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1st December, 2017

Home-Buying Advice for Your 30s, 40s, and 50s

Owning property is a big commitment at any age, but each age comes with different requirements. A home that might have been perfect for you in your 30s might be completely wrong for you when you’re in your 50s, and vice versa. From buying your first home to buying a holiday home, our agents share their best property advice whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.

How to Buy Property in Your 30s

In Britain, many people by their first homes when they’re in their thirties. They’ve been working for the better part of a decade, and have probably saved up enough for a deposit. But how do you know what property is right for you?

1. Choose a property with longevity

One of the most important things to do when buying any property is to think long and hard about your needs, and to purchase a home that fulfils those requirements. While a studio flat may be more economical, if you think you’ll want more space in eighteen months, it’s not the right decision. When investing in a property, choose a property that you’ll be happy with for at least five years in the future.

2. Have a list of non-negotiables

Non-negotiables, or aspects of your potential property that you’re not willing to be flexible about, are important for a first-time buyer because they help you focus. Sticking to the non-negotiables can be tough, but it’s ultimately worth it to make sure that you choose the right home.

3. Build up your savings

If you’re in your thirties, you might have already bought a house and remember the stress of saving up for a mortgage. For those thinking of taking the next step into a larger home, you’ll need to provide a deposit, just like the first time, but you’ll also be expected to report on your spending. Mortgage lenders will want to see how you could handle stress (losing a job, etc.) and how you spend your money.

4. Build a relationship with your estate agent

Many estate agents know about properties before they come to the market. If you’re a first-time buyer or a second stepper (selling their first home and buying another), your estate agent is one of your most valuable tools. Build a relationship with your estate agent, they’ll know exactly what you want and can tell you about properties before they appear online.

5. Don’t over-do your doer-upper

After you’ve bought your first (or second) home, you’ll probably want to decorate and improve the property. However, be careful about how much money you invest in your home. While installing marble countertops and state-of-the-art kitchen appliances might be a good investment for your personal use, they’ll add value to your property that might discourage future buyers if the rest of the neighbourhood isn’t as smart.

How to Buy Property in Your 40s

So you’re in your forties, and you’ve probably already bought a house or two. Now is the time to start thinking about your next steps, and what you really want out of a property.

1. Forget about your age and think about your lifestyle

Home-buyers in their forties have drastically different needs. While some buyers may have young children at home, and will be thinking about buying larger houses with big gardens, others will have older children and will quickly be facing an empty nest.

2. Be picky about the location

The land (or neighbourhood) is the only thing you can’t change about a property, so be selective about where you want to live, keeping in mind your lifestyle. You may want to own this home forever, or you may want to sell in a few years, but the value of the property will remain the same, so make sure you buy a home in a good area.

3. Consider a new build carefully

Linda Erasmus of Fine & Country South Africa cautions buyers about purchasing homes that require a lot of renovation. Linda Erasmus says: “a building project will give you a brand-new home, but consider the implications of a new property. An established garden does not come for free, and an established garden might be one of the major benefits of an established property, especially if you have children.”

4. Don’t go too big without thinking of the future

Many buyers in their forties have a bigger budget than they had when they bought their first home, and it can be very tempting to purchase a large house. Linda Erasmus of Fine & Country South Africa adds: “buyers in their forties are still building their families, so keep in mind that children will move out when you are closer to your fifties and sixties. Create a home where you can let out rooms in later for extra income.”

5. Get your documentation in order

Some buyers in their forties will buy their second homes, and need to sell their first home. Treat applying for the next mortgage just as you treated the first mortgage, but be aware that lenders may ask you more specific questions. If you’re buying a home while your existing home is still on the market, Linda Erasmus explains, “if your funds must come from your existing home, please ensure that the documentation is complete. This is a tricky situation and needs good contracts to guide both parties.”

How to Buy Property in your 50s

Once you’re in your fifties, your priorities have probably changed. While a large family home might have appealed to you when you had small children, it may be time to move to something smaller. Alternatively, you might have decided that you want to spend more time away, and wish to invest in a holiday home.

1. Choose a property with longevity

Just as you were looking for a property that can go the distance when you’re in your thirties, choosing a property that you won’t get tired of in your 50s is just as important. While you may think that you want a home in the countryside, think carefully before isolating yourself. Claire Badham of Fine & Country Pembrokeshire says: “You may be mortgage-free and children free, but think ahead a few years. You’ll want to be able to walk to the shops, be close to your grandchildren, and manage your garden.”

2. Consider a holiday home

Not ready to downsize, but keen to purchase new property? A holiday home is a great way to escape, and can add on to your annual income if you choose to let it out. If you don’t want to visit your holiday home for the entire season, or you simply want to supplement the cost, buy a property in a popular holiday spot. You’ll have tourists come during the peak months, and you can enjoy your property in the months when the destination will be less crowded.

3. Think of smaller units

Linda Erasmus cautions older buyers to think of units when they purchase property. She says: “when you buy property, think in smaller units (and more of them). Start thinking of how the property can serve as an investment later in life. It might be wise to sell a seven-bedroom home and purchase two flats, one for yourself and one to rent.” Smaller units may serve you well if you’re ready to give up space.

4. Keep your property manageable

When you’re buying property in your 50s, it’s tempting to overstretch yourself and purchase an extremely large home that may quickly become unmanageable. Instead of choosing a large property, consider upgrading the inside. A state-of-the-art kitchen and luxury décor might be a better way to use your budget than three extra bedrooms.

5. Talk to a professional

As an older property purchaser, you’ll likely have more on your mind than how many bedrooms you want. You might be considering passing on your home to your children and their inheritance. Inheritance and the taxes that come with it are complicated and best explained by an expert who will be able to give the advice that you need. A professional will be able to explain your options, and give advice about what might be most suitable.

Are you considering buying a property? Contact Fine & Country today to find the home of your dreams.

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