7 money tips to think about before buying a home

7 money tips to think about before buying a home


It’s the start of a brand new year and many people will be thinking about moving house or trying get on the housing ladder for the first time.

There is growing evidence that young people are delaying house purchase because they are burdened with student loan debt, waiting longer to get married, spending more on renting and some are still living with their parents. Furthermore, some people just don’t see the necessity of ownership, preferring to stay flexible throughout their lives - remember it is not compulsory to buy property. Waiting longer to buy a home means there’s plenty of time to prepare financially if homeownership is on your list of life goals, but some people do silly things while waiting.

Below, Magenta has outlined 7 common money mistakes to avoid before you buy a home, be it your first home or a larger family home:


1. Don’t expect to get a big return.

If someone asks why you want to buy a house and your first answer is something along the lines of “Because I’m wasting money on rent,” or “Because it’s a good investment,” you might not be mentally prepared for all the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Property is rarely a simple way of making money and although there are pockets of significant growth in certain parts of the country, if you take away extra costs plus inflation, you’re not really going to make any money on an average family home. You should think of buying a home, not an investment and we think it is smarter to look for an affordable house that meets non-monetary goals i.e. it’s in a good neighbourhood or it’s a good place to start a family, than it is to worry about whether it will increase in value.


2. Don’t combine too many life events at once.

New beginnings are great, but combining too many life events at once can quickly derail your finances. If you are thinking of getting married, adopting a puppy, having a baby, and buying a house all in the same year – watch out! Each of these comes with unexpected costs that can eat up your savings if you are not careful. Working toward your financial goals takes time and should happen at your personal pace, not at a time when it seems like it should happen or because everyone else is doing it.

3. Don’t use emergency savings for a deposit.

When it comes to buying a home, the more you have in savings, the better. But the money you’re putting away for a deposit should remain completely separate from your emergency fund, which should be 3-9 months of normal expenses set aside in case something goes wrong. No matter how well you plan or how positively you think, there are always things out of your control that can go wrong and having a cash safety net is essential. It is best to keep your house deposit savings somewhere safe and liquid, particularly if you’re  looking to purchase in the next 3 years.

4. Do NOT invest your deposit in the stock market.

Investing the money you’re saving for a deposit might seem like a good idea, especially if you’re trying to reach your goal in a short time  frame. But we do not believe this to be a risk worth taking. You should keep this money in cash, even when interest rates are low – you’re better off to have safety and liquidity and see yourself making progress every month than worrying about stockmarket volatility and lose sleep over your funds. The last thing you want is to build up funds in a stockmarket investment only to see the market crash a few days before you need the money to buy your dream home.

5. Make sure you work consistently.

If you need a mortgage to buy your first home, (which most people do) you will need to provide evidence of your income and a reasonable employment/self-employment history to satisfy any lender. Even if you are thinking of setting up your own business in the future, make sure you get your timing right and either apply for a loan while still fully employed, or wait until you have some evidence of your new business earnings bearing in mind that most lenders will want 3 year’s accounts.

6. Don’t have too much outstanding debt.

When you apply for a mortgage, the interest rate for paying back the loan as well as the amount you can borrow, will depend to some extent on your credit history. If you have significant outstanding debt, this and your credit rating might count against you. As you will be having a mortgage loan for a long time (for most people around 25 years), it makes sense to get the best possible deal. In any event, you don’t really want to load a big mortgage debt on top of other debt, so try to repay as much as you can before applying for your mortgage. You can check your credit rating on Experian before making your application, if you have any concerns.

7. Don’t miscalculate how much you can afford.

Before you start thinking about kitchen appliances and how many bedrooms you need, it’s important to determine how much mortgage you can reasonably afford, especially if interest rates rise in the future. Where rates are very low – this is a real possibility. On top of the mortgage payment, you’ll also have council tax, insurance, utility costs, and ongoing repairs and maintenance, so you need to calculate the real monthly cost of homeownership before committing. Well-intentioned friends and family may push you to spend outside of your comfort zone but the best approach is to do some research and simple calculations based on your own financial situation. As a guide, if you limit your monthly mortgage payment to around 30% of post-tax income, then you’ll have more money to put toward other financial goals and fun purchases, like travel and dining out. If you have student loans or other debt, you may want to limit your mortgage payment even further if you can, such as 20% of post-tax income so you can concentrate on becoming debt free as soon as possible.


If this article affects you or anyone you know, please feel free to contact Magenta on the number below for a friendly chat or visit their website http://magentafp.com/


Julie Lord is CEO of Magenta Financial Planning. Julie is passionate about helping people to determine their life goals and then helping them to organise their finances most efficiently in order to achieve them. She believes in simple explanations of complex issues and long term client relationships.

Tel: 01656 760670

Magenta Financial Planning is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.