Buying a house on a single income

November 11, 2008 9:29 PM

Mortgage, and home buying brochures

Last night, my parents arranged for me to speak with their financial adviser to get an idea about my mortgage options. In a nutshell: for a single person earning comfortably but not that much, not a lot. If my parents weren’t helping me out, I wouldn’t even consider buying a house.

That’s because I am not looking to buy a cheap place that I can rent out, and I’m not looking to build a place that’s bare minimum for now and upgrade later. If I am to buy a property now, it’d be a place that I’m gonna stay in and which pleases me aesthetically.

So I’ve figured that for me to go down this path, I will need to manage my disposable income a bit better. A lot of little things that I take for granted will all have to be re-evaluated. These include:

  • $6-7 lunches every day, with a $3 coffee or energy drink in the afternoon,
  • going out twice a week spending about $80-100 each time,
  • having an annual holiday which cost about $2000 or more

Within limits, I have never minded spending on food and drinks, and intangible things like going out and on holidays. I will have to consciously wind down this area of spending a notch and maybe more.

Conversely, I am a bit more tight when it comes to material goods. I buy clothes at most 3 times a year, I buy CDs and DVDs only when they’re cheap, and any other frivolous purchases are mostly funded by my blogging. Plus I take public transport to work so I don’t spend a lot on running my car.

In documenting my spending, I realise that it’s the mandatory things that take a big chunk out of my finances. These are things like medical and car insurance, Snoop’s veterinary bills and pet insurance, mobile phone bill, and when I start living in my own home, home insurance, electric/water bills and council rates and taxes. All of this plus the monthly mortgage payments will eat up most of my pay, leaving me very little as savings.

And oh, then there’s the cost of the furnishings and appliances for the new place. Yeah, bye bye disposal income indeed.

When I voiced these concerns to my parents, my mom as usual uses the matrimonial angle. “What woman these days would want to marry a man who doesn’t own a house?” Funny that, because I won’t be able to afford to date anyone when I’m paying off the place by myself. Hahah!

That said, I suppose if I keep dissuading myself from buying a place I probably never will because I’m so comfortable where I am. This is a good push by my parents. And you all will be here to watch how I progress through this. 🙂

16 thoughts on “Buying a house on a single income

  1. BigZ

    I have been going through the same process and my best mate has just purchased a bit of land is talking to a builder, hes in the same boat.

    I am not super keen to give up my income on account that I havn’t had enough time to enjoy it. From the looks of it I think I will have to end up marrying my brother :O

  2. Clarasays

    Thank the lord for your mum’s logic, takes the pressure of chicks to buy our own houses 😀 Seriously though, good luck with cutting back on spending – it’s damned hard work. I’m trying to work out if it’s viable to buy a space of my own, but keep coming back to the “OMG I can’t to quit my job and disappear off on a holiday” reality and proverbially shitting myself. Say it with me… *sigh* coward 🙁

  3. sourrain

    i like your parents!! But then you already know that..heehee.

    I agree with them. However, house ownership is also (for me) the last step in growing up.In many ways, it is more demanding than a relationship….for me it meant that I lost all my ability to walk away when things get hard and just ditch it all and start anew. A house requires more loving attention than a girlfriend, more financial commitments than a future mother in law scrutinizing you with a manifying glass. And more hard work in making it aethestically pleasing than a 12-hour shift in call centres.

    I still sometimes (after two years!) gape in wonder that my money is paying for the roof over my head. It does pisses my off occasionally when I want to throw caution in the wind and just fly away – to have bacon stop me and go, “You can’t quit – what about the house?”

    But somehow…at the end of it, you look at it in wonder and think, “OMG this is mine…alll MINE. Bought with blood sweat and tears from the idiotic customers and brain draining bosses”. And SMILE 😀


  4. mooiness Post author

    BigZ: that’s a good point. You should have a point in your life when you can spend your money without worrying too much, otherwise you might feel regret later on.

    Clara: yup, even if you hate your job you’ve gotta suck it in and bear it a bit longer than you normally would. The loss of that freedom is one bit that is stressing me.

    redbeanjon: thanks – hopefully it’s educational.

    sourrain: I do get the whole “omg I own something so substantial” thing, but my argument all along has been that it’d be easier with a double-income.

    Oh well, I’m walking down that road now. And yeah, like Clara said about the job, the freedom to move around, or not being afraid of being laid off? That’s gone. And that’s scary.

  5. girlstar7

    I like the way your Mum takes the matrimonial angle; such a Mum thing to say! Sounds like she is waiting for the day you come home and tell her you’re getting married! I’m looking forward to hearing updates about the house 🙂

  6. LupinTan

    I agree with girlstar7 in regards to ur mom’s part.

    Actually it’s quite true leh, the sacrifaces you need to make to have ownership over a house.

    And the culture is so diff from singapore. here, we only get a flat when we are getting married.hahahaha.

    So much so that some guys proposed by saying “Want to get a flat together?”

  7. blur ting

    It’s a good thing for mum to step in and give you that push. Having your own house is a good start. At least you already have the foresight on what life is going to be like later etc. I’m such a scrooge now because of the apartment and for once in my life, I can’t afford to bring my kids on a holiday! Sob! I need to start saving again.

  8. mooiness Post author

    girlstar7: yeah well, now that I will have less money for everything else, unless the wedding is free she’ll have to wait a little bit longer. 😉

    Lupin: that’s a do-able system which I agree with. Oh well.

    chocolatesuze: wow you are even more committed than I am. Good luck to you too!

    blur ting: I don’t foresee being able to save on my current income levels. I better not get laid off either. Oh noes!

  9. ano

    Getting a house now is a big mistake. Wait until the dust settles on the global credit crisis. I’m sure you know the AUS market better, but in times like this, you need more cash in hand.

  10. mooiness Post author

    ano: I can only speak for Australia of course but interest rates are falling and so are property prices. I’m debt free and have a steady job so yeah, the timing is good. An extra income towards the mortgage will make it easier of course but that’s always the case.

  11. mooiness Post author

    BM: heheh land bought! now am looking at building and design options. and 9 rooms?! I haven’t got as much money as my parents. It’s most probably gonna be 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom place. Cosy. 🙂

  12. Tsu Lin

    I have been reading your blog since the XiaXue saga (and although I sometimes don’t read as often), and suddenly you are buying a house – land and all! Splendid. Congrats to you! (Eventho it is a scary thought, esp in this economic environment)


  13. mooiness Post author

    Tsu Lin: well in Oz, interest rates are falling and so are property prices so I guess if you have the money, it’s the right time to jump in. That said, I wouldn’t have done this if my parents didn’t offer their help. 🙂


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