Posts tagged ‘FTB’

Eco-Sheds For Funky First-Time Buyers

We like a nice homely shed here at Winging It, but we’re also partial to a bit of upmarket architectural eye-candy, so imagine our delight when we discovered that some genius has created a super cool, Kevin McCloud approved … shed for living!

We haven’t been this thrilled by a design ‘solution’ since eglu applied a bit of i-Mac styling to the humble chicken coop. Could it really live up to our fevered expectations?

And, more to the point, could it live up to its own billing as “individual low-cost student or key-worker accommodation, or an ideal house for a first-time buyer”?

Said shed, or dwelle, as designers FKDA architects have branded it, is zero carbon, off-grid, and cleverly compact.

It has underfloor heating, a wood-burning fireplace, newspaper insulation (Guardian, I’m guessing!) and a streamlined barn conversion aesthetic. It looks like this:


I think it’s pretty cool, and at £35,000-£50,000 for the largest version, you can’t really quibble about the price – even if, as we all well know, the biggest problem with this will be finding an affordable site to put it on.

Still, hats off to FKDA for an imaginative and good-looking response to the plight of the FTB. And well done to Grand Designs Live for showcasing it this weekend.

If you want to take a closer look, go see dwelle at Grand Designs Live, Birmingham, where it will feature alongside a couple of other very cool eco- and micro-homes in the Grand Village.




October 7, 2009 at 4:06 PM 4 comments

Honeymoon House Hunting: Searching for a house

Something very strange has happened, a huge reversal of fortunes, a massive volte-face by the missus – we are, after all, going for a flat.

It may have looked like I had lost this particular discussion – but not so.

Thanks to a flash of genius, and to ensure that my involvement in the physical move was kept to the absolute minimum, I suggested that we put an offer in for the flat we currently rent.

I’d imagine that the most stressful element of moving house is packing. Followed closely by unpacking and putting everything in the right place, which I’m convinced I’ll be incapable of doing and I know Ruth would agree.

I’m really struggling to find a downside. We know the area really well, get on with our neighbours, know what the property is worth and are both genuinely happy where we are.

So we made an offer. Which was refused

For a bit more cash, the flat could be theirs ...

The impression we get from our agent is that there’s room to haggle, which is nice of him as he’s not paying a penny. But I have to say that he’s been a great help.

Having two people buying a property together isn’t any easier when you’re both purchasing for the first time.  In some cases, it could be seen as being even harder…

Hypothetically speaking, it is perhaps a natural inclination when you buy a home to think of the improvements that can be made; very prudently increasing the value. But where does this stop!

We live in the place already but that hasn’t stopped us talking about a new kitchen, carpets throughout and cutting down on clutter – which normally means my Rothmans Football Annuals 1986 – 1992 ending up in the recycling bin. But this is all hypothetical mind…

What is special about buying with your partner is being able to share these conversations with someone who has just as big an interest. So I’m enjoying planning what we’re going to do although slightly aware that we may be getting ahead of ourselves.

But with our agent’s advice we’ve increased the offer and are awaiting the vendor’s decision, although he’s pretty confident we’ll get the thumbs up. Exciting times.

Here’s to hoping my new found good luck doesn’t run out soon.

June 25, 2009 at 2:24 PM Leave a comment

The Honeymoon Househunters: Sam & Ruth’s Search For A Home #2

I can say with total certainty that, even when taking cost out of the equation, buying a house with another person is very different to any everyday purchase.

I’m always delighted to confirm that Ruth’s dress, shoes and handbag combo is quite simply stunning and a bargain at twice the price – whilst really pondering whether Rafa will rotate or stick to his best 11 – without worrying that there will be any grave implications to my general well being.

Although there are, sometimes – Rafa likes to rotate.

But when buying a home, the biggest purchase you’ll both ever make, there’s a very clear statement of intent from both sides that takes into account some very subjective tastes.


I like flats. With our budget, we can get a nice two-bedroom flat in a great area, that doesn’t need any work doing to it, just a short walk from THE pub.

