Top tips for getting on the property ladder on your own

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As the latest data from Rightmove reveals average house prices have topped £350,000 for the first time, climbing the property ladder has never been harder – especially if you’re trying to do it on your own -same.

Often we are sold the dream of settling down with a partner and buying our dream home together – but what if you want to buy a property on your own?

With over 7.9 million people living alone in the UK and more finding themselves ready to buy a home on their own, experts from regulated property buyers Good Move have shared five practical tips on how to access the real estate market with a single salary.

From getting a mortgage in principle to alternative ways of buying, look no further than these five tips.

1. Be realistic about the property you can afford

When looking to buy a property on a single salary, being realistic is essential. In today’s market, you’ll need around 5% of the property’s value to secure a mortgage, so if you’re buying a property on your own, you may need to secure a larger deposit.

Although the deposit is usually the most significant cost you will have to pay when buying a home, you may need to consider other costs such as attorney fees, mortgage fees and home renovation costs. Planning all of these costs ahead of time will help you understand what’s affordable and help you reach your savings goals.

2. Ask the government to help you build the cash you need

It’s not easy with just one source of income to be able to raise a lump sum to cover the deposit, especially if you can’t afford to ask for a little help from your family. Luckily, there are plenty of government programs and grants to help you build up the cash you need, especially for first-time buyers!

If you are a first time buyer, the first £300,000 of a property is generally stamp duty free. This could reduce the total amount you would have to pay by several thousand. Other programs include the Government’s Purchase Assistance Program where you receive an equity loan worth up to 20% of eligible new build properties to cover part of the cost. Through this scheme, a single person wishing to buy a £200,000 house with a 10% down payment could access a 70% mortgage worth £140,000.

3. Set a budget and build your credit score

Once you’re aware of the costs, it’s time to set a budget. When applying for a mortgage, the lender will look at your monthly income and expenses to see if you will have enough to live on after paying the mortgage payments. So, it might be time to get your spending under control for a few months before you apply.

Commitments such as loans or HP payments will be deducted from the amount you need to spend each month, so it’s best to pay them back as soon as possible. A lender is more likely to lend if they can see that you have a history of loan repayment. So apply for a credit card and use it. Just be sure to pay it monthly. This way, it won’t cost you anything and it will help you establish a good credit rating.

4. Consider shared ownership

Co-ownership schemes are often run by local authorities and are normally reserved for first-time buyers. The programs allow buyers to take out a mortgage on part of your home and pay rent on the rest. This is a great alternative for first-time buyers who cannot afford the large deposits that come with buying a property through conventional means.

However, before looking through rose-tinted glasses, it is important to consider that joint ownership plans carry real financial risks. For example, since you are still paying rent on part of the property, you are technically still a tenant of the landlord for legal reasons. This poses a real risk that you could lose the part of the house you’ve already “purchased”, because legally you don’t own it until you climb stairs (builds the percentage you own of your house) 100% of your portion of the property.

5. Get professional advice

Whether you’re single or not, talking to a mortgage professional means you can get expert advice on getting a mortgage and avoid making costly mistakes. Not only can they find the best mortgage loan in principle best suited to your personal situation, but they can also help you apply for programs to increase your deposit.

Nima Ghasri, Director of Good Move, said: “A lot of people are looking to buy property on their own; maybe as a first time buyer they are unsure about committing to someone else, or maybe they are looking to buy a property to rent out for some extra extra income .

“Fortunately, there are many ways to approach buying a property alone, and mortgage lenders are well aware of why people do it. Therefore, we hope our tips will help buyers plan ahead and budget to successfully climb the property ladder.

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