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Buying a house solo: what no-one tells you

Buying your first home is a magical, incredible, awe-inspiring experience, and doing it alone? Liberating. Terrifying.

Once you’ve figured out the financial arrangements and the practicalities of moving your entire personality and life into a new space, and you’ve popped some bubbly to toast your new adventure, everyone leaves you to start sorting out your boxes. Then what?

The enormity and strangeness of the situation may start to overwhelm you. Your new home might feel very quiet and empty, and all of your stuff looks out of place. You start to wonder if this was the right decision. The realisation of how much responsibility you have just placed on yourself might start to feel a little bit crushing.

Emotions will be heightened

No one really warns you of the emotional toll that moving out will have on you, especially into a property you own, by yourself. Going from being surrounded by noise, and having people just a room away if you need them, to an isolated – if lovely – new pad is daunting to say the least. This unsettled feeling is called “dislocation” – a feeling of being disconnected to your usual baseline self.

It’s an unsettling feeling, knowing you are by yourself, in a strange environment. It’s a bit like you’re up on stage but you’ve forgotten your lines. And even though no one is watching you, it’s still mortifying. Stress and anxieties might take over, you might panic and decorate everything in the hope you’ll be able to bring yourself back into normality, to reconnect with yourself (“relocation”), or you might want to have people around all the time to fill the space. You might notice changes in your behaviour, such as drinking more, or struggling to socialise. You might not feel comfortable for a long time.

Of course, you might really click with your new space, love the freedom you now have, and have planned well financially which limits the stress on yourself. You might relish being able to put your own stamp on a property and thrive in the opportunity for alone time and quiet. The opportunity to explore your independence and who you really are away from people is incredibly exciting. And honestly, if your new home scares you more than it excites you, it isn’t the right time to buy it.

Final thoughts

There is no wrong way to feel when you move into your first home by yourself, but it is a massive change. Take the time to recognise how you are feeling, check-in with yourself, recognise what you have done is a massive achievement. Be proud of what you’ve done, and be okay with knowing that you might get overwhelmed at some point. Sit on the floor in each room and think about your future in this place – your space – and what you want it to look like. And then, look forward to everything that is to come!

Listen to our podcast episode “Buying a house in your twenties with Alicia Murphy“, where we discuss saving, buying and renovating a first home.