Last Update July 26th, 2016. Renting and ready to buy a home of your own? Living with friends or family and time to break free? Read the following guidance, to decide if now is the right time to move:
Buying is best if you can afford to move to an area you like, or nearby. Check our area guides if you need more help here. Compromises to get on the property ladder don’t always work. If you do neeed to compromise for cost, search for areas which have similar elements to those your perfect area has. So if you like the buzz in Kensington but can’t afford the prices, then Kentish Town may match your budget – give you the community, shops and short distance into the West End. If it’s the stucco fronted houses of Kensington you liked, then maybe you can find similar but cheaper in Pimlico. Work out the one or two elements which really make the difference for you, then search for areas in your budget with those.
On the flipside, if you hate the only areas you can afford to move to, there’s no point moving there just so you can get on the property ladder or buy a better/ bigger property. Happiness comes first! You’ll only reduce your quality of life by moving because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’
Need to get on the property ladder, but can’t afford an area you like? If you feel that buying somewhere you like could take many more years than just buying anywhere, consider a buy-to-let in an area you can afford. Make sure you follow our tips to ensure you get an investment property that will rent out easily.
This way you can use your savings to fund a property, have someone rent it and cover your mortgage, while you continue to rent elsewhere. You’ll build up equity in the investment property and when you have more money you can sell the buy-to-let, add the proceeds to your extra savings and finally move to the area you do enjoy!
Up-and-coming areas, or areas nearby to your favourite locations could also be a good bet. Those who really wanted to buy in Clerkenwell moved to nearby Shoreditch. Just a 10 minute walk away, properties were much cheaper, yet few bars, restaurants and amenities had opened. A few years later and Shoreditch became so cool, property prices came inline with Shoreditch. So the next wave of buyers moved further a-field to Hoxton, then Dalston. Buying on the edge of the area you like or even a tube stop or short bus ride away, beats staying off the property ladder.
Buy a property you can live in for 5 years. The process of finding, moving in, decorating and making it Your home then settling into the area and enjoying your property means any time horizon less than 5 years is impractical. If you think you will settle down and start a family in the next 5 years, don’t buy a studio or 1 bed now. the costs, time and effort of moving property (stamp duty alone will be thousands) don’t make it worthwhile. Buy a property you can grow into, or stay renting until you can afford to do that.
Do you intend to stay in this region of London for 5 years? If you think you may seek work abroad, in the rest of the UK or even in a different region of London (i.e. you might change jobs from north to south London) then step back and think. Is it worth buying and having to move so soon? Will the stamp duty and moving costs be lost? (thats thousands of pounds). Would your prospective property be easy to rent out (ask the letting departments in your area) and will that rent cover your mortgage? if you moved soon would you need the money (equity) you put in as your deposit for a new place or to fund moving abroad / traveling? If in doubt… hesitate and keep renting, until you are sure!
Space for your ‘Stuff’
Only buy a home which will have enough space to accommodate ‘most’ of your stuff! Its okay to leave Christmas trees, Ski gear and old files at your parents, or in a storage unit and pop round time-to-time to get at them. Yet if you have to visit every weekend to pick something up or drop something back because you don’t have the space, then the hassle will get to you! We always need more storage space than we think .. especially when moving out for the first time as you accumulate alot of items you never had before, so go for more space, where you can.
Buying with a Lodger in-mind
If you can afford to buy a home yet think you need help with the monthly outgoings and mortgage payments: Would you rent out a spare room to a friend or a lodger? When you own something you care for it much more than someone just paying rent… make sure you only consider people who are tidy, respectful and appreciative. And always have rent and bills paid by direct debit/ standing order to avoid chasing them each month. More importantly, can you deal with someone else in your home, even if they are helping with the bills? If not go for a studio or smaller 1-bed to get yourself onto the property ladder.
Can you really afford it?
Your mortgage should be around one-third of your monthly salary, perhaps 40% max. Any more than this and you could struggle with utility bills, council tax, service charges, maintenance fees and general living. Look closely at your monthly outgoings and factor in how much more expensive owning a home will be. Our next page will help you with this: