This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Feel a bit depressed and worried about the future(35 Posts)
I need to start this off by saying we’re in our first property and I feel incredibly grateful that we even have that. I spent many years convinced we’d never even be able to buy at all. So I’m really hoping I don’t come off ungrateful for what we have.
However. We’re both 40. We just bought a two bed flat and we have three children sharing a room. Our eldest is boy and we have two younger girls. DS is just turning 8. I reckon we have a few years here before we completely out grow it.
We got this place quite cheap comparatively. It was a bit run down and other identical flats in our estate are on sale for about 70k more. So I guess I am hopeful that when it comes time to sell, we will be able to build up equity. We’re in south London and prices have continued to steadily rise despite what’s happening at the moment.
But this does mean that when we need to upsize, everything else will be a lot dearer too. Three bed flats or houses round here are 450-500k. Even with a (very optimistic) 80-90k deposit, with our age, I can’t see how we’d get the mortgage needed.
DH and I have talked a bit about the future - renting a bigger place or us sleeping in the front room for a few years to give DS some privacy until we can move. But I just feel a bit depressed and despondent about it. We’re kind of tied to this area because of DH’s work and plus we’re settled in schools/ friends. I’ve gone from feeling so lucky and thankful to worried about how we ever better things for ourselves.
Hmmm, have you got the original floor plan and measurements? I develop properties for a living I may be able to think up some ideas.
Also OP, you own your own home, you have that security. Take peace from that.
You earn more or you move area, are the two principle options. What does DH do that you couldn’t live in another part of London? Many three bedroom flats are on the market for much less than £500k in my part of London. Most people have a long commute and make do. In a few years’ time DS will be at secondary school so maybe then would be the ideal time to look at moving, before he begins.
He’s a personal trainer but not a regular, works out of a gym PT. He’s very niche and earns four times what he might do just seeing clients in a gym. He has clients in places like Belsize Park works and other places way over in north London. We’ve tried to move it closer but there’s just not the interest. He already has a long commute coming back late in the evening (post 10pm). To move further out would only extend that and make the commute even trickier late at night.
Whereabouts are you? We’re in one of the cheaper areas of south east London, already zone four. My earning does have potential to go up but DH is so specific, we are kind of anchored to London. To do what he does in another part of the country - I don’t know.. it would take a huge amount of work to build things up from scratch again and no guarantee there would be any interest.
I guess it’s just that feeling of - it’s our age that’s the worry. If we moved in five years, would we just about be able to get a 20 year mortgage for what we need? It’s like we achieved what felt like this huge, insurmountable thing and I thought we could relax now...but we can’t, we really ought to start saving again or over paying as much as we can or...something. It makes me feel so stressed and tired.
I know you’re here for a hand hold as you’re cramped. So here’s a handhold and well done for getting onto the property ladder.
However, your bit of London doesn’t sound that cheap cheap. I’m in zone 5 and you can get a v spacious 3-bed flat with a garage to store stuff for 375k-ish (private developments and not estates). Some of SE London is even cheaper and from what I know places like Orpington have 15min trains into central London and would make the commute longer.
With Covid, what else is there to spend money on now? Better to save then you have options...you don't have to get a bigger mortgage but you never know what is round the corner.
I think as a pp your options are to earn more, move areas in London or rent out your flat and rent somewhere else.
I'm not sure I would have bought a 2 bed flat with 3 DC with the oldest at that age, but you did buy it so keep trying to remember what the plan was, you thought it would work once, keep holding onto that.
If possible, try to overpay your mortgage, get your equity up quicker and you might be able to move earlier.
I'm not surprised you're feeling a bit down though. A 2 bed flat with 5 people in the current climate would be very hard. Do you have outside space?
You’ve done so well. It sounds like you could consider moving out a bit further. I agree with the idea of Orpington. You’re not far then from Sevenoaks which is full of rich people wanting training.
You really have done well and flats are always really good investments.
That does sound difficult especially in lockdown.
I don't know much about this but another option maybe shared ownership, where you buy part and have subsidised rent on the other part. This is latest update and gives an example for £450k property:
It's normally first-time buyers but you can also qualify if you can't afford a suitable property on open market, would have thought you would meet that criteria as think its 1 bedroom per 2 children under 10.
Other option would move move out further - generally places on train lines rather than tube are cheaper in London so look round them. Sometimes there are fast trains to further out which skip stations. I wouldn't rule out rental either. It may also be worth looking at a completely different location as some places are a fraction of London housing costs. If he drives rather than gets the tube / trainand you don't need tube / train that can open up more rural locations which can be massively cheaper. May not work for current job but could do for others. We are an hour north of London in rural location and you can drive to a city in 25 minutes and house prices start around £250k here for 3 bed with good sized garden. Go further north and gets cheaper again.
@Goslowlysideways why are flats "...always really good investments"
Surely they're not at the moment for a start.
I feel your pain, the pandemic rather scuppered our house move plans.
