What I Own: Writer Amy, whose London flat has almost doubled in value since 2008

We’re in the capital for this week’s What I Own – in West Kensington, to be precise.

Writer Amy Beeson bought her London flat back in 2008 when it was just over £300,000 – but now she says it’s almost doubled in value.

With a growing family, Amy thinks she’ll have to move again in the future, but would love to stay put if she could.

This is what she had to say about the buying process… 

Tell us about yourself – how old are you and what do you do for work?

My name is Amy Beeson – I’m 39 and share a two-bedroom garden flat with my husband, Takbir, and our daughters Ava, nine, and Lyra, ten-months-old.

I’m a writer, I’ve had three books published by HarperCollins with my mum Sarah Beeson MBE, two nursing memoirs ,The New Arrival and Our Country Nurse, and a parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. 

I also work from home as a freelance brand and communications creative consultant in my own business Wordsby Communications, helping small businesses, arts organisations and NGOs with branding and campaigns, as well as doing school runs and now homeschooling. 

Whereabouts is your property? What do you think of the area?

We live in West Kensington which is a great neighbourhood for community, transport links, green spaces and shops as well as a huge choice of pubs, cafes and restaurants. We also have the best butcher in town just round the corner and live on the same street as a fantastic pub and Queens Club Tennis. 

We’ve been so happy here. It’s very easy to walk to Kensington, Hammersmith, Fulham, Earls Court, South Kensington, Notting Hill and Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. We’re also very near the M4 for getting away and to Heathrow. 

When did you move in?

We moved in October 2008. We’d been searching for about a year and a half – we’d even been on Location, Location, Location with Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp.

How much does your property cost?

Our property is now worth £600,000 but we bought it for £316,650. 

How much was your deposit?

We didn’t have a big deposit, only £8,000. We were very lucky, there were some good options for first-time buyers then.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

It’s just under £2000 a month.

How did you save up for your deposit?

We saved a bit but we mainly had help from mum. 

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

The waiting. You want to start looking around straight away but you have to wait for all the paperwork to be sorted so you’re in a position to make a strong offer. Then once you’re buying everything always takes longer than you think it will. 

Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?

We were renting a one bedroom flat in West Kensington. We never thought we’d get to stay here.

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

My mum said renting was money down the drain. We wanted to have something solid for our family. 

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

Takbir found it. We wanted to start a family so having two bedrooms, the garden and storage space in the vaults in an area we live on a very smart street was an amazing find.

How have you made the property feel like home?

We’ve created zones to relax, cook, dine and work. We’ve decorated, improved storage, laid an engineered oak wooden floor, retiled the bathroom and worked very hard to create a sunny garden for relaxing and play that has lots of butterfly and bee-friendly plants and a gorgeous green lawn.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

We’ve had a second baby so, sadly, we do need more space.

Do you have plans to change the property?

No, we’re going to put it on the market. There’s definitely things we would have done if we’d stayed. We talked about extending into the vaults, putting in an extra bathroom, creating a bigger kitchen and having a studio pod in the garden.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

We took down a tree in the garden and laid the lawn – that was a lot of work.

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

Go with what feels right. If it feels like a happy home, somewhere you can be cosy and enjoy time with friends and family, you’ll know. Sometimes you see a place that ticks all the boxes but it doesn’t have the right feel. 

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?

We’re planning on moving a little further South West so we can get some more space. I wish we could stay in West Kensington, but we’ve been so happy, and it’s time for a new adventure. 

Shall we have a look around?

How to get involved in What I Own…

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected].

You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.

If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected].

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