Getting onto the property ladder isn’t as easy as it was back some thirty or forty years ago. With house prices at an all-time high and the cost of living on the rise, the average wage isn’t enough for many to purchase a home.
However, while it may be somewhat impossible for some, there’s still an opportunity to get on the ladder for others. Being knowledgeable about what needs to be done to reduce outgoings and save money, can all help with property investment.
If you’re someone who is looking to purchase a property this year or you’ve got hopes to do so in the near future, then this guide will help you. Here are ten tips for getting onto the property ladder in 2023.
1. Start off by paying off any outstanding debts.
First and foremost, what are your debts? Do you have a credit card that’s maxed out? Perhaps you’ve got some items on finance that you’ve been paying a bit of interest on each month. Whatever the case, where there’s debt, it needs to be paid off as soon as possible.
The reason for this is that any debt is going to go against how much you’re able to borrow. When you’re applying for mortgages with lenders, they’re going to ask what other expenditures you’re committed to, which often include paying back any debt.
The less debt you have, the better. If you’re wanting to give yourself the best chance of being successful with a property purchase this year, pay off any and all remaining debt. This is going to stretch and maximize your borrowing power.
The same goes for anyone who you’re perhaps buying with too. If you’ve got a partner or spouse that also has debt accrued in their name, then it’s good to get this paid off quickly too.
2. Look at opportunities for improving finances within your job.
A big influence on your chances of getting a property is your income as a household. Whether you’re looking to buy alone or with a spouse/partner, the overall income will impact how much or how little you can borrow from the lender. Improving your finances is something that’s worth exploring.
Now is the time to ask for that raise that you’ve been working towards or to go for that promotion you’ve been put forward for. Any opportunity to raise your income prior to applying for a mortgage is going to help greatly.
It may be worth exploring side hustles or part-time jobs that you can take on which will help improve the amount you save as a deposit. If you’re able to do self-employment work on the side of your full-time job, it could add to the potential borrowing power you have.
Of course, this isn’t applicable to everyone or possible for everyone to do, but it’s something worth exploring.
3. Improve your credit score.
The eligibility of your application to borrow money is often influenced by your credit score or report. The better that score, the more opportunities you’ll have from lenders who are willing to lend the money.
Improving your credit score can be done in a variety of ways. These include:
- Pay off any credit card debt on time and don’t miss payments.
- Prove where you live.
- Limit applying for any new credit/finance accounts.
- Increase existing credit limits.
- Don’t live beyond your means.
Any efforts made to improve your credit score or reports are going to help greatly. The main takeaway from this is that you want to keep your debt low but your borrowing high. The more you can borrow and pay back, the better it will be for your credit score.
4. Start saving as early as possible for a deposit.
The deposit for your home is going to be the most costly and apart from solicitors fees and any taxes that need paying, the bulk of it will go towards the down payment on the property.
When it comes to the down payment needed, it often depends on the price of the property which is influenced by the area in which you’re looking.
Ideally, you need a big deposit. That involves saving money and you want to start immediately. If you’ve always been the saving type – good for you as this puts you at an advantage. If you’re not a good saver, then this is something that needs fixing if you want to stand a chance.
Start by saving minimal amounts or as much as you can possibly afford without making it uncomfortable to live. Make sacrifices where you can to maximize the amount of money you can set aside each month.
What you save each month is highly dependent on your own financial circumstances and spending habits. Everyone is different – one person may save $100 a month, and others may be able to save $500 a month. Whatever you can save, it’s all contributing towards getting on the property ladder.
5. Look for help to buy schemes and financial opportunities for first-time buyers.
This is dependent on where you live and what’s available to you from local government resources. Some countries have it better than others, so it’s dependent on what you can get your hands on.
Certain countries will have help to buy schemes or financial opportunities that have been created specifically for those looking to buy their first property.
If this does seem to be an opportunity that’s available where you are based, then grab hold of it with both hands. This shared ownership calculator is one way to figure out what financial opportunities are available for yourself as a buyer.
6. Get advice from professionals.
Buying a home isn’t as simple as buying a new outfit or replacing your car with a newer model. This for many is a property that will likely be the place where many memories are made. It’s therefore a purchase that shouldn’t be made haphazardly or with very little knowledge of what you’re doing.
There are plenty of property and financial professionals who will be able to offer expert advice on how to go about buying a home. Seeking out professional guidance isn’t something new and many property buyers will go down this path.
7. Have all your financial paperwork and evidence in place prior to buying.
Before going down the route of buying property, you want to gather all of your financial paperwork together. This will help greatly when it comes to the process and any delays that are often encountered in the timeline.
Delays can cause problems and in some cases, may see property purchases fall through. By having all of your documents available and ready for the relevant parties and the lender, it speeds everything up.
From identification documents to your bank statements, understand what it is you need so that you’re ready for when they’re required.
8. Research the housing market in detail.
There’s a lot out there on the property market to discover and each area of the country you’re looking at offers its individual perks. It’s important to research the housing market in detail to understand what’s out there and what is within your range as affordable.
After all, you don’t want to go buy a property that’s not financially possible to afford or makes the cost of living too tight from one paycheck to the next.
Look at how well the property market is doing too when it comes to the buyer’s position. Sometimes, it’s a buyer’s market and other times it can be a seller’s market. You want to buy when it’s in your favor, so it could be a case of waiting until the right time.
9. Go to as many viewings as possible and ask questions.
When you’re at the stage of viewing properties, go to as many as possible. Not only that but you want to ask plenty of questions. Asking questions will help you get a full picture of the property you’re looking at, as well as any potential downsides to it.
If you’re unsure of something, don’t be afraid to ask. You’re only getting more clarity, which benefits you as a buyer. There are going to be many ups and downs when it comes to the viewings. You don’t want to buy the first property you fall for either. As this is a first-time buying opportunity. You want to see as much of the market as possible before making a decision.
10. Get any relevant checks done before signing on the dotted line.
Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to get any relevant building checks done. It’s going to help uncover any potential, underlying issues that weren’t spotted or mentioned during your viewings. Building surveys should be something you organize ahead of time and before signing over both finances and commitment to the lender.
Getting onto the property ladder is an exciting venture and despite the challenges, is a reality for many. With that being said, make sure to utilize all of the tips above to help you with your own property journey for 2023 and beyond.