New builds are great for a number of reasons. There’s less maintenance, less risk, and on the whole, less to worry about. But as with moving into any new home, sometimes they feel a tad… well, characterless. It’s important that when you enter a new space you make it your own, and you’ll be pleased to hear that adding a bit of warmth and personality to your home doesn’t require emptying your pockets! Read on to reveal how to add character to a new build on a budget.
Colour isn’t just for the eccentric, it can instantly turn your new build into a home. Here’s how you can embrace colour and add some personality into your new home…without sending your budget into a spin.
Colourful Walls: There’s no quicker, more budget-friendly way to add character to your new build than by paint. Choose a bold coloured paint or wallpaper to create a focal point in your living room or bedroom. Whether it’s a deep green or a bright yellow, a pop of colour can make all the difference.
Furniture: If bright walls aren’t your thing, consider adding colour through furniture. Statement sofas, eye-catching chairs, or colourful coffee tables can liven up your living space just like that.
Accessories: Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Cushions, throws, rugs, and art in bold, contrasting colours can be added to your décor. Don’t be scared to mix up colours and patterns to find your style.
2. Statement Lighting
An empty, uninspiring room can quickly turn into a space filled with personality by simply changing the lighting.
Lamps: When it comes to adding character, Floor and table lamps are your best friends. Look out for unique bases or colourful lampshades to add some pizzazz.
Second hand finds: Charity shops and online marketplaces often hide unique and affordable treasures. Keep an eye out for vintage finds like chandeliers and remember, with a fresh coat of paint or some DIY, you can turn these almost anything into a statement piece.
Bulbs: Sometimes, it’s the bulbs themselves that can be the star of the show. Edison bulbs, for example, offer a vintage, industrial look. Or opt for colourful, energy-efficient LED bulbs to add a touch of whimsy.
3. Vintage and Second Hand Finds
Here’s how to add that vintage charm into your home without emptying your pockets:
Charity shops: Dive into local charity shops and markets for hidden gems. The of the hunt itself is part of the fun, and you’ll be amazed at the items you can discover on a budget to add character to your new build.
Online Marketplaces: With the rise of online marketplaces, vintage finds are easier than ever. Sites like Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace offer a vast array of affordable vintage furniture, décor, and accessories. Pro tip: Set up alerts for specific items or styles you’re seeking.
Upcycling Projects: Embrace your inner DIY enthusiast by upcycling vintage furniture or décor. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or minor repairs can breathe new life into old pieces. Plus, you’ll create something entirely unique in the process.
Adding character is about more than furniture and paint – it’s also about creating an atmosphere and house plants are an easy way to do just that. Not only do they purify the air and bring nature indoors, but they also add a touch of personality and cosiness to your space. And you don’t need a green thumb or a big budget to enjoy the benefits.
Start with low-maintenance options like snake plants or pothos vines. They’re fine in almost any light condition and can handle a little neglect.
For a pop of colour, consider flowering plants. You can find budget-friendly options like marigolds, petunias, or African violets.
Repurpose old containers or second hand pots for a shabby-chic look. Mix and match containers of different shapes and sizes for a more dynamic display.
If you really want to know how to add character to a new build, look at the smaller details. Textiles, for example, have the ability to turn a plain room into a cosy haven or a vibrant gathering place. Here’s how you can work your magic with fabrics:
Curtains: Opt for curtains with bold patterns, rich textures, or subtle sheens to set the tone for your space. Whether you’re into boho or minimalism, there’ll be a fabric for you……
Rugs: A well-chosen rug can be a room’s centrepiece. Look for rugs that not only add colour but also texture. Layering rugs can create depth and intrigue, too. Plus, they feel great underfoot!
Bedding: Don’t forget about the bedroom! Crisp white sheets and neutral bedding create a tranquil atmosphere, while vibrant duvet covers and patterned pillows add a bold and energising touch. Who knew your bed could be such a blank canvas!
Embrace colour, dabble with lighting, explore vintage finds, bring in the greenery, and cosy up your space with textiles. These are your tools, and adding character has never been more budget-friendly. Whether it’s through an accent wall, a thrifted lamp, or a touch of nature, it’s all about turning your new build into a space that you’ll love.
In a world filled with clickbait headlines and seemingly endless debates about the right time to buy a home, it’s easy to feel like you’re caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty. But guess what? Amid all the noise, there’s one simple truