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Current home-buying process is nothing to be proud of – Stonebridge

  • 03/09/2018
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How stressed out were you when you bought your first home? Presuming, of course, that you have already reached this stage.


Making that leap onto the ladder is never easy but I would hope it didn’t impact negatively on your health, your relationship or your career.

According to research from Aldermore however, it would appear that if you’re in the latest generation of first-time buyers then there was a much greater chance of this happening.

It revealed that 53% of new property owners were made ill by the experience, 46% said it caused issues in their relationships, while a somewhat staggering 43% said they had to give up being self-employed in order to overcome difficulties in securing a mortgage.

If these figures are a true reflection then we can only admit there is something fundamentally wrong with the process and we have reached something of a nadir in not just getting numbers onto the ladder but also the strains it places on people, and the hoops they have to jump through.

We appear to be at a stage where it takes first-timers years to get to the point where they can buy, and in reaching this stage they become something akin to emotional and physical wrecks.

Plus it can be the cause of relationship breakdown and they are having to fundamentally change their careers (and lives) in order to do so.

This could be described as the dark side of owning a place of your own.

However, the good news is that in a number of areas attempts are being made to dial down on the stress – it looks very likely that we’ll have some fundamental changes to the home-buying process soon, which should provide greater security and certainty to those purchasing.


Greater clarity and scaling down

The conveyancing process in particular needs significant amendments and this often unknown part of buying a home needs far greater clarity and requires a scaling down in terms of the amount of time it takes to complete.

There is of course significant stress in getting to the point where an offer is accepted, without needlessly adding to this when the legal process kicks in.

With completion times often taking many months it is no wonder that first-timers are worried about whether a purchase will actually happen.

For the mortgage market as well, such research appears to provide a clarion call for action.

We all know that the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) brought in tighter affordability checks and criteria, but should we have a system which induces people to radically alter their career direction in order to get a mortgage?

Mortgages for the self-employed of course exist, and it may be that some first-time buyers got their wires crossed here.

But in a country where the number of people running their own business or working for themselves continues to rise, surely we can rework our industry’s criteria and processes to offer those who can afford a mortgage the best opportunity to do so?


Ludicrous situation

With many first-timers having strong records of rental payments – many paying more than they would do for a monthly mortgage – it should not be beyond the pale to be able to utilise such outgoings into a mortgage criteria calculation.

The fact that rental payments still (on the whole) do not add anything to a credit score seems, quite frankly, ludicrous.

The fact the government is backing three start-up companies which appear to be working on delivering this kind of data is a positive step, but it needs to happen quickly in order to start delivering a real benefit.

Owning your own home is something of a rite of passage and it’s always likely to come with stresses and strains – but there is also much that can be done to make the process that much easier for all concerned.

Advisers can of course help, but we need lenders and conveyancing firms to do their bit, and we need to recognise that a process which makes people ill, puts undue stress on their relationships, or requires them to have to change their career, is nothing to be proud of.




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