Valentine’s Day is a time that tends to encourage thoughts and discussions of the future – the way relationships are going, and long-term planning. Louise Ridings of Stacks Property Search says, “An inevitable result of these conversations is a focus on property requirements.” So for those who aren’t immersed in a takeaway and a Netflix binge of Sex Education, Stacks Property Search has outlined some top line advice for couples who are planning their property futures.
Louise Ridings says, “Clearly, different issues arise for people at different stages of their life, so prescription is impossible, and the potential for surprises is always on the horizon. But the indisputable fact is that the sooner you start planning property requirements the better. Decisions should be made collaboratively, and well in advance allowing for planning, reassessing, and reducing the need for emergency action.”
“There’s a tendency to think that a property purchase at this stage of life is financially too onerous to consider. But the reality is that 38% of 25-34 year olds have bought their own home (English Housing Survey). So it really is never too early to start planning. It will be an uphill struggle, but the earlier you start talking about it, saving into a LISA, and looking at ways of getting a deposit together, the better. The narrative that today’s younger generation will never be able to buy a property just isn’t true. Start the discussion now!
“For couples who are planning family life, but who haven’t already got a foot on the housing ladder, it’s crunch time. Expensive times are on the horizon. The conversation for those who don’t yet own a property needs to be around whether it’s a sensible aspiration. If not, then it would be wise to think about long term rented, taking into consideration a location that will suit you longer term. For those who are planning to buy a home, talk about what a family-friendly home looks like – buying and selling property gets more and more expensive, so buying short term property should be avoided at all costs.
“Couples in their forties can feel overwhelmed when it comes to property. In an ideal world they’d like to start reducing the mortgage burden, but children tend to get more expensive before they get cheaper! And there can also be a desire to move to a larger house to accommodate children whose space requirements increase as they get older. The conversation should be around whether a move is on the cards, what the ideal property looks like, and whether more space can be gained without increasing the size of the debt.
“The focus for couples in their fifties tends to shift a little, from a total focus on younger dependents to both older and younger generations. It’s often the time of life that parents start to require help. Conversations should be around the future property requirements of both parents and children. While there may be no immediate need for either, there’s an inevitability about the future, and it’s hard to step back entirely from getting involved.
“This is a good time to be talking about downsizing. Large family homes start to look unnecessary as children make their own way in the world, and there are considerable benefits to releasing some equity. There is often a reluctance to move away from a family home, so start the conversation early, try various options on for size, and sound each other out. It’s easy to assume that your partner is thinking along the same lines as you are – don’t make that mistake!
“Seventy is the new sixty. If you’ve already downsized and helped your children with a deposit, you may be feeling footloose and fancy free as your responsibilities diminish. Make the most of it and spend your time planning time to yourselves, but at least consider how you’re going to live in later life when you no longer have a regular income.
“The hardest conversations are those that concern how one or the other of you might live alone. Valentine’s Day may not be the best time for these discussions, so buy the most expensive Champagne you can afford, and don’t talk about property at all!”
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