Pregnant.. do we buy bigger now or wait until after maternity leave

(35 Posts)
Minniemee Tue 14-Jan-20 20:43:50

Hi there,

Looking for a bit of advice.

My partner and I wanted to buy a bigger house as a step up from our first hone towards spring this year ( have affordability checked this this at the minute on both our wages) but I have found out now I'm actually pregnant.

We are able to live in our current home (a new build small 3 bed) with a young baby no problem, but the space issue will come as soon as they find their feet!

So our dilemma is, are we better to buy before the baby comes and just accept things will be tougher on maternity pay with an extra £400 mortgage, or do we wait until I am back at work full after maternity and then buy- would this quote significantly impact the money we could borrow?

Thanks for your help.

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Mum2b2020 Tue 14-Jan-20 20:51:24

I'm in the same position but we've decided to wait until I go back to work (I'm taking a year off). I've heard that lenders dont hold mat leave against you in terms of the money they're prepared to lend (providing you're going back to work after) but for the house price we'd be increasing to we would struggle to pay the mortgage when I'm on smp for 3 months and on zero pay for 3 months. We decided it wouldnt be worth putting that pressure on ourselves.

Minniemee Tue 14-Jan-20 21:19:31

@Mum2b2020 congrats on your pregnancy! That's the same with us, we could manage the increased mortgage payments but it would be a VERY tight squeeze and some serious budgeting.

So you say that once you have a dependant that doesn't affect the amount of money that a lender is prepared to borrow you? That was our only worry about buying after I go back to work, so in that case we are definitely better holding off like you too!

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Megan2018 Tue 14-Jan-20 21:22:51

Childcare costs will be included in the affordability check, so can drastically impact what they will lend, so if you will be paying for childcare this is a factor.

We luckily got a 5 year fixed rate 1 year before baby born so she’ll be at school when remortgage due. Luck not judgement though!

ivytable Tue 14-Jan-20 21:31:01

Childcare costs and if you/your partner drop ours will affect affordability after mat leave.

TiddleTaddleTat Tue 14-Jan-20 22:20:57

I think the answer to this depends on a lot of factors, if you were only thinking of moving in order to gain more space it's probably easier to wait. A couple and a baby in a small 3 bed is just fine and will be for quite some time. If you know you will need to move more urgently for another reason - location, housing quality, neighbours, whatever - I would try and do it while pregnant if possible. Much easier to look at houses and move house etc pregnant that with a baby/small child - plus the affordability question.
Then again, after you have a child the type of house / location you want might change (mine did!)

Congrats on your pregnancy by the way smile

JoJoSM2 Tue 14-Jan-20 22:44:05

Tbh, a small 3-bed with just one baby would be my preferred option. Being on a tight budget would be unnecessarily stressful.

Once you’ve had the baby, you can see how things go - you might like to go back part time or find that childcare is very pricey etc so it might be worth waiting to see what’s affordable at that point in time.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 14-Jan-20 23:06:53

Wait. Don't do it to yourselves.
Unless you are minted obviously.

Tons of people are made redundant/put at risk while on mat leave. It was extremely stressful in my experience and had we been already very stretched financially I think I would have imploded.

More to the point your priorities and outlook on life also changes a lot. Some people have had on street parking for years and not batted an eyelid and suddenly they are moving just for a car space.

Childcare is a huge issue in some areas and so is catchment where there is some state subsidy of the nursery. That's the only reason as if you know you have to be on the doorstep to be considered for a place. A friend in London visited them all before her due date and sent the applications off the day after she got back from hospital and could put record of an actual child on the application. We were all in awe in my NCT group.

Minniemee Wed 15-Jan-20 02:30:32

The house itself now is absolutely perfect for a young baby - it's warm being a new build, it's in a nice neighbourhood (as nice as places can fully be in a city these days) and it doesn't need much maintenance. The only issue is space once baby gets a little bigger so we didn't think it urgent that we moved until someone mentioned how much less they would lend you once you have a child and our fear we would be priced out of the market?

