Moving up the property ladder...
Mon 07 Mar 2016
Buying your first home is often seen as the biggest hurdle you will face on the property ladder, and, while there are obstacles facing second steppers who want to move onward and upward, there are some definite advantages to not being new to the property game.
Second time buyers have an established track record with lenders, and more favourable credit scores, making it easier to secure a mortgage than it would be the first time around. Also, there are some options that wouldn't be available to those without a property to sell. You could consider buying your next home from a house builder, as several are able to offer part-exchange deals on your current property.
Equity has often been a stumbling block for those looking to move on. One impact of the recession has been homeowners finding that their home has not increased in value as they thought it would. Without this equity to depend on, the price difference between a typical first-time buyer property and a second home can be a difficult jump to make, particularly if you are trying to move from a flat to a home. This has led to people putting off moving in order to build up their savings instead and can be a problem for people who need to move quickly, for example to relocate for a new job or if they are expecting a new addition to the family.
However, the property market in most regions of Wales is on the rise. House prices have been steadily above those recorded this time last year, and the trend looks set to continue, making homeowners more able to depend on their equity again.
The other common obstacle for second steppers is one they may well have faced as first-time buyers: the need to provide a large deposit. It can still be a struggle to save for, especially considering the ongoing expenses of running your own home. One way of easing this burden is to work out exactly how much you can afford to save each month and treat it like any other household bill by setting up a monthly direct debit 'payment' into your savings account.
There are other steps you can take that could help you make that next move sooner. The housing market is subject to a lot of local variation, so be prepared to look at areas around the postcode you have your heart set on, as prices may differ. Be honest about what you need in a second home, and write a list of 'must have' and 'desirable' features. This can help you make decisions if you find you need to compromise. Be prepared and be realistic by working out exactly how much money you will need to have saved, including 'hidden' costs such as agents fees, stamp duty and the cost of moving, and by getting your current home accurately valued. That way, you will know how much you will be able to spend once it has sold.
While there are still issues to be prepared for, it's definitely not all doom and gloom for house hunters the second time around.