I’ve just given birth to our second daughter! So with a new baby comes wayyyy more baby paraphernalia, clothes, equipment, countless parts of her pram and more that mean we are being squeezed out of our beautiful but albeit not big enough flat in South Croydon. With that, we are having to consider our next property move. Scary but exciting stuff!

We’ve toyed with a few ideas about what we do next – do we sell up and try and buy a really good family home with potential to increase its value? Or do we rent out our property and buy a second home, perhaps with less potential and substantially smaller? We have lots to think about, and with every day we sit pondering it we also have to reflect on our whole property ownership journey. So many people our age - our friends and family included, are finding it more difficult to ever imagine owning their own property. People are having to look to more untraditional services and products in order to help them own property, and I’m all for it.

Post office family link mortgage

I thought I’d share how we got on the property ladder and also share with you a really interesting product from Post Office that may help some of you on your own journey.

We got married 14 years ago, shortly after which we started looking at buying our first home. We were living with my dad at the time and of course craved our own space and something to call our own. Me being into interior design I couldn’t wait for the day that I could decorate a place in our own style and not have to live by house rules! We looked at various shared ownership schemes but had years of us not quite being able to do it due to not having enough of a deposit or income etc. We would get super close and then get a call to say we didn’t quite meet the criteria. It was heartbreaking.

After around 4 years of this we took a break - we were mentally exhausted and drained from all of the applications and paperwork just to be told we were unsuccessful. We decided to rent for a while to gain our own space and get used to having higher outgoings.

A few years later, we had the energy to start looking again. The property market was in a little bit of a dip and we were both in slightly better positions income wise. We had worked for a year to improve our credit score, paid off our debts and made a savings pot for the deposit. But it still wasn’t quite enough.

Having years and years of disappointments we were on the verge of trying anything. We had even given up renting and our own space to move into a small room at my mums house so that we didn’t have any outgoings other than a modest rent paid to her. We ended up getting pregnant and having our first daughter Marley all whilst living in that one room (we now rent it from my mum as our office space, how’s that for coming full circle?!)

Anyway… I reached out to various family members to see if they could help us. Incredibly, my grandparents agreed to help us out, providing the deposit and / or loans that we paid back over time. We couldn’t believe it, but finally, our first home was within our reach.

Now look, I don’t for one second gloss over the fact that I am in the privileged position to have family members who could help me out financially. It’s not really ‘the done thing’ to talk about having help now, but I’m not ashamed of it at all. I’m incredibly grateful to the fact that my grandparents worked their butts off in life to make sure that their children and grandchildren would be alright. It inspires me a lot.

I know it’s not something that everyone has access to and Jason and I are so grateful for all of the help we’ve had. We talk about it often, even 7 years later, especially when we see how squeezed and unhopeful our friends are about home ownership. It’s made us think about generational wealth and how we leave a financial legacy for our two girls too. How could we help them own property in the future?

Post Office Family Link mortgage

As a result, I’m always keeping an eye out on the property and mortgage market to see which schemes or products are being put into place. I was pleased to see that Post Office have a mortgage called the Family Link? mortgage, provided by Bank of Ireland UK, which is aimed at first time buyers and is made up to of two parts: Part one is a 90% loan to value mortgage, which you take against the home you’re buying - this is subject to interest. Part two is a mortgage for the remaining 10% that you and your parent or close relative (i.e. the assistor) secure against their mortgage free home. This is interest free and is repaid over five years (the assistor is required to take independent legal advice). I think this is a really outside the box way of looking at home ownership and I think it’s going to open mortgages up to  people who have found it really difficult to save a deposit for a property.

Of course this product isn’t going to be for everyone, but if it does sound like something that could be suitable for you it’s worth checking out and getting more information. I’m just glad there are lenders out there who are willing to look at the current property ownership situation and come up with ways to give us more options!

For more info on the Family Link? mortgage you can click here**

So that’s our property story, we wouldn’t be where we are now without help, that’s for sure. And if we have learnt anything from this process it’s that we are now always thinking ahead about how we can futureproof our family’s financial future, with pensions, savings and paying off equity in our home.

We are still learning about all of this stuff so I’m by no means an expert but hopefully something I’ve shared today will be helpful to you!

How have you found getting on the property ladder?

Sarah x

*This post is in collaboration with Post Office. Subject to status and lending criteria. Your Home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Post Office Family Link mortgage information accurate at date of publication, June 2019*