34 years old
The advertising headline for the small semi-detached house, "All is Not Lost" pretty much said it all. The house needed work. It had been trashed and neglected for some time and nobody was really interested in buying it; except for a poor, almost-single, 30 something girl.
Craig and I had been dating for less than a year when I bought my first house. What a commitment! The house and mortgage that is. But although I was the one making the payments, Craig took on the vast bulk of the cleaning and painting. I also had a couple of working bees, where my amazing friends lent their time and muscle. I was (and still am) so grateful. My parents were away (gallivanting in Greece and the Middle East) and I was incredibly overwhelmed and frightened by what I had got myself into. I actually didn't want to live in the suburbs. My parents had strongly encouraged me to buy something, and then abandoned me - that's how I felt, anyway. Spoilt rotten by always having them there for me, I was suddenly lost.
In steps Craig. As he rightly answered when I asked "What would I have done without you?" – "You would still be curled up in a corner of the house, in the foetal position!" True.
But thanks to Mum and Dad's encouragement I got into the housing market while it was still (relatively) affordable; and thanks to buying that first small house, we were able to upgrade later to a family home.