Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search says, “More and more of our clients are single buyers. Buying on your own isn’t necessarily more or less difficult than buying as a partnership, but it is different.
“Due to the high cost of getting onto the property ladder, many young singles are tempted to buy a property with a partner before that partnership is long-term and committed. But dissolving property ownership is at least as difficult as dissolving a marriage – so don’t rush into that decision. There is a generation of buyers who stay together because of the property rather than the kids!
“As a young single, your objective as a buyer is to find a property that is as long term as possible – to avoid the high costs of selling and buying. If possible, avoid one bedrooms and bedsits; there’s so much more flexibility to be gained from two bedrooms which allow you to supplement mortgage with rent from a lodger or Airbnb, large enough to accommodate a future partner and / or to start a family.
“Many young singles rely on the bank of Mum and Dad, but be wary of allowing a final say on property choice from the provider of the cash whose advice may be outdated, and who may have their own agenda. Invite their opinion, use them as a sounding board, but be super-clear on expectations as to how much their opinion will count in the final selection. Take plenty of professional advice.
Long term singles:
“Long-term singles can afford to be selfish, and they should enjoy the fact that they don’t have to make compromises.
“Ideally, the more mature bereaved will have pre-thought a plan for when one dies. (A friend of my mother used to say, ‘When one of us dies, I shall go and live in Brighton!’)
“Some will have moved into a smaller house that is more suitable for a singleton while both are still alive. But for those who find themselves widowed unexpectedly, or if plans haven’t been made, the question of property can be very difficult. It’s not possible to short-circuit the emotional journey, and you won’t feel the same in a year, two years, and beyond. So give yourself time to be clear about how and where you want to live.
“Family members will inevitably want their say, and will sometimes have very loud opinions, but they can be bossy and are often wrong! Or at worst they might have their own agenda.
“Widowed buyers are often tempted to move in the direction of family, but that’s at the expense of local friends, contacts and existing lifestyle. Re-creating this in latter years can be challenging, and if family move on you will be left high and dry.
“Future-proof your move, and keep in mind that you don’t want to go through this process again. Think about security and maintenance. But don’t get over-stressed about the fact that a partner may have always mown the lawn and cleared the gutters – these are jobs that you can pay people to do!
“Your existing property will have been chosen during a process of compromise involving two people – you can now choose without taking somebody else’s opinion into consideration. This realisation can be difficult to come to terms with, but once embraced is very liberating!”
Divorced / separated:
Craig Fuller of Stacks Property Search says, “Newly divorced or separated buyers will quickly find that half the value of the marital home will buy less than half the square footage, and this realisation can increase acrimony between separating partners. Try not to let this get in the way of sensible future property decisions. Work together to sell for the best possible price; many sales collapse due to rowing separating vendors.
“Consider the age of any children; if they are coming up to the end of education and dependency, try to buy with the realisation that you will soon be a singleton rather than a parent who needs to provide their offspring with a home.
“If children are much younger, then property choice inevitably needs to be about them. Think laterally before making big decisions; there are many ways of making things work, for example, replacing the family home with one larger one smaller property and moving the parents about rather than the kids; buying one new property, renting another; buying a property with an annexe; creating an annexe at the existing property; or dividing a large property up into two contained units.
“Moving out of the area can be very solitary for one parent. Staying close by means both partners can remain very involved in the children’s lives, so if you’re tempted to move away, don’t rush the decision, consider renting while the dust settles, you may find that your views change.
“Emotions run high after a separation, so the best advice is to make decisions slowly, and to try to remove as much emotion as possible.”
Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk
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