How NOT to buy houses.Okay, let's do this.

(Entry II)

My first house search in my twenties, I wanted a house with a dining room. This was non-negotiable as I was telling myself that a home of my own would somehow also involve a personality transplant in which I would become less of a hermit and more of a social butterfly. About three houses in, a really pretty cottage came up without a dining room, so I went to see it anyway because it was picture-postcard cute and had a nice bathroom. And unsurprisingly, it was a lovely cottage, I fell in love with it on the spot and bought my first house. A house without a dining room. Not only that, it didn’t even have space in the kitchen for a table, so I had to eat every meal on my lap. It soon became apparent that it was next door to a house owned by a local hotel and used to accommodate its staff. Staff who rotated shifts and who had a propensity towards coming home at 2 am after a hard day at work and partying like it was 1999. They also had a habit of losing their keys, (or just not bothering to take their keys) so using the right of way across my garden, meant for things like coal to be delivered once in a blue moon, and would just stroll past me as if it was an actual path. I’m not talking the odd time here, I’m talking about several people, several times a day, day and night.  I sold it soon afterward because it didn’t have a dining room or space for a table and the neighbours, who I had no idea about before I moved in, (because I HADN’T ASKED,) were driving me close to actual insanity. Do you see where I am going with this? 

My next house was lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I bought it with my then-boyfriend, who I was already pretty sure was on the way out. Where I had owned my first house outright (thanks mum and dad) this time the ex and I put in an extra £12k for the new house. Because I’m a bit of an idiot who makes bad choices, and against the advice of my solicitor, I did not tie the actual amounts contributed into the ownership of the property. There are three ways you can have joint ownership when you’re not a married couple 1) 50/50, 2) where you agree on a percentage you pluck from the air and 3) where you actually calculate the amount using maths and common sense and listening to/accepting help offered by your solicitor. I went for the middle ground and plucked a percentage figure out of the air. 

My ex grudgingly agreed to this as if he was being forced into some sort of offensive prenup and the papers were signed. Amazingly, I DID dump him shortly after we moved in, and as I wanted to keep my oh-so-lovely new house, I then had to get a mortgage and stump up 30k to get rid of him, which frankly, he had no business having. Especially as he was a terrible boyfriend and human being, who after it ended, stayed in my house for six months while he ‘found just the right flat’, with me having to move back in with my mother. During which time he didn’t bother getting the ever-increasing damp smell investigated, or tell me about it at all, which turned out to be a massive leak into the cellar, which cost ME a fortune to sort out when he finally left. AND he took the car, but that’s another story.

You always have to imagine the worst-case scenario in these circumstances – it’s like getting your will done. No one likes thinking about dying or splitting up, but it’s much better to plan with a clear head when you are happy and, you know, alive than everyone unfairly suffering later on. Also, don’t buy a house with someone you are beginning to seriously dislike.

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