5 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU STEP ON THE PROPERTY LADDER.
Buying your first home is a huge step. So before you make your move here’s what you need to think about.
Thinking of swapping renting for a mortgage or finally moving out of the family home to get a place of your own?
Becoming a home owner is one of the biggest things you’ll ever do. See if you’re ready by asking yourself these five questions.
Are you mentally ready to be a home owner?
For many people buying their first property is a landmark moment, marking the end of carefree youth and the start of being a responsible grown-up. Those who've been living in rented property for a while might be desperate to have somewhere to call their own where the landlord can't raise the rent by 20% or ask them to leave at the end of a tenancy.
So does not having to put up with someone else's décor and furniture fill your heart with delight? Or are you happy that the maintenance of the boiler or the paintwork isn't yours because you've got more interesting things to spend your time on?
Can you afford it?
You'll need to be able to afford your monthly mortgage repayments. If you were paying rent before then you’ll be used to a chunk of your salary leaving your account each month, but if you've been living at home with kind parents, a mortgage could be a shock to the system. You'll need to think about any other debts you have like a student loan, credit card payments, car payments and make sure you can afford it all. But it's not just the monthly payments you need to consider...
With the property and mortgage market as they are you’ll need a sizeable deposit - so have you saved up enough? You’re likely to need at least 5% of the property's value. So if you want to buy a £150,000 home you need to save at least £7,500 and borrow the remainder. And 5% is just the minimum. If the area you want to buy in is expensive like London or Edinburgh the price of a starter home can be much higher and therefore you'll need to save more. Check out the typical prices in your area for first time buyer type properties (it's easy to do this online with websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla) and see if you've saved up enough.
You also need to think about whether you'll able to afford the mortgage if interest rates rise from their historical low level as the Bank of England has suggested will happen over the next few years.
Is your job secure?
You may be able to afford your mortgage comfortably – but what about if you, or your partner lost your job? How easy would it be to find another job within your industry in your local area?
Remember if you fall behind on your mortgage payments then you risk losing your home.
Are you ready to settle in one place?
People at the start of their careers tend to move around more to make the most of the opportunities available. You might not want to feel tied down to a place so that you can still go off and have adventures.
You'll need to think about how long you want to live in the home you buy. You might also be in a career where you need to move frequently.
Are you willing to put in the work?
Buying and maintaining a home requires commitment. There’s paperwork and chasing up estate agents and solicitors can be draining on your time and energy.
Not to mention once you move in there's likely to be a thousand and one things that need doing to get the place into shape. Unless the place you buy is move-in ready then you could be faced with a whole bunch of domestic and DIY tasks.
You'll also need to do (or pay someone else to do) ongoing maintenance. On average you can expect to pay between 1-4% of your home's value for maintenance a year, depending on the age of the house, according to property experts. This also helps you keep the value of your house intact.
To maintain the value of your property you'll need to take a consistent approach to repair, maintenance and decoration. So if you'd rather be out having adventures than painting then it still might not be the right time for property ownership for you.
The Halifax Mortgage calculator will give you an estimate of how much you could borrow and how much your monthly payment could be. Use the mortgage calculator.
YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE