That word is used quite a lot when it comes to houses, house moving and house renting. You need boxes to pack your belongings in; you’re surrounded by boxes for days before and after you move and if you’re renting maybe you don’t bother unpacking.
Then there are the boxes that have to be ticked to ensure we meet the criteria set by the politicians and corporations so we all fit into their boxes.
Boxes are everywhere.
“Little boxes on the hillside…
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same”
So sang Malvina Reynolds in her 1962 hit that embodied the unquestioning quick-fix mind-set of middle America as the massive post-war house building project got underway. Whilst it mocks the middle classes for their subservient acceptance of being slotted into their ‘box’, it could be said that the same mind-set exists here in the UK; as thousands of people accept they are unlikely to own their home, they acquiesce to the demoralising diatribe of the politicians and money markets who tell them they will never have enough money to secure a deposit, will never earn enough, they don’t fit the mould, are too big a risk, they don’t tick all the boxes; they are ‘boxed in’.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
We need to think ‘outside of the box’ figuratively and literally.
When I was growing up we moved a lot, I remember my mother property searching. There was no internet then so it was a case of driving to the area and visiting estate agents; but it wasn’t unusual for her to try a different tact that would nowadays doubtless by completely unacceptable (possibly even an arrestable offence). She would drive around the area we wanted to live and if she saw a For Sale board, would knock on their door and ask to have a look round. I don’t recall her ever being refused. There were even times she would knock on someone’s door even if there wasn’t a board, just in case they were thinking of selling!
But the point is she didn’t let the rules stop her and she thought outside of the box.
Which is how I feel about the housing crisis today; the rules need bending.
For instance if you were considering a level of risk, would you trust a couple who had paid £1,000 every month without ever needing a payment holiday, or a repayment plan or any other sort of concession; through thick and thin, good times and bad, a couple who had paid their monthly rent for over 16 years without fail?
Or would you trust someone who was younger, had been working for perhaps 18 months, is well paid but has little in the way of a record to show they can be relied upon to pay the same amount every month; someone who may or may not keep their job given the economy’s sometimes dodgy state?
Sadly it is nothing to do with reliability, it boils down to the number of boxes they have ticked.
But surely there is less of a risk with the couple who have a proven track record of paying their full rent no matter what, but they are self-employed and their accounts are only just starting to show an upward trend.
It’s time for the lenders to start thinking outside of the box.
The one size fits all has to go as our economy changes to a self-employed workforce. The UK population is nothing like it was 10 years ago and no matter how determined the decision makers are, our different shapes and sizes mean we don’t fit in their box.
They have to stop slotting people into boxes that were made to a ‘one size fits all’.
I am my mother’s daughter and I’ve been thinking outside of the box for quite a while.
I wrote to Richard Branson a few years ago asking him to set up a whole new way of lending to help people like us.
Of course he didn’t reply, his office didn’t even bother acknowledging my letter.
But I am not to be thwarted and whilst I am still holding on tight to our very small lifeline that we were thrown recently, I saw another opportunity with Lloyds Bank. I wrote to their Head Office and the district branch with my proposal. It was an unusual proposal I cannot deny, but it wasn’t unreasonable. However, I doubt it will tick any of their boxes.
They haven’t yet replied.
But I have to think outside of the box because one of the reasons we cannot afford a property in the area we are currently renting is because prices have rocketed due to people buying properties as second homes or to rent as holiday homes.
On average 14.3% or 1,073 houses are second/holiday homes in our area; add to that the number of houses (like the one we are renting) that people buy as an investment and it soon becomes obvious that the housing market is being driven by the select few.
Two properties I recently saw for sale were snapped up and the decorators began work almost immediately so the house is ready for the summer season.
If the politicians and banks would only move out of their enclosed boxed-in world, the housing crisis would diminish.
There need to be less standardised boxes and more different shapes and sizes.