How To Buy A House

Buying a house is something you were able to do for about a grand and a firm handshake not ten years ago.

I jest, obviously.

Nowadays, millennials and their chronic avocado habits have made the prospect of owning property an apparent pipe dream.

Again, jesting. A bit.

There are many good things about a career in recruitment. Being flush enough to buy a house is one of them.

So I thought it would make sense for a couple of goal-oriented units like you and I to go over what to expect and what to look out for when it comes to getting your first gaff.

Location, location, location

The global workforce is more mobile now than ever before. Remote working’s revealed to not only be perfectly plausible, but also more beneficial for businesses and staff alike.

Apparently, there are 40K recruitment agencies in the UK. I reckon at least half are based in London.

And until the extent of remote working makes itself known, London will remain an ideal buying location for the many thousands of recruiters who call the capital home.

Keep in mind you can probably get a small garage for the price of a modest three bed outside the M25. 

So will you choose to put down roots close to where you work? Or are you looking at somewhere further afield?

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Why not go international?

Buying a house is a unique process depending on the country you’re looking to settle down in. We touch upon it in our Hunted: Worldwide series.

In Amsterdam, you can buy a house and deduct the mortgage interest. Depending on circumstances, this can make buying a more reasonable option than renting, long term.

If you’ve had a job in Malta for 2 years, you can apply for a mortgage with a 10% deposit. Before 2 years it’s about 40%.

And the housing market’s surprisingly good value for money in many parts of the US, particularly Orlando.

Look into the intricacies of housing markets in recruitment hubs around the world. You might find yourself weighing up a relocation you didn’t think was possible.

Set a goal

And link it to your key business activities, chiefly revenue and placements.

What works for me when it comes to setting goals is to set them a few steps after the one you actually want to hit.

So instead of setting “buy a house” as the ultimate objective, I’d probably say something like “buy a Steinway to go in the living room”. This way, the actual buying of the house is a step on the way, rather than the end of the road.

This doesn’t devalue the achievement – it’ll still feel just as good picking up the keys for the first time – but it makes the goal easier to plot for. And subsequently (hopefully) easier to hit.

So set lofty goals. Then reverse engineer them. 

For a deposit, you’ll have a big round number in mind. Divide it by 12 for how much you’d need to save each month to get there. Then work out how many placements you’ll need to do that.

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Enlist the government’s help

It’s not as easy as thumbing in double the placements one year and hey presto you’ve got several grand burning a hole through your savings account.

The government’s Help To Buy schemes are designed to give people a step up onto the property ladder. 

Equity loans for newly built homes mean the government lends you 20% the price of the property, so you’ll need to spring 5% for a deposit and have your mortgage cover the remaining 75%.

As mentioned, prices in London can be relatively spicy. So if you’re buying in the capital, the government lends you 40% the cost of a newly built house.

There’s also an ISA for first time buyers which boosts your savings by 25%. Making a deposit slightly easier to get your hands on.

Save a deposit

Do this before you do anything else. Commission’s really good for it and recruitment makes saving a big lump a lot more realistic than it would be in other lines of work.

But you’ll need a solid base salary to secure a mortgage. Or at least be able to show a degree of consistency with your billings.

This is a particularly tricky hurdle to overcome: proving your earnings are steady.

Billed at least £20K every month for the last year or five? You’ll probably be alright. Although you’ll also have to have been in your current job for a fair bit. And ideally, not hopped around a lot.

Because it’s all about whether the bank thinks they’ll get their money back. Check your credit rating on Experian to see how you look in the eyes of lenders.

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Get a good Mortgage Advisor

They’ll go out to market, give you a bird’s eye view of what’s available, and work to secure you the best deal instead of you doing all the leg work yourself.

There’s an analogy about Recruitment Consultants in there somewhere…

An Estate Agent on the other hand will try to shaft you as often as they can. Typically and predominantly, they’ve got the interests of the seller in mind.

And a background in recruitment comes in extremely handy if you’re being sold the dream. Because you’ve sold it yourself, and so should be able to spot when someone’s being overly enthusiastic about the truth to get you to buy something.

“It’ll only be on the market until the end of the day, I’ve got three other buyers ready to make a move on it…”

Tough it out

Mortgage applications can drag on for a year. So you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the stomach for your current company. If not, you might need to get a headstart on finding somewhere new.

You can do that here.

You’ll probably need to take calls during the day. So don’t work somewhere that’ll chain you to your desk.

Then there’s the additional costs. Not just moving, but stamp duty, getting a will sorted, life insurance, building and contents insurance…

You’ll need to make sure your circumstances keep pace with how much you’re spending.

So being with the right company to make sure you flourish could either make owning your own home a reality or not. Or it could certainly speed up or slow down the whole process significantly.

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But get that deposit first

Commission’s the best way to do that quickly. And you’ll need to be in the right working environment for the long run.

So benchmark your company’s commission scheme with these 5 agencies, and see if you could be taking home more for doing the same job elsewhere.

And these companies show their commission structure on their Hunted profile. So you know what you’re getting into before you apply.

If you’re happy where you are but you need to secure a raise before you can buy, here’s how to ask for one.