I have spent today writing a business plan for property investors, well I was forced to write one by my husband actually. I would much rather have spend the day pottering around the house or simply lounging about eating crumpets.
Anyhow, part of the job today was to go back through the years, (it is decades actually), and tot up the profits of buying and selling houses which I have renovated in my life. The amounts were really quite large, and I was shocked to see the results.
I was lucky enough to get onto the property ladder in London in the 1990’s, straight after the big crash and when property dropped to a price that I could afford. I bought a sweet flat in Clapham for the incredibly low price of £45K. It was very tiny, in fact so small that if someone came into the entrance hall they trapped people in the living room as the doors were a bit too close for comfort. Saying that, the interest rate was 16% so it was the most I have ever paid of a mortgage in my life, and for the smallest one. Eyes water when I think what my various London properties much be worth now. But…
Non, je ne regrette rien!
Within weeks off buying my first home I had discovered the joys of decorating and DIY. I would rush home from work and paint, varnish, strip and build for hours, usually resulting in irate neighbours turning up and asking why I was drilling at 3am. I became a serial mover, usually lasting in a house for just a year whilst I did a turn around and then moved on. One friend complained whenever I moved, as I was ruining her address book with crossed out addresses by my name.
It was only having children that slowed me down, my own mother had been a serial house-mover and I hated always having to change schools and make new friends who I knew I would lose in a year or two when we moved again. So I vowed my own children would have a more constant time at school, and only moved a very few times throughout their education, and in locations so they could stay at the same schools.
But I am rambling…
My point of this blurb is that I added up all of the profit over the years, and I should theoretically be really RICH. Like close to a million rich. But I am not- on each sale the lawyers, surveyors and agents all took a chunk. Land Registry took some too. I would then use the remaining profit to upgrade to the next larger house and have some money left over to renovate it. Then I would sell it straight away for an inflated sum. This all tootled along nicely until I had my first daughter. I was all set to be a full-time working, part-time property developing, multi-tasking mother. But I took one look at her when she was born and decided I never wanted us to be parted for more than a minute. So I sold up, moved out of London and used some of the profit I had made to be able to buy a cheaper house, (it was a beautiful 16th Century barn conversion so I can’t complain at all!). More importantly it also meant I could stay home for the next few years with her and then her little sister who followed, as there was enough money left over to pay the bills.
If I had stayed in London I would now be in a house worth well over another £1.5 million pounds to add to the previous figures. In the words of Del Boy I would have been a ‘miwllionaire’.
Am I sad?
No. The upside to losing my near million, plus the ones I never actually saw, is that I have been able to watch my children grow up PLUS work part-time only when I wanted to. I think I have been incredibly blessed to have been able to do that. Now that the children are starting to leave the nest, I am back into renovating houses again. And I have to get a serious job to help pay for their next steps at University. But those houses in London decades ago gave me a reward far greater than sitting on an over-inflated, obscenely priced house in the capital now and having missed out on my girls growing up.
So whenever I am in London and peep into estate agents windows and see earth-shatteringly expensive houses just like the ones I used to own, I just have to remind myself of my beautiful daughters and how I have shared their lives thanks to being on that property ladder as it started growing, so…
Non, je ne regrette rien