The advantages of buying

Buying your own property to live in has a number of advantages over renting, however, it’s not for everyone.

Before deciding whether buying is right for you, make sure you consider the benefits and disadvantages.

Benefits to buying:

  • It gives you a better level of control over your home and the ability to make improvements as you see fit.
  • If your property increases in value, perhaps through market conditions or improvements made, the gains will be yours.
  • Increasing the value of your home creates equity (the property value less the debt you owe) and allows you to trade up to on your next move.
  • Monthly mortgage repayments can be very competitive compared to what you would pay to rent a comparable property, and potentially even cheaper.
  • The monthly payments you make all contribute towards eventually paying off the mortgage and you owning the property outright.
  • Owning a property outright means that you can reduce your living costs as there will be no rent or mortgage to pay, especially useful later in life.
  • In retirement, there are schemes that allow you to release equity from your home to help fund your retirement.
  • Your property can be passed on when you die.

Disadvantages to buying:

  • Buying a property requires you to have a deposit normally of at least 5% of the purchase price to put down.
  • There are additional costs of buying which include, but are not limited to:
    • Mortgage application fees
    • Legal costs from your solicitor
    • Stamp duty
    • Property surveys
  • During the purchase process, you may find out something about the property which stops you buying it and any money you have spent on the costs above are likely to be lost.
  • When you rent a property, the landlord is responsible for maintaining it for you, when you own it you have the make and pay for these yourself.
  • Whilst house price values generally increase, this is not the case everywhere and price increases are not guaranteed.
  • Moving home will take more effort and time if you need to sell your current home and purchase a new one.
  • If you buy a leasehold property there will be additional service charge costs that you will need to pay.

Steps to buying a property:

If you decide that buying a property is the right thing for you to do, it’s useful to understand the process and what lies ahead.

This guide will take you through all the steps involved in buying a property and help you through the maze of options.

A simple timeline of what needs to be done in the process is as follows:

  1. Decide what sort of property you want to purchase
  2. Work out how much money you will be able to spend by getting a mortgage agreement in principle
  3. Start viewings to find your dream property
  4. Find a suitable solicitor to complete the legal work for you.
  5. Submit offers on the right property with aim of agreeing a sale
  6. Submit your mortgage application
  7. Let your solicitor work through the conveyancing process
  8. Arrange for a survey to be done to check the condition of the property
  9. Wait for your confirmed mortgage offer to arrive
  10. Review the report about the property you will receive from your solicitor
  11. Send the deposit funds to the solicitor
  12. Exchange contracts which binds both parties to the contracts and set the completion date
  13. Completion and the property is now yours.