The property ladder - broken ?(166 Posts)
Am having to start again at 41 with 4 kids.
Can save £200 per month by buying a property rather than renting, can scrape the deposit together etc. However it will be hell. 3 beds, one living room, kitchen diner.
We will not all have a bedroom am tempted to put all 4, aged 16,14,12 and 6 in together to sleep and literally make the bedrooms a place where you close your eyes and then have a home work study room.
My major worry is how do we move on though. House prices have barely moved since 2004 in this area.
Is the next step just beyond me and everyone else ? How did you do it if you did ?
It may be downsizing for you but many many live in your idea of hell and make it work.
I can see how you think the idea of a sleeping room/work room would be good but in practice, I cannot see how it would work especially if they have had their own rooms. The two older ones can share. You can put a divider shelf down the middle for the younger two, to give a sense of personal space. Possibly look into a house with a loft or basement that can be converted. Could relatives or friends help with conversion. People are using cabins in the gardens for living or workspace that could be another option. Friends of mine have a desk (homework station so quiet) at the top of the landing. Another one has a desk in the nook under the stairs.
It may be daunting but if you are clever you can make space work twice as hard as it needs to.
Good luck OP.
When you say next step, do you mean moving from the 3 bed to a bigger place? Or getting the 3 bed in the first place?
House price increases don't really help you "move up" if you're staying in the same area, as the bigger places will have got even more expensive.
The usual ways people "move up": their salary increases, or they change from one income to two, or they inherit some money, or they move to a cheaper area where they can buy something bigger. Or a combination of these.
Your plan of having them all in a bedroom together sounds good, if they are all decent sleepers - I'd set up a fold out bed in the homework room so one of them can sleep there if they need to (eg if ill). You could put some wardrobes in there too so they're not all trying to dress in the same room.
Are they all the same sex?
Why can't they do a homework/study in the kitchen dinner or living room?
It's what I did as a child - 3 bed house five people - 3 kids and one adult studying - some had the bed room some the walk through dinner area.
Look at boarding out the loft - get a pull down ladder or a spiral stair case - lots of people do that. We had partial bordered with electric lights and plug sockets out loft in our last three bed DH worked up there - as down stairs was open plan so meant he was away from noise.
We've moved up to a four bed - DH work moved - so we had to move and area he now in is very expensive and beyond us and he now had a really long commute and we live in an area of very cheap housing - carefully picked so schools are okay - not brilliant but Okay.
Another of our friends in three bed and DW running businesses at home got a cupboard office for the corner of their living room - that locked away when not in use.
Know quiet a few people convert garages to living rooms or bed rooms.
Friend of our had 8 children 6 still at home - 3 bed house no loft to convert - so they had youngest four in one room one older one in a room and they had boarded off a bit of living room and garage for the other eldest - it had no natural light only electric. They made it work.
It may well be other people's reality, mine two years ago was a five bed with pool so I'm well aware we've been spolit maybe.
I see what you mean about rising houses prices not helping, hasn't thought of that.
We're so screwed, it's going to be hell frankly. Hopefully the loft can be converted or I need to find something with a garage
depends on genders how you split them, but having to share a bedroom is not the end of the world. It is what it is and they can cope. As the working adults you certainly need your own sleep space.
To me it sounds like a nightmare all 4 kids in the same room. I would put the youngest in the smallest room as it's unfair to expect teenagers not to use their bedroom when youngest child has gone to bed. I have friends who had 3 teenagers in a 2 bed house and they used a bed settee in the lounge for themselves for years in order for their teenage daughter not to have to share a box room with her 2 younger brothers, but I guess not everyone would be happy to do that. As pp say could you look for a house which could have a loft conversion. My dad converted our loft himself when I was a teenager and did it pretty cheaply although i guess planning permission etc might be stricter these days.
It's really not going to be hell - try not to think of it like that. It will be different but you're all together and you'll just have to get on with it.
The kids can easily share - what are their sexes? Could you have the boxroom? The oldest will probably be going to univeristy in a couple of years as well.
Also as pp says convering a garage could be fairly cheap. We have a very small garage which is not big enough for a car and we are looking into converting that to make a small bedroom and second shower as we have 4 teenage kids and the bathroom situation is becoming intolerable ! We have already turned our front downstairs room into a bedroom for our eldest but we have a reasonable sized lounge diner at the back so although we have sacrificed living space we still have enough space.
It won't be hell. It will be an adjustment. Talk with all the kids about it, tell them they will all have to have patience with each other and work with each other to get some privacy/time for homework etc. They are all old enough to be able to do that. It will be fine.
