Getting ancient and renting, WWYD(29 Posts)
This is quite difficult to write as it feels such a painful issue to me at this stage, but I'd appreciate objective views. DP and I have basically screwed up the whole property thing. We are 49 and 51 with a 10yo DC, privately renting. I've kind of given up on any thoughts of owning our own home, although I would dearly love to and bitterly regret not doing so when we were younger. After we got over being young and a bit free-range, we were endlessly priced out of ownership by house price inflation- every time we earned a bit more, prices had gone up crazily.
I had thought as our DD got a bit older I'd work more, go for promotion etc but because she is autistic and really needs a lot of support, I now expect to work part-time for the foreseeable future. My and DP's salaries seem to have shrunk not grown!
We do live in London, albeit not in an expensive part. I know we should probably leave but I have huge worries about finding the right place with decent autism support. Also I have a great support network here, and many longstanding friendships and a sense of community that means a lot to me. As my family all live abroad, and DP's parent are dead, we don't really have another part of the country to naturally gravitate to.
I'm really scared of our rent going up year on year, and getting poorer and poorer as we get older (we're already skint enough to be eligible to a small housing benefit contribution coz of the ratio of our rent and earnings). But what would you do? Housing association application? I imagine that would take donkeys years. At our age I imagine even shared ownership is out of the question. I can't think of solutions. Any thoughts? Sorry this is so long!
Oh gosh, I'm no financial adviser .... but couldn't read & run.
Firstly, renting is ok if that suits your family. But I know many people value the security they attach with owning their own home. I know the rent increases would be a worry, but mortgage increases would be reasonable to expect too. Yes, you can get fixed-term deals - but fixed just for a few years, not forever. That's not supposed to scare you, sorry, just comparing like for like in a way.
But, could you make appointments with the housing association(s) and see what their options are? Equally, visit a mortgage broker and establish what you could get as a mortgage. That way you know for definite what the figures look like, which might make a decision easier if you know specifics?
And if it turns out buying isn't an option right now, you know what the "difference" is and whether that's achievable (e.g, adding to a deposit, increasing earnings). Or if buying isn't really an option, then you can begin to reconcile yourself with that, whilst looking to see how you can improve renting security.
I'm in the same boat my lovely. No words of wisdom but its a frightening prospect.
You aren't alone. I'm sorry I'm not more helpful
Are you able to save anything at all or is it empty bank account the day before payday? Do you have a decent pension plan in place? Please do follow drquin advice and go to see a professional and also start looking at other areas in the country that have autism support. Work out all your options and possibilities and you might be surprised
Oh op it is difficult because of your DD being relatively young and having autism....but sadly you are right each year it will get harder.
I bought really early (21) but worked 70 hours a week through my 20s and 30s and spent absolutely no money except on property....now l am so glad but it was a sacrifice..
My opinion is you really need to make some drastic changes to secure your futures....what about when you and DH want to retire..how will you manage rent?
Unless you have lucrative pensions, you should take action.
London is near impossible to get on the housing ladder but within an hour or so of the capitol are lovely green towns with hugely cheaper prices...You can earn up to 7,500 per year letting a room in your house to a lodger and this is not taxable..(.l twice used lodgers to help pay mortgages)
Or chage careers with the sole priority of getting a very well paid job...That is one thing London is good for, lots of opportunity...think sales.( no special qualifications needed)..management training roles....etc
Or move out to a much cheaper rent situation for a couple of year take extra jobs and save like mad...Good luck op
I was going to suggest shared ownership but you say you don't think you'll be eligible. Why not?
The poster above suggested buying outside of london and letting it out. What about choosing somewhere on the up like Margate etc? Or somewhere you might want to spend a week or two each year? (If it's empty for holidays?)
In London there's a 90 day Airbnb rule, but that doesn't apply to the rest of the country. You could either let it out full time or Airbnb it. There are local people who manage that for you, too.
I second the asking about the council list/ housing associations. I signed the papers for a house yesterday- housing association. I have two with autism and am very unwell at the moment. I had to wait a while (whilst in a rental) but I still can't quite believe it
Would you be eligible for the government help to buy scheme? I have a friend who is looking into it, I think she has to buy a new build property?
I am sure you are eligible for some housing association or shared ownership scheme. Maybe even to get on the waiting list for some "secure" rental scheme (like the Peabody trust). Even if it takes a while, an application will provide you with access to long term security.
Oh and campaign for a return to the provision of some kind of council housing (Sheffield have even managed to find a way around the right to buy legislation).
Also look at Dolphin Square- a housing charity based in London.
As you are in receipt of housing benefit you will probably be financially better off renting. The best mortgage you get will take you to retirement age of the eldest applicant which is 15 or so years max. No time to pay off a mortgage. Also as you enter retirement, if your household income drops you will be topped up with more housing benefit to meet the shortfall. Another factor to consider.
I moved out of London to the countryside and have been gobsmacked at how GREAT the health and educational services have been. Things I couldn't get in London are offered on a plate and in abundance out here - e.g. For me fertility support and for family amazing educational support... I always believed the opposite.
You might get a pleasant surprise regarding your autism needs
Agree with Dragongirl10
I am a couple of years older than you and everyone I know both older and younger had at least a couple of years when it was nose to the grindstone and saving every penny.
Unless you were spending like there was no tomorrow how at some point weren't you able to buy something. We have lived through 2 major recessions when property prices, even in London fell dramatically. I presume that up to you being 39 and 41 you were both in work and only needed a 1 bed flat. Even in the area you were in and that was in the era of the 100% mortgage. If you had bought a few years before that then you would probably have got a 110% mortgage.
