Considerations When House Buying After Covid

One of the topics that my friends and I discuss the most right now is buying a dream home. As many of you know, I am currently making changes to my own house so that it is a more attractive place to sell in future, or even rent out. At the same time, two of my close friends are looking for first time buys in my home county of Cambridgeshire. When we are together it is all we talk about.

My friend Sally (let’s call her that for the sake of this post) was already on the hunt for a home just before the pandemic struck and had to put things on hold. Now she is back to checking out houses online and arranging visits. I am really interested in the process as I want to buy a new place when I have finished upgrading my kitchen and living room so we have been punching in some figures together and really getting to grips with it all.

Is House Buying Stagnant or Buoyant?

Sally was asking me to get involved and do a bit of basic research so I decided to begin by checking out useful articles online. The BBC Housing Market Page was really interesting as a starting point. One article pointed to a 12 percent rise in house prices (great for any sellers like me). It also talked about specific issues around the country but I had to look to other financial resources to find out more about buying as a first timer.

I think it is fair to say that the housing market is looking lively again in 2022. When Sally put in an offer on a three bed house a month ago, she was outbid a few days later. There seem to be a lot of people who have decided that now is the time to try and make that leap onto the housing ladder and yes, it is getting very competitive.

Both of my friends wanted to explore ‘help to buy’ opportunities so we started to check out the Guardian website where we laughed at the fact that the average first time buyer is in their thirties now (just like my two first time buying mates). Interestingly, I found out that the equity loan on a ‘help to buy’ scheme came with zero interest for the initial five years. Also there is an option to clear your equity loan after a few years if you choose to do so. That’s pretty cool if you can afford it and stops the loan value increasing as the property goes up in value.

How Can We Find Out What We Can Afford?

A really useful site for making projections was the Mortgage Calculator which I messed around with to try and work out how my money might work for me. The calculator was really easy to use and let me choose the term of the mortgage alongside the price of house I was thinking of.

A calculation I did for myself, based on my needs.

There was also a helpful affordability page which gave an indication of what we could buy based on our current salaries. Things have changed since when I bought my very first house in 2003 because back then mortgages were commonly without deposits but these days you have to factor that in as well. Sally is lucky enough to have moved back from Dubai five years ago and built up a healthy deposit while staying with her mum. My other friend, Eloise, has also managed to accrue a reasonable deposit to place down on a house, when she feels ready to do so.

What Is The Best Way Forward?

Eloise is still at the ‘doing the sums’ part of investigating home buying. She has literally just started her hunt after renting a two bedroom village home for over ten years. Recently she has been trying to work out exactly how much a single salary can get her, given that she wants a place with a garden and extra room in case she wants company or a lodger.

Doing the working out online, Eloise was stunned to find out just how similar her payments for a mortgage would be compared to her rental costs. There wasn’t much difference at all. The sad reality is she could have been building up equity and working her way up the property ladder instead of feeding someone else’s pockets for the last few years. She would definitely advise people in their twenties to get on that ladder as soon as possible as she feels like she has missed out.

For all three of us, the prospect of buying a new house is definitely on the agenda. I was literally finalising my kitchen installation this morning and am weighing up selling or renting out my starter home in the near future while the other two get to grips with making offers and squeezing the most value out of their house buying experience.

Summary

What I am suggesting is that the housing market seems to have become busy and exciting again as the pandemic has retreated from the news and restrictions have ended in the UK. My friends and I are excited to find out more about which houses are for sale and to look into what we can afford given our current incomes and needs.

If you are looking to buy for the first time then there are plenty of online resources that will help you along the way. Start plugging in those calculations, checking online estate agent sites and doing some good research into house prices in your area. Make sure you enjoy the house hunting process and get the most out of it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about house buying. If you have any thoughts on this or want to share your own experiences, please drop a comment below and maybe consider following my blog for future similar content.

Why Shouldn’t Muppets Rule The World?

Imagine if the muppets won elections. Let’s just consider that idea for a moment. What if the actual muppets legitimately took control of actual countries? A government of muppets sounds too far flung an idea to be realistic. Or does it?

The Muppet Show isn’t that far fetched when considering politics.

Kermit could easily grab some votes with his fun anecdotes and rhetoric. I could imagine him taking on a senior position such as Chancellor or Home Secretary. He would share the wealth, at least. Let’s face it, he would be single minded and considerate. Not like the money grabbers we often have looking after our finances – increasing our taxes while avoiding paying them themselves.

