You never forget your first time

Whether you buy a studio in the centre of town or a house in the sticks, it's a start. Gwenda Joyce Brophy assesses the options for first- time buyers

BUYING YOUR first property is stressful enough without the added worry that you are making a decision that will affect your future prosperity.

But that is exactly what happens. Even if property prices drop, a canny first buy should make you enough profit to move on to a larger home next time.

"Many first-time buyers are understandably excited about getting their own place, but casting an objective eye over the property in terms of how it shapes up for future rental potential will pay dividends," says John Lucas, estate agent with Mann and Company in London.

"The average stay in a first-time buy is five years, and given that many first-timers opt for flats, it is vital to look at issues such as the length of the lease. A 65-year lease can start to look much less appealing to buyers five or six years on."

Location is vital, but even if you are on a budget you can make sensible choices. Lucas says: "You may not be able to afford the best or 'hottest' area at this stage, but you can make sure the property you buy has the advantages of being close to transport, for your own safety and as a selling point for future buyers, and that it has one or two shops close by."

That is not to say that the "hotspots" are out of the question, even in central London. Halifax property services in Pimlico has an ex-local authority studio in a small block with a communal roof terrace for pounds 69,000. A larger, galleried flat in the same block is on the market at pounds 91,000.

You get a lot more for your cash in the suburbs. If you are willing to trade a longer commute for more space, agents in north London, for example, have plenty of flats well below the pounds 60,000 mark.

Andrew Ward has a one-bedroom flat in Potters Bar, with fast train services to King's Cross, at pounds 57,500, and a similar property in Barnet, on the end of the Northern Line, at pounds 59,550.

Down in southeast London, Charlton is close to Blackheath, but at a fraction of the price. Agents in the area promise one-bedroom flats with period features for around pounds 70,000.

But the problem with one-bedroom flats is they can be harder to sell in a property slump. If you can stretch to two bedrooms, you always have the option of renting a room out.

Some people are determined to make their first buy a house. Marion Stone from Stratford, east London, did just that.

"I had listened to endless stories about lease problems or noisy neighbours. But the restored terraces I looked at were way out of my reach financially. The only way I could do it was to purchase a property that, to understate somewhat, was 'in need of repair'.

"The disruption lasted months, partly as I kept running out of money.

"I did everything that didn't need a professional but would come home from work, exhausted, knowing that I'd have to complete one job or another."

Would she make the same decision again? "Absolutely, but no one should under-estimate what it can involve in time, cost and social life."

Properties with tonnes of character usually have hefty price tags but it is not impossible for the first- time buyer to nab a one-off (although it helps, of course, to be outside of London).

Renton and Parr estate agents are selling a gothic-style Victorian property near York for pounds 69,000. Set within a country park, it has its own sunken patio. The downside is that it has about the same space, organised on the same principle, as many studios, although unlike most studios it is detached and freehold.

MDR Properties in Newcastle is selling a flat spread over the top floor of an Edwardian house, with stunning sea views over Whitley Bay, for pounds 30,000.

The good news is that the first-time buyer does have the advantage of time and of flexibility.

You have the leverage to move a whole property chain, so use your muscle wisely and carefully. You might even find an unusual bargain.

Andrew Ward, 0181-441 6000; MDR Properties, 0191-297 0770; Renton & Parr, 01937 582731

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

    £70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam