Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life, however if you’re like most of us, it doesn’t come easy. Real incomes are at their lowest point in decades, and much of the housing market is still creeping up, edging ever closer to unobtainable heights for our large pool of first time buyers. The following 9 tips could help get you to IKEA just that little bit quicker though... Read on to find out how.
1.) ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’. While that might sound obvious – and it is – we all need reminding from time to time to just be ‘a little more careful’ with how we go about our daily lives. Do you really need that Starbucks coffee that gets you next to no change from a fiver? Do you need that ‘Premium’ gym membership with all the bells and whistles, when you hardly ever use them? Do you need to get that haircut every two weeks, instead of every four? You get the idea. By holding yourself to account for even the smallest every day purchases, you will soon see the piggy bank bursting at the seams.
2.) Careful financial planning. Once you’ve decided on buying, it’s important that you clearly map out your financials. That is, your income balanced against your outgoings. This includes salary, bonuses, commission, bonds, dividends, and so on, pitched against your gas, electricity, fuel, rent and food bills. At the end of the month, how much disposable income is left? Mapping these variables out will mean you can easily tweak them when one of them changes, thereby easily allowing you to adjust your bottom line.
3.) Boost your savings. Look to ISAs, in which the government may offer 25% of your savings as part of their ‘help to buy scheme’, as a means of accelerating your savings.
4.) Stop renting, if you can. Moving back in with mum and dad might sound like a backwards (and perhaps argumentative!) step, but in the grand scheme of things, this single move could be the biggest deciding factor in either buying or not buying your first property… depending on your rent.
5.) Find a cheap room to rent. If moving in with the parents is enough to send shivers down your spine, consider jumping onto Gumtree, Spareroom.co.uk, or Flatmaterooms.co.uk and you’ll be surprised at just how many good bargains are out there.
6.) Get a lodger. If you’re renting a large enough flat or house, why not consider bringing a lodger in to help share with the bills… Just be sure that your landlord permits sub-letting.
7.) Move to cheaper accommodation. If you’re generally anti-social, and neither mum and dad nor the prospect of a lodger appeals to you, then consider looking for cheaper accommodation. This will probably mean a smaller property in not such a great location, but it could significantly bolster your efforts to get on the ladder.
8.) Shared ownership. Although you don’t fully own the property, buying equity in a property essentially makes you a part owner of it. You can always buy more equity in it later on.
9.) Finally, consider the location. Always dreamt of that first home in the centre of town, right by the river? Well, you might need to put that on hold. Upon proper research, you’ll see that certain parts of the UK are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper to live in than others. Sure, that might mean a longer commute or a less desirable view, but isn’t that a small price to pay if it means being able to truly call yourself ‘a homeowner’?