If you’re unhappy with your current home, you’re not alone. Millions of homeowners say their property isn’t right for them and money is holding some back when it comes to finding their dream home.
According to a Zoopla survey, half of Brits say they are currently stuck in a home that isn’t suitable for their needs. Needing more space was the most popular reason for wanting to buy a new property, with 40% saying this. A quarter also said they weren’t happy with the area.
The average Brit stays in a home for 4.4 years after realising it’s no longer right for them. There is a range of reasons why this may be, but finances play a significant role. Some 39% said they struggled to find somewhere right for them within budget and 26% said the cost of moving put them off. Homeowners estimate that they would need to borrow an extra £125,000 on top of their current home to secure their dream property.
If you don’t think your budget can stretch to your dream home, there are some things you can do that could boost the amount you’re able to offer.
1. Get your current home valued
Your first step should be to look at the current value of your home, you might not even have to borrow as much as you think to buy a property that suits your needs.
The research suggested that around half of UK homeowners undervalue their home by an average of £46,000. House prices have boomed in recent years, and you could sell it for more than you think, providing you with enough equity that your dream house is within reach. It’s worth checking what local homes similar to yours have sold for and getting a professional opinion.
2. Increase the value of your home
As well as having your property valued, investing some time and money into your home can deliver a welcome boost when it goes on the market. In some cases, relatively small jobs, like a fresh lick of paint, can make a property much more attractive to potential buyers and can increase the asking price. Make sure you weigh up the potential returns of any project you take on. If you’re hoping to move, you want to focus your efforts on the projects that will deliver a real return on your money.
3. Review your credit report
Your credit report and score are just as important when applying for a mortgage to move home as it is for first time buyers. A lender will use your credit report to assess how likely you are to default on mortgage repayments.
Before you plan to move home, taking a look at your credit report can identify areas to improve that could increase your chances of securing the mortgage you want. This may include registering on the electoral roll, avoiding making credit applications before applying for a mortgage, and fixing any mistakes.
4. Reduce debts where applicable
One of the areas a credit report covers is your credit utilisation. Where possible, reducing or paying off debt can help support your mortgage application. With fewer financial commitments, a lender may offer you more as the mortgage payments will be seen as more affordable.
5. Close unused accounts
If you have accounts that you no longer use, such as credit cards, you should close these down. It can help improve your credit score and reduce the amount of credit you have access to, which can provide lenders with a confidence boost when reviewing your application.
6. Include all your sources of income
Your income plays a crucial role in the amount you can borrow and ensuring your mortgage is affordable. This will usually be based on your salary, but do you have other sources of income that can support your application? Including your income from investments, child support or work bonuses could mean you can borrow enough to reach your goal.
7. Consider extending the loan term
Traditionally, first-time buyers took out a 25-year mortgage and gradually reduced the term. However, you can increase the timeframe you’ll pay a mortgage over and it’s now common to see mortgages extending over 30 or more years. By increasing the term, your monthly repayments will reduce, making it more affordable.
However, extending the term of your mortgage will mean you pay more in interest overall. Your age will also affect how long you can pay your mortgage over. Lenders will usually want the mortgage term to end before you’d reach State Pension age.
8. Increase your deposit with other assets
If you have other assets that could be used to increase your deposit on a new home, it’s worth reviewing if it makes sense to use these to increase your deposit. Taking a lump sum out of your savings or investments could reduce the amount you need to borrow. But keep in mind your other goals as well. Would taking money out of your savings affect your financial security or other long-term plans like retirement?
9. Start overpaying your current mortgage now
If you’re thinking about moving but aren’t quite ready, overpaying your current mortgage now can put you in a better position. Not only will you increase the amount of equity you have in your home, but it can prove you’re able to afford higher mortgage repayments.
10. Contact a mortgage broker
Finally, there are specialist lenders that will approve applications for higher mortgages than traditional lenders or take more sources of income into account. Working with a mortgage broker can help you identify the lenders that are likely to approve your application. If you’re looking to secure a mortgage for your dream home, please contact us.
Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.