To buy or not to buy

It begs the question

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For many people, the decision to buy may be pretty easy. You may have come into a lump sum that you feel would be ideally used as a deposit on a home; you are settled in your job and want to settle into a place that is truly yours; perhaps you are being forced to sell your existing home for one of many reasons, or maybe you just know that now is the right time for you.

If the decision is clear-cut, then you are one of the lucky ones. For many people, arriving at the decision to buy can be a process that takes months or even years to complete and even you may not be totally sure you are doing the right thing. Others rush into it in a bit of a frenzy, without really giving due consideration to the consequences.

If you are in any doubt that buying a house is the best thing for you to do, think very long and very hard before making a final decision. If you have never gone through the process before, read through the pages on this site and you should get some idea of the scale of the task ahead of you. By the time you're finished, you will probably have ridden an emotional roller coaster (twice), spent a great deal of money and an equally high number of sleepless nights stressing about things that have no place in your normal day-to-day life.

It is not a short-term decision: You may face severe financial penalties for repaying your mortgage early if you want to sell and move on; the costs of buying mean that you will have to see a bit of a rise in prices to get your money back; and worst of all, you could even get caught in a price dip.

There are a lot of fairly strong financial arguments for buying a property, as they can be a great investment. Then again, get the timing wrong and before the dust has even settled on your move, you could end up with a house that is worth considerably less than the price you paid for it.

It would be wrong for us to offer too many blanket statements about whether or not now is a good time for you to buy. So much depends on your individual circumstances and your plans for the future. We would suggest, however, that if you are truly happy with your own honest answers to the following two questions, then go ahead, make hay whilst the sun is shining brightly:

  • Why am I buying?
  • Is it the best option of all the alternatives available to me?

Read through the rest of the pages in this section and then ask yourself those questions again. If you still think you're doing the right thing, then it's time to get the ball rolling and plan your purchase.

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