Week 1 of Beeny Knows Best, where our very own Sarah Beeny takes to the blog to answer your property-related questions.
How should we alter our property search when we’re planning on starting a family? - Karen, Somerset
I always think you need to be very careful about counting your chickens before they are hatched. It is widely acknowledged by fertility experts that the best way to get pregnant is to not worry about getting pregnant, and once you have a big, empty family home you may find the pressure is on. However, you also want to ensure that you're not thrown into a 9-month panic to move and settle into a new house once you know a baby is due. I would suggest you look for a larger property if you can afford it, and have this space ready and waiting for your family to grow. But in the meantime, use this space to entertain friends, have relatives to stay or even rent out rooms to bring in an extra income. This way, the nest is not so much 'empty', but more of a space that's being appreciated and utilised in the meantime.
Having said all that, if you are buying a larger property there are a few tick boxes you should make sure have been completed should you wish to consider being able to sell at top whack should you wish to. The top ticks are:
Near a good school - You should consider if children lived in the house where they would go and how they would get there - if the perfect family house is in a far flung corner of the UK with the nearest good secondary school a 1.5 hr drive then you probably need to consider that boarding or home educating may be the only option. Sites such as ‘Tom Brown’ (www.tom-brown.com) allow you to search for schools in your preferred areas and see oftsed reports and reviews from parents of past and present pupils. These are a great accompaniment to your property search to help you hone in on the perfect areas for you.
Near work - If you and your partner both have to work in the Manchester then a perfect cottage in Norfolk is unlikely to work – having said that, many jobs are now transferable so don’t write off relocating as you may find that the cut in salary you may have to take is well compensated for in lower house prices and for a family home, size really does matter.
Safety - We all have that image of our children riding up and down the street on their bikes, don’t we? The only way you can feel comfortable and confident in this is by heavily researching areas before you sign those papers. As well as the feeling of general safety and security, living in a friendly area allows for friendly neighbourly perks such as someone to look after a spare key, lend you some sugar, keep an extra eye on the little ones or lend you a helping hand when you have a flat tyre. The benefits of living in friendly community based area is not to be underestimated.
Do you still think there’s big money to be made in property? - Mr Cross, Doncaster
In a word - yes. There will always be people who make money from property regardless of the market conditions – however at the moment actually prices are looking pretty boyant so I feel it’s a good time to be selling – towards the end of next year I think there may be a bit of the heat off the market but I think it very unlikely we will see very dramatic falls in prices.
So in short, if you are able to find a development with potential I would go for it. As as long as your figures stack up you should be safe as houses.
Of course, you may be investing in a property to sell but there is also the option of property to rent out. 80% of mortgages given out in the second half of last year were buy-to-let, leading me to think the market here will soon become a bit flooded. So ensure if you are buying a rental investment that it ticks the transport box and that will mean that you should be one of the last properties who may have to drop their prices if the market becomes a bit flooded. I would also be cautious of being too punchy with your expectations of letting figures – you are better off with tenants who stay for years than you are with short leases and endless vacant periods.
If you have a question that you'd like Sarah to answer in next week's post, email it across to [email protected] with the subject like 'Beeny knows best'.