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Should we buy/move now or wait?

(8 Posts)
stickygotstuck Mon 03-Oct-16 11:55:48

A bit long, sorry, but can any of you wise Mumsnetters sort my life out for me please? grin

Seriously, we keep dithering and thinking and overthinking about moving and I think we are going mad. What would you do in our situation?

- We live in a nice house in a not-so-nice but OK area. For years we have been wanting to move to a slightly nicer area of the same town.

- DC is in primary now and has 4 more years to go. But moving forward, we'd like DC to go to an oversubscribed secondary which we are in catchment for, but just, so in no way guaranteed a place. Therefore we are considering moving closer to the town where the school is.

- We have been thinking about our financial situation and we think the only way we'll ever be able to stop worrying massively about the future is investing in property. However, we are not financially savvy and quite cowardly when it comes to finance.

The options are:

1. Renting out our house and buying a smaller, not-so-nice house in a nicer area in our town.
2. Renting out our house and buying a smaller/similar house in the secondary school's town.
3. Selling up and trade up by buying the best thing we can afford in our town & worry about secondary school in 3 years' time (with a second possible move then).
4. Staying put for another 3 years and then buying a house in secondary school town.

What makes more sense financially?

We are leaning towards option 4, but that means that our limited savings would just continue to lose value and house prices (presumably) to go up.

lalalonglegs Mon 03-Oct-16 12:13:00

How much do you like the town in which the secondary school is? How much equity do you have in your house? Do you want to be LLs?

If I were you, I'd stay put until nearer the time that you may need to move for secondary schools. Atm, you can sit put and your child will likely get a place at the school you like. However, have you actually visited the school and dug into it at all? I spent a lot of time (think a couple of years) stressing about how we would afford to move to a school for which we were on the extreme edge of catchment - it turned out that once I'd visited it, I really disliked it and under no circumstances would send my child there. I had the same reaction to another (very over-subscribed and highly thought of) school when I visited it a couple of weeks ago for my younger child. Make sure that it is right for your child before you make any life- and bank balance-altering decisions.

stickygotstuck Mon 03-Oct-16 14:14:39

Thank you lala

Funnily enough, I don't like the town very much at all. DH does, but we still prefer the town where we live, that's the issue. It's just more pleasant and more convenient.

As for the school, I have been there often before but not on a school visit as such. It always gave me a good feeling, but granted, we haven't seen it in action. But I know what you mean - we went to see an oversubscribed primary school people raved about and my first thought was there was no way I wanted DC to end up there.

We have quite a bit of equity in our house - mortgage should be paid off within 4-5 years. But it is a relatively 'cheap' house.

Being LLs does not appeal to us (me specially), but I think we could manage. We'd use a good agent to start with.

How about the bit about savings losing their value? Any opinions on that, anybody?

namechangedtoday15 Mon 03-Oct-16 14:22:18

What is the trend with the school catchment? is it shrinking year on year? Are there any plans that you know of to change the catchment / admissions criteria? What is Plan B if you stay put but fall out of catchment - is there another acceptable school close by?

I agree that you need to see the school to make sure it is what you want for your DC.

It also depends on what house prices are doing in your area and how comfortable the jump would be - for us, we wouldn't be able to afford our house now had we not moved 6 years ago given how stupid prices have become, so I'm potentially drawn to moving sooner rather than later as I can't see house prices reducing / steadying out any time soon, so the longer you leave it if you're trading up, the less you'll get with your pot.

stickygotstuck Mon 03-Oct-16 14:36:10

Thanks namechanged.

The catchment will likely stay as it is, the trouble is DC's year is a high birth rate one. I know kids who live nearby who attend that secondary school, but there are fewer kids around than there will be when it's our time IYSWIM. There is another high school which we'd get into by default. It is OK, but a different kettle of fish. The attraction of the other school is that it's bigger, it offers many more actitivies and is demographically more diverse. The local one is smaller and more 'provincial' for want of a better word (we live semi rurally).

The jump would be just about manageable if we keep our house, as we'd need to remortgage that and have the rental income coming in.

Staying put is the easier option, but we are in our mid 40s and feel the need to plan better for the future. House prices here have been rising slowly, and I do agree that the pot will likely just get smaller.

Option 5 would be a straight BTL, which I presume will make the mortgage(s) more expensive. This would mean buying in secondary town now, and rent that out until it's time for DC to go to secondary. Then move there. We may like the town more than we think and decide to stay there, but if not we can always move back (with associated hassle).

namechangedtoday15 Mon 03-Oct-16 15:06:38

Just be careful with the 2 property scenario when applying for schools - it's worth checking which address the school will consider if you own 2 properties one of which is rented.

I also think you need to carefully think about the finances - obviously stamp duty changes make the purchase of a BTL more expensive and I'd want to know that a BTL mortgage is feasible and what rate you'd be paying and the income you're likely to generate. Also think about void periods (potentially paying rent and mortgage without receiving any rent). Lots to think about!

stickygotstuck Mon 03-Oct-16 19:06:44

Sorry, I've been out.

Thanks namechanged.

We already spoke to a financial advisor, but the scenario then was a let-to-buy, we haven't looked at BTL as such with him. Perhaps we should get in touch again (feels awkward as he is not charging us directly). The mortgage should be feasible, but I am scared of all that: empty periods, stamp duty, all the things you mentioned.

We already had all that information for a LTB scenario, but we are not closer to a decision. We want to make the most sensible decision, regardless of our personal preference. But we are not savvy and I don't know to what extent you can trust financial 'experts'. And so the cycle never ends! sad

stickygotstuck Tue 04-Oct-16 10:34:55

Any other opinions on this please? What would other people do in our situation?

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