enough to be able to buy a flat last year, aged 25, with a little help from my extremely generous parents. I was lucky, I AM lucky however being a homeowner in your mid-twenties isn’t all quirky crockery and Pinterest inspired DIY projects.

Before buying my own place I was back at home with my mum and dad, I paid them a little in digs but what was left of my fairly humble wage went on nights out, holidays and Topshop sprees. I would eat out a lot and think nothing about dropping money on teeth whitening strips or long weekends away.

Then, they decided to sell our family home and buy a derelict farmhouse in rural France and in doing so were able to give me money to put a deposit down on a little one bed flat. Suddenly I was paying a mortgage, buildings insurance, life insurance, council tax, utility bills, internet and TV bills all by myself as well as trying to keep my social life alive and kicking.

A year on and I have racked up a fair bit of debt, all manageable, but it stills plagues every decision I make. Spending money on new clothes fills me with an overwhelming sense of guilt yet I do it, my boyfriend suggests a fun activity and I book it. I am eternally envious of colleagues who have enough disposable income to pay for a constant stream of ASOS parcels, and friends who still live at home with a fully stocked fridge!

I have already had to shell out over a grand to get my roof fixed, my obscure brand washing machine is temperamental and my third-hand television is a total dud. I have Grand Designs style delusions about decorating my flat but I can't even afford a hoover. The hardest part for me is that I still owe my parents money, the bank is a faceless, nameless organisation but not being able start paying off my parental debt is hard, considering how much they have done for me.

I feel so fortunate to own my own home but the responsibility sometimes feels bigger than me (and I'm a towering 6ft in heels). I AM lucky but if I find a mouse living behind my fridge, if I wake up to no running water, if I discover a leak, I can't phone a surly landlord or inept letting agent to fix my problem. I feel proud and poor and perennially panicked but I wouldn't change it for the world.