Most people in this situation would allow kids the bedrooms and sleep in the lounge area on decent sofa bed themselves. so then you can bunk the kids up in twos in two smallest rooms, third room becomes storage and study and parents dressing room area and if you work from home your home office area as well. I too would look for a house with plenty of outdoor space and use a large shed as a type of club house for the kids so make sure has leccy in properly and so on. It could even double as guest accom if done right. Whilst looking for a property if you find one that is tired or clearly a family sale (ie following the death of a family member) this could help in terms of rejigging layout short term to accommodate everyone - after all an 18 yr old might be off to college before long (2 yrs). Work out what your priorities are in terms of homework space, time out space, sleeping space and relook at the properties with this in mind e.g. you may be able to add a large kitchen area extension to a house with sep dining room meaning that could potentially be used for homework and study space etc. Also whilst not ideal could 6 yr old share with you for a while (am assuming you are single parenting which may not be the case)
If you haven't already, would definitely recommended a major audit of your possessions before you move. Whatever the size of your new space, if it's cluttered by the stuff that used to fill a larger space you will feel that you have 'lost' more, even if the space itself is what many families would consider a normal family house size.
We have ended up staying in a house that we thought would be a short term measure because the next step costs more than we can now afford. I am getting better at appreciating what I have rather than regretting the chain of events that took me off my planned course, but some days are better than others!
I appreciate that it is not what you are used to, but going into this with the idea that it will be hell is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy! The kids will pick up on your unhappiness and multiply it.
Yeah I appreciate that's true, I'm already having second thoughts about the whole thing. A house we can afford will have no outdoor space, no garage, no loft, shit area, we'll all be bloody miserable tbh
Downsizing is always hard, initially (we did it 2 years ago), but in the end the size of your house isn't what matters. Lots and lots of people live like this happily. You'll make it work - just go easy on yourself at first - you will go through a huge phase of missing what you used to have but it gets easier over time and there WILL be things that are better, difficult as it may be to believe now.
As long as you have your family and health, and a stable roof over your head, you'll be ok (keep repeating that to yourself). There are lots of people who can't afford to buy at all and are on tenancy agreements where they can be given 2 months notice at any time - that is really a hard way to live. Yes, the property 'market' in this country is broken and yes it is awful (you can get involved with groups like Generation Rent if you feel strongly about this) - but in the grand scheme of things compared to a lot of people, you will still be well off.
I think the idea of a 'property ladder' is a total myth these days - as others have said if house prices go up and you need to stay in the same area it's of no benefit at all. What we did was to try and buy the biggest house we could for our money - this meant accepting a house with less than ideal heating, plumbing etc but with a bit more space that we could hopefully improve over time as and when we have the money.
There is no property ladder anymore. The baby boomers pulled it up behind them when they got to the top. They're holding onto it. They'll rent you a bottom wrung if you want though.
When you say no outdoor space do you mean none at all (unusual) or just not much compared with where you were before/are now? Small outside space is plenty IME, especially if there is any sort of park nearby.
Garage and loft are not essentials! We have neither...
Shit area is a problem I agree - but I thought you were looking at buying in the same area you are currently living in?
On the plus side, if you buy you will save £200 a month and you will have security of knowing you're not going to have your rent increased or be evicted. That's worth a fair bit IMO.
I think it's rung lol
I'm not sure yet £200 a month saving is worth it. It's all very well saying health is all that matters and of course that's true. My kids mental health isn't going to be helped by moving into the sized property I was initially thinking of though and the thought of them not achieving their potential due to the situation would eat me up forever.
I know we could just suck it up but fuck it's not fair is it? The kids can't have space to play, have friends over, relax, I can't have a relationship if I'm sharing a bedroom with a 6 year old. It's all shit.
Some days it's really hard to see how this gets better tbh
At those ages I wouldn't put boys and girls in together. Are they all the same sex?
Your description does not sound like hell. Although if you let on with these dramatics to the teenagers and allow them to be angsty about it too you may well be able to create your own special hell.
So the area we are currently living in is shit too. I could relocate. 300 miles. I could go back to the old family home, give the tenants notice but that would cost me £400 extra a month, interest only so we aren't really getting anywhere with that and it's in ex's name and he wants it sold. Not that worries me but the upheaval isn't great at the kids ages.
I have no reason to stay where we are other than the kids schools/friends.
It's just weighing it all up isn't it ?
My microwave wasn't being very responsive with ideas so I'm just thinking out loud on here really
Well, if you can pay to get a 4 bedroom house, go for it. If you can't, suck it up, they will need to share bedrooms, fight a bit while they get used to it, and finally accept their mum can't buy a bedroom each.
My parents insisted in using the nicest bedroom without an ensuite as a study, so as for some years I shared bedroom with one of my sisters, at others I got my own bedroom and they shared. It didn't kill us, in fact it made us closer to share.
I think you need to really buck up your thinking and adopt a positive attitude. This is your reality now, the past is the past and it's not coming back. Your kids will pick up on your attitude and you owe it to them to make the best of it.
You've had great advice from others who manage very well with your idea of hell. It can obviously be done.
I'm sorry my post was harsh. Clearly a move like this is probably due to a negative life event in which case you are of course entitled to MN dramatics. Apologies OP and
You do have some options - you need to be more positive about the ones you have or you can't expect your children to be.
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