Buying Vs. Renting

Written by    Last updated: August 23, 2007

Deciding to buy your first home is one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make as a couple. Here are some tips to help you decide what’s best for you…

Deciding to buy your first home is one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make as a couple. Here are some tips to help you decide what’s best for you…

Planning ahead

Thinking several years ahead will help you work out what to look for in a home. If you’re looking for a fast turnaround on your investment so that you can move up the ladder, then you should be more in touch with what sells quickly. Proximity to public transport, good local schools and amenities are essential if you don’t want to be stuck waiting for a buyer. If, on the other hand, you plan to start a family soon, the property should fit the purpose as you’ll probably want to stay put for the foreseeable future.

Reluctant partners

If you’re keen on buying but your partner feels that getting married is commitment enough for the moment, it’s best to use a tactful rather than a forceful approach. Agree to only window shop for a while and get your financial facts spot on – if you can show how much money you will save (or make) by buying, it might help your case.

Not ready financially

Don’t be in a rush to get to the ‘next stage’ if you’re not completely ready for such a big financial commitment. Be prepared to give up luxuries such as eating out, weekend getaways and annual vacations. Perhaps now is the time to build and nurture your relationship and enjoy the precious time you both have together before you start a family.

Your credit history

Any neglected bills from the past will come back to haunt you now. You can improve your credit history by making sure that your accounts are never overdrawn and that you make all payments within the due dates.

The right time to buy

There’s no hard and fast rule about when is a good time to buy, though more people do tend to be on the move during the spring and early summer. Property buying is a combination of comprehensive research and pure instinct. Make a list of must‐haves and also of no‐nos. Although you may not get every single thing you want, it’s useful to have a reference point.

Take a break from house hunting

If you’ve been spending every weekend for the past three months viewing properties, it’s time you took a break from it all. Agree to spend a week or two not looking at or even thinking about buying. This will help you to de‐stress and get an objective view on the whole thing.

Get real

Be realistic about what you can spend. Don’t be tempted to take on more than you can realistically afford. There are many hidden expenses on top of the deposit and the monthly repayments. Consider stamp duty, home insurance, repairs, agent’s, surveyor’s and solicitor’s fees. You will also need a contingency fund for any unexpected repairs, such as when the drain gets blocked or the boiler breaks down

Bring in the professionals

It’s worthwhile getting the place a good look over not only by a chartered surveyor but also a trusted plumber and electrician. You are making a huge investment and the cost of their expert opinion is well worth the price. If there is anything major that comes up, you could factor that into the negotiations over the offer price.

Find more advice on from our Finance & Legal articles! 

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