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.

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Follow Chris’ business and property blogs on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinaneal/

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