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Did you buy the biggest/best property you could afford?

(51 Posts)
Heatherbell1978 Sat 22-Nov-14 19:11:01

Just wondering....DH and I will be looking to sell my flat and buy a house in Edinburgh next year. We both have good jobs and although I'm on mat leave at the moment, our combined full time salaries are around £95k. On this we could borrow between £350k and £400k according to mortgage calculators. We probably have around £55k equity in my flat so the size of the deposit is more of a challenge for us than the amount we could borrow. Our ideal home in a nice area, good schools etc, would be upwards of £300k, which we probably could get a mortgage for. But.....I just can't get my head around paying so much of our net income on the mortgage payments. We have a few debts (car and loan) and will have childcare costs in the future too so this needs to get factored in too.

We're used to being able to save every month, go on a couple of hols each year and generally not worry too much about money as I don't have a huge mortgage on the flat (£600 p/m) so part of me thinks we should just move away from the city, buy a cheaper house and still have that financial comfort...but I'm so torn as I would also like the nice house in the city. I have a few friends that I guess spend a lot of their net income on their mortgage, more than me, but it's just not something you ask. So what did you do?

treaclesoda Sat 22-Nov-14 19:21:16

No. DH and I had been in the position in the past of one of us being made redundant,with no notice, no redundancy money (company went under). We were very young at the time and had no safety net of savings because we hadn't had time to build one up. It has left us very cautious with borrowing for the roof over our heads, because you don't know what is round the corner and it's hard to understand how stressful it is to be working one day and have not a penny of income the next. The banks would probably lend us about double the amount that we are comfortable with borrowing. I would dearly love to move to a bigger house, and in theory we could afford it, but in reality I'm much too afraid to do so.

LynetteScavo Sat 22-Nov-14 19:29:28

Yes, but I feel we have to, as we have three DC. If we'd stopped at one DC I would happily have stayed in our first home and had nicer cars and more holidays. If we did earn more, we would spend it on other things before a bigger house.

utahforever Sat 22-Nov-14 19:31:15

We bought a house that was suitable for our current and future needs, but that was not excessive - could afford on one salary. We also moved slightly more rural to keep the costs down. Like you, we like to save, go on holiday and enjoy being able to go out when we want.

Good luck on your choice smile

Mouthfulofquiz Sat 22-Nov-14 19:33:24

We have... But plan to never move again, all being well. We fell in total love with the house and it's our passion, so we don't regret it. I sometimes feel a bit iffy about having a 320k mortgage but at least I won't be paying bastard stamp duty and moving costs again!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 22-Nov-14 19:35:07

I bought the best one I could afford in the smarter end of town near the good schools etc. It's a 3 bed semi and I remember seeing a four bed detached in a different postcode for the same money at the time. Has proved a really good decision.

Lindy2 Sat 22-Nov-14 19:38:44

No, we bought within what we felt was affordable to us which was less than what we could borrow. We wanted to allow for a fact both out earnings were very variable and we were planning to have children.
We saved money (until we had the children ) and then built a big extension. (3 storey side extension pretty much doubling the size of the house ). It gave us the size and house we wanted but in affordable steps. My suggestion would be to look for a house with the potential to extend and do things in steps.

Bowlersarm Sat 22-Nov-14 19:45:33

Yes we did. We love it here. But it was only the right decision (with hindsight) because interest rates fell to rock bottom, which we weren't to know was going to happen. Without that, we wouldn't have been able to afford to stay here.

NancyJones Sat 22-Nov-14 19:46:01

Yes but this was pre 2007/8 and there was the (stupid) assumption that salaries and house prices would carry on rising so everyone took the view of having a couple of tight years then things easing. It was also very important to DH to have a large house in a good area as he grew up dirt poor. But we were lucky as we based it on his salary only as it's high so I knew things would ease when I returned to work. But we also have 4 kids so needed enough space to grow.
I think it's sensible not to over stretch yourself otherwise what enjoyment do you have in life if you're just working to pay a mortgage? But you also need to think about moving costs inc stamp duty and whether staying smaller will mean you're forced to move again in 2 or 3 yrs. also need to look at your job prospects. Are you both professionally qualified or public sector with a standard pay rise each year or stepped progression which is almost guaranteed? If I knew it would get easier after a couple if years, fine but if it could potentially stay tight for the next 20yrs then no. But don't move out away from all infrastructure when you have small kids, it may be cheaper but it will drive you round the bend if you're use to city living and all that comes with it.

BackforGood Sat 22-Nov-14 19:49:28

Yes.
Moving is incredibly stressful, and also expensive. I'd rather do it in one go in the first place.
That said, I've always worked in a pretty secure career - not likely to be made redundant / not dependent on the economy / not linked to sales or anything less predictable... I suppose I would be more cautious in a different profession.
That said, even if you were redundant later on, at least this way you'd have an asset to sell if the worst came to the worst. You can never recoup money spent on holidays / consumables or even commuting (if you move out).
Personally, I think not having a long commute adds a lot of quality time to your day/week/year. Don't forget to factor that in.
Of course, it does depend on your plans for the next 5 - 10 years in terms of growing your family / going back to work or not / etc.

mamalovebird Sat 22-Nov-14 19:52:21

We bought the best house we could knowing that we could still afford it if one of us lost our job. We both work in industries that suffered in the recession and we both kept our jobs but know people not so lucky.

mamalovebird Sat 22-Nov-14 19:53:56

Meant to add. We also chose a house that had scope to build in the future when we need it. I'd rather build than move again.

