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A Homebuyer’s Guide to Settling in Wales

Posted 30 April 2021 by Keith Osborne

Why consider moving to a new home in Wales, and how easy would it be to do so...?

A growing number of people are making the move across the border to seek a better life in Wales in 2021.

Why? Because we realise that life is short and we should be spending our time wisely, not depriving ourselves of sleep to commute across the city, spending hours at work and missing out on seeing our kids.

We want a lower cost of living, to spend more time in the great outdoors and to spend more quality time doing what we care about the most. Wales seems like the perfect place to live this idyllic lifestyle.

As perfect as this may sound, we need to take several factors into consideration before we invest in the Welsh property market and make the move. Here are some of the first questions you need to be asking.

What are your needs?

When you’re planning your move to Wales, take your time to consider your needs before you make any decisions. This will help ensure that you find the right property for you and don’t end up picking a dud that you’re desperate to escape from.

Start by considering where you’d ideally like to live. Would you prefer to be in the city centre or are you looking for somewhere more rural? What are the local amenities like? Do you need to use public transport and if so, what are the services like? Are there good schools nearby or job opportunities?

If you haven’t already, think about what you’re looking for in your new home in Wales. How many bedrooms would it ideally have? Would you like outdoor space or a garden? Are you looking for a new build or a property with more character?

Does your potential new home offer everything you need?

Once you’ve outlined your needs, you can start looking for your new home! There are numerous property listings websites, and every modern estate agent has at least a selection of properties online so it doesn’t matter if you aren’t currently in Wales.

If you find a property that looks interesting, request further information and schedule a viewing. You’ll need to pay close attention to certain details to make sure there are no nasty surprises.

  • Does the property have an EPC certificate (domestic energy performance certificate)? This will provide information on the energy usage of the property, indicate how much your household bills might cost and explain heating, cooling, ventilation or insulations. All domestic properties in Wales must have this certificate before they are sold.
  • What is the condition of the property? Will you be able to move in immediately or will you need to renovate or repair the entire property? Although renovation projects can be fun, you will need to have the time, finances and patience to make this happen.
  • Are there any drawbacks? Is the property located in a noisy place or on a buddy road? Are there any local trouble spots nearby? How do you feel about this and are you willing to compromise for the sake of your budget?
  • Are there any building restrictions? If your property is included in the National Heritage List, you may not be able to make certain renovations or changes. Check before you buy.

Can you afford it?

You’ve found a great property in an area you love and you can’t wait to put in an offer. But before you do so, you need to double check whether you really can afford it.

A good rule of thumb to use when calculating whether you can afford the mortgage is to use the ‘Rule of 28’. This rule states that your monthly mortgage payment should never exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.

For example, if you earn the average UK monthly salary of £1,950 per month, your mortgage payments shouldn’t exceed £546 per month.

Remember that you’ll also need to budget for extras when buying your home in Wales such as stamp duty, surveys, conveyancing fees, solicitors fees, mortgage costs and moving costs.

Once you’ve moved, you’ll need to budget for household bills such as council tax, utilities, internet and so on, in addition to your daily living costs. Can you afford the place you have your heart set on?

Can you get government help you purchase?

If you’re struggling to balance the numbers, don’t panic. The government has a range of schemes that could help you to buy your own property if you’d otherwise be unable to do so.

This includes Homebuy Wales, Rent to Own Wales and Help to Buy Wales.

  • Homebuy Wales provides equity loans to help homebuyers purchase a property. It’s not available in all areas and is subject to local eligibility criteria.
  • Rent to Own allows tenants to build up a lump sum that can be used as a deposit when buying a house.
  • Help to Buy Wales makes new homes available to all buyers and provides shared equity loan assistance via funding provided by the Welsh government.

There are various differences between each of the schemes so it pays to do your research to find out if you could be eligible for extra support.

Conclusion

You and your family could follow in the footsteps of countless others by moving to Wales and living the dream. Before you make any decisions, ensure you’ve done your research, you know the details of the property and understand whether you really can afford it before you make the leap. Your ideal home could be yours quicker than you think.

 

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