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7 Tips to Get on the Property Ladder

7 Tips to Get on the Property Ladder
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    Despite the much publicised problems in the US Housing Market, there are still many long term advantages to buying a house in preference to renting.

    Buying a house has historically been a good investment; since 1945, house prices have increased faster than inflation and have also outperformed the stock market. Also, buying a house gives you the opportunity to live rent free when you have paid off the mortgage. Mortgages do fluctuate with interest rates. However, generally, mortgages become easier to pay over time. If your mortgage payments are currently $800 a month, this may seem alot, but if you income rises, then as a % of income, your mortgage will eventually fall.

    Despite the financial benefits, buying your first house can prove difficult because of the high prices we currently face.

    These are some tips for buying your first house.

    1. Save a deposit.

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    As soon as possible try to put money aside for a deposit. If you have a good sized deposit, mortgage lenders have more confidence in lending bigger amounts of money. This is because you are less likely to suffer from negative equity. The problem is that to save a decent % of a house can take many years of careful saving. However, with house prices currently stagnant, it has become a little easier.

    2. Borrow From Parents.

    Depending on your circumstances, this may be an option. There are several drawbacks to this approach. But, for many it provides the only realistic hope of getting on the property ladder. Parents may be able to release equity from the value of their house and lend you money (hopefully for a very low interest) this can provide the necessary deposit to buy your house. Many parents are willing to do this because they realise that their generation has benefited significantly from rising house prices. In extreme circumstances parents may be willing to act as a guarantor for your mortgage.

    3. Joint Mortgage.

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    It is becoming increasingly popular for young single people to combine their incomes with others so that they can afford a mortgage. Their own salary is insufficient. But, by buying with other people you effectively double your income, and this can enable you to buy a house. However, there are drawbacks. Firstly, you only will only own a 50% share in the house. Secondly, if you fall out with the other person, it can create an awkward situation, both financially and domestically.

    4. Interest Only Mortgage.

    This means you only pay interest on your mortgage loan. This means it is a cheaper repayment. However, there is a big disadvantage. At the end of the 30 year period, you still owe the entire mortgage loan. Interest only mortgages will only work if you can find an alternative way to invest in paying off the debt.

    5. 50 Year Mortgage.

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    A 50 year mortgage means that you spread repayments over 50 years rather than the standard 25 years. It means that monthly payments will be lower than a 25 year mortgage. The drawback is that you end up paying more interest payments over the course of the mortgage. However, it is likely to still be a better option than renting. Also, if you income increases in the future, you can always reduce the mortgage term at a later date.

    6. Move to a Cheaper Area.

    House prices in some areas are much cheaper. If you are willing to move to these areas then you can make buying a house a real possibility. Maybe in the future you can move back to more desirable areas. It is worth bearing in mind that cheaper areas do not always mean lower quality. For example, some areas have a premium because they are close to good schools. It is worth researching carefully average house prices in different areas.

    7. Self Certification Mortgage.

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    If you feel frustrated that banks won’t lend more than 3-4 times your income you might like to consider a self certification mortgage. Basically, a self certification mortgage enables you to state your likely income. In practise this can be a way to borrow more than under standard circumstances. Given the recent problems with sub prime mortgages it is advisable to be cautious when proceeding with this option. I mention it mainly because it is what I used to buy my first house, 3 years ago. Buying a house was a little more expensive than renting. But, self certificating was the only option to borrow enough capital. Do bear in mind, if you borrow a high income multiple (5 or 6 times income) you will struggle if interest rates rise significantly.

    Getting on the property ladder is not easy for our generation. It is likely you will have to make some sort of sacrifices. However, the alternative of renting is often even more unattractive. Which ever option you choose make sure you don’t go beyond your financial limitations.

    Tejvan Pettinger works as an Economics teacher in Oxford. He writes a blog about Mortgages and Finance. This Includes articles about the Housing Market, getting out of debt and paying off your mortgage early

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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