Welcome to The Project Master Blog:

Be part of The Project Master community, as we explore different topics please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.

« Back

My First House

When I was 21 years old, I bought my first house.

When I look around, it does seem that the first step onto the property ladder, must seem impossible today. In the newspapers it is reported that people live with their parents longer and need larger deposits and mortgages are harder to get. All true!

But it was never easy. Not really.

My first house cost the princely sum of £4,000. It was a two up, two down mid terrace cottage with a shared access, no bathroom, no kitchen, no heating. Just two rooms on the ground floor and two rooms upstairs.

In those days Local Councils would offer mortgages and I applied for a 100% loan. I had to provide proof of income to support the repayments, but fortunately the proof was very simple - a letter from my employer stating that in his opinion I could afford it. Believe me, if I had to produce wage statements, I would never have got the loan.

I can't remember what the repayments were, but I was only earning around £25 per week, so to boost my earnings I went self employed. That reduced the tax and NI that my employer had to pay and I managed to get a raise to £1.00 per hour. From that I had to pay self employed National insurance and engage an accountant to do my taxes.

So the multiple was around 4 times earnings when I bought.

The big difference was that today, that property, with no bathroom or kitchen, would be unmortgageable. As it was there were strict conditions and some of the mortgage was retained until the bathroom and kitchen was installed.

I had to build an extension, on two floors, with a kitchen downstairs and a bathroom upstairs. I was lucky in that I could do the work myself, so my weekends and evenings were spent digging foundations, laying drains, building walls, roofing etc. I did it all myself except for the plastering, which was done by two brothers, friends of mine, who charged me £10 per day each, for the plastering. It was hard to find the money but worth it - they did a great job.

Took me about 18 months to build the extension, then I moved in. It wasn't finished and the only heating was a fireplace in the living room, but that would come later.

I then decided that I would try and go it alone. I had already registered as self employed, so I took the plunge and started to look for my own work.

More later.

The Project Master