One of the first things couples want to do after getting married is get a place of their own. Aside from the financial benefits of paying into something you can eventually own, buying a house means you can finally put your own stamp on a place – you’re not beholden to landlords (or parents!) over matters of décor, so you’ll be free to create that games room you’ve always dreamed of – at least until babies come along…
When looking for a house together, it’s vital to balance your needs with your partner’s. Ideally you’ll both be reasonably close to your workplaces and the local area will have facilities that you both enjoy, but it can be hard to find a place that suits you both perfectly! Joint house hunting always involves making compromises – it’s no good settling on a place that only one of you is excited about.
Of course, the first step towards owning a property together is to save for a deposit. It’s best to build up the biggest deposit you can afford, as this makes your mortgage cheaper in the long run and means you’ll qualify for larger amounts, allowing you to get a more expensive property. Even if it means putting your plans on hold for a year or two, it’s worth putting together at least 20 per cent of the asking price of your property if you can – you’ll ultimately get a better deal on variable or fixed rate mortgages.
A joint savings account is a good way to get started – as long as you both pay in regularly, you should be able to build up your deposit much more quickly than if you’d saved individually. However, don’t forget to make full use of your Isa allowances too: this is the most tax-efficient way to save, and will usually beat the interest paid on any other type of savings account. You should only look at a joint account after you’ve both maxed out your Isa allowances.
Don’t forget that it’s not just a deposit you’re saving towards – there’s a whole host of other costs associated with buying a house, from surveyors’ reports to land registry fees. Once you’ve settled on your dream property, a good estate agent should walk you through all the fees involved so there are no nasty surprises. You will also probably need some extra cash for redecorating and so on, but prioritize the main costs first!