My First Home: Dr Ranj Singh says buying at 36 was the 'best decision ever'

Dr Ranj Singh is normally ahead of the curve – he got his first GCSE aged eight – but when it came to home-buying, he didn’t get on the ladder until his late thirties.

The NHS doctor, Strictly star and face of ITV’s Save Money: Good Health, bought in Wandsworth and says it’s the best decision he’s ever made.

The financial security helped ensure a good night’s rest too – essential when you are sleep ambassador at Furniture Village.

You’re known for money- saving tips – did you haggle when buying your first home?

I bought the flat I currently live in 2016, so relatively late. The issue with living by yourself is that it’s tricky to get onto the property ladder with a single salary – no one would give me a mortgage.

Eventually I managed by taking advantage of a shared ownership scheme, but that meant that I couldn’t haggle the price down with the developer.

However, I saved a bit of money by shopping around for conveyancing solicitors and surveyors. Every little counts.

What did you go for in your first home?

I live in a two-bed, one-bath flat in Wandsworth, south London. I bought it from new, so it’s only around four-years-old.

It’s in a great little development with all the facilities you would need; a little supermarket, gym, pub, medical centre and even a cake shop. Even though it’s a new development, it has the feel of a small village, which I really like.

Why did you decide to buy a house?

Even though I wasn’t young by a long shot, it definitely felt like a very grown-up thing to do. I guess before then, I had never been sure about where I wanted to settle and putting down roots felt very final.

However, after several years trying out different parts of London, I took the plunge and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

How did it feel to complete the purchase?

I remember the feeling as soon as I got the keys. I went straight to the flat and sat on the floor of the empty lounge and just stared out of the window.

It felt like a massive chapter in my life had just started and I had this immense sense of excitement and gratitude. I definitely fell in love with the flat that day.

Have you changed the house much?

I didn’t need to do anything structural, thankfully, but I wanted to put my stamp on it as it was a blank canvas when I bought it. I had very little furniture of my own, so I started from scratch.

I changed the carpets in the lounge and bedroom areas because I wanted something a bit nicer – and it was on sale.

I put some wallpaper up in key areas, bought new furniture and finished off with a few personal bits. It’s always a work in progress, but I love it so far.

What money-saving tips did you learn when decorating your first house?

I did all the decorating, including the wallpapering, myself. I’d learnt by watching YouTube tutorials and practising.

That saved a lot of money. And I always try to buy things in the sales. There’s nothing worse than getting a sofa to find it’s 50 per cent off a few weeks later.

Which room in the house is your favourite?

One thing I was really keen on was making sure that my sleep space was as comfortable as possible. I got the best bed and mattress I could afford.

The colour schemes are muted to make it as relaxing as possible. Sleep is hugely important to me so making sure my bedroom was a sanctuary where I could unwind and escape was a priority. I’ve never slept better.

Do you ever plan to sell the house?

If I ever move out, I’d want to keep it as it has great rental potential. Plus I think property is a great pension – hold onto it if you can.

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