Gruntbaby Sat 22-Nov-14 19:56:23

No, we borrowed massively less than we were offered or could afford - to the surprise of the mortgage brokers. We were fortunate to have a lot of help from parents. But we found a house we really liked with everything we needed and bought it.

wonkylegs Sat 22-Nov-14 19:58:21

No we didn't but we did look with a larger budget than we used. We have bought a house for at least the next 20 years and said that if we found somewhere that was right we would go up to £800k which would have been hard for a few years but doable. In the end we found somewhere that ticked the right boxes for £550k and we've spent £120k doing it up. It's much more comfortable every month too.
We have a very secure income though & factored in fluctuating rates, savings etc when we came up with our figures. We are also very good at sticking to budgets and have no debt bar my student loan.

Badvocinapeartree Sat 22-Nov-14 19:59:17

Yes.
We really dont want to move again!
So it's a 3/4 bed detached with off road parking. We think it will grow with the dc...2 reception rooms and conservatory.
Nice back garden.
Quiet area where houses sell quickly.
(We only got this because we were renting at the time, and we were the first to view it - it had only been on rightmove a few hours when we viewed it)
It was right at the top,of what we could afford.
Because we bought in 2011 and have spent money on it it is now "worth" £40k more than we paid for it!

Spindelina Sat 22-Nov-14 20:15:25

We bought our forever home. We might just about have afforded a similar one in good condition, but we saved loads of initial outlay by buying a wreck, which we are gradually doing up when we have the time and money spare.

RudyMentary Sat 22-Nov-14 20:18:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnythingNotEverything Sat 22-Nov-14 20:20:10

No. We have a similar family income to you, and bought at £250k. It isn't our forever home, but we hoped to have a couple of babies and for me not to be forced back to work because of the bills.

I'm not pregnant with baby no2 and will probably take a career break. In really pleased we didn't buy a more expensive house.

We do however have room to extend and could stay here long term. We probably won't, as well probably move to a nicer area, but we have all the house and garden we need.

Cocolate Sat 22-Nov-14 20:26:33

Yes, we did - actually we built but far bigger than we needed. Our mortgage is below national average (somehow this is consoling to me!) but it takes up all our money so we want to sell this house and buy somewhere smaller (at least half the size). We dream of a smaller house to clean/maintain/heat and having money left over at the end of the month to save/buy clothes/go on holiday and so on. I know we were thinking well we'll never add on to it and we might as well add on ten inches here 12 inches there but we don't live in half the house and I could shake the me of ten years ago who had dreamed for years of living in a bigger house and thought we needed all this space!!

Boysandme Sat 22-Nov-14 20:57:30

No, we bought at a level that was comfortable with one salary. Fortunately we both earn decent money, so we did manage to get a 4 bed house. We have since built a large extension and it is now perfect for U.S. and dc.

We would never have been comfortable going for the maximum the bank would have given which was almost double what we actually took (this was 12 years ago).

I like the security of knowing we could now move to a smaller house mortgage free if something happened to us. If we'd gone for a massive mortgage that wouldn't be the case.

Noggie Sat 22-Nov-14 21:07:07

We went for just about our max and can't save as a result but we love our house! When interest rates go up we will be in trouble confused

Vanillepudding Sat 22-Nov-14 21:30:52

Yes. Biggest and most run down house we could afford in the best post code.

Slowly doing it up, it took £80k to make it inhabitable, and is worth £180k more than we bought it for now.

It ticks all the obvious boxes (transport, schools, local shops) and is our forever house.

Like badvoc we only got it because we were renting at the time it went on the market. We had been looking at houses in our area for 18 months.

I agree with pp who said to look at your career prospects. I would not max
out on mortgage if I then could not afford any night outs etc.

Our house is a semi, and at the time we bought we could have had a detached in a different post code. I am so glad we bought this house! The location is perfect for us.

IsabellaofFrance Sat 22-Nov-14 21:34:32

Yes and no.

We could have got a bigger mortgage, but instead we chose the best house in the price range we could comfortably afford.

We also chose one with plenty of scope to extend and have already had 1 extension, with a loft conversion planned for early in the new year.

OutDamnSpot Sat 22-Nov-14 21:37:29

Have bought three times now. Only this last time I have we maxed out on the mortgage.

If we had done it on either of the other two purchases, particularly the first one, we probably would have either made one less move and saved all the associated costs and / or have been able to buy this one with a smaller mortgage as moving would have gained more equity.

We have finally bought our forever home so the mortgage feels OK but I still regret not pushing it earlier when we had more disposable income and you got more property for your money.

photocop Sat 22-Nov-14 21:44:55

We stretched ourselves a lot at the time and bought a wreck that we slowly renovated. It has room to extend and that is a future project.

It is our forever home so we felt if it took us ten years to renovate then that would be ok. The location was perfect even though the house itself was a bit of a soulless box. In our opinion it's a lovely home now and we never plan to move.

In the end we had some unexpected pay rises and we renovated faster than we anticipated. We overpaid on the mortgage every opportunity we had, we prioritised that over holidays, meals out, new car etc. Six years on it was the best decision we ever made BUT we were lucky with our income increasing not falling AND interest rates being so low.

We are naturally frugal, very organised with money and had the shared goal of paying off the house asap. Eating out remains an occasional treat but our house gives us lots of pleasure and the knowledge that we'll be mortgage-free before our children go to university gives us peace of mind. We have never had any other debts than the mortgage.

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