Buying a property is one of the biggest – and most expensive – decisions you make in life, so it’s important that you get it right. Making a mistake here can have long-lasting and often painful consequences, not to mention the financial side of having to move again.
Here’s a Valentine’s season special on finding The One.
Think a few years ahead
Moving really is expensive, so you don’t want to do it more often than you need to. Think about what’s coming up in the next five or ten years. If it’s children, or more children, do you have enough bedrooms, an extra bathroom or space for one and a garden?
Are you about to retire? If so, do you need all that space and those staircases?
What about extensions and improvements? What’s the potential like?
Spending a few minutes thinking about future-proofing can prevent you from spending money you really don’t want to.
Be ready to struggle for a year or two
Not to the extent that you’re in financial distress, of course, but just forget about a fancy holiday for the first couple of years after moving so you can reach just beyond your budget.
Paying down a mortgage gets cheaper over time as the outstanding amount falls. Every time you refinance your home loan, your monthly payments should be smaller. This, combined with (hopefully) annual pay rises and less expense of furniture, fittings and improvements, mean you’ll have more spare money and the benefit of that slightly-too-expensive property.
Decide which trade-offs you can handle
A house by a busy road, for example, will always be relatively cheap, so if you don’t mind the noise or you plan to grow some thick hedges, you’d be making a smart move.
Similarly, a house next to a school might deter some people, but if you’ll be out during school hours, or you fancy the world’s shortest school run for the next seven or more years, you could have it made.
If you need to get onto the property ladder and you don’t have a huge budget, you can probably survive without a garden for a few years.
Look at what you can improve
Some things are superficial, like décor and garden landscaping. Others, like square metreage and steep staircases are somewhat tougher to change. You could convert the loft or extend, of course, but this involves money and effort and might not be something you have the capacity for right away.
Do your homework on the property
Make sure you find everything out that you can about the property. Ask your agent about the flood history, any renovations that have been done in the last 10 years or so, why the place has been on the market for a while, why it’s been sold so frequently in recent years and so on.
Spend some time in the neighbourhood to get a feel for the area and its denizens. Check out local newsletters, noticeboards and Facebook pages to see what the burning issues of the postcode are and, perhaps most importantly, how well you’ll fit in.« Back to Latest News