Posted on 12th February 2019

To Buy or Not to Buy

Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property
Martin Williamson, Director and Head of Residential Property

To buy, or not to buy? That is the question. Apologies to the literary puritans out there for misquoting the immortal words of Shakespeare to make my point. What about the old saying “home is where the heart is” which sums it up better, or perhaps, to quote the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh: “Home is the comfiest place to be.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the classics, there’s a clear message in these quotes, echoed by Dorothy as she clicked her ruby slippers together - “there’s no place like home”. Although at this very moment in time, given the weather we’ve been having, you may feel like the Canary Islands hold more appeal than Costa del Darlo, I think we can probably all broadly agree with the sentiment.

The question is, should you own a house or rent? Of course, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question, as it varies from person to person and case to case. But there are some key considerations to bear in mind, should you be set on getting your feet on the first rung of the property ladder.

There are some things to think about before you undertake buying a house, because, whilst a house is an investment, it is not without an element of risk. The first question is, can you afford it? There are a number of expenses beyond the deposit to consider, including surveyors, legal fees, stamp duty, land registry fees, and removal costs. But it’s important to take into account, too, the long-term implication of a mortgage and whether you have the financial security to maintain it.

 

Owning your own home also means ongoing costs too, for repairs and maintenance and long-term it can make it more difficult to up sticks and move again, since you need to sell the property you’re in first. But these issues, in my view anyway, are overshadowed by the positives of home ownership.

Clambering onto the property ladder, even if it seems an almost insurmountable task, means that your monthly payments, rather than lining your landlord’s pocket, are  going towards the purchase of your very own bricks and mortar. And when you finish paying your mortgage you could potentially have a very valuable asset, on which there is no rent or mortgage.

Above all, owning your own home feels different. There is a sense of freedom that you get when you’re out of the renting game. You can make decisions about whether to get a Chihuahua or a chipmunk – many landlords put restrictions on pet ownership. Want to install a swimming pool, or even just paint your sitting room? No problem, it’s yours. You don’t need to ask permission or worry about upsetting anyone. It’s yours.

I asked Simon Wright, director of Fine and Country estate agency for his thoughts.

“The choice between buying and renting is a personal one, which can ultimately be determined by personal circumstances. Nonetheless, renting can often feel like a false economy, with tenants receiving no return on their payments. With a number of government schemes available to support first time buyers, now is a great time to consider a first step onto the property ladder.”

There’s an old saying with which you’re probably familiar: “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” And so it is. For a first time buyer making the leap may seem a daunting prospect but in the end, it can pay dividends.

Please note: This article is intended as guidance only. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.