Buying a House, Thoughts

Tom Littler
6th September 2021


As my tenancy runs out, I'm contemplating the question of whether to remain renting or to get a foot on the ladder. 

Buying a house will probably be one of the biggest decisions of the year, so it's important I get clarity. In my experience, the best way to get clarity is to write, so this document is just an open letter on my thoughts of what I want from a home, and some sacrifices I might be willing to make. 


Space, houses aren't just for living

Gone are the days when a home was a place for leisure. We live in a remote world. I think the probability of me ever working full time in an office again are close to 0. 

Because of this, my home needs to have 3 distinct spaces. A space to sleep, a space to live, and a space to work. I'm sick of rolling out of bed and rolling onto my desk. If you want to sleep good you need a space that is completely separate from your work life. If you want to live good (cooking, reading, TV) it also needs to be separate from work life. 

Probably this means I'll need a two-bed, but a 1 bed with a decent amount of space will also work. 

Extent I'm willing to sacrifice 0/10

Lit location

I love living in East London, it's got cool vibes, I've got every yuppie service I could need at my doorstep (Hot yoga, BJJ, craft beer pubs, dry cleaners, overpriced barber) as well as a load of nice parks. 

I don't want to live in some god-forsaken suburb, I want to be in the thick of it. In 5 years I'll likely move to a more peaceful part of the world, better to live this last chapter of my life to the full, rather than settle on living in some dull part of the world. 

I'm willing to pay more to be in a decent location, and understand having a garden, or vast amounts of space is probaby not going to happen. 

Extent I'm willing to sacrifice 2/10

Not be overexposed to property. 

I'm always shocked by how many risk-averse people are happy to have literally 100% of their net worth in property. I'm not denying property isn't a fairly safe bet, but 100% exposure to any asset class is scary. I think ideally an equal split of stocks, property and crypto is a nice place to be. One advantage of property is mortgages are just such cheap money right now, so I'll be wanting to take the biggest possible mortgage I can find. 

This rational thinking of investment allocation is all well and good, but if I see a place I love and overexposes me to property, I'm probably going to send it. 

Extent I'm willing to sacrifice 5/10

Charm, ya bish 

This isn't my forever home, but it would be nice to be somewhere I genuinely loved, considering I'm going to be staying there 22 hours a day. 

A non-extensive list of what classifies as charm 

  • High ceilings 
  • Period features, such as fireplaces
  • Exposed brick 
  • Any Victorian warehouse conversion 
  • Huge windows 
  • Views onto greenery
  • Any Georgian terrace 

Extent I'm willing to sacrifice 6/10

Airbnbable 

My strategy is to probably live in this place for 6-9 months of the year. The rest of the time I'll use the glorious rental legal (and potentially tax) loophole of short term lets. I've done my DD and for my budget can expect to net £2k+/month (after management fees) putting my place on platforms such as Airbnb. This would more than cover the mortgage and give me some walking around money in Saville, Bali, Krakow, or perhaps some quaint town in Yorkshire. 

Spending a bit extra on plush furnishing, some art, basically anything gramable should help secure the bag. 

Extent I'm willing to sacrifice 6/10

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