As the property market across the country continues to recover and with mortgage interest rates still sitting at historic lows, the ability for many of us to get a foot on the property ladder is now more realistic than it has been for the last six or seven years. However, while it’s great that the dream of being a homeowner is becoming a reality for more and more people, it’s important not to buy something without first taking a step back and looking at what you are committing to.
One of the biggest considerations you will need to think about is whether you want to buy a house or a flat. While one may be favourable to your lifestyle at the moment, if you’re becoming a homeowner, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. These are just a few of the factors you will need to keep in mind before you start seeking out your perfect new home.
Location is, without doubt, the biggest factor to consider when it comes to deciding whether to buy a house or a flat. Depending on where you are buying, it will make sense to buy one or the other, and the differences are quite striking. Inner city trendy areas are awash with flats, and while they may be a bit less generous with their floor space, if you’re living and working in the likes of London, Birmingham or Manchester, buying something right on the doorstep of everything you need will mean a flat is far better than a house. In addition to this, you will have far more chance of selling a flat than a house in cities as the new batch of high flyers comes through.
Outside cities houses are more dominant. Resale is important if you are living in a town, where space is at a premium. Of course you’ll get far more for your money out of the city centre, this is where you should look for larger properties that will stand the test of time, both for yourself and for potential buyers in the future.
The property market is now vastly different to that which existed even as recently as a decade ago. While it used to be reasonably easy to move home and sell up, it’s harder now to find a buyer, and many people will find themselves living in the same property for a number of years. For this reason, you need to consider the future when you’re buying. How will your own situation change down the line? You might be a young professional at the moment, for example, looking to buy with your partner, and for that reason a small flat might be the ideal purchase for you. But how will it suit in five years time?
If you’re intending to start a family it’s usually better to buy a house rather than a flat. It might seem too big for you at the moment, but your family can always grow into it, and it will mean not having to rely on the property market remaining strong or repeatedly moving further down the line.
Another consideration you need to make is the potential of your own property on two levels. Many of us will make the mistake of living in the here and now, but you need to be aware of the future. Invariably, you will come to sell your property further down the line, and you need to think about its potential for making you a profit. Both houses and flats are popular for different reasons, but which would you get the best return on?
Buy-to-let investors will always be on the lookout for flats, so your chance of a quick sale should be reasonably high as long as the demand in the residential letting sector remains strong. On the other hand, a house might spend a little longer on the market, but these are more likely to be bought by a family looking to make it their own home, so your potential for profit (market allowing) will be much higher.
It’s not just resale potential that you should consider. Situations change, if your home can change to suit these new circumstances then it’s ideal. If you buy a flat, the potential for renovation is far less than if you buy a house. In the latter, you might look to add a conservatory, an extra bathroom or bedroom, or even a garage, all of which can help your house adapt to your lifestyle – as long as you have the space and requisite planning permission.
Remember, there’s no need to move if you can improve.