Let’s talk money. Serious money. House buying money.
This is kind of the dream for most of us, in the UK at least. Many, if not most of us, grow up now with home owning aspirations, but it seems to be getting harder and harder to actually get onto that first rung of the housing ladder, particularly for young people and key workers- and thank the heavens for key workers! PS- I was saying that before the pandemic even started- I love getting my bins taken out, having clean water and good food on the shelves, and having medical care, amongst all the other amazing stuff we really take far too much for granted.
I digress! So, lets rewind a bit – I was lucky enough to be in a position to buy a place in 2009. It was the tiniest little flat in Wimbledon (the cheap end), which had been repossessed from the previous owner by the bank and thus was going startlingly cheap. I snapped it up despite all the warnings about it being too small for comfort, and you know, it was always perfectly adequate for my needs. Listen to your hearts, people.
Really, I couldn’t have bought any place at that point without the previous few years of living back at home with my parents. They were kind enough to let me stay with them, where I paid paying minimal rent and bills while working a reception job in finance (in the West End of London, no less), so that I could save up for a deposit. They were a few emotionally tough years if I’m honest – I did not love the job and my parents and I are quite different people, but they were very kind to give me that opportunity to save up and get on the ladder.
Fortunately, I’m here to tell you that there is a better way than moving home with your folks to save up for your first home deposit! I’m talking side hustle. Yes, it’s a massively overused term these days, but the phrase ‘part time job’ makes me think of working in a Spar on a Saturday morning. If you don’t fancy working in a shop on a weekend, then my suggestion for those of you looking to get your house deposit beefed up, is of course writing. No surprise there!
Romance writing is a great side hustle – though it might well take a little time and a little learning to get the money snowball rolling, once it does the momentum will keep you flying on down the hill to home ownership, and with a bit of luck, mortgage overpayments!
While I admit, romance writing is a little ‘niche’, it is also a massive market of voracious readers basically sitting at home waiting for the next hot release. Romance readers cannot get enough of decent love stories! And what does that mean? If you can write a decent story with good characters and plenty of will they/won’t they (think Ross and Rachel only they ‘do’ a hell of a lot quicker) and get them out regularly, as long as they are priced correctly, you will soon gain a loyal readership and start seeing your sales spike, and stay high. And sales spikes mean more pennies in the home buying pot!
Now it isn’t as simple as all that really – there’s a lot to consider, mostly interior furnishings, council tax and who provides your internet, but you also need to do your research into mortgage lenders. There’s a lot of info out there, not just from old school bricks and mortar mortgage brokers (who my cousin swears by), but also the more modern version of financial aggregators such as Money Supermarket who will show you an array of products to chose from, and tell you what sort of a deposit you might need as well as the really impactful stuff like fixed interest rates.
Now, if you are a creative like me, numbers might not be your forte. Quite seriously, I am phobic about maths and the thought of calculating things like how long I’ll be paying off my mortgage for is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. Fortunately, clever people have created a series of calculators that you can use depending on your situation, they come with an array of charts to translate the calculations into something more digestible. These calculators and charts are an absolute life saver if you normally approach your financial life with a scrap of paper and a hunted look.
Basically, if you are thinking of getting on the property ladder and the prospect of raising a deposit or paying the mortgage payments and still having some semblance of a modern life feels overwhelming- writing and self publishing romance novels is a great way to top up the coffers and keep them topped up. With a bit of elbow grease, you could be making overpayments on that mortgage before you know it.