Our content manager Christina Neal talks about why renting didn’t suit her and thinking ahead when you purchase your next property.
I keep hearing the media question whether the housing bubble is set to burst, and yet prices keep going up. Since June 2020, the average house price has increased by £23,700. Imagine having to find that extra sum for your dream home in a year’s time. It’s not a small amount of money, is it? In my view, it makes sense to buy when you can.
In August, house prices rose by 0.7 per cent according to Halifax – an equivalent of £1789 in one month. Prices are predicted to keep rising well into 2022. ‘Can it last?’ is a question I hear frequently. I don’t have a crystal ball but as a recent homebuyer, I have no regrets about buying a property. I can’t think of anything worse than continuing to give money to a landlord and not seeing any benefit other than the right to live in their home while they make all the money.
Renting in middle age
I rented for almost four years after a long-term relationship ended. I didn’t expect to be renting in middle age, and I didn’t cope with it well. The longer I kept renting, the more concerned I became that I’d never get back on the property ladder.
Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. In June this year, I bought the house I’ve been renting. It’s such a relief to be a homeowner again. I love the freedom of being able to do what I want around the house. I love knowing that it’s mine. I enjoy being able to relax and know that I can stay here as long as I want. No landlord to tell me they might want their house back. No relying on someone else to get something fixed. If the boiler breaks down, I can deal with it myself. I actually prefer that because I know it’ll get done. For the first time in years, I feel settled.
Before I bought the place, I questioned whether I was buying wisely. I might have had an emotional attachment to my home, but would it be a good investment? Fortunately, I think so. I live in a bustling town in Essex with lots going on and good transport links.
Think ahead when buying
You have to think ahead. I work from home, so I don’t have to worry about commuting. But I know that having a nearby station and a good train line into London can add value to your home and make it more appealing to future buyers. Our nearest station is a mile away and the journey into Liverpool Street takes 50 minutes. It’s a good location for commuting – not too far from our capital city and yet a bit further out than other areas I’ve lived in, which means property prices are reasonable.
I have a decent-sized garden and three bedrooms. Our teenager resides in one room and the third bedroom is for guests. A guest bedroom is always handy.
Another appealing fact about my home is that it’s a five-minute walk into town. You can find just about anything in our local shops – there’s a post office, various high street stores and many pubs and restaurants. There’s also a large car park opposite our property for visitors. I hope all of these factors have made my home a good investment and one that will appeal to future buyers.
Attracting a good price
If you plan to buy or move in the near future, by all means, think about what you want and need from a property. But it’s also worth considering what a prospective buyer is likely to find appealing so that when you come to sell you can attract a good price. A property with three bedrooms is better than two.
Think about the layout of the property. If it’s a family home, a separate lounge and dining room rather than one large open room may be more practical. A decent-sized kitchen is preferable as some people enjoy being able to entertain and host dinner parties. Be happy with your choice but try to find a place that has the potential to appeal to others.
I got lucky. I love my house. It’s old and a bit rough around the edges, but it has a certain charm that friends and relatives have commented on several times. It works for me and I’m sure it will work for someone else when the time comes.
Follow Chris’ business and property blogs on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinaneal/