When I moved in with my parents almost two years ago to save money to buy my own place, one of my primary motivations was my longing to make a house a home. Having spent years living in grotty student accommodation and a mouldy rented flat with a giant hole in the bathroom ceiling, I assumed I’d never be happy in a place I didn’t own myself. I was wrong.
It’s been almost two months now since Jake and I moved into a rented flat together and we couldn’t be happier. In fact, things are going so well that I can actually see us living here for a really long time. Even though I’m not far off having a decent deposit for a small house in Manchester, I’d rather put my plans of home ownership on the back burner and enjoy the freedom of renting for now.
Here are just a few reasons why renting seems to be working out well for us so far.
Our landlord is happy for us to make changes
Although the majority of our flat is relatively inoffensive, a previous tenant painted the second bedroom three different shades of lilac. We really don’t know why. They didn’t even do a good job.
So, after weeks of using the spare room as a place to store our junk and dry our clothes, we asked the landlord if she’d be okay with us painting the walls and transforming it into an office. She said yes!
She owns several properties and apparently this is one of the only ones in need of modernisation. I guess as far as she’s concerned, it doesn’t matter if we tweak the place. She’s only going to renovate it after we leave anyway.
Renting an older flat that’s in need of an update might seem like a bad idea at first but it’s worked wonders for us. Our rent is lower than it would be if everything was brand new and, while we aren’t exactly going to pay to have a new kitchen fitted, we’ve got freedom to make tweaks here and there.
[I’ll share photos of the spare bedroom’s transformation in the next week or so – just waiting to find a nice rug and curtains before it’s finished]
It was a blank canvas
Lilac bedroom aside, the flat was pretty much a blank canvas when we moved in. This meant we could easily personalise the place to our own taste. We don’t need to worry about the stuff we buy clashing with existing decor and can really make the place our own.
With plenty of holes in the walls made by previous tenants, we’ve also been able to put up pictures, mirrors and clocks without worrying about losing our deposit.
Compared to other rented flats in Manchester within a similar price range (let’s say between £550 – £650 pcm) ours is a great size. We can’t quite believe just how much space we have. The main bedroom is huge and has a large fitted wardrobe, the living room/diner is really spacious and now that we’ve transformed the spare room into an office, we have even more space. If we wanted to, we could definitely swing a cat in our new flat.
It’s furnished but not too furnished
When we first moved in, the flat was furnished with the basics – bed, chest of drawers, sofas, dining table & chairs, etc etc. There was still plenty of space for us to add our own bits and pieces too. We’ve added our own bedside cabinets, bookcases, desk, fold out bed, TV stand, and various other bits and bobs. My upcycled chair fits nicely in the hall and a quirky old armchair that used to belong to my Nanna is in the corner of our bedroom.