11 January 2019
We've enlisted the experts from Buyers Bootcamp, Virgin Media's new TV show, to help you find the right home.
Most first-time buyers want exactly the same thing – a three-bed semi-detached house with a garden and most of them have about €300,000 to spend. The reality is, there are only so many of these to go around. Budgets are lower outside of the main cities but buyers are up against the same problem of supply not meeting demand.
Based on what Liz told us, here's what you should keep in mind when choosing between a house and an apartment:
A three-bed semi-detached house offers more space than an apartment, which can be a priority for people who want to start a family. It’s hard to resist the lure of a back garden, with ample room for kids and pets and the promise of sitting in the sun with a chilled drink on a sunny Friday evening. If the house has potential to extend, there’s also the added attraction of being able to move in and add to it bit by bit over time, as your family grows.
Competition for these types of properties is understandably high though so it’s well worth considering other options. Buying an apartment might not be your first choice, but there are many benefits to apartment living.
If you can’t afford a house in your dream location, opting for an apartment as your starter home might be the next best thing. You get to live where you want and in the early years, between work and your hectic social life, you may well be out more than you’re in.
Most new apartments are A-rated and well insulated, so your utility bills will be much cheaper. The apartments around you will help keep yours nice and toasty, which is a nice bonus. You’ll usually have to pay an annual management fee but this includes things like maintenance, cleaning, grass cutting and your bin collection so it’s not bad value, all things considered.
Having less space can be challenging but it does force you to live a less cluttered life – you’ll spend less time hunting for your keys if there’s only one place to put them. With a little planning you can really maximise the space and make it work for you.
Some people can be resistant to ground floor apartments and many buyers won’t even consider one but this could actually be quite a smart buy. Not only are ground floor apartments often cheaper, they also offer other advantages, like bigger balconies, more outdoor space, direct access to the garden and more light.
Buying your first home is a significant financial commitment and such a life-changing step that it’s easy to get emotional about it but this emotion can cloud your judgement. Your first home may not be your “forever home” so if you can keep your business hat on and see it as an investment, rather than somewhere you’ll be living for the rest of your life, you’ll be doing yourself a big favour.
An apartment, especially one close to the city centre can be a good investment. Markets may go up or down and hopefully you’ll be able to sell for a profit when you need to, but renting it out could be a good option if you decide to move on and can afford to keep it long-term as an investment.
The only thing constant in life is change and only time will tell what type of home is the best one to opt for as your first home, but if you can consider how your circumstances, needs and priorities might change in the future, it could really help you make the best decision right now.
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