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Many people dream of owning their own home, but with such strict lending criteria and rising house prices it can be hard to secure a mortgage or even raise the deposit you need to get your foot on the property ladder. Buying and owning your own home isn’t right for everyone so before making this huge commitment it’s a good idea to work out if buying is right for you. Obviously if your income or circumstances mean that you aren’t able to afford buying a house then that decision is out of your hands, but if you have a good steady income, a deposit saved and are in a good position to buy you may feel that buying just isn’t right for you anyway.

There are advantages to owning your own home. Firstly it gives you increased security, as you own the property and are not subject to a landlord or other responsibilities as a tenant. So you can make any changes you wish to, providing you have planning permission for any structural changes but essentially you at least have the freedom of choice unlike renting. And if you do decide to make any changes to your property then you will see the benefit of any increase in value if your sell your house quickly. Ultimately you don’t have to answer to a landlord or be at risk of them making you move out or waiting for them to deal with repairs etc. There are also emotional benefits to owning your own home as most people who own their property are significantly happier.

When the market is right, you can also end up saving money buying rather than renting, and you can be in better control of your money with certain types of mortgages without being at risk of sudden rental increases. However you need to be aware of other costs and responsibilities of owning your own property such as maintenance and repairs, bills and insurances that you wouldn’t normally need to pay for when renting. You could potentially make money owning your own home if property prices increase, so it is more of an investment than simply giving money away to a landlord at the end of every month so he can pay his mortgage. You can even use your home as an investment for later in life by releasing the capital on your home.

Purchasing a property is a large commitment though and probably one of the biggest costs you’ll ever have to pay out. You are more tied down to owning your property, so you can’t move as easily if you needed to, or get a quick home sale, whether it be due to a change of job, family commitments or simply wanting to travel. If you do decide to buy a house, you will need to be in a strong position before making such a large financial commitment to ensure you are not at risk of losing your home in the future due to a sudden change in circumstances.

by Cormac Henderson

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