Oh thanks SO much for all the replies. Sorry I conked out last night soon after writing my post.
Lots of helpful suggestions, I really appreciate it. Although on the last point made by Oliversmum- I'd prefer to avoid the 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' angle coz without a time machine I can't change the past. But, no, we were NEVER spending like there was no tomorrow. In a way I suppose I shouldn't have to justify my current situation- there are always moralising overtones to the enquiries. But I spent a large chunk of my 30s going back into education, some of which was derailed by the terminal illness and death of a loved one, but despite that I got into the career I wanted which has turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Yes, we've made mistakes, but they might not be the ones you assume. Life is complicated.
Yes, we are definitely in the position of no money at the end of the month, and that is while also living very frugally. So unfortunately saving is pretty much impossible. I do have a work pension for what it's worth. Btw, the housing benefit is minimal, about 7% of our rent, but it all helps. I would be very happy to work more, but I know my daughter needs so much support. The advocating on her behalf, the tribunals, endless school battles, and just the day to day support she needs, are not things I can outsource.
I will chase up the housing association route. So pleased Wannabe that you got a place! That's encouraging. When I last looked at the shared ownership thing I was very discouraged as it seemed I still needed a significant deposit but maybe I'm wrong. I have also wondered about buying somewhere cheap out of London to let out. I would LOVE to do that. Aargh deposit issues though...
Would a financial adviser be interested in a meeting with someone so broke?!! Stupid naive question probably but I'm kind of embarrassed by my situation!
But thank you for the advice. Just writing it all down and hearing from you has kind of helped crystallised what I should do next. The last few years have been full on, stressful and have tested every bit of resilience I have, so I'd not been able to face this issue head on. But that's got to change.
Just to add- I felt really down yesterday but I feel a bit more able to tackle this now. Any other thoughts / suggestions still welcome though!
A financial advisor is definitely going to be of use to you so please do look into that. Also (although I'm sure you already do live frugally as possible, have a look with a sensible friend/advisor over spending and where you can save every penny, whether it's cutting back on meat to cutting laundry powder with soda crystals. (MoneySavingExpert is great) And look at how the budget would translate to other places (Margate, Chelmsford, Leeds, North Wales, Glasgow etc) and then check out what autistic support is offered there. As much as you may love London, it may be better long term to move now than find yourself forced out in 15 years.
It would seem that housing association or other suggestions would be the way to go.
I just wanted to add that many mortgage lenders will now allow a mortgage term up to age 75, which is beyond the state retirement age. Of course, you would need to have reources to keep paying a mortgage up to that age (really good pension or keep working). So you could take out a mortgage for approaching 25 years if needed. You can get advice from a mortgage broker for free -- you only pay when you take out a product, either via a fee or through commission from the mortgage company.
I hope you find a solution which is do'able for you. I have every respect for someone who, in life, has put family first.
Oh and be completely honest with yourself, sit down with a years worth of bank/credit account and add up all outgoings into categories (sorry if you already do this). Then work out where cuts are needed. Check for renegotiating utilities, transferring loans, and if you're entitled to anything you aren't claiming. Also PPI check (through free website) and old bank accounts/bonds.
If it helps at all, I'm in the middle of overhauling my finances as I got fed up of crossing fingers when using debit cards at the end of the month. The worst bit is now. As soon as you realise you're taking control, you feel a weight lift.
Just a thought as a parent of a child with additional needs have you ever applied for dla for child, as then you get other help extra child tax credit, carers allowance. Worth looking into.
Thanks thesunwillout, we do already get some DLA. And Shortlass what a lovely thing to say about putting family first, I appreciate it. I also didn't know you could get mortgages up to age 75. And thanks Justanother, yes we are v frugal but I haven't switched any utility providers for probably a decade (!), and will do a complete check of everything. I might take a couple of days annual leave when DD is in school and just focus exclusively on following up some of these things. Thank you!
As you get older, there are other options, eg, almshouses (or modern day equivalents), which are run by Charities. DPIL who rented all their lives, now live in a modern, well looked after, one bedroom flat on a complex run by one of the Charities in London. To qualify for one, you needed to meet the following criteria:
1. Aged 55 or over and live within the Borough. Live on low income and finding it hard to find somewhere suitable to live. (Priority is given to those who lived in a specific part of the Borough for more than 5 years.) And no children can live with you.
2. Be fit and able to look after yourself (ie, not need nursing care)
3. Have limited financial means.
At the same time we applied for this, we applied for sheltered housing, which was a much tougher application form and we finally heard back from the Council saying they didn't qualify about 2 months after they had already moved into the Charity's accommodation.
Sounds silly, but utility bill change was enough to allow us to start saving properly. Also check to see if you've overpaid on gas. If you have sky/virgin, look to see what new offers are on (we just switched from sky to virgin, saving over £700 a year and sky were willing to match).
Have a look at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/health-check
As well. And plan for financial advisor once you've got a little bit of a cushion.
Wow Caurniebred that's fascinating, I had no idea. Incredibly good to know, thank you. And justanother, yes I think utilities etc could make a real difference. We hardly ever use our landline now, for example, so could probably get rid.
It would be worth talking to shelter about your options. In your situation I think I would be looking at HA and staying within my community if possible. You will get more HB when you retire and should be more secure in HA. Shared ownership would be risky as if you can't keep up mortgage repayments you can loose the whole house, even if you've paid off 90% (for example). I really doubt you would be able to get a mortgage sorry.
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