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29 October 2014
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Successful professional seeks first home
Terraced houses
Terraced houses - the staple property for first time buyers in low incomes... but not in York.

You want to buy a house. You have the perfect credit score and well above average earnings.

You'd think mortgage lenders would jump at the chance of such a customer. But they don't as Jane discovered.

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 Successful professional seeks first home
 Diary of a first time buyer


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"Affluent, successful professional seeks good quality first home - no overdraft, credit card repayments or loans outstanding. Cash buyer, ready to move at a month's notice."

You would think I would be every estate agent and mortgage lender's dream but this does not appear to be the case.

I qualified as a teacher in July 2000 and successfully applied for a job just outside York. Five years on, I have had two promotions and am now earning just in excess of £30,000.

I don't have any debt, large credit card repayments or any loans. I earn a good salary, in comparison with other friends I went to university with, and so I decided that the time had come to stop lining my landlord's pockets and invest in my own future.

After deciding which district of York I would like to live in, I went to the local estate agents to see what was available. Being a debt free cash buyer, I was horrified when one rather arrogant estate agent informed me that I "wouldn't be able to afford to buy here".

Not liking to admit defeat, I searched for suitable properties, but have quickly found that it's not so much what they tell you, more what they don't.

Take the first house I viewed:

  • parking
  • quiet location
  • two double bedrooms
  • modern kitchen
  • white inoffensive bathroom

I was quietly impressed, until confronted with the view from the kitchen window; an electricity pylon towered over the back garden. A letter produced by the vendors to say it was safe did little to convince me that this was the house for me.

Still upbeat, I moved on to property number two:

  • modern with ample parking
  • a lovely garden
  • well designed and nicely presented

Things were going well until the room shook- was it an earthquake? Happily not, merely the intercity to Newcastle thundering past the bottom of the garden.

Perhaps I was also on the wrong track - time to look instead at new build houses and flats.

These had never really been my ideal but desperate times call for desperate measures. The problem is that I find these modern homes quite uninspiring. They might be well designed and perfectly decorated, but they are crammed together and the flats were reminiscent of my student days.

Also far from being cheaper than the older houses, they were even more expensive. The salesperson assured me that they were still selling quickly for their asking price, yet strangely he offered me a £10,000 reduction in his very next sentence.

Then it happened. I saw a house that I really want. It's not perfect, but I think it suits me. I can imagine living in it. True, the vendor had watched all the TV house programmes and she knew exactly how to 'sell' it, but it was at least free of electricity pylons and railway lines.

What's the catch? It's £20,000 too expensive. I thought I was earning a reasonable salary, but it seems I can't borrow enough to buy the house I want. And so it's back to the drawing board, at least for now.

Here's one person hoping for a housing market crash in the near future.


Do you have any advice for first time buyers?
Fill in the form below to give her some pearls of wisdom!

More on property
Diary of a first time buyer
Estate Agent Speke
An estate agent's advice for first time buyers

If you have a comment, fill in the form below

Give up work and live in a shed. We're all mortgage slaves anyway.

I'm single, in my late 40's and only earn £15k per annum so what chance do I stand? I will never be able to get on the property ladder and am fortunate that I can still live at home with my widowed mother although I would obviously prefer a place of my own. prefer

It's OK looking out of town in the villages but not very good for a social life - which is why I want to move INTO the city!!

I choose to move away from York even tho my family,work and friends live there cos just could not afford the prices! i now live in Market Weighton alot cheaper than York good schools,pubs,butchers etc.its well worth looking further a field just to have something called your own and not been morgaged to the eye balls! Good luck everyone i would hate to be first time buyer now but you will get there in the end

I'm surprised at Karen's comment. Yeah you have to check out the area, but ex-council houses are usually really well built (especially in York) and often really good value for money.

Look outside the city. Don't buy cheap housing in the poorer areas (ie ex-council). Buy a small village house.

Try looking around the villages (ie bubwith, north duffield, and barlby) to get cheaper property. That's what we are doing!




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