A Significant Month?

The end of the financial year brings with it the end of the tax year. And as a self-employed person, these things tend to mean a lot to me. For one, it signifies the first estimate as to how much of my depressing student loan continues to be in repayment. But two, it also gives me a figure for the infamous “SA302” – the statement of income declared to the taxman, and therefore, how worthy you are compared to someone in standard employment.

For years I have been hoping that some day I’d be able to afford my own home. I’ve probably put it into several start of year laundry lists. But it’s never been realistic. And then, when my partner came along and diluted my earnings, as well as hurt my credit score, and then we moved house last summer, which put a massive dent in the credit score and also savings, it all got put on the back burner.

But this time, we may just have enough on our SA302s for the last two years for it to be worth something. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking at houses, including making an offer on two. The second one has been accepted, and now we’re desperately praying that the mortgage application will be approved. We may know more by the end of next week.

The clock is ticking. The tenancy agreement for this house expires in three months. They will need to know if we want to stay here by at least one month before that point. So we need two months to make progress. Will it happen in time?

The scariest part, of course, is the drain on the finances that’s about to happen. The house offer has been accepted at £226,950, which is a stunning amount of money. So much I can’t even imagine it. But it’s irrelevant. Hilariously, the potential monthly costs are less than the rent on the house we’re in now. OK, to be fair, the new place is smaller, but it would be ours. It would be a long term investment. And, as always with debt, it’s all about the servicability of it, not really the balance.

And that’s what fucks me off about this whole process. In reality, our earnings should not be an issue. But what may be the issue is the peculiar credit scoring system. Somehow, despite the fact that I have never missed a credit repayment over 13 years, and have always used and managed credit well, I have a worse credit score now than I did a year ago. It’s all bollocks, of course, and I know it’s partially down to the stupid car “balloon HP” agreement, and also my partner’s bad record, which is about 4-5 years ago, but is still affecting his score. Oh, and also the house we’re in now has a comedy address, so the credit reference agencies think I’m not registered to vote. Yeah, that’s why I have a polling card…

We have been thwarted for years by the algorithms we’re governed by, which dictate whether or not the system thinks we’re a good credit risk. They are nonsense, and always will be. In the past people made decisions. Now no one wants to, for fear of being sued for inconsistency. So we let an algorithm decide, and conveniently ignore that they were designed by humans. In one hilarious example, Lloyds Bank told me they’d be happy to lend £200,000… if I could hand over a 50% deposit. I laughed at her, and had a rant. She said it’s best not to get angry and stop lashing out at the system, but work within it.

It’s the age-old caricature. Life, and reality, has a horrible way of forcing you to accept its tedious confines. You question everything, then you learn to game the system and think you’re being really clever. Then you are the system. Then you’re dead.

But still… the next few weeks will be important. I’m trying not to put too much hope on it. A lot can go wrong from here…

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