So much of the conversation around buying a property is centered around what it can do for your finances.
However, while it’s possible that equity from your home could help fund your retirement, give you a much-needed lump sum or pay for your long-term care, we shouldn’t forget that its primary purpose is to provide you with somewhere to live.
That’s something first-time buyers should bear in mind above anything else.
So, what makes the perfect home?
Ultimately, it’s about your circumstances, preferences and most importantly, finances.
Recently we have seen greater availability of 95 percent loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, in part due to the UK Government’s recent launch of the 95% LTV Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, as well as the Government’s renewed Help To Buy scheme (aimed solely at buyers of new-build homes).If you’re a first-time buyer it’s unlikely you will have pots of cash to spare, however you do have some advantages over wealthier, older buyers.
Various factors will come into play as a first-time buyer. For example, working couples without children are less likely to be concerned about school catchment areas and are only limited by how much money they have available to spend. For everyone, there’s often a balancing act between location and property size, so if you want to live in the local trendy quarter, you will probably end up somewhere smaller than you would have previously imagined.
If the size of your new property is more important, then you can move to a less sought-after area, but be aware; is it worth sacrificing decent transport links and access to local cafes and gastropubs for a third room you will barely use?
If you’re on your own, your buying power is likely to be less than if you’re with a partner. However, it does give you the freedom to choose without having to think of anyone else. While one or two bedroom apartments are ideal, a studio flat is often a great starting point, especially if you’re looking somewhere expensive like London and the south-east. While this may mean ditching superfluous possessions (and that’s never a bad thing), buying a studio is one way to enjoy an urban lifestyle on a budget.
Whatever type of home you’re looking for the key is to work out where you’re willing to make sacrifices. Some first-time buyers, especially in London, have piled into unsuitable areas because they assume their property will increase in value. However, this isn’t guaranteed. Property values can go up as well as down, certainly in the short term. So you need to love where you live because if you slip into negative equity (i.e. Your property value becomes less than the mortgage secured on it), you are going to find yourself struggling to move.
Of course, another option is to buy a property which needs some work. Whether it’s just new carpets and a lick of paint or something a bit more involved, this might be a good way to afford something larger or in your preferred location for a cheaper price. Plus, who knows, maybe all the work you put in will increase the value of the property, although this can be a very hard thing to judge in advance.
In truth, there is no perfect home but if you’re open to compromise and are realistic about what you can and can’t live with, you can become a homeowner. Ultimately, nothing feels better than that.
Where to begin? Get in touch with us today as our expert advisors are on hand to share guidance on buying your first home. We’ll help you get into the strongest possible financial position with a strong credit rating and the right amount of deposit to access the most competitive deals in the market. Plus, we’ll help you understand all the Government schemes and initiatives available to you. Let our experience help you get onto the first rung of the property ladder.