My First Property

How To Find An Affordable Property

Getting onto the property ladder for the first time can be expensive. For many potential first time buyers, the sheer cost of buying a home makes it seem unachievable. In most cases, the issue lies in finding a home that doesn’t require a huge deposit, i.e. a more affordable property. 

Finding a cheaper property is inarguably the best way to save money on the home buying process, and it’s not all that difficult if you know what to look for. In this article, we’re going to talk about all the things you can do to find a cheaper property, from preliminary research to auctions. Let’s get started. 

1) Research House Prices & Monitor Listings

Nothing is more important for success than research and preparation, especially in property hunting. Researching house prices in nearby areas helps you to gauge how much you can expect to pay to live in the area you want, and make an informed decision on whether or not it is worth it. 

Keeping an eye on price listings for the property type you are looking at can also help. Each property type tends to have its own average price, which can rise or fall depending on demand. For instance, the below links will show you the cheapest sales of each type of property:

Cheapest Areas to Buy a Flat or Apartment

Cheapest Terraced Houses Postcode

Cheapest Semi-Detached Properties

Cheapest Detached Properties

House Price Changes in the UK

Researching property prices should be your first port of call when looking to buy a home. It may seem that an area you previously thought too expensive is actually affordable, or vice versa. Review all potential areas that you’d like to live, and reconcile the average house price with the practicality of living there. Conducting this research is often enough to help you find a property that you can afford, but if not, we move on to...

2) Consider Cheaper Areas

If it turns out that the areas you’d like to live in are not as cheap as you thought, there is always the option of choosing another area. Why this may seem like a defeat that you can’t live in the area you want, it will probably benefit you. When picking an area that we’d like to live in, most of us go on the reputation of the area rather than the practicality of it. For some people, being able to say that you live within a certain postcode comes at a higher priority than being able to afford the property. We cannot stress enough how important it is to think about your own comfort, means and happiness before you think about an area’s reputation.  

So, if you find that a certain area is a little more expensive than what you’d like to pay, what’s the alternative? It is often the case that areas within very close proximity of each other demand drastically different prices. This is down to a number of factors, most notably demand, and doesn’t always reflect the quality of living in one area above another. For example:

Town A has a supermarket, a handful of pubs and bars, along with a leisure centre. 

Town B has a few small shops, one pub and a park.

Town A comes with higher house prices, because more people want to live as close to the things that Town A offers as possible. 

This is not a reflection on Town B, but a showcase of how features of one place influence demand. 

For many people, the features of Town A may hold no value whatsoever, and therefore might be a better option for many people to choose to buy a home. 

So with that in mind, one area can offer far cheaper property prices than an area literally around the corner. Don’t count these areas out, as they may offer everything you need at a cheaper price. 

3) ...But Don’t Compromise on Happiness.

If you are looking to buy a house in a cheaper area, it’s vital to do your research into this area too. While some cheaper areas may not offer any different quality of living, there may be a reason why certain areas are cheaper to live. Some cheaper areas might be cheap simply because they are lacking a night life or supermarket. But some others might be cheap because of a range of issues that may impact your lifestyle, such as crime. 

If you are in doubt about a certain area,  one way to get an honest opinion on an area’s living standards is to ask the police. Simply approaching a local officer and asking about the level of crime in an area can make or break your decision. No one wants to live in a crime-ridden area, but some areas can have an undeserved reputation. 

The best way to get a sense of whether you would be happy living in an area is to scope it out for yourself. Take a walk round the estate in the day, at nighttime, in the rain and in the sun. This will help you get a feel for the area, and whether you like it or not. The most important thing when choosing an area to live in is whether you think you will be happy there. 

4) Chat To Estate Agents

Once you’ve found a few potential areas that you’d be happy living in, a good next step is to contact a local estate agent. Agents can help you get a clearer picture of an area’s housing market, and highlight which roads or sub-areas differ in prices. Estate agents may also have a deeper knowledge of the reason behind the average prices in an area. 

For instance, if you’ve investigated a cheaper area and found it to your liking, an estate agent may know something you don’t. For instance, is the area sat in a flood risk zone? Are there any planned developments in that area? Are the roads badly maintained? Additionally, an area may be cheap because of high council tax, or high insurance premiums due to any number of risks. 

These are just some of the factors that estate agents may have a better knowledge of than you. While estate agents may just try to sell property to you, a good agency will also help you find a property in an area that is pleasant and practical for you. 

5) Look at Auction Properties

If you are still at a loose end, and haven’t fallen in love with any of the areas you have looked at, there is always the option of property auctions. These are not something that you should enter into lightly, as they come with their own risks and potential drawbacks. But if you know how to handle an auction, you can walk away with a cheaper property.

Auctions are generally where property owners go if they are looking to sell a property faster. This is why prices are usually cheaper at auctions. Bear in mind that if you do choose to go into an auction without doing all the research you need, you will be up against professional developers and construction companies who are experienced in buying cheaper houses, renovating them and selling them on for a profit. 

Luckily, we have a range of resources to help you navigate the world of property auctions. 

We hope this has given you a good idea of how to find an affordable property. Perhaps the most important piece of advice that we can give is to not just buy a property because it is cheap, in the same way you shouldn’t just buy for a certain postcode. Think about what is going to be practical for you, and remember that you’re not just buying a property, you’re buying a home. 

More first-time house buying articles:

  1. Where To Buy a House: Choosing a Location
  2. Give Your Home New Life
  3. Saving Money Whilst Renting
  4. Why London Property Prices are so High
  5. Find Houses That Have Dropped in Price

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