We bought our first house in 1971. It was a three-bedroom terrace in Hainault, Essex, costing 6,600. We had a 5% deposit and got a mortgage from Hearts of Oak in Enfield, which was later taken over by Bradford & Bingley.
It was a seller’s market and we were shown the door at many estate agents for wanting properties we could not afford. Eventually we found our house through the family network.
We sold this in 1982 and bought a house in Gants Hill (a slightly more upmarket area), sticking with Bradford & Bingley for the mortgage and not extending the 25-year term.
This, along with a couple of endowment policy payouts, enabled us to clear our mortgage in 1993. When we sold in 2002 we were able to move into an apartment in Buckhurst Hill and remain mortgage-free.