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This is What I Own – Metro.co.uk’s weekly series where we chat to homeowners about their buying experiences.
We are in Watford this week, speaking to medical professional Suhail Hussain – who bought his house two years ago.
Suhail has lived in the area for most of his life and says it’s a great location for travelling into London and elsewhere in the country.
This is what he had to say about his buying experience…
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Dr Suhail Hussain, I am 45 years old and I’m a NHS and private GP. I work at Spire Hospital, Harpenden, and offer a home and office visiting service in Hertfordshire.
Where abouts is your property?
My house is in Watford, which is just outside the M25. I have lived and grown up in Watford, so it was pretty natural for me to buy a house here.
Watford is a commuter town and is really convenient for getting into London and also going further up north (should one dare to venture there) being near to major motorways and convenient travel links.
When did you move in?
We moved into our current house in May 2019.
How much does your property cost?
How much was your deposit?
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
How did you save up for your deposit?
This is a slightly convoluted answer. When I first got married, I lived with my parents and wife in a much larger house in Rickmansworth. When my wife and I decided to move out, (to a smaller property), my parents subsequently downsized. As a result, there was a large surplus from the sale. They very generously loaned me a large amount of money for the purchase of our current house.
The deposit was made up from refinancing the initial smaller property we had moved into when we were no longer with my parents.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you?
Despite the fact that I had equity in my property and a decent salary it was still a nightmare. This was probably because I work through a limited company and have no fixed income. Hence not only did I have to submit SA302 (something to do with taxable income), but I also had to show reams of paperwork and past bank statements.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
As I mentioned, for five years my wife and I lived with my parents, then for another three in a three-bed semi-detached house.
Now for the last two years we have been here in a five-bed detached home.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
Property is an asset – simple as that.
How did you find this property?
We were looking for somewhere near to where my parents had moved to, which is also in Watford and by chance came across this house on Rightmove. This house was a refurbished bungalow which had been extensively extended at the back creating a lovely space for a family (me, my wife and our three kids – who are six, two and one), along with three bedrooms upstairs. Two of the bedrooms are downstairs, one I use as my study, the other one is a guest bedroom. The house itself is south-backing and in a very quiet cul-de-sac.
How have you made the property feel like home?
Currently my wife is home-schooling our six-year-old (yes, I know, it’s bonkers, but considering the time children have been off school, she’s probably had more consistency than those who were in school) – so our living/family room has become somewhat of a classroom. There are posters and times tables all over the walls so it’s a bit of a mish mash at the moment.
What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?
Simple, yet elegant.
What’s your favourite room and why?
Family/sitting room. Fantastic place for us all to sit and chill as a family. Also good for entertaining, being next to the kitchen.
Before buying there was a massive open plan space between the kitchen and living area with no wall/partition. We asked the builder to put up a stud wall between the kitchen and family area with an opening comprising glass sliding doors. This was the best decision ever – it still affords for a very large kitchen, including space for a dining table, with ample space for the family. At the same time, it ensures the kitchen can be shut off from the main living area to keep out the cooking smells etc.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Do you have plans to change the property?
Garden – front and rear need a lot of work.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
Yes, the extension at the back has a flat roof and this has developed a leak, there are also two skylights which have also started leaking and the bifold doors from the sitting and kitchen areas don’t lock properly. Trying to get the builder back has proved impossible so these are issues we will have to fork out for.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
Think of what’s important to you – being near friends and family/good schools/transport links. Do you want/need a garden? Are you willing to buy somewhere old and dilapidated with lots of potential but needs a lot of work? Do you prefer traditional and characterful or modern and practical?
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?
Depends on what happens with our wider family situation and my parents’ health. If one or both of them develop any long-term health problems, we’ll have to revisit the living situation as putting them in care is not an option for us.
Shall we take a look around?
Do you want to feature 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 be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]
You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected]
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