You are allowed to feel it a bit even while you recognise you are not in the worst situation
Can you build a partition wall in the kids bedroom? Is it big enough? Then bunk beds for the girls and single bed for the boy? You like the area, it is good for work, I would look at making the flat work for you! Could you change a bedroom into the lounge and the lounge into a bigger bedroom to section off? Personal training is not a secure job, however rich the clients, he could do his back in and be fucked! I would not stretch even further and if not willing to move areas, find a way to make your flat work. You are so lucky to own in London, don’t get into a funk.
Thanks everyone. Weirdly, it doesn’t feel cramped right now - it’s a spacious ground floor flat with huge communal gardens, and we’re right next to a huge park. Our front door opens out into the gardens and it has really high ceilings so it feels very spacious. It’s an old sixties development so it’s a big square divided into four - which means we have a large, separate kitchen. Not an open plan kitchen/ living room space which has been like all my other rental flats. Having a separate kitchen with enough space to be a kitchen diner makes all the difference in terms of sense of space.
It doesn’t feel cramped right now and that’s not really the problem. Even if it was a tiny three bed place, it would be fine. We don’t need a huge amount of space and lockdown was actually ok, all things considered. The children don’t mind sharing right now, they get on really well and there are no arguments or bickering. But I am really aware that in just a few years, DS will want his privacy.
There’s a lot of emotion in this for me. For so long I felt like a failure for not owning, for renting. We finally were in a position to buy - a two bed was al we could afford and we wanted to stay in this area for many reasons, so you make your decision and accept the limitations. But I suppose that feeling of failure is creeping back in again. We bought the flat cheap, knowing that others in the same estate (it’s a large purpose built estate of identical flats and maisonettes) were on the market for a lot more - and have continued to sell during lockdown. So I guess I was hopeful / just assumed we’d build enough equity plus savings that would mean a step up was affordable. But I hadn’t really thought about our age - I think that’s what’s bothering me. Suddenly it feels on a tight time scale not just for my son needed his own space but also our age. It’s like cognitive dissonance, like - shit, we’ve just turned 40, how much longer do we have for another mortgage?
Moving slightly further out is the most likely option plus earning more. I work in tech start ups so I’m confident about my earning capacity. I think even the next stop on the train is a bit cheaper so I think we have more options than I was thinking - I was just feeling really panicky about the future and what we would do.
You are not a failure. Get that tidied up in your mind!
Don't over focus on bedrooms. It is a modern phenomenon to have a bedroom each. No privacy at Hogwarts and they seem happy enough! The older one can be given time alone by e.g. you taking younger ones to the park and letting them have a couple of hours at home alone.
I also want more space but I am not a failure - I know some people with bigger houses and bigger issues.
@SandysMam lockdown almost decimated DH’s business but he’s done really well to take it online and now has online coaching clients in the US and Australia. He’s niche enough to be a massive differentiator from other coaches, and we’ve talked for years now about how to future proof his business - so he took advantage of lockdown fo start writing a coaching program to sell alongside workshops. The workshops have been a staple of his business for years now so it’s a natural progression. The private clients are his bread and butter and the monthly workshops were a way of progressing the business and to diversify. Obviously lockdown bloody scuppered the ability to put on workshops but that’s not going to be forever.
So what I’m rambling about is I’m confident about DH’s ability to grow his business in a way that’s not reliant on his physical ability in his sixties!
How big is the living room? Could you install a Murphy bed? Then just pull it down into place once the kids have gone to bed.
Then your son could have one room (with your wardrobe in) and the girls could keep the existing bedroom.
You now have the security of owning your own home rather than renting. That's a benefit to you and your children.
The flat sounds lovely.
If it was me I would put the children in the bedrooms and then turn the lounge into a room that is a lounge in the day but has a pull out or convertible bed for you and your DH at night.
That does sound stressful, but you’ve done so well to get where you are. As PP have said, you’re allowed to worry even if you don’t feel like you’re “allowed” to.
If your DH works in N London, could somewhere in the commuter belt going in to Kings X work for you? Watford for example has fast trains; I moved out to Hertfordshire to buy and my commute to Liv st is shorter now than when I rented in South London and came across London.
Potentially if you can afford it and your mortgage allows you could try overpaying and chunk away at it, giving you more equity if you do come to buy again.
I get the age thing; me and DP at 40 have just bought together our first house and already discussing how to overpay so we get it done early and can save money for retirement. You are doing the right thing by thinking sensibly about this with plenty of time to plan.
Couple of things spring to mind:
1. Have a look on Pinterest for clever ideas about dividing rooms and using space to give personal space.
2. You can get mortgages to age 70 now no problem, so you can still take out a 20+ year mortgage in a few years time. My advice would be to really stretch yourself with the mortgage and pay it off by downsizing/moving to a cheaper area when the children have left home.
You mentioned high ceilings....high enough for a mezzanine in the bedroom to give your DS a 'high sleeper' area? It sounds like a lovely flat and area. You will think of a solution.
My suggestion was to keep you in the flat. Then eventually one of them at least willow out and you can take the bedroom back.
Please login first.