Since last week's offer of a flat for sale (specifically, my flat; I'm all but convinced that I want to be rid of it, not because of any inherent imperfections so much as the fact that I'm increasingly resenting the various side effects of ownership) I've received a great deal of emails. Unfortunately, not one of them from a prospective buyer.
Even worse, not one of them was in favour of my selling; all were advising me to hold on to the thing. Which, I suppose, makes sense. Everyone wants to own, and with good reason: at the end of the day (or 100-odd years it takes to pay of your super-sized mortgage) it provides financial security.
It's a bit like having a bank account into which you deposit chunks of your income in order to provide for your future (uh, saving, I believe this is called – by people organised enough to do it). Except that if you fail to deposit the chunks, you don't just eat away at your future provisions but you face the prospect of bailiffs knocking on your door (something which, as I know only too well from experience, is not terribly pleasant).
Clearly, in wanting not to own, I'm in a minority. But I'm afraid, dear emailers, while your advice is heartily appreciated, it has yet to convince.
As I said last week, there are two main reasons behind my wanting to sell.
First of all, the fact that my mortgage payments consume almost all of my pay check (the rest of which goes on bills, student loan repayments, and tax) and, despite (some of) your kind assurances – especially you, Ken – that I will one day be earning enough to cover all these – and take expensive holidays in the Caribbean – I'm afraid the short-term prospects are just too unattractive.
The second reason is the lack of responsibility. It's not just as a simple as wanting to be able to ring up my landlord and get things fixed, it is the fact that I don't want to spend my entire pre-settling-down life in London. Owning a property, I'm beginning to realise, severely restricts your freedom.
There is, however, a third factor. I increasingly crave, as Virginia Woolf put it, a room of one's own. A luxury, I know, but there you have it. At the moment, the only way I can pay off my mortgage is to have a lodger and that, I have to say, is getting on my nerves. There's nothing wrong with the person per se, it's just the sheer matter of sharing. Which makes a rented bedsit all the more appealing. So, there we have it: the real reason I want to sell. And, yes, if anyone's interested my offer still stands: anyone looking for a flat in Bethnal Green?