“We learned the hard way”

I arrived in Edinburgh after graduating from university to view my first proper flat.

During my degree I had lived in halls of residence or university accommodation so this was all new to me. I didn’t know much about the city and I didn’t know much about renting. I had no idea that the landlord was supposed to be registered or what an HMO licence was. When he started walking through the flat writing down the inventory on the back of a used envelope… pots and pans… plenty of cutlery… the old tenants left this freezer behind – would you like to buy it? I thought to myself, this guy is really laid back. This is going to be great!

The flat was nice enough and within our budget – we paid the deposit in cash and moved straight in. I probably don’t need to tell you that this particular housing story did not end well. We learned the hard way.

Fast forward a good few years and a few moves in the private rented sector and my husband and I have bought our first flat together. I love our little home but homeownership hasn’t been without difficulties. We have done a lot of work on the place and we have uncovered a lot of dodgy décor (think woodchip) and dubious DIY (laminate flooring applied with copious amounts of glue. Oh, and lots of nails just for good measure). We can’t phone up the landlord when the boiler goes on the blink. But it does feel like home.

Having said that, we are far from ready to settle down. We’re still exploring options. We’ve recently discussed selling our flat and we’re considering moving back into a private rented flat until we find the place that’s right for us. I don’t think homeownership is always the end of the story – but I’ll definitely check that my landlord is registered next time!

Homeowner, Edinburgh