WWYD 1 bed or 2?(10 Posts)
So I'm a FTB in the south East with a tentative budget of 150k. In a perfect world I would like a 2 bed house or flat with a garden but that means I'm looking at the top end of my budget. There are also dodgy areas of town which are obviously cheaper but I don't want to live there alone but that's where all the houses are. There is a big ish 1 bedroom garden flat on at the moment which is extremely close to town so I wouldn't need to use my car for work (saving money!). I haven't been to see it yet.
So my dilemma is that I'm in a strong buying position at the moment but there's just nothing on the market. I don't know when I would have this much deposit again so I feel like I should buy the best I can afford. The 1 bed flat would be at least £100 less a month on the mortgage and would mean I would have more money to enjoy life and less worries...if i wanted to leave my job it would mean I could take a less well paying one if I wanted (not on the cards but you never know).
Any advice? WWYD?
I think I'd be looking to future proof somewhat. It might be 100 quid a month more now but what when interest rates rise? Will you be able to afford 2 beds then?
One way to futureproof would be to stretch to that 2nd bedroom and be prepared to take in a lodger if you have to. But only if it's not too much more of a stretch. And if you'd never take in a lodger, think carefully about repayments when interest rates go up and consider paying more for a fixed rate.
How long have you been looking? That flexibility to wait that you have now is a precious commodity - if you move on from your first owned flat you'll have to juggle buying and selling. You also don't want to get caught in negative equity in a panic-bought over-priced flat that doesn't suit your needs. So don't jump too soon, you do have some time on your side.
I think one of the things we learned from the 'what do you use your spare room for?' thread is that many people have a spare room they actually have no, or only very occasional use, for. It becomes a dumping ground which you have no impetus to sort out because it is out of sight.
If you have a specific reason to have an extra room: home working, regular guests to stay, planning a family etc then obviously you need to have it.
For occasional guests you could pay for guests to stay in a hotel when they visit for less than the extra on one monthly payment.
And future affordability is an issue as well, as Cressandra notes.
If you don't need it, don't get it. You won't be tied to larger payments, you have a cushion if circumstances changes, and in the meantime you can enjoy the extra cash (or save it: have you got anything aside for maintenance of your new home?)
Certainly prioritise other concerns, such as location, over number of rooms.
Personally, if I were living alone, I would prefer a one bedroom flat in a nice area over a two bedroom flat in a dodgy area. And being a short walk from work would be ideal.
My only concern would be that a one bedroom might be harder to sell on in the future, as so many people seem to look for that extra room - even as FTBs. However, being a nicer area may well negate that worry - and, to be honest, the SE is a wildly different housing market to the sleepy part of the Midlands I have experience of!
If i was in your shoes I would go for the one bedroom. From your post you seem most excited by it. The not travelling far to work and being in a nice safe area when alone would swing it for me. When me and dh lived in a flat with no kids we never used the second bedroom we were always in the living room to be honest.
We've just bought out first home and it's 3 bedrooms we have two children in a roughish area of town. We simply couldn't afford to live in a more affluent area with only one of us working. Thing is we have all decent room sizes and bedrooms which I feel is imperative when you have a family. We only live a short walk from an outstanding primary even if the area and people around aren't exactly the nicest of people.
I'd probably go for the one-bedroom as I would consider being able to extend into the garden a way of future-proofing it (check that this is a possibility - is it share of freehold or would you have to deal with a freeholder?). On top of that, living with money-to-spare makes a huge difference to one's quality of life and not having to commute is a wonderful benefit as well so the one-bedroom place seems a no-brainer.
If the 1 bed could be extended then that one but generally always say stretch to a 2 bed. A friend of mine was stuck in a one bed flat with a 4 year old as they couldn't sell (and this was London, about 6 years ago!)
Thanks for your responses. The 1 bed is a basement flat so no scope to extend. The second bedroom was for storage and also if I get lonely I would want to possibly look for a lodger...I'm not used to living on my own which was another reason to have 2 beds
I'd go for the 1 bedroom place and save that extra £100 each month in a no access type of fund for your next move or career change.
£100 a month will be needed for repairs, replacing the boiler/washing machine/fridge etc. owning costs more in running the flat so while you may save it you will need it as contingency fund for repairs etc.
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