On the telly box one morning last week there was discussion about adult children still living with parents and being unable to financially put their foot on the first step of the housing ladder. The story featured a father who has a 28 year old son still living in the tiny bedroom he grew up in as well a 23 year old daughter also in the same boat. The son was saying how he has long outgrown those four walls and wants his own space, freedom and to no longer live with his 'annoying' younger sister. He longs to buy a house but the way the housing market is it looks as though he would be 40 before before he could realistically buy somewhere. So true of a lot of people in this day and age, more adult children than ever are staying at mum and dads a lot longer than they or their parents would ever have anticipated because of how much it costs to buy and how much of a deposit is required, add to that the credit crunch causing banks to be less eager to help with first time buyers and for most it is impossible to imagine ever owning.
I too am in that boat. I lived at home and after a year of being together my hubby (or boyfriend as he was at the time) and me had said we wanted to move in together. I spent most of my time living at his out of bags so the idea of having my stuff in ONE PLACE and it being our own place sounded perfect. We didn't have anything savings wise, both of us had enjoyed our money whilst being single and always thought we would save 'later on' but we knew we wanted to move out. Yes, maybe we should have thought about it properly and decided to save but we were both paying bills and separately paying rent to parents anyway, practically living and spending independently plus at the time my other half's mum was looking to put their family home on the market too so it made sense for us to rent. We had long outgrown living at home, relatives bickered and you get to a point where you have too much stuff for one small bedroom. You also realise that time goes by so quickly and you want to enjoy life and enjoy your freedom for as long as you can! We had a good look around and moved out of the town we had grew up in, about 15 miles (maybe a bit more) away so we could rent a lovely spacious two bed ground floor flat for a lot cheaper than if we had stayed where we were. We were sensible with our budget, sensible with our workings out and when looking at properties in other areas, made sure we knew we would still be able to get to our jobs in good time and not have a stupidly long journey. Our friends and family were just a five minute train ride or 20 minute car drive away and we had gone from living in a town with nothing to do, to living in a town right by the sea (Southend) with brilliant bars, restaurants, clubs, arcades, attractions and lots more. If people came over we could always give them a nice choice of what we could do when they visited.
After nearly three years living there and with no desire to move, hubby got told of a house in a lovely village we had lusted over whenever we went there which was up for rent and was being rented privately so was the same money as what we were paying for our flat but for the same money could also have a garage, garden, more room and live in a lovely, picturesque and quieter area nearer to our work places, friends and family. Within six weeks of finding out about this house we had moved! (a nice perk of renting being you can leave quite quickly) and have now been there nearly a year. We absolutely love it too! It is a village we could never have afforded to buy in because of the area and it is peaceful with lovely friendly neighbours. It is perfect.
I know there are a lot of down sides to renting and once upon a time I used to say I would never EVER rent because it was 'dead money' but I used to say that at 15. Times have changed a hell of a lot since I grew up and while it isn't ideal in a perfect world that we rent I would rather be going home to our gorgeous house (which we have been allowed to decorate however we wish too) to just my husband and our bunnies rather than the rest of either of ours families. I love all my family (both blood related and in law alike) to pieces but I need my own space and I cherish the time we have together on our own in the evenings. If anything goes pete tong in our house our landlord fixes it with no cost to us so there isn't any worry there. We have been very lucky really that we have such a good landlord, I know that isn't always the case and the downside you risk with renting is that you can be given notice out of blue to move out (touch wood, this hasn't happened to us) however it has just happened to some friends but they have been given plenty of notice to find somewhere else) but all in all, most flats / buildings are owned by someone who owns a few properties and never has any intention of selling up because they make good money from them. You could be paying 'dead money' in a lot of mortgage deals where you spend years just paying back interest or some schemes where you half own, or don't need a deposit and are lent it by the government. So many other countries rent and it is no biggy yet over here it is made to feel a bit of a taboo. some friends often ask us when we are going to buy or say they could never rent as though we are doing something wrong.
I can honestly say hand on heart it is the best thing we ever did. I would not want to be 28 years old and still living with parents or get into my thirties, realise my twenties have whizzed by never to be seen again only for me to still be in the same position I was before my twenties and not enjoying my life to it's full potential. (I have nothing against those in their thirties still living with parents this is just my preference). No matter how laid back your parents are, when you live at home you still have rules to abide by and I want to live in a house decorated to MY taste with MY rules, eat dinners I want and tidy up when I want too. I am now happily married with a baby on the way but would I be if we hadn't moved out? Now we are starting a family we have realised the parties over a little bit and we have to start budgeting which we have been since seeing that positive pregnancy test and we will now save for a deposit and look to buy over the next five years. There are better government schemes for first time buyers so who knows it could be sooner but we wont rush. We will save and when we are in a position to we will buy our first house for our family. I don't mind how long it takes. It is no different to the situation we are in now apart from the house would be in our name instead of someone else. We won't have missed out on anything we wanted to do or the independence of living on our own and starting a family at the time in our lives that we wanted just because we hadn't bought our own home.
That 28 year old said he would never waste money on rent and will continue to save until he owns his own place even if it isn't until his thirties, but at what costs? He is unhappy and life ins't a rehearsal. I honestly think anyone reading this who is miserable living at home with parents should consider it. If you budget right, it is doable and there is nothing quite like having your own place!