I’ve shared with you my housing buying story when I bought my first property at 19. After my first home purchase I traded up a few times and the property market has been very good to me financially. However, I know this is not everyone’s experience. My brother is also on his third property – but with dramatically different results from me. What caused these differences? Nature or nurture?
Getting on the ladder – first home
His first property was actually a lovely flat itself. It had a great sea view and had a lovely location, or at least appeared to. Given he was buying at the bottom rung of the market, there were not a lot of choices. Nonetheless, it became apparent he had not done enough research into the area – it was around 15 minutes away from where we grew up, and in an area he knew well from going out in the evening. But what makes a great place to go out in the evening, does not necessarily make somewhere ideal to live.
On paper this flat was perfect. Great view, great view, good location for someone young who didn’t mind being near the evening action. But the devil was in the detail. His neighbours. He hadn’t checked out who he’d be living beside, and it turned out they were not ideal neighbours. In fact, they were the worst possible neighbour; loud and aggressive people who seemed to be intoxicated and under the influence of other drugs.
The reality of living there
Unexpectedly he hated living there once he realised who his neighbours were. It was miserable and he wanted out. So the flat was put back on the market after a few months. At the same time, he spotted his ideal flat, back where we grew up. But he couldn’t immediately sell the first flat, so he had a dilemma. And given the shocking living conditions, my parents stepped in and helped him out financially so he could buy the second flat. Since he was keen to get rid of this flat asap, he sold the flat for less money than he paid for it, as well as paying all fees and charges for both buying and selling.
The next place
After being bailed out by our parents, he settled into the second flat, which actually was a great place to live and met his needs for a good few years. He liked living there, and it was a good and safe place to live. However as the started to make progress in his career, he was considering moving out and buying another place. And then the issue with the second flat came to light: there was a structural challenge that the survey picked up, that made it un-mortgage-able. And hence dramatically this saviour second flat became a problem. He now had a second lemon on his hands – a flat that he would struggle to sell again.
This time another workaround was found, with my parents again stepping in to help him out financially and give him money to cover the loss and provide a deposit for a new place. And a new build home was purchased, who agreed to take the flat in part exchange. He is now happily living in the third place; and it’s a nice house this time, a bit bigger than before. However, as it’s a new build it was certainly overpriced, and I wonder what will happen if he wants to move again in the future.
After that very long anecdote, I find it interesting to compare his experiences to mine. How have I managed to be much more lucky with regard to housing, but he has not and has to be bailed out by our parents several times? We were brought up with the same amount of white middle-class privilege, so why was my journey better?
I don’t believe it’s down to luck – I believe it’s down to research and decision making in this case. I am an over-researcher and am really happy to put in hours and hours to get things done. If something doesn’t feel right, I will re-evaluate and spend time working out what is concerning me. I’m very happy to take risks, but I need to understand what they are and have a backup plan if the worst case scenario is realised.
My brother has the opposite approach. He favours the quick decisive approach and wants to spend as little time as possible on things that don’t interest him. He has plenty of time for football, going to the pub and chooses to prioritise them over tasks such as house researching. Simply put he is not interested in spending extra time on things he doesn’t want to do. He doesn’t believe in research and struggles to link his effort levels to the need for parental bailouts.
A good few years later, it’s fascinating to evaluate why this happened. Why what I think it’s essential, he feels is overkill and unnecessary. And the nature or nurture debate is always a good one to bring up in sibling comparisons – surely this is a clear winner for the nature argument? I’d suggest that his decision-making skills are questionable and he doesn’t have the foresight to imagine what a place would be like to actually live in. But am I being too harsh? While I would be horrified to have to accept even one parental bailout, he finds it acceptable. and is comfortable with it.
Nature or Nurture
I find the intersection between nature and nurture very interesting. I’m sure we can all agree that life itself is a real combination of these – and the complexity abounds as different people react differently to nurture. My brother and I received a similar level of nurture and the same housing buying is king argument from our parents. Yet we have approached house buying in very different ways with very different outcomes. My decisions have led to a net gain of ~£180k and he has lost money and had to be bailed out by our parents.
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Do you and your siblings approach decisions similarly?
- What di do you think of parent’s bailing out offspring?
- How do you think the intersection of nature or nurture impacts choices in life?
Thanks for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter. Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas – all are welcome.