She likes houses. With our budget, we can get a smallish three-bedroom house, in an okay area, that needs work doing to it (it’s a ‘project’), just a short walk from A pub.

I find this project aspect especially worrying. I hate DIY. I don’t feel that I need to justify myself because I detest it that much.

And naturally, there have been some heated discussions but the house hunting is going very well, thanks.

It’s really all about making concessions, and finding our first dream home together is something we will always see eye-to-eye on. And we’ve already tried putting in an offer on one!

It’s a beautiful three-bedroom house in South Wimbledon, five minutes’ walk from the town centre, beautifully decorated, ample room to extend and – the Holy Grail – a conservatory with under-floor heating.

Following our offer, I received a call from the agent to hear that a bid has been accepted.  Just not our bid.

Our cheeky offer of circa £60,000 below the asking price was knocked back – ultimately proving that as a couple, there’s one thing that you sadly can’t make concessions with: your budget. (Unless this blog leads to a substantial pay rise…)

June 5, 2009 at 2:56 PM Leave a comment

The Honeymoon Househunters: Sam & Ruth’s Search For A Home

So it’s a normal next step; get married then settle into a new home. Once the stress of organising the big day’s done, it’s the natural expectation that all’s left is post-marital, worry-free bliss in a wonderful new home.

Not a chance! Stress-free house hunting that is (I’m happily married!).


My wife and I have only recently started combing Wimbledon for our first purchase together so it’s no surprise that we share many of the concerns today’s buyers in our position have.

We have between 10-15 per cent  as a deposit for the type of property we’re looking for, in the area we’re looking for. It’s quite realistic.

Although to state the obvious – there’s a sizeable discrepancy between the two figures in terms of property, mortgage options and general piece of mind.

A ten per cent  deposit means we get a slightly bigger home, in a slightly nicer area, with slightly posher neighbours. For the most part, great!

Aside from the rate, I’m feeling a little underwhelmed about the prospect of a variable rate mortgage.

Surely the only direction rates will head is up, and if they do in the short-term, we’ll have to remortgage if our monthly repayments become ridiculously high. We are 18 months too late to profit from a variable rate mortgage – aren’t we?

With only ten per cent equity, if prices fall and rates increase, we will have to find some further equity to remortgage. So I’m leaning towards the security of a 15 per cent deposit.

But I’d prefer to live in the ten percenters – they’re much nicer! I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

May 22, 2009 at 2:21 PM Leave a comment

Global Warming: The Only Hope For First-Time Buyers?

I’ve read some pretty odd stuff about the housing market but I’ve yet to come across anything as entertainingly off-the-wall as the suggestion that first-time buyers should welcome the eco-apocalypse.

This, at any rate, is the reasoning of “three young couples in London, England, planning to buy our first homes.”


The couples (above) run a website called FirstHomeBuyer which includes a page on drought titled: “The Environment Could Help Home Buyers”.

The argument runs thus: The South of England has a drought problem. It also has a lot of people. If population levels continue to rise and the droughts worsen, water companies will be forced to turn off the taps:

“People will have to use buckets to collect water from tanks or trucks in their street and immigrants will choose to live and work in other countries with better water supplies.”


Meanwhile, back in a semi-tropical Acacia Avenue many residents – presumably weary of the breakdown in queuing etiquette at the standpipe – will migrate North like a herd of wildebeest in search of a watering hole.

It’s at this point, surrounded by scorched earth, warring neighbours and a jungle of vegetation sprouting in the cracked pavements, that FTBs will fall to their knees and rejoice.

Why? Because fewer immigrants and the exodus northwards mean demand will fall in southern England and house prices will crash:

“The above factors, combined with the stress of fighting with neighbours to fill a bucket of water every day, will create the mood for a property crash.”

True, if all of this comes about Clapham Common will probably look like the Mojave, and, yes, the planet will be one step closer to extinction … but hey, look on the bright side: you’ll have a really nice tan and a three-bed semi will be much more affordable!

Now there’s an inconvenient truth that Al Gore forgot to mention.

Next week: why FTBs should look forward to a plague of locusts.

May 23, 2008 at 11:19 AM 1 comment

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