1. What made you choose the area you currently reside in?
I grew up around here and a lot of my family live close by, so it was a natural place to gravitate back to when buying a longer term home.
2. Do you believe an area guide would have been beneficial in helping you choose a neighbourhood to live in? If yes, why?
In our case, no, as I was already very familiar with the area and its surroundings – but I can definitely see why this would be helpful to those moving somewhere less familiar. There are a lot of people now moving to new areas or suburbs, perhaps slightly further out than their most desired location (whether due to property costs or to gain more space, for example) and therefore may want to learn more about the area first.
3. Did you purchase a freehold or a leasehold? And why?
We purchased a freehold, which I believe is generally more common when buying a house vs a flat.
4. Did you go through a mortgage broker or a direct lender? And why?
We used a mortgage broker who helped us establish not only how much we could borrow but how to achieve our preferred monthly outgoings, which were lower than the value we could have potentially borrowed. They also helped us with life and critical illness cover, which is crucial when you are co-owners of a mortgage.
5. What challenges did you encounter whilst renovating this property?
We didn’t experience any major challenges per se – we were pretty lucky with contractors and suppliers, and did a lot of research – but it was a big job and we were still renovating when COVID first hit so there a few delays because of that. Fortunately we were almost finished, so didn’t have the huge delays that unfortunately some people did.
6. What was your budget for your renovation and did you over/underspend?
We did overspend by about 20% so I would recommend that anyone considering a renovation adds a 20% contingency to what they think and hope the costs will be.
7. What have you loved the most about designing your home?
The whole process! We learned so much and did a lot of research, and it feels like such a huge achievement to have created every part of our home. I loved it so much that I have even started a new small business helping others with their renovation projects.
8. What do you love the most about your home?
That’s a tough question! I’d probably say our open plan kitchen/living/dining room as it’s the space we spend most of our time and it’s a real feature with our pitched roof extension and crittal-style glazed doors. I also love the location. We back onto a park and the views from our bedroom in the loft are really lovely. Lots of trees and greenery.
9. What advice would you give to people who are trying to design their dream home?
Do lots of research and get lots of quotes for everything – and accept that not everything will be completely perfect; there may have to be compromises along the way. If you’d love to do a project but feel very daunted by the prospect of it, get in contact with me – I’d love to help!
10. What advice would you give people who are trying to get onto the property ladder?
I would say, again, know what you’re prepared to compromise on – whether it’s location, property size or type, outside space – there will always be something and it’s about knowing what your negotiables and non-negotiables are.