But I agree with many of you, I really don't want to be stressing hugely about money during Mat leave- if we waited to move we would be between £400/600 better off each month as current mortgage is £660 whereas a mortgage for a new house would be £1100 ish.

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WombatChocolate Wed 15-Jan-20 07:23:24

Lots of people find that once they've had a baby, even though they thought they'd return to work full time, that they really don't want to.

If you delay moving you probably give yourself a bit more flexibility about your return to work. If the mortgage up to the hilt, any choice will probably be removed.

People are often pretty sure they know what they will do/need to do re work, but loads are surprised at how their feelings change and they will sacrifice a lot to stay at home or be at home for a day or two......all only possible if there is some wiggle room in the budget.

Lots of people are making this decision from a 1 bed flat, but you're already in a 3 bed house so are pretty fortunate. Many people will bring up a family to adulthood in a house like yours. You might not want to or need to, but I would think you've definitely got more time ahead of you.

That said, if you plan to have a second baby pretty quickly, it's possible to find the window for getting a bigger mortgage is lost what with lots of childcare etc.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Wed 15-Jan-20 07:30:00

I'd just stick where you are. Make life easier for yourselves - you say it's perfect for a new family.

I genuinely don't understand why it wouldn't be big enough for you once they are a toddler - is there something specifically wrong with the layout which would hinder raising a child In it?

flirtygirl Wed 15-Jan-20 11:12:38

Childcare costs will impact so much that you may not get the chance to move due to affordability requirements.

No way would I take that chance and I would be moving now as long as I can afford it on maternity leave and longterm.

If you think your current house will be okay until school age then stay put, as that is the major bulk timewise of childcare costs. If you need to move before school age then move now.

user1493413286 Wed 15-Jan-20 11:18:56

What about when you return to work? If you go part time would you be able to afford the increased mortgage?
I think that’s a lot of money to have to find when you’re going on maternity leave particularly as you already have a 3 bedroom house. I’d be sticking with the house you’re in and be able to work less.

fligglepige Wed 15-Jan-20 13:04:52

If you're determined to move, move now. Moving house with a baby/toddler in tow is no joke. However if your only reason for moving is that you think you'll need more space with a child I'd actually stay put. You're settled, your mortgage is affordable and you have plenty of room of 3 of you in a 3 bed semi.

I'm not sure now is even the best time for making a major purchase like this with Brexit on the horizon and so on.

mumdone Wed 15-Jan-20 19:36:39

I would move now. If it’s on the cards and you want to. Easier to do then with children. Also you settle and make friends when you go to NCT or baby groups.

June705 Wed 15-Jan-20 23:13:00


I'm on mat leave at the moment. It's an absolute no brainer to stay as financially comfortable as you possibly can while you're not working. So much in your life is about to change and become more difficult (in a totally worth it way!) so don't put any unnecessary pressure on yourselves.

Minniemee Thu 16-Jan-20 08:31:25

Thanks so much for all your advice on here - seems the opinions are pretty much split both ways. It's not that we wouldn't be able to have a toddler in there, it's more that there's not heaps on downstairs space for them to run around etc so that was more our thinking of moving- new builds also aren't known for their storage! However I totally agree that I really don't want the added stress of having only £s left to live on being on mat leave. I earn more than my OH so we are going to take quite a hit already, It's more that we know the banks would lend us the amount we need to but what we want now, but that is very unlikely when they factor in childcare after the baby is born.

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Minniemee Thu 16-Jan-20 08:32:07

To buy* sorry for the terrible spelling!

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3dogsandababy Thu 16-Jan-20 09:06:52

We sold and offered on a house and started the process before we found out I was pregnant. I was thinking about pulling out as our monthly bills were almost half of what we pay now but we decided to carry on with the move and take some cash out of our house when we sold it (that's why our mortgage is a lot more now). But that was the best thing for us. We then used the cash to buy all of the big and expensive baby items (cot, pram etc.) and although I'll be on less money on mat leave, it's just about doable. I'm planning on breastfeeding so hopefully the only extra expense for the first few months will be nappies. We've also moved to a less busy street and a bigger house which feels more baby/toddler friendly.
As we got everything moving before finding out about the pregnancy, we got the mortgage we wanted - I honestly think they wouldn't lend us that amount if we'd said we were having a baby. We're in a fixed term for 2/3 years (I can't remember) but by the time it comes round to reapplying we'll know where we stand with childcare outgoings. But we're already in our forever home so they've got to be more open to what mortgage they can offer than if we were looking to move with childcare costs (if that makes sense).
Just because it was right for us doesn't mean it's right for you though, my husband is the biggest earner so we won't be taking as much of a hit when I go on mat leave as you will...
Good luck with what you decide 😊

JeffreysWorkTrousers Thu 16-Jan-20 09:53:19

Could you run some numbers through a how much will we lend you calculator to see what the amount will be when you are paying childcare?

Do you know how much your childcare would be? What your local area is like for childcare costs?

Also look at the term of your mortgage too, you might be able to extend it to reduce your monthly payments.

Let's face it you are not going to have as much money after your child is born than you do now. Childcare, all the outlay for prams, cots, car seats, clothes, nappies etc and the ongoing clothing, nappies etc. You may end up getting stuck in the house you are in factoring in all the above on an affordability check. Would you be happy to live there for the next X number of years?

Minniemee Thu 16-Jan-20 11:26:41

@JeffreysWorkTrousers that's a great idea, thank you. The situation at the moment that works in our favour is that my OH moved into my house, and sold his, so when I got this mortgage it was solely on my income which obviously affords us quite a bit of wiggle room at the moment now it's 2 incomes in the house and not one- the mortgage I have on this house was £180,00 and we are looking at taking out a mortgage for around £300,000 so I guess quite a big jump.

Maybe speaking to a mortgage advisor might help us decide one way or another- the idea of moving before the baby would also mean we put ourselves more in the middle of both sets of grandparents as it is quite possible a lot of initial childcare when I go back to work will be split with the my mum and mother in law which will help us save a lot. If we didn't move however, this wouldn't be the case.

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Minniemee Thu 16-Jan-20 11:28:14

@JeffreysWorkTrousers but also on the other hand, there is nothing wrong with the house that would mean living there for a few years would be a huge problem except getting much more creative with space!

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TiddleTaddleTat Thu 16-Jan-20 12:43:01

To me that is quite a hike of a mortgage (and much higher than I would feel comfortable with, tbh, but then our incomes aren't probably as high). From what you've said I think staying makes much more sense since it's basically space you are concerned about. No way would I effectively be doubling my debt just for a bit more space. Much better to keep your options open and keep all the stress of moving away for now!

JeffreysWorkTrousers Thu 16-Jan-20 12:44:47

@Minniemee Potentially babies come with a lot of stuff and if you can confine items and play to one room or one area it is better. I say this as a mother of teenagers, so I have been through all the different stages of toys. My first house with a baby had a lounge diner. Nightmare as it meant the whole room was a play free for all.

Next house had a playroom. Banked with storage. Bliss. As does this one.

If you are planning more children, you need to take that into account when they do the mortgage affordability check. When my son went into nursery it was £27 for a full day but that was 2004. I believe my sister now pays £52 for a full day. Hell of a difference cost wise.

The first few years of having a baby cost a lot, then when they start school they have 13 weeks of holidays! Plus possible before and after school care. I am just saying if the worst comes to the worst and you have to fund all of this without family help, it will affect your mortgage affordability calculation.

Also if you are looking to stay or move start looking at the school situation now. It may push you one way or another. We knew we would have to move from the first house when we had Ds1 in due to catchment areas.

And welcome to parenthood grin it is incredible fun I promise but it does come with a lot of boring grown up stuff too. smile

00100001 Thu 16-Jan-20 12:49:43

I'd stay put.

a 3 bedroom house will be plenty big enough for just three of you. My neighbours are a family of five in a smallish 3 bed, they're fine!

Kids and families expand into the space they have. if you have a small place, then you;ll just have less things to fill the space iyswim?

worry about it when it's an actual problem smile

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