When should you stop renting and buy?
Filed under: Mortgages
A few weeks ago I wrote about finding the "right" price of a property and how sellers can get the best price when selling.
Mortgage Advice & Info
Price increases are not the main thing
I've touched upon this subject in articles before, trying to get the typical British citizen to realise that how much your property price grows is not the most important thing; for example, the difference in costs you face over the long run compared to renting has more of an impact.
Mortgage Advice & Info
Let's look at the differences in costs:
Who usually wins?
Unsurprisingly, home owners are usually better off in the long run than renters. By the time you have owned for 35 years, far, far better off. And that's even though renters can save and invest more to begin with. Each year thereafter, you become dramatically richer still, in comparison to a renter.
Even using very conservative calculations, such as assuming you bought at a peak and paid immense maintenance costs, you would have to pay a monthly mortgage that is massively higher than rent in order to be worse off in the long run. Either that, or you would have to buy in a moribund town – one that is dying because the industry in it is closing down, for example.
Doing the sums isn't easy
But forget what's usual. Let's consider your specific situation.
When I started this article, I was hoping to give you a nice, easy to understand series of sums and online calculators to help you work out for yourself whether it's worth buying your desired property or to keep on renting.
After working through it with a couple of dummy examples, however, I can see why buyers don't normally do this.
I've needed to write 10,000 words of notes and created 12 tables in Excel to do my calculations. There's no way I can simplify and explain that to you in a short article. Perhaps I'll write an ebook on it one day.
Here's a short cut
In the meantime, I can at least give you a rough and very simplified short cut:
Note: it doesn't matter if you don't think those numbers apply to you; it's all a way of simplifying an intricately connected series of calculations that should give you an estimate with a large margin of safety.
E) Divide the monthly repayment shown in that online mortgage calculator by the rent you would otherwise pay if you decided now not to buy.
For example, if the monthly mortgage payment is £990, and the property you would choose to rent if you didn't buy costs £660 per month, you divide 990 by 660, which is equal to 1.5.
I said earlier that I had excluded costs for personalising and making over your home. Even if you want to include those as a cost of owning, 1.5 is still going to give you a large safety margin.
If the result is lower than 1.5, you're probably looking at real bargain territory.
If it's over 1.5, that doesn't mean you should never buy. It just means the margin of safety falls. By the time you get to 2.0 the margin of safety could have got quite small. Before buying at this price, you should probably be as certain as possible that you intend to be a home owner for 40 years or beyond.
I haven't considered different but related issues such as affordability, personal circumstances, downsizing, super-prime properties, how to compare two potential properties to buy, buy-to-let, interest only or no mortgage, and much more.
There are a lot more issues to look at. I should really write that ebook.
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