The thought of buying a house can seem a terribly adult/scary thing to do. But really, does the thought of paying rent forever, until you’re living on a modest pension not scare you as well? It should.
Here are a few perceived “scary” things about buying property, and the reasons why they’re not actually anything to fear at all.
1. Paperwork mountain and what it all means
We’re not going to pretend that buying a house doesn’t come with a forest of paperwork.
The paperwork begins at the bank or mortgage broker, and it doesn’t end until you’ve paid the bills for the moving company that shifted you into your new house. Yes, it’s plentiful and a lot of it is technical but no, it’s not insurmountable. That’s because there really are people who can hold your hand along the way to help you, and we don’t just mean your mum.
From the mortgage broker or mortgage manager, to the real estate agent helping you to draw up the sales and purchase agreement, they all want - in fact need - to see you tick all the boxes property, which means they’ll help to guide you through it. Your solicitor, too, is there to ensure the process is done smoothly and right.
Take your time, ask questions, and read the small print: You can nail this thing.
2. Spending your life savings
Paying the deposit, the biggest lump sum you’ve most likely ever moved out of your bank account, is possibly the most nerve-racking transaction you’ll ever make. But, unlike that car you happily took a loan out for 10 years ago, a home is usually an investment that’ll pay off - literally - in the long run.
It may not do this by making you a huge profit, or even any, when you sell. But it’ll mean you’re building up your equity, which you could potentially use in the future to upsize or to buy a rental or a bach. Of course, you should take care to not overspend on your first (or subsequent) home, and you should research your local market to make sure of this.
But overall, by spending your life savings on your home, you’re investing in your future. Looking at it that way suddenly makes it a lot less scary.
3. Paying a mortgage for 30 years
Yeah that doesn’t sound appealing. But would you rather be paying your landlord’s mortgage for the next 50 years in rent instead? Especially when your rent is pretty similar to your own mortgage payments each week? Enough said.
4. Looking after an entire house all on your own
Not having a landlord, or your parents, to manage the maintenance on your house means it’s all up to you. But if you can get through the paperwork to buy the house in the first place, you can certainly get around this.
If DIY or even simply seasonal maintenance like clearing gutters is not your thing, then budget for someone else to do it for you.
But the main thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to get a building inspection report on the house before you buy it, checking for any major issues or faults which could cost you big bucks.
If you can afford it in your local market, try to buy a house that is as new as possible. An old villa might look charming with its stained glass windows and elegant trim, but it’s going to take a lot of work to keep it looking like that. A brick three-bedroom abode in a new subdivision might be lacking charm but it’ll make up for it with new wiring, double glazing and an easy-care exterior - plus you’ll be toasty in winter and cool in summer.
5. Buying the wrong house
This isn’t so much about buying the wrong house as it is about spending too much on a perfectly good house.
To avoid this, make sure you’ve studied your local housing market, questioned all real estate agents you’ve met, and trawled through pages and pages of property advertisements. Then don’t exceed your budget. Ever.
If a house ends up being wrong for you, it’s quite likely just right for someone else. So don’t despair - you can sell it and buy another one! It may take a few years until you move up the property ladder, but once you’ve built up some equity you can leave the draughts and high ceilings of that villa you once loved behind for the warm, insulated townhouse you never thought you’d cherish.