Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Why 2015 is the best year to buy a house

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

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For sale signs

Buying a house can be a pretty daunting prospect. It’s a process that is expensive, stressful, tricky to get right and long-winded. Yet, despite all of that it’s still something many of us want to do. The safety and security of a permanent roof over our heads makes buying a house an attractive prospect – and the prospect of investing in something tangible makes the hassle financially worthwhile. So, with many people wanting to make that step into home ownership, what makes 2015 the year that they should take the plunge? What about people looking to move up the ladder too?

Stamp duty illustration

Stamp duty

One of the changes all buyers can benefit from in 2015 is those made to Stamp Duty. Brought in in December, these rules make a difference to the up-front cost that you’ll need to bear. Previously you had to fork out 1% of the purchase price in Stamp Duty on properties between £125,000 and £250,000 and 3% up to £500,000. Under the new system you still pay nothing below £125,000 and then above that you pay 2% of the cost over and above that figure, i.e. if your house is £130,000 you now pay 2% of £5,000, instead of 1% of the full cost, or £100 instead of £1,300. In Scotland the duty was rebranded as the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and although it operates in a similar way it carries no charge for the first £145,000 of the cost.

Monopoly board showing Mayfair

Rent

As with any decision there are push and pull factors when it comes to buying a house. One thing that may well ‘push’ you into buying a house this year is the increased cost of renting. The price of renting is rising to a point where the cost far outstrips the amount you could be paying towards your own bricks and mortar – with more than a quarter of landlords plotting above-inflation rent increases during this calendar year.

'Help to Buy' logo

Schemes

If you’re renting then chances are you can afford the mortgage payments, but it could be the deposit that you’re struggling with. The good news is that there are a whole host of schemes on offer during 2015 that can help you to overcome that hurdle. Check out the latest home buying schemes information to see how Help To Buy, Right To Buy and NewBuy all work. Essentially, Help To Buy sees the government stepping in to provide a loan – refundable on sale of the property – so that you’ll only need a 5% deposit. Right To Buy aims to help social housing tenants and NewBuy looks, as you’d expect, at freshly constructed properties.

Red Monopoly houses on pound coins

Economy

Forget the squabbling of the political parties; for house-hunters, the economy is in a relatively good shape to take the plunge in 2015. Low interest rates mean there are some excellent sub-2% deals out there and a host of options on fixed and flexible rates. It’s a competitive mortgage market and that’s a good sign for the buyer. Price increases have slowed – at least outside London – too, making this a steady year to invest.

Rising rents, falling Stamp Duty, a relatively stable economy and support schemes all mean 2015 could well be the ideal year to dip into the housing market.

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Home survey: Money well spent

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

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Home survey wordle

Despite the fact that real estate in Sydney is a significant long-term investment that could impact a buyer’s finances for decades, many prospective home-owners baulk at shelling out for a professional surveyor to examine the property before the sale is completed. This is an unnecessary risk at best and a disastrous error in judgement at worst, as home damage that may be invisible to the untrained eye can cause unforeseen calamity long after you’re left holding the deed.

An expert eye

Surveyors are trained to spot existing as well as potential issues with an uncommon level of detail. Once the 2-3 hour examination of the interior and exterior of the property is complete, the surveyor will provide a thorough report on the various aspects of the home, including structure, plumbing, electrical equipment, and other amenities.

During a surveyor’s report, minor defects, major defects and safety issues will be categorised and detailed to you. You will also find out which items need repair and replacement as well as those that should be monitored for future wear. Home surveyors can even inform you of routine maintenance that should be performed based on the amenities in the home, which is information not even the seller may possess.

Survey contingency

One of the most useful discretions that having a home surveyed before buying affords you is the ability to back out of an offer if significant issues are discovered during the assessment, even after an otherwise enforceable deal is reached in principle.

The survey contingency is a vital resource after an offer has been accepted. Without this protection you may be legally bound to pay the seller a penalty fee or even the full purchase price of a home once an agreement is reached regardless of what issues may later arise.

Your options

If issues are discovered during a home survey, you can choose to ask the seller to fix them at their expense, to reduce the purchase price, or to provide a cash credit at closing to be applied to the cost of repairs. This is where surveyors truly earn their keep, as without the survey your options would be extremely limited and you would likely be responsible for the cost of any repairs necessary before you can live in the home.

It is advisable for all home-buyers to have a survey conducted prior to exchanging. A survey is an investment of time and money, but one that could pay for itself many times over if significant issues are discovered.

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The hidden costs of moving house

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

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Moving houseimage credit: Tammy Strobel

When it comes to moving house, there is an abundance of things we all have to consider in order to make the move go as smoothly as possible.

Even before you sell your house or tell your landlord it’s time to bring in new tenants, the journey has already begun. Having people over for viewings? That’s a good few hours cleaning, at least! Make sure you hide anything you wouldn’t want your mum to see, and ensure there’s nothing to cause you embarrassment on the day. If you’re not exactly OCD prone, perhaps you should hire in an expert. There you go, the costs are adding up already…

When you’ve found somewhere else to go, the stress really starts. Finding a company to move your stuff, taking time off work and buying furniture to fit the new place really takes its toll. If you’re downsizing, you may be looking to sell furniture in which case, you’ll need to consider how to do it. Car boot sales may be easy but, these days, people are looking for something for nothing, as they say. They’re great for getting rid of large amounts of stuff in bulk, but if you’re after the money, meticulous pre-planning using eBay and other selling sites is what you need to be doing.

Of course, if you’re moving somewhere bigger, you’ll need more stuff to fill more rooms. Spare beds, kitchen table – all those luxuries you might never have had the space to hold in the past. Remember, when you buy a house, you buy a home. You want to fill it with things that give it personality, but these things invariably cost, whether or not you’ve snagged yourself a bargain.

There are so many costs to account for when moving, that it’s almost impossible to predict. There are a lot of costs associated with the actual move itself though, that tend to be similar across the board. Deposits are a huge consideration (which are out-pricing so many first time buyers, especially), and then you have to think about things like agency fees, removal vans and everything else.

In all honesty, it’s quite the headache, so you’re probably best just working it all out with this calculator, instead. At the very least it’ll give you a starting point, so why not take the plunge and see just how prepared you really are?

Moving cost calculator on the Everyday Loans website

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