Fozzy bear would make a great Foreign Secretary. His charm and appeal would allow him to schmooze foreign leaders and his humour would enable him to earn their favour and drive some great deals.

As for Miss Piggy, she would be amazing as Prime Minister or President. I can already envisage her instagram, posing in government buildings and shoving the Downing Street cat to one side, not enabling anyone to upstage her. And as for parties… she would have loads of fun while letting our policies go down the drain. Not much different from what is actually happening right now.

Animal would rock his way into parliament and provide crazy nights of live music at the White House. He could be a good Health Secretary with his wild abandon and laid back attitude. I can see him promoting ‘health care for everyone’ and blowing his budget quickly. At least his intentions would be worthy. Wouldn’t they?

As you can tell, there would not be much difference if our governments were replaced by the Muppets. Politics would be more entertaining while the same old mistakes were being made. At least the Muppets would be genuine leaders, not self-obsessed and detached from the real struggle of paying extortionate energy bills.

I originally wrote this on Ko-if but enjoyed it so much and now have decided to include it within my blog. I hope you enjoyed it and can suggest some other muppets who could replace world leaders and possibly do those jobs better. For some relatable ways to make money during these tough times, check out my article Boost Your Income – 5 Side Hustle Suggestions.

Which YA authors do bloggers prefer?

It is no secret that I have recently grown to love YA fiction books and so I started to wonder what sort of YA books other bloggers were reading. The YA genre came to light for me when I watched a few Netflix series which stemmed from YA stories. Now I am absolutely hooked on YA and can’t get enough of it. In fact, I even decided to write my latest novel in this brilliant genre.

My shelves are fast filling up with YA novels. These are not my shelves but you get the idea.

Putting my feelers out, I asked fellow bloggers for their thoughts on Young Adult books. I have discovered that these books certainly do not just appeal to teenagers and have a wide audience. In my opinion, this is due to their ability to relate to modern life, their clever use of dialogue and their quick pace.

The following are quotes by some of my favorite bloggers about YA authors that they adore:

Smelly Socks and Garden Peas was excited about Rick Riordan’s writing. She says…

“Rick Riordan’s books seem to appeal to a really broad age range, they stretch the literacy of 8 yr olds but satisfy the fantasies of teenagers. They also open the world of mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian) to younger minds who would doubtless find Sophocles rather dry. My 10 yr old knows more about those ancient gods than I ever have, and loves learning more.”

The Grumpy Olive sisters were keen to recommend Maggie Stiefvater, a writer I had never heard of but am now wanting to know more about. They say…

“One of my favourite YA authors must be Maggie Stiefvater. She has the ability to transport you from a world of werewolves to dreamers and ancient kings that feel so real and tangible.

I love how she takes time for details and describing, mostly locations, without getting too boring or lengthy on pages. And without omitting great and interesting character building.”

NotSoModernGirl is a wonderful all-round blogger and she enjoys the works of Amy Ewing. Eleanor says…

“My favourite YA author is Amy Ewing. I don’t normally read book series, but when I read her first book (‘The Jewel’) I couldn’t wait to read more. I really recommend checking out her books for a bit of dystopian fiction with a modern twist. I also got the chance to interview her for my blog a few years ago, which was amazing!”

Headphones and Thoughts Blog was also keen on Rick Riordan but has a place in her heart for a more traditional text which impacted her greatly.

“When I was in high school, I was required to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I loved the book so much that I ended up reading all her novels. I own all of them. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite out of all her novels. Jane Austen is truly an amazing writer.”

Karalee at Tales of Belle wanted to share enthusiasm for another YA author that I have yet to check out. Ransom Riggs definitely sounds intriguing…

“My favorite young adult author is Ransom Riggs. He wrote the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, which has 6 books in the series as well as a collection of short stories. I absolutely love the series because it follows a group of children who have peculiar abilities and their fight against Wights who want to consume their souls, and there is also the added element of time loops and Riggs includes vintage found photographs in his books too.”

I was thrilled to read about these different YA authors and would like to thank these brilliant bloggers for collaborating with me in this article. I have definitely been persuaded to check out these recommendations.

My personal favourite YA author is Becky Albertalli although there are several others that I am becoming fond of. For a previous post I wrote about Becky, check out my Leah On The Offbeat review. For similar future posts, please consider following my blog.