Buying a property can be equally as difficult as it is exciting, especially if it’s your first. Often the reality of finding that ideal property can look very different from what’s in your scrapbooks. This doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless pursuit.
Everyone’s perfect property is out there. Perhaps it’s not their first, but it can certainly be the next one or the one after that.
It’s smart to compromise when buying a home. As frustrating as it may seem, it’s actually extremely normal to set aside elements of our dream house when buying. In 2019, one in five home buyers were making compromises simply around location. As of the end of 2022, almost nine out of ten buyers compromised on a number of things.
A compromise doesn’t mean settling on a property with a hole in the roof and a missing front door. There are smaller, more manageable things that can be put on the backburner for the time being. Some of them may also be fixable through some DIY care.
Let’s look at what you can potentially meet halfway on, and also what you should never compromise on.
What can you compromise on?
So, you’re looking for a property and it’s time to be realistic about it. Are some of the must-haves actually just nice-to-haves? It’s totally up to you and here’s a list of things other people have compromised to get you thinking:
Perhaps your hope was to have a large property, but the real estate in the area you’ve been keeping an eye on doesn’t seem to sell bigger homes within your budget. It may be that in this instance, you’ll have to lower your expectations of the home’s size.
However, if you’re open to expanding your preference for location, buying a house that's bigger could be within your scope.
Sometimes location is non-negotiable. If you have caring responsibilities for a family member, you work nearby, or you don’t drive, location can be a vital factor when choosing your next home. But if you can spread your net further when looking for a property, compromising on location can dramatically decrease property prices.
Often, you can simply find a property that’s the same calibre as the one you want but only a few streets further out than your preferred location. If that home is outside of a school catchment area or is a longer walk from local amenities, it could be in your budget.
This is situation dependent, of course. If you have children and want them to get into a certain good school in a certain catchment area, then this compromise may not be for you.
Properties finished to a high standard are, of course, going to be priced up over properties with some more wear and tear. Ideally, you would like to buy a ready-to-go home. But if there are teething problems that you can fix yourself or call a fixer upper for, it might be worth compromising.
Maybe it’s cracks in the wall, or maybe it’s a bigger and deeper issue. A property with small aesthetic pitfalls will be cheaper. This will make it more likely to sit within your budget, and it’ll be fixable.
Your partner's point of view might be different from your own. If your partner loves the city but you don't, things can get complicated. In the long term, you may both wish to live in the country. It can be hard to compromise in a relationship, but there are places with happy mediums between the city and countryside.
Discuss this with your partner or whoever you're buying with and reach an agreement with a healthy compromise.
What should you not compromise on?
The number of bedrooms you need in your home should never be negotiated. If you have children or you’re planning on growing your family, having space for them is a priority.
Whether you’re buying a property alone or with a partner, you may have set plans for your lives. Perhaps the reasons are personal or professional. Maybe it’s about where you want your children educated, or you simply want certain views and amenities close by. These goals, whatever they may be, will play a key role in where you want to live.
If you want to move to the country, move to the country. If you want to live in the city, you should live in the city. Don’t compromise on this. Depending on your budget, it may take longer to find a property, but there are multiple schemes that can give you a helping hand.
If you are not a driver or live in a place where public transport is extremely reliable, looking for a property without parking can be a perfectly simple compromise when buying.
However, if you need a car, a parking space should be one of your non-negotiables. It’s true that parking spaces can bring extra expense to properties. On average, a home can have 5% added onto its sale price if it has parking access for residents.
If a property doesn’t have parking, there’s the option of getting an assessment done by your local council for a dropped kerb. If you can get an assessment, it’ll cost between £50-£400. Without a dropped kerb, it’s illegal to park on a pavement or verge.
What you want to compromise on and what you don’t want to compromise on is totally up to you. These points are just advisory. Some of the compromises might be out of the question for you, and some of the non-negotiables might actually be quite negotiable.
If you’re struggling to meet the budget you’d like for your perfect home, we recommend speaking with an expert mortgage advisor, who can help you find the right mortgage for you.