No, we’re not pregnant again! Can you imagine, 3 under three would kill me!
We’ve been really busy over the past few months looking at properties and Allhumdulillah at the end of last month we completed on our first family home🙏🏾
Before we got married we had a discussion about our post-marriage living arrangements. I was adamant that we lived on our own while the other half wanted to stay with his parents(!) as a compromise we agreed to move out within a year of being married! We’d spent all our money on the wedding so we needed time to save and like many Asian families Jays parents excepted him to stay with him so he needed some time to break the news to them. I was so insistent that I didn’t want to live in an extended family situation I even added it to my marriage contract! I firmly believe newly married couples need their own space to grow and get to know each other within their new context for a successful healthy marriage.
As it happened I fell pregnant immediately and although I still wanted to move out I knew it would change our situation. Neither of us had planned or even talked about having a baby, we didn’t know what to expect and of course we’d have reduced income as I’d be on maternity leave. There were too many unknowns to risk buying a place and Jay was reluctant about renting due to the extortionate rents. Also, if we started to rent we’d never be able to afford our own place as we’d eat into our meagre savings. Aasiya was born in May 2016 and it was really hard. The reality of how much work a baby is hit home hard! In all honesty it did cause more than a few arguments between Jay and I, especially when he went back to work and I was left alone with a baby in Jays parents home. In the first couple of months I did spend a lot of time with my elder sister, she helped with all my baby concerns and also some time with my dad, where I felt more at home. We did start to talk about moving again when Aasiya was around 6 months, due to our disjointed living arrangements and all of our arguments. We just needed space to be a family and to be together in a way we didn’t have at the moment. And then of course early in 2017, when Aasiya was around 8 months I fell pregnant again!
This time Jay and I had a very frank conversation about our expectations and what we were going to do when the baby arrived. We simply didn’t have the space at his parents home for 2 babies and ourselves in one bedroom. Jay had the conversation with his parents quite early on in my pregnancy and although they were disappointed they were happy for us. We agreed to stay as local as possible, and fortunately we found a place less then 5 minutes drive away. Idris was born in October and this time I spent Jays paternity leave with him at his parents home but then moved in with my dad and
our two babies as I had a lot more space and just felt more comfortable as it was my home. Whenever Jay has time off we go back to his parents home and we spend most weekends there. Jay spends every evening after work at my dads so we get our family time, but it’s clearly a very fractured way to live.
We started to seriously house hunt in November, when Idris was a month old. We went for a couple of viewings every weekend. Jay had been keeping an eye on the properties locally and due to our small budget we only had limited options. Also we were confined to a search area that wasn’t too far from Jays parents house. This was a really testing time for us. We had a newborn, an 18 month old and it seemed we would never find anywhere to live. We both didn’t want a huge mortgage (plus we had a small budget) and we had a list of requirements including, 3 bedrooms, a decent sized garden, and parking, which meant there were very few houses that were actually suitable. Most of them were tiny as you’d expect and we just couldn’t see ourselves living and growing in them. There was always a compromise but none that we were happy with until we found our dream home on the 2nd of January 2018.
We had had a huge argument the day before and I was still seething when Jay called me that day to say he’d seen our dream property. Obviously I told him where to stick it before finally agreeing to go and see it with him. The house was perfect. It had 3 big bedrooms, through lounge, conservatory and ample amounts of space and a 90 foot garden. It didn’t have a driveway but we instantly agreed that it was a worthwhile compromise. The reason we were able to afford such a great house was because it was in a seriously run down condition. Everything needed work. We instantly put in a cheeky offer and we’re shocked that it was accepted. Unfortunately our jubilations were short lived as the family pulled the house off the market the following day. The house was a probate property (someone had died and it was left to people in a will) and one of the beneficiaries wanted to re-do the property and sell it at a much higher asking price. We were understandably gutted and I was basically broken and fed up and at my wits end. I would have happily bought the next house just so the process would be over and we could all live together. Thankfully Jay was still optimistic and enthusiastic about the whole thing. A month or so later our estate agent informed us that the house had gone back on the market and that if we wanted the family were happy to proceed with our initial offer. A few days earlier we had reluctantly put in an offer on another house and we’d both been praying and making istikhara for guidance and help throughout the whole process. We were so ecstatic that our “dream” house was back we leapt up and down with excitement and I’m sure I screamed with delight! Due to the nature of the house we paid to have an extensive survey done and thankfully it came back with no structural damage. Most of the work was cosmetic, but there was a lot of it!
Fast forward a few very stressful months we finally got our keys at the end of April. That day, the sun was shining and we sped over to our new home. We took selfies at the door and when we walked in we realised the reality of how much work we had in front of us! We estimated we wouldn’t be able to move in for at least 3/4 months. All the carpets needed to be removed, the walls plastered, a new bathroom, a new kitchen (eventually) all the bedrooms need work and of course we were now officially broke!
So here we are now, a month into being home owners and elbow deep in mess! We’ve started by having all the unnecessary boilers removed from the house and getting the bathroom done. Most of the work we are doing ourselves (did I mention how broke we are?) so it’s a really slow process. Poor Jay spends his weekends and most evenings doing what he can. Now that it’s Ramadan the work has slowed down even further, although he has started tiling the bathroom.
I can’t begin to tell you how exciting this chapter in our lives feels. To think (Inshahallah) in a few months we’ll be living together as a family in our own home is my happiest thought. If you’d like to see our progress you can follow my Instagram account @life_at_number_77 for little updates.
Do let me know if you’ve recently bought a house and how your journey to home ownership has been, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Peace and love