Donald MacInnes: Call me Bono: we can buy a London home after all

In The Red

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The Independent Online

You’ll recall my wife and I making a tentative approach to a building society as regards saving with them so we could buy a 6 sq ft studio apartment some time in the early 22nd century. In truth, our sights were set so low and so far in the future because of all we had heard about it being impossible to purchase property in London, unless your surname was Candy or, well, Bono.

Due to this long-entrenched pessimism, having set up our “Save for a House” account, we put the whole concept on the back burner. However, one thing the customer adviser (who, you’ll remember, was 13) told us was that, if we came back the next Saturday, we could meet a proper mortgage adviser who would be able to tell us how much we could borrow. During the week our curiosity grew, so come the day, having nothing better to do than chew handfuls of Nurofen as we submitted to a brace of hangovers from the night before, we headed to the building society, carefully avoiding any bumps in the road that would trigger a car full of hissed bad words.

As with the previous week,  on-street parking allowed us only half an hour to conduct our business, but this was fine by us as the prospect of even a 10-minute discussion about our finances (with a hangover) had us wishing we had stayed in bed with toast and DVDs of Frasier.

We shook hands with our adviser and stepped into her office which, thankfully, was free from any One Direction memorabilia. We chatted for a while and then it got to the bit we both dreaded: revealing our salaries and debts to someone who wore a branded neckerchief and a name badge to work.

Having listened to us bemoan the possibility of our ever being able to buy anything, when she heard our combined incomes, she looked at us like we were certifiable. “You realise you could buy a house tomorrow?” she said, as she keyed our data into a program on her PC. In seconds, a number appeared on the screen. What this number told us what that our gloomy opinion of our house-buying acumen was nonsense. We could afford a proper house! With a roof and everything! Thus began the search.

Do watch this space for further developments

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