What I own: Fiona who put down £ 70,000 on a Nottinghamshire house

Fiona moved in in 2016 (Photo: Fiona Austin)

Welcome back to What I own.

Last time around we spoke to interior designer Vicky, who owns a £ 270,000 Victorian cottage on the outskirts of Brighton.

This week we’re heading to the Midlands, to chat with Fiona.

She moved into her home five years ago – here’s what she has to say about her shopping experience.

Tell us about yourself Fiona …

I’m 37 and live with my husband, also 37, and our two boys – Jacob, eight, and Luca, five. We also have a one year old beagle called Bo.

My husband is an independent quantity surveyor and I am a category buyer for a university. We are based in Hucknall, North Nottinghamshire

Where is your property?

Hucknall is a large city with reasonably priced accommodation and excellent transport links, making it a popular location.

It has its good and bad neighborhoods, but has a huge range of amenities, everything you really need, as well as beautiful countryside and surrounding villages.

Fiona in her kitchen

She lives with her husband, two children and her dog (Photo: Fiona Austin)

When did you move in?

We moved into this property in April 2016.

How much does your property cost?

We bought our property for £ 280,000.

How much was your deposit?

Our deposit was £ 70,000.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both the mortgage and the bills?

The monthly cost of living is £ 900 (mortgage) and £ 900 (bills).

How did you save for your deposit?

Our bond consisted of a mixture of savings, redundancy money and a few shares that I received in the course of my job.

Fiona in her living room
She deposited a deposit of £ 70,000 (Photo: Fiona Austin)

What was the mortgage loan process like for you? Did you find difficult parts?

Our mortgage process was very difficult due to the fact that my husband had recently started his own limited liability company and did not have two years of return when we first applied for a mortgage. We therefore had to go through a specialized mortgage lender.

Where did you live before that – did you rent or live with your family?

We owned a three bedroom townhouse, also in Hucknall, prior to purchasing this property.

What made you want to buy rather than rent?

A long-term investment and something to pass on to our children.

fiona's hallway
Her one-year-old beagle Bo (Photo: Fiona Austin)

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

We must have looked at 30 different properties around Hucknall. Originally I wanted a new build, as I wasn’t keen on renovating a property with a two year old and newborn baby, but my husband wanted an older property.

When we visited this property we saw its potential and fell in love with the garden.

How did you make the property feel right at home?

We have worked hard to renovate the property and make it our own. It has been hard work, but we have learned a lot and are very proud of what we have achieved.

What is the inspiration for your interior design style?

My inspiration mainly comes from Instagram, but also from Pinterest and home magazines. My style is modern / rustic and I love to recycle furniture.

It is a property from the 1930s (Photo: Fiona Austin)

What is your favorite room and why?

My favorite room is our kitchen which we have recently renovated. It is light and spacious and ideal for entertaining.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Yes. We have a large garden which is perfect for the kids and the dog, and we are fortunate to have a playroom which houses all of the children’s toys and an area they can call their own.

Do you intend to change the ownership?

We have completely renovated the property, but we still have a few garden projects going on and plan to redecorate the living / dining room later this year.

Are there any issues with the property that you need to manage?

As this is a 1930s property the plumbing and wiring was very finicky but got replaced as we moved around to renovate every room. We also replaced the windows and insulation as it would be very cold in winter.

Fiona's garden
Spacious garden (Photo: Fiona Austin)

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

Make sure you have a budget, view plenty of properties, get a thorough investigation if you are buying an older property, and make sure you have realistic deadlines and money to invest if you are considering renovating a property.

What are your future plans in terms of housing?

We are very happy here and have no plans to move. We have worked a lot to make this property our own, which we do not want to move.

Shall we take a walk?

living space

The couple renovated the property to make it their own (Photo: Fiona Austin)

dining room
The living room and dining room (Photo: Fiona Austin)

living room
Great idea for toy storage in the playroom (Photo: Fiona Austin)

Fiona’s favorite room is the kitchen (Photo: Fiona Austin)

fiona's kitchen
More cooking (Photo: Fiona Austin)

Laundry room
The laundry room (Photo: Fiona Austin)

downstairs bathroom
Downstairs bathroom (Photo: Fiona Austin)

master bedroom
Master bedroom (Photo: Fiona Austin)

master bedroom
The couple had fun renovating each room (Photo: Fiona Austin)

children's room
The bedroom of his eldest son (Photo: Fiona Austin)

children's room
Younger Son’s Room (Photo: Fiona Austin)

fiona's bathroom
A generous bathtub (Photo: Fiona Austin)

fiona's garden
Ideal for summer barbecues (Photo: Fiona Austin)

fiona's garden
A beautiful outdoor installation (Photo: Fiona Austin)

Do you want to be included in What I own?

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would like to share your story, please email [email protected]

You will also have to agree to share how much you paid to live there and how you paid the deposit, as that is quite important.

If you are a tenant, you can also participate! What I Own is set alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but is all about renting. Again, if you want to get involved, just send an email [email protected]

MORE: What I own: First-time buyer Jenna who put down £ 16,000 on her Wiltshire condominium home

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MORE: What I own: Meg, who put down £ 37,500 down payment on her old mill cottage in Derbyshire

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