Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, is reported to have said that ‘a man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus beyond the age of 26 can count himself a failure’. Who knows what she would have said about somebody who didn’t own their own house by the age of 30. The reality though is that getting your foot on the first rung of the property ladder is harder for young people now than it has been in 30 years. The so-called Millennial generation, for all of their supposed faults, are just not able to find their own place as fast as their parent’s generation managed to. The reasons for this are inevitably abundant and complex but if you are thinking about committing yourself to what is likely to be the most substantial purchase of your life, here are a few tips:
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you will probably need to take out a mortgage. This is only the first step in owning your first property, and yet you have to prepare a lot for this too. Before approaching a bank, you should make sure that you are not likely to be rejected. It stands to reason that before the bank decides to lend you tens of thousands of dollars, they will want to make sure that you are going to be able to pay it back. They will check your credit rating as well as recent paychecks and a reference from your employer. If you are self-employed, you should be ready to share several years worth of audited accounts to demonstrate that you will be able to support yourself in the future.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough, you then have to contend with the government who always want their cut. The amount of tax that you’ll have to pay can depend on where you live (different parts of the country have different tax rates) and the value of your property. This is another thing that you should learn before you even start looking at properties and fortunately, it can easily be figured out with a property transfer tax calculator. Paying taxes is inevitable but if you find your dream home the first time you look, you will not need to worry about it again.
Next is the fun part, at least for some. You need to figure out exactly what house it is that you want before you can start looking for it. Sketch out your dream property, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that you’d like, how big your garden needs to be and whether you want something like off-street parking. This will save you time when it comes time to deciding to go to a viewing or not.
It is not just aspects of the house itself that you need to think about though. If you have children, you will obviously want to check out local schools and work out which catchment area you are in for when they are old enough to go to secondary school.
There is a lot to think about, but if you are organised and diligent, you can end up saving yourself time and money in the end.