All things considered, it’s hardly a surprise that mortgage affordability is becoming a growing concern. Some of the factors behind it are largely outside the control of private individuals.
Even so, there are still plenty of steps individuals can take to ensure that they get and manage the mortgage they need. Here are some points to consider.
Choose your location carefully
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of location when buying property. If you want to make the most of your budget, then it makes sense to look for affordable areas on an upward trend. Keep in mind that politicians of all persuasions do seem to be committed to regenerating the UK’s more neglected areas. It could therefore be worth investigating areas you might previously have considered undesirable to see how they are now.
You could also look at areas that are benefitting or due to benefit from changes. For example, look for areas that are set to receive infrastructure boosts such as better transport and/or internet. On the flip side, if you believe that you could work remotely or at least hybrid-work over the long term, you could look at areas with limited transport links.
Look for a property with the potential to expand
Property with obvious potential for expansion does tend to be more expensive than a property without it. On the other hand, it also tends to be more affordable than a property that has already been expanded. This means that it can be a good compromise option for people who want to buy a lower-cost property now but still keep their future options open.
Be prepared to think creatively about the options for expansion. For example, if your local area has lots of pubs and cafes, you might be able to use one of them as a remote office. That would have an ongoing cost but could allow you to buy a smaller property at a lower upfront cost.
Consider buying property in need of improvement
You need to be careful about biting off more than you can chew. Major renovations are generally best left to the professionals. If, however, a house just needs a bit of work done, and the price reflects this, it could well be worth a look.
Manage your finances actively
At a minimum, keep a reasonably close watch on your credit record. Brutal as this may sound this can be an early indicator that you have been the victim of identity theft. On a less unpleasant note, genuine mistakes can happen. When they do, you want them corrected as soon as possible.
Aim to minimise your expenses. In particular, think carefully about where it pays to commit and where you want to maximise flexibility.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re sure you’re going to need a product or service over the long term, then it often pays to commit to a long-term contract. If you’re not, then it’s generally better to go for flexibility, even if it is a bit more expensive. With mobile phones specifically, remember that handsets can be bought separately from contracts. This is often the way to get the best deal on both.
On the flip side, also do whatever you can to increase your net worth, particularly your income. Even free resources can help you to develop your skills and make you more attractive to employers. Many of these are available on the public internet. You could also try your local library.
Get the right mortgage deal
If you just go by the adverts you see, you might be left with the impression that the UK only has about a dozen or so mortgage lenders. You might also be left with the impression that all of their products were pretty much the same.
In reality, the UK has an extensive mortgage market with a huge number of different products to choose from. This extensive range means that it’s very likely there is at least one product out there that is the right match for your needs (and even wants). You may, however, struggle to find it by yourself. That’s why it makes sense to use a mortgage broker. It’s worth noting of course, that mortgage brokers may be limited to working with lenders approved by their financial services network.
For help and advice, please get in touch. We have access to a comprehensive range of first charge regulated mortgage contracts from over 65 lenders across the market.p