Feathering a love nest

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How lush are these Sharon Montrose bird prints? This macaw would look AMAZEBALLS on a bright turquoise wall. Sigh.

The Hubster and I live in a rented flat. Bright turquoise walls are, clearly, not an option. There are many, many reasons to buy a property (or so I'm told). Is it wrong that the main reason I dream of buying a house is so that I could go buck wild with a paintbrush and stick quirky bird prints up all over the place? 

(It partly stems from a romantic image I have in my head of me and the Hubster, loved-up newlyweds, larking about flicking paint at each other, maybe I'm wearing one of his old shirts, as sunlight streams through huge south-facing windows onto the bare floorboards of our rustic-but-gorgeous love nest/future family home… I suspect I've been watching too many John Lewis adverts. But I digress).

It seems like everyone I know is jumping on the property bandwagon. Well - that's not quite true. Everyone I know with a stable job, good salary, huuuge deposit and/or wealthy parents is jumping on the property bandwagon.

The deposit thing is what really gets me. When prices were high, the banks were flinging out mortgages like there was no tomorrow. 100%! 110%! 125%! Take whatever you want! But house prices were completely unattainable. Now prices are slumping and it's a "buyer's market", but only if you happen to have tens of thousands of pounds sitting in the bank for a deposit. Which I don't. Hmm.
In fairness, I have a fairly well-paid, professional job. And a husband, so we're talking a two-income family (for the time being, anyway). And realistically, if we could grow up and start actually saving some cash or scrounge it from somewhere, we would be able to buy a flat, or a house, one day. Maybe not the Dream Home, not right away. But it's feasible that I will be able to wield a turquoise paintbrush at some point in my life.

But take my little brother. He is a carer for people with special needs. If people were rewarded according to their contribution towards making the world a better place, he would be a zillionaire (so would Hubster, for that matter), and I would be getting paid in scones. Unfortunately, that's not how things roll these days. Without serious financial help - generous deposit, parental guarantors, part-ownership, all that jazz - it will be a long, long time before my little brother will be able to own his own home. Which is shit.

Or is it?

Is it shit that if the boiler breaks, or the washing machine needs replaced, it's someone else who has to pay for it? Is it shit that after the council buys up the nearby new-build flats for social housing and the property values in our area plummet, it's not us who will struggle to sell our flat? Is it shit that if one of us were to lose our job - not exactly unthinkable - we could just give notice, move somewhere cheaper and not have to fear angry letters and recriminations and having our home repossessed by a bank?

There is SO. MUCH. PRESSURE on people of my age and background to buy a flat, get on the property ladder, and of course there may be good, solid, sensible financial reasons for doing so. But maybe there are also reasons for biding your time, figuring out where you want to be and what you want from life, enjoying a little time unencumbered by debt, before deciding to bind yourself to bricks and mortar and a lifetime of enslavement to the Big Bad Bank.

When I dream, though, I dream of splashing vivid blue paint across a blank white wall. Damn you design blogs.

On a random note, would these love geese not make a perfect wedding present? Or a lovely treat for your Valentine? I'm sure I have space for another print on my rented, magnolia wall. But if my landlord asks, the hole was already there, ok?

Images are copyright and reproduced with permission of Sharon Montrose. She has a special baby animals category by the way. It's so ridiculously cute that it almost makes me feel sick.

6 boats moored

  1. See, this is why I read blogs. All you lovely internet people introduce me to the best art and things. DAMN, that macaw print is awesome.

    My husband and I were talking about just this the other day; he says that only recently has it become the standard to own property. Now people talk about buying "starter homes." We'd be happy renting for a long time; I mean I'd want a house eventually but we've got so much time for that.

    But, the apartment complex we found will allow us to paint the walls. I cannot WAIT.

  2. I KNOW, right? I want that macaw! Jealous you can paint your walls.

    I'm glad we're not the only ones happy to rent for a while. It's also, I believe, still pretty standard in places like Paris and Milan for people to rent for their whole lives (because who can afford those enormouns, beautiful apartments?), so we could always just tell people we're being "Parisian".

  3. So we own our place BUT I'll be the first to say it's not necessarily the smartest financial decision - I think only time will tell. For one thing, we pay as much IN INTEREST each month that we used to pay in rent. So really we're just paying rent to the bank. And on top of that we pay fairly significant maintenance fees because it's a townhouse. The painting is fun though, well once you can afford the paint...

  4. greyandshiny, I'm sure over time it probably is the smartest financial decision, it's just so hard at the moment to get a toe anywhere near the ladder, never mind a whole foot ON it. I guess at the end of the day, unless you can buy outright (HA!) you're always going to be paying something to somebody... but at least you guys can paint the walls :)

  5. Just came to this post through a twitter comment. We don't own our own home, circa 2007, we considered getting a mortgage, but we were happy in our rental property, and procrastinated. We watched property prices fall, and continued building up our deposit. Then I was made redundant in 2010. The rent could be paid, with just my husband's income. The mortgage needed both our incomes, and the next job I got, was less well paid. My husband has not had a pay increase since 2009, due to difficult trading conditions. We're still renting, I've got used to magnolia walls. In 2007, I would have assumed that we would be on the property ladder by 2012.


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