To Buy Or Not To Buy? By John Eden, Surveyor

Low section view of a man standing by text Rent and Own with arrow sign represents the concept of home ownership.

I am approaching my 29th birthday and I notice that people my age are making many big life decisions, one of which being the purchase of their first home. As a result, I keep being asked when I will make that leap on to the housing ladder, and where or what will I buy. I am currently renting a flat in Westbourne Park, and although I am paying a reasonable rent, it is still difficult to save enough to allow me to properly contribute to a deposit large enough to make my first move.

In order to save enough money one has to first cut down on the initial costs and a good way of doing this is by spending less on rent.

One obvious saving scheme is to move back in with family; however this is only really possible if they live or have property available in commutable distance from where you are working (and also if you can stand the idea of moving back home after over ten years of living independently!).

Another way of saving some cash is to find cheaper rental alternatives. One option is shared accommodation; this can be a bit of a gamble, but if you ask the right questions when interviewing potential flatmates and choose like-minded people then things should go swimmingly!

 You could otherwise move a little further out into Greater London and beyond. This does however come with the increased commuting costs.

When it comes to buying your first home a number of things will have to be considered: should it be in a more central area, where sales prices are higher but where I would prefer to live, or should I branch out to into London’s commuter belt where I am likely to get more for my money?

If I were to stay in Central London, the likelihood is that I would get a small 1 or 2-bed flat that I would quickly grow out of and would be once again looking to move in the near future. Moving house is a relatively arduous process with lots of additional costs and spent time, whether it is refurnishing or dealing with the small bits of unexpected maintenance / repairs you find whilst moving in.

The other option would be to move further out of London and get more for my money, however in return I would have to sacrifice being less central with a longer commute and potentially having to suffer from Southern Rail strikes!

My parents seem to be the most eager for me to get on the housing ladder, however I strongly suspect that they have not realised how much the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’ would be depended on. Not only would it be assisting with initial deposit, but then it is likely I would need them to cover a lot of the additional expenses coming from buying and moving into a new home. Unfortunately, it is unlikely this is going to change anytime soon because there is not enough housing to satisfy the demand of the first time buyers.

So what do I do? It’s weighing up all the pros and cons, and looking at it from my situation I currently live in a great flat with great connections in to central London, not to mention a private garden (something I wouldn’t be able to afford if I was to buy.). On top of that I have a good relationship with my Landlady, so when things do need repairing they are quickly resolved at no cost to me. So I think on that basis I will sit back and relax, for me – at my stage of life it’s just not necessary to be undertaking the extra financial stress.

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