Making Our House A Home | Getting On The Property Ladder

I think it could be a generational thing but millennials, people of my generation, are finding it increasingly difficult to get on the property ladder without any kind of financial backing or support from somewhere. I know that we wouldn’t be in our position now had we not been fortunate enough to have Jamie’s parents help us get a “boost up” (remember those?) – although that is something I’ve had to come to terms with.

I have always seen myself as fiercely independent. I’ve hated ever borrowing money, even if it was just a fiver, and I always had a set plan in my head about getting myself sorted with a good house, a nice car and a few holidays before I ever started a family, but some things you just can’t plan. I always knew that if I was going to live independently that I would want my money paying something off that I would own at the end rather than feeling like I was throwing money down the drain in rent.

However, I was actually part of a conversation the other day about how certain people always feel they’re entitled to own their own home, or feel that they’re entitled to go on holiday abroad each year when the reality is they’re unable to afford it. Growing up I never felt like I was entitled to own my own home, but it was definitely something I aspired to. It was something to work hard towards and would act as a reward  . The problem is that house prices are rising, the cost of living is going up and wages are pretty much stagnant. It’s incredibly difficult to be in a position where you’re saving enough money for a deposit, or people are already stuck in a renting rut with few ways out.

Our Story

It was the Summer of 2012 and I had just spent the last month buying a few bits for the one bed annex we were about to move into. Jamie had been in Tanzania for the whole of July and on his arrival home we were set to start living together. We’d only been together since the start of the year but everything had fallen into place so quickly and I was happy to be moving into a space we could call our own.

making our house a home getting on the property ladder millennials post office money

We had a fantastic deal when it came to renting as it included all the bills; we literally only paid for a couple of other extras on top of that, as well as all of our own food. The only problem was, I just hated renting full stop. I felt like it was dead money and that it wasn’t going into anything but I was just so happy to be in our own bubble and living our own lives. We were there for a few months when our life got unexpectedly turned upside down.

Getting On The Property Ladder; The Bank Of Mum And Dad

To cut a long story short, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. It was only then that I really think it sunk in that we were going to have to make our living arrangements a lot more permanent. However, we couldn’t afford a deposit on a new house and Jamie and I knew the annex didn’t have the space we’d need to raise a child. That’s when conversations with Jamie’s parents began and we started to look at properties to buy. This came as quite a bit of a shock to me, and I always felt awkward talking about it, but I think that’s because I always knew that neither of my own parents would ever be in a position to help me financially. I just had to accept that I had been welcomed into this family with open arms and kind of put my own thoughts about money to one side for the sake of our whole future.

making our house a home getting on the property ladder for our baby pregnancy scan

I quickly learned that this was much less about getting us on the property ladder, although that was a huge bonus, but more about being able to provide a safe, warm and stable home for us and their grandchild. I found out that this was something they had planned for, way ahead of Jamie and I getting together, and they were excited to help us get started!

Coming To An Agreement

In terms of what we agreed, there was incredible flexibility from both sides. The first thing was that Jamie’s parents suggested we stop renting and move in with them until we had found somewhere to move into. This made sense because it meant saving our rent money to put towards things in the house and we could help out with the purchase of the house as best we could.
It was at this point that Jamie and I had to, more or less, decide our futures – there was little point getting a two bedroom house if we were going to expand our family relatively quickly, so it made sense to look for properties with more bedrooms. We had agreed a house price ‘limit’ so that we weren’t buying above our means as, while we were getting help with the deposit, ongoing monthly bills still had to be paid.
Just shy of five years ago we bought our first ever house; a glorious 4 bedroom, detached which came at a steal of a price and needed no interior work done at all. It didn’t really sink in that this was going to be our home until, when we were going through the purchase process, Jamie’s parents basically signed a form to say they had no vested interest in the house and that the deposit was a gift. And a gift it was. We were able to move into that house when I was four months pregnant and we prepared it perfectly and in time for the arrival of Toby in August that year. The only thing that topped their gift to us was being able to bring him back to that house knowing it would be his home. Our home.

It’s Allowed Us To Live And Progress

This gift has not only allowed us to live comfortably as a family unit in a solid, worthy home (as we have since moved again!) but it brought us closer together as a whole. We are now expecting our third (and final!) baby and this will be our forever home. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t lucky enough to get on the property ladder and I will be forever grateful for everything they’ve done for us and our family, and everything they do in the future.
making our house a home getting on the property ladder for our family with help millennials
I know that our story is not unique with one in six first time buyers funding their home purchases using an average parental loan of £24,347 , although 87% of those have no proper agreement in place. The stats surrounding this are huge;
  • While some parents might loan their children an average of £24,346, the average “gift” from other parents is £32,101.
  • The majority of parents offering the loan don’t formalise an agreement with their children. This is fine, but by failing to provide a deed of gift or letter of intent, this could legally put their children at risk!
  • One in five millennial buyers agree a monthly repayment plan with most paying back an average of £500 per month for approximately 4 years – although 25% will be renegotiated due to change in circumstances.

Post Office Money and The Money Charity have created a ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ conversation guide to help all parties involved reach a family financial agreement that will protect the relationship. You can read the guide here and it’s absolutely worth a look – I was really surprised at some of the numbers and found myself nodding along like a nodding dog ornament in the back of a car!

I’d love to know if, especially as a millennial, you’ve faced any challenges in getting on the property ladder and if/how you’ve overcome them.

*This post is in collaboration with Post Office Money.
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17 Comments

  1. March 27, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    My parents helped my brother buy his home with a loan and intend to help my sister in the same way. I had no idea though that without a formal agreement they could put my siblings at risk! Have forwarded the guide to them for a good read! We received some money from my husbands parents and signed an agreement which at the time seemed a bit funny but now makes sense!

  2. Emma
    March 27, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Fortunately my husband is already on the property ladder. We are renting his place out and renting somewhere bigger and nearer the school the kids go to at the moment, I’m hoping he can get the bigger mortgage we need once he’s working full time as a teacher (he’s currently training) as I don’t like living in a house that’s not a home x

  3. March 27, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Great post, super useful. Going to have a look at the guide now, we were lucky too in which my parents really helped us out as otherwise renting and saving is just near impossible these days

  4. March 18, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    Great post lovely. It’s so sad that it’s such a struggle to buy a house. I do worry about when my kids grow older!
    We were VERY lucky that my partners parents gave us the deposit money, although we had some money already to go towards it.
    X

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 9:14 am

      It really is sad, isn’t it? I think mortgage lenders could look at doing more – especially if they can see someone affording astronomical rent – it’d be common sense to assume they are able to afford mortgage repayments. It’s the fact that most renters aren’t able to get a deposit together and it’s just crazy! x

  5. March 17, 2018 / 10:54 am

    I think it’s so important to be honest about these things. We were given help from both mine and my husband’s parents and it’s always made me uncomfortable, but I think that’s just the reality of things these days. I don’t know anyone who has managed to buy without help from relatives. I do worry that we won’t be in a position to help out our children in the same way, but I think renting will be the norm for their generation.

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 17, 2018 / 10:58 am

      Totally agree! So many people get a false sense of affordability without realising that so many of us have actually had help. I’m with you on the feeling uncomfortable thing, especially as neither of my parents were able to help out at all. I only know a couple of people who have managed to do it without help but they’ve lived at home, rent free, until at least their mid twenties and have had to save like crazy just to scrape together a deposit and money for fees. Renting is definitely becoming much more the ‘norm’ x

  6. Sarah
    March 16, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    We were helped out a little by my Husbands Dad, my parents could never have helped either but we paid him back pretty quickly which was a relief! House prices are completely obscene here in London though so it’s taken a while! 8 years together before we could afford it.

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 17, 2018 / 10:56 am

      It’s so lovely when you do get the help you need, but you always feel indebted and want to pay it back ASAP don’t you? House prices are crazy with not that much provision to help people get on the ladder without help x

  7. March 16, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Great post and that looks like a really useful guide for people looking to buy a house. I luckily first bought way back in the early 2005 when house prices were so much cheaper. Its so difficult now especially in the south east.

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 16, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      It’s a really well thought out guide and will help so many people! I can imagine what house prices are like there. We live in Norfolk and there are some seriously expensive properties, but equally you’d get a lot more here for your money than you would compared to other places x

  8. March 16, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    Great post Jade. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family’s support – I bought a house with my ex on a 100% mortgage (????) back in 2008, then we split up less than a year later. My grandparents gave me my inheritance early and that was my deposit on my first house alone xx

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 16, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      Thanks lovely. I know what you mean; we have been so fortunate where the reality is so many people don’t have that option. Wow, a 100% mortgage, you’d not likely get one of those these days. How lovely of your grandparents x

  9. March 16, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    It took 9 years of working full time to save enough for a deposit all the way back in 2008, and I don’t even think it would be possible nowadays to get a mortgage with only 5% deposit… it’s insane, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder how my children are ever going to own a house. Prices have gone through the roof! It’s great that your in-laws helped you get on the property ladder. I hope I can do that for my children when they’re ready to buy. x

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 16, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      That’s incredible, Mel, well done! Lenders appear to be making all sorts of provisions when the reality is it’s still not affordable, it’s crazy. We have been so lucky to have that boost up that we needed. Fingers crossed you’ll be able to help them out xx

  10. March 16, 2018 / 11:45 am

    Thanks so much for this post. Really useful. I’ve downloaded the guide and am going to get my fine tooth comb to go through it.

    • raisingtherings
      Author
      March 16, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      Hopefully it’ll help you out! It’s a great guide x

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