Way back in 2015, a few months before I even started writing in this blog, a somewhat-naive 23-year-old version of myself bought his first flat, a nice wee two-bed on a quiet street in west Edinburgh. Life has changed immensely since I bought that flat, and I’m now in the process of selling it, ready for the next chapter of my life to start.
Five Years Ago
Despite being just a little over five years ago, it’s hard to even picture what I, or the world in general, was like back in September 2015. I was only about a year or so out of uni, still deep in my grad scheme at CGI, and struggling to get a foothold in my fledgling career. My then-partner Sasha had recently moved up to Edinburgh to be with me, six years into what would turn out to be an eight-year relationship (I never really appreciated what a sacrifice that was from her until after we separated; I was still a bit of a selfish knob aged 23 in all honesty). David Cameron’s Conservatives had just won an election outright; Brexit and the successful Donald Trump campaign were yet to happen. Nobody knew what a “coronavirus” was, I hadn’t yet picked up my running addiction, and I was living with exactly zero dogs.
The flat I bought was a ground-floor, main-door, two-bedroom place with a private garden. I chose it mainly because I knew I wanted to get a dog. Renting makes getting a dog a lot harder, so buying a place that was dog-appropriate was necessary. Within a few short months of moving in, we brought the wee fluff-ball Charlie home (easily the best decision I’ve ever made), and for the next year or so lived fairly happily - Charlie’s teenage angst notwithstanding.
Like butter wouldn’t melt. What a wee prick.
Things started to change in summer 2017, when Sasha and I separated. It was fairly amicable and not particularly messy, but still a massively life-altering event nonetheless. Charlie and I stayed in Edinburgh after she moved out; he was a grand wingman in the post-breakup world of being single. And it was through Charlie that I met my now-fiancée Danny - she also had a puppy, little Sid girl, and the dogs both joined us for our first date of a late breakfast at Piecebox, during the January snow in early 2018.
Best wee pals.
Our relationship had a pretty rapid start, and we ended up living together within just a couple of months. Looking back, neither of us were really ready for a proper relationship at the time, but we made it work, and we’ve both come a long way since then. However, as Charlie and I had moved to our now-home in Shandon with Danny, that meant that my own flat was being underused. I began renting out the spare room, and after a year or so, made the decision to rent the flat out as a whole. Being a landlord hasn’t really suited me though, probably because I’m so conscious of keeping everything running that I feel like I’m on-call 24/7. Being a slum landlord who doesn’t care about his tenants would probably be an easier mindset, but I can’t be that person, so it has not been worth it for me. I was letting the flat for under market rate (just about enough to cover my own costs and taxes), and the effect on my mental health was taking its toll. So, after the short couple of years of letting the room, and then the flat, I’m calling it quits.
The flat is under offer, hoping to complete soon after the new year. In its place, I’m in the process of buying a smaller one-bedroom place in the city centre on the Royal Mile. Possibly Danny and I will live there for a short time, but the long-term plan is to have a place in Edinburgh for us part-time, regardless of where we end up living. We have three dogs now, and it’s likely that we’ll be looking outwith Edinburgh City (or at least deep in the suburbs) for a bigger place to stay in the near future, or possibly short-term moves outwith the city entirely, depending on where Danny gets post-doc positions after she finishes her PhD. I appreciate how lucky we are to be able to do this, and while I’ve wrangled with the moral question of holding two properties between us, I think this is fine. As long as we don’t make it yet another permanent Old Town AirBnB that is.