Perhaps you are still studying, and looking for accomodation to buy to live in whilst studying, or maybe you are close to graduating and want to find somewhere to live as you embark on your career. You might even be looking to buy property to rent out to other students. Whatever stage of life you are at, getting on the property ladder can be confusing and complicated. As a student or recent graduate, it can be even harder because you will probably have less savings for a deposit, you will also be less far along on your career path and so your earnings will likely be lower, meaning you can borrow less. This doesn’t mean it will be impossible to get on the property ladder, but it will make things harder.
Where to start
If getting into property is something you are interested in, to rent out or to live in yourself, there are a couple of things you should do in the first instance. Use a mortgage calculator to look at likely repayment amounts and work out what you can afford. Speaking to a recommended independent mortgage adviser will also help too.
House prices have surged now that the property market has effectively re-opened after the Covid lockdown. This is probably partly due to the stamp duty holiday which is something that the government have implemented in order to get the property market moving again. Stamp duty is a price paid in addition to the cost of the property you are buying (in effect it is a tax as it goes to the Government). This additional cost is something you would need to normally budget for when looking at buying property, so many people are planning on taking advantage of this break and relief on the cost.
Before embarking on viewing properties and putting in offers, you need to know what you can afford and whether your financial history will allow you to get a mortgage. There are several things you can do to start getting your finances in order, and you can start doing these months if not years before you are thinking of buying property.
- Maximise your income by getting a part time job, picking up extra hours at work or even starting a side hustle.
- Make a budget and get into the habit of sticking to it, and regularly reviewing it.
- If you have any debts or loans, try to clear them off as soon as possible (whilst still being able to afford to live of course).
- Start a savings account or ISA and regularly put money into it (I transfer money monthly by standing order just after I’ve been paid so I effectively don’t see the money) and whilst interest rates are low, you won’t earn much interest, but it will mean you have a separate pot of money that you can dip into in emergencies but it is separate from your normal spending pot and so it is less likely to be used up.
- Sleep on any big or not budgeted for purchases, as you may be less likely to end up spending the money. We aren’t saying don’t ever treat yourself, but weigh up the short term gratification of a purchase against the long term benefit of putting the money into savings.