Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make on so many levels. Not only is it a legal responsibility but it also involves planning, persistence, capital and if you require a mortgage, sound financial circumstances. So how do you balance your priorities so that they match your aspirations when one or more of these are out of alignment?
Then there are the downsides and disappointments when your perfect home is seemingly out of reach, whether through rising property prices, limited choice in your price range, or the increase in additional financial commitments such as renovation, maintenance, heating and council tax. Where is the line between your dreams and practicality?
What if you already own somewhere you love and are looking for new ways to invest without going through the upheaval of moving into a new place?
Here are four ways that a one or two-bedroom property could be the answer.
NUMBER ONE: DREAMING OF A LARGE GARDEN AND PEACE AND QUIET? SHARE THE BENEFITS WITH APARTMENT LIVING
If the country pile is out of reach at the moment, you can still make a start toward it without compromising all the aspects that make open spaces, and tranquility, a key part of that dream.
While a flat is not everyone’s perceived ideal home, there are considerable advantages to owning a property that is smaller in square footage than you may aspire to but that has the luxury of larger outdoor area, which is shared between many residents.
Also flats have, in many cases, moved on from the noisy, small spaces with little light, often remembered from student days. Increasingly called apartments due to their enhanced design and aesthetic standards, properties within shared buildings can be contemporary, well built, and frequently luxurious, even those that have been converted within older larger buildings.
For those whose lives are busy with work and family commitments, apartments are easy to manage, and maintain. Running costs will be less than for a larger house and ground and building maintenance is often shared amongst all residents giving you the benefits of the space, at a fraction of the price and effort. If you have a child, a large communal garden can also prove to be a wonderful playground, right outside your door.
Some buildings consist of blended types of accommodation, where there may be one or two bedroom flats in the majority of the block but with two or three bedroom cottages or larger apartments at the ends of the building. These are extremely popular, so early viewing is definitely recommended when these come onto the market.
Hamish often has a number of one and two bedroom apartments in shared buildings. Don’t miss an opportunity – take a look today!
NUMBER TWO: INVEST IN A FLAT FOR YOUR KIDS TO SHARE WITH OTHER STUDENTS WHILE AT COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY.
Do you have a child who is studying away from home? Investing in a flat for them to live in while at college or uni gives them a sense of security, while allowing them the feeling of independence and freedom as they start out.
Let’s face it, most young people are not that concerned with the nuances that their building is made of locally sourced yellow sandstone, or that the entrance has antique cupolas. They want somewhere that is easy to get to, quick to tidy (in case mum and dad visit), cheap to run and somewhere to put their stuff and bring their mates round to. On the other hand you want somewhere that is safe, cheap to purchase and secure.
To avoid these, you could consider helping your child buy the property themselves, using a student, or buy for uni mortgage. These often need to be within about ten miles of their campus and have space to let to other students. From a financial perspective, the deposit may be higher than for a first time mortgage (around 15% which you may need to help with) and they will need a guarantor, i.e. you!
Hamish often has properties that are suitable for students. With our esteemed local knowledge we can advise on the different areas and how accessible they are, especially if a student is moving into the area to study and there is no better time than now for you and your family to start planning ahead.
NUMBER THREE: THE FIXER-UPPER.
Explore your creative side and engage your entrepreneurial skills by investing in a property that needs a little tender loving care. If you already live in your dream home, or the most beautiful, well-designed and perfectly maintained home you could possibly imagine, it is probably down to your own hard work and expertise. You could use that experience and skill to create a wonderful home for someone else?
What if you are first time buyer and you have not had a chance to develop your craft? Then a smaller property is a great place to put your ideas to the test while you gain experience. A space that is not too large is much easier to work on and does not usually require specialist equipment or masses of materials, so is just perfect for honing your abilities.
One and two bedroom properties, especially flats, are often crying out for someone to show them a bit of love, pull out the finer details, and reconfigure the space into something awesome and depending on your circumstances, they can be very affordable.
Much of the work you may be able to do yourself, including fitting new kitchen cabinets, tiling, laying a floor, or decorating. Of course, areas such as plumbing, electricity and of course, gas, must be carried out by professionals and any change of use will need the relevant permissions.
However, if your dream of renovating a tumble down French château is a little too much for now, casting your designer’s eye over some of Hamish’s smaller properties may start you on the path to getting where you eventually dream of being.
NUMBER FOUR: A HOME YOU CAN AFFORD, OR AT LEAST REALISTICALLY PLAN FOR.
Buying a property can be expensive and there are all types of reasons to be apprehensive, especially if this is your first purchase, or if things have not quite worked out as well financially for you as planned but there is always hope.
Let’s be real, not everyone is flush with cash, especially at the moment when things are more uncertain than ever. For that reason alone, this is not the time to be spending your very hard-earned money on rent that someone else benefits from.
Getting onto the property ladder, if you have spent years renting a home that someone else owns, can be difficult but it is absolutely worth the effort. You may not be able to do it tomorrow, or even this year but like anything that is worth having, a one step at a time approach can be the most effective. It may not be easy and may involve sacrifices that you may feel are just too far (reducing meals and turning off heating is definitely too far, by the way) but with appropriate guidance, it can be done.
It is worth it as mortgage payments can often be less than what you pay in rent. It is the deposit that is usually the hard part and that can be the biggest sticking point. Another stumbling block may be having a financial status that affects your credit rating. At the moment, although it is important to remember that your credit rating is not permanent.
A good financial adviser may be able to help you develop a savings plan, help you find ways of consolidating payments, or show you ways of reducing outgoings in a way that will keep you safe and healthy but it is not all about finance. Having a space where you are not afraid to scuff the walls can decorate as you please and where you can come and go as you like, can be a wonderful boost for mental health and your sense of security and you know it will be yours for as long as you choose to live there.
So you may not be able to get on to the property market today, or return to it if you have not owned a home of your own for a while but it is only a matter of time, and with commitment and energy you will achieve your dreams.
Have a look at some of our properties that you feel may be achievable and start planning now. Ask Hamish how we can put you on the road to a home of your own.