{Money & Finances} Everything You Need to Know About Getting Your Foot on the Property Ladder

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We are living in a time when increasing numbers of people are renting their properties rather than actually buying a property of their own. In the past, people who chose to rent were generally very young adults who had just left home and weren’t sure about settling down, or people who moved around a lot for work and weren’t yet ready to settle in one given place. However, nowadays, there are tens of thousands of people renting who would give anything just to own a place that they could call their own. In fact, it is estimated that around 40% of millennials will be living in rented accommodation until at least the age of thirty. That’s over double the figure of individuals from the previous generation who rented property over buying property. So, why is this? Well, a huge reason behind individuals renting rather than buying is getting trapped in the renting cycle. Many landlords charge the sum of their monthly mortgage payments to tenants they are renting to. They take advantage of the fact that many people don’t have enough savings or spare cash to place a deposit on a house, and offer low deposit rented accommodation as an alternative. It’s not all too surprising that people looking for somewhere to live are drawn in, promising themselves that they will save a deposit but never really getting around to it. It’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of renting (and essentially paying someone else’s mortgage for them rather than working towards your own). This, of course, is frustrating. But not to worry. Here are just a few steps that you can take to get your own foot on the property ladder!

Budgeting

The first step towards getting on the property ladder is a relatively simple one that we should all have incorporated into our lifestyles by now anyway - budgeting. But a surprising number of adults do not stick to a budget when arranging their finances. A budget can help to ensure that you are savvy with your finances and avoid falling into debt. It will determine how much disposable income you have on a monthly basis. Once you know this figure, you can make sure that you don’t ever exceed it. This prevents you from taking out loans or using credit cards to get by, which can result in you getting trapped in an endless loop of paying off interest. If you’re looking at owning your own home, you’re going to have to be in the black and have a good credit rating!

Saving

Once you have figured out your disposable income, you can dedicate a portion of it to a savings account. Ideally, you want to place as much of your disposable income into a savings account as possible. Of course, you should still allow yourself to live your life. You don’t want to work all day every day and then spend every evening and weekend at home doing nothing - you will simply become miserable. But moderation is key. Instead of going out every weekend, consider going out once a month. You can then put the money that you would have spent on the other weekends into your savings account. You’ll be surprised, but your savings will quickly mount up, as long as you stick to your plan. This can then be put towards a house deposit.

Taking on Extra Work

It may be exhausting, but if you are determined to own a property of your own and you want to save up enough for a deposit as quickly as possible, you might want to consider taking on extra work. This could include requesting overtime or weekend work from your current job, or actually taking on a second job that can fit into your schedule, such as freelance work or perhaps an evening and weekend bar job. If extra work starts taking its toll on you, just bear in mind that you won’t have to do this forever. It is a temporary means of securing your deposit as quickly as possible.

Finding the Right Estate Agent

Once you have saved up a deposit and you feel ready to start looking for a property that you would be happy to purchase, you will need to find a real estate agent to help you on your journey. An estate agent is essentially a middle person between you as a buyer and an individual who is looking to sell their property. They carry out all sorts of tasks to make your house hunting journey simpler and more time efficient. They can take photographs of different properties, allowing you to determine whether one is for you or not without having to take time out of your schedule to visit every property individually. If you see a property that does appeal to you, they will be able to conduct a viewing, showing you around and letting you get a feel for it in real life. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, they can take care of legal work and negotiate or barter between you and the property’s current owner!

Finding the Right Mortgage Lender

While you are generally expected to put a deposit down on a property out of your own money, it is extremely rare that anyone ever purchases a property outright out of their own pocket. The majority will take out a mortgage, which is essentially a large scale loan that you can use to buy a house. This money will be paid to the property’s current owner, and you will then pay the sum back, plus interest, to the mortgage lender you have made an agreement with. Seeing as you are going to be dealing with relatively large sums of money in this negotiation, and seeing as you are likely to pay this sum of money back over an extended period of time, you’re going to want to make sure that you are using a reliable and fair mortgage lender. Look around for different options available to you. Look out for mortgages with lower interest rates, as this means that you will be paying less for the service of borrowing money. You may also want to read into terms and conditions, such as whether you can pay the sum in full in advance of the contracts end date (for example, if you suddenly came into a lot of money and wanted to clear your mortgage outright).

Shopping Within Your Means

This entire process can be extremely exciting, and nobody would want to think of anything negative or pessimistic in relation to purchasing their own property. But it is extremely important that you shop within your means when it comes to purchasing a house. You don’t want to purchase a property that has a mortgage so high that you will be struggling to keep up with payments for the next twenty five or so years of your life. Instead, opt for something that is affordable and well within your budget. This will also be easier to handle should you find yourself out of a job or dealing with unexpected expenses outside of your mortgage.

As you can see, there’s a whole lot that goes into the process of securing your own property and getting your foot on the first rung of the property ladder. You may have to save or work particularly hard for a while, but at the end of the day, your efforts will all be more than worth it! So, get started sooner rather than later!

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