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Lockdown begins today – which means we’re back to spending every minute inside our home – no clubs, no outings, no playdates. This is the time when our walls seem to be closing in on us, and I’ve been on the lookout for a mortgage calculator to see how much a bit more space would cost us. Living down here in the South means property prices are quite a bit more than where my parents live, and so much higher than where my friends live, and so I get you-have-so-much-space-why-do-I-live-in-a-shoebox syndrome quite a bit lately.

You see, quite often when I post on Instagram, I get messages from friends and followers of our blog who comment how big the boys are getting now – and usually I reply with something chipper along the lines of how fast time flies, and how I wish they’d stay little. The reality is of course, that they aren’t staying little and not only are they getting older, they’re physically getting bigger and taking so much more space.

I love every molecule of these growing boys of ours, but they seem to be growing at the same rate as Alice in Wonderland when she munched the “EAT ME” cake, and my house feels much the same as happened in the film. As a result of this, not a day goes by when I don’t drift over to real estate apps and dream of a bigger house.

In my daydreams, besides more rooms and more space, I would love a home where the front and back doors don’t lead directly into the living room [mud, water, sand and anything else they can drag through wouldn’t then be coming at me from every angle unlike now], and I would honestly sell my soul for a dining room. It’s true.

At the moment we’re quite some way away from being able to move, especially with lockdown looming again. Although it’s not all doom and gloom – our time at home has given us opportunities to take steps in the right direction. For instance, our garage is much less like the one in Silence of the Lambs I generally liken it to whenever someone mentions it – you know, with the car, and the head in a jar…. We’re clearing out and trying to get everything in order so that when the time actually does come that we can move, it will be far less work than if someone said we needed to move today, because if that happened, I’d make sure I had my emergency possessions box [yes, I have one] and run for the hills. It would be an impossible task.

Yet whilst I frequently daydream about moving anywhere else, and I can hop on any app and see thousands of houses and their contents, it’s not been as easy from my experience to find out how much you can afford to borrow without commiting either myself for a quote or entering my personal data to a site.

I spent hours googling “mortgage calculation”, “how much can I borrow”, “remortgage costs”, and all of the things that could possibly be searched on the internet by people like me with dreams of not having to climb over each other in their own home on a daily basis. It’s a jungle out there. Each one seems to want my email, or to send me a quote, or to ask me a million questions and all I wanted was a basic, ballpark answer based on our incomings and outgoings.

Then I found – there aren’t any advertisements, and it’s a really straightforward site to use. You tap in the amount you’d like to borrow, how long you’d like to borrow it for, and it calculates the costs and breakdowns of each mortgage choice – interest only or repayment. The site also explains the way that mortgages work, and terms you’ve heard of but might not have gotten your head around fully, like LTV, fixed and variable rates and so on. Stamp duty calculations are explained, there are example calculations and everything is clear and quite refreshing compared to most of the word swamps I’ve googled myself into. I like to refer to it every time I find a property I like, to see what the numbers might be. It’s a breeze to use and I have the Mortgage Calculator tab open even on my phone so I can calculate whilst waiting for the boys to come out of school at the end of the day.

So whilst our forever home is out there, waiting for us to discover it, I’m using the Mortgage Calculator to inform myself and keep things more real in terms of what we can afford. Rarely do I find something online that genuinely makes my life easier – but this site really does. Check it out.

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