The FINANCIAL -- It is well known that getting onto the property ladder is no mean feat, from raising the deposit to finding the perfect property, all while keeping to a budget. However, new research from Barclays Mortgages has revealed that the journey to making a first house a home extends beyond just getting the keys.
In fact, First Time Buyers face on average just over five months before their first property truly feels like home. What’s more, for 24 per cent of respondents, it took over six months to find the perfect sofa, decide on a preferred colour scheme, paint and decorate, and even hanging art, finally creating their first true home.
This comes as a huge 58 per cent of First Time Buyers admit to underestimating the commitment required to turn a new house into a comfortable and lived-in space, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of new homeowners – those who purchased for the first time in the last five years - admitting that undertaking the necessary work had even caused argument between themselves and their partner. What’s more, 37 per cent said they have felt like giving up on making their house to their own taste completely.
Inspired by TV shows (33 per cent) and spurred on by the freedom granted to them with owning their own property - over half (55 per cent) admit that they have never been in control of a property’s interior style before – First Time Buyers begin the transition from house to home in the rooms they consider most ‘homely’: the living room, bedroom and kitchen, followed by the bathroom.
However, there are some First Time Buyers who admit to being a bit more particular about their property: 36 per cent stated that there are certain rooms (notably the bathroom) that would have to be renovated to their taste before they would even consider moving in.
Family (pictures) makes a house a home
Whilst certain rooms ultimately take priority, there are a number of low and high cost features that have been cited as helping to put those final touches to a home. Family pictures (58 per cent), cushions (57 per cent) and blankets and luxury throws (39 per cent) are the top three additions that new home owners credit for making their property feeling homelier.
The most popular high-cost homely items are a real fire place (34 per cent), a new en suite (27 per cent) and a walk-in wardrobe (25 per cent), revealing a strong appetite for striking features in their homes.
Gail Precious, from Plumstead in South East London, knows only too well that there can be many unexpected bumps in the road in the journey from house to home: “My partner and I were so excited when we recently purchased our first home, and from the moment we had the keys in our hand we were planning what we wanted to do to make it more to our taste. Our priority was the front room – we have a young son and wanted to have a homely room where we could all spend quality time together.
“We spent a lot of time planning the work and budgeting for what we wanted, including replacing the windows, but once we begun the renovations, we found the jobs wasn’t quite as simple as we had expected! The work took much longer than expected, and our costs were higher as a result. My advice? Ensure you have a contingency fund for extra costs, you will need this – and allow extra time in your schedule for any delays. We love our new room and it means we have been able to host parties and gatherings with our friends and family without feeling embarrassed.”
Craig Calder, Director of Barclays Mortgages, said: “We know how important it is for our customers to get onto the property ladder for the first time. During the first quarter of this year alone, Barclays Mortgages has helped over 3,500 first-time buyers get on the property ladder; and we understand that it takes a lot of time and energy before a house feels like a home. From furnishing the property and finding the perfect paint colour through to large-scale renovations, we know that making a home can take its toll on new home owners, both emotionally and financially.
“It’s for this reason that we have specific products including the Barclays Homebuyer Cashback and Family Springboard mortgages which give first-time buyers the time and financial flexibility needed to personalise their property so it becomes a home they love.
Barclays current range of innovative mortgages for First Time Buyers include the Barclays Homebuyer Cashback Mortgage and the Family Springboard Mortgage. The Homebuyer Cashback helps to support greater number of first time buyers or homemovers by offering a £2,500 cashback available on mortgages greater than £150,000 and up to £500,000 that will cover the Stamp Duty on properties valued up to £250,000. A £1,250 cashback is available on mortgages between £100,000 - £150,000 that matches the maximum Stamp Duty on properties value at £187,000.
Barclays Help to Buy: ISA can also help with the overall cost of buying a home, thanks to the 25 per cent government bonus on amounts saved between £1,600 and £12,000. The bonus is payable on completion of the property purchase, so it can’t be used as part of the deposit put down when exchanging contracts. In the first month, up to £1,200 can be paid in but after that, the maximum that can be paid in is £200 a month. The Barclays Help to Buy: ISA currently has a market-leading rate, paying 2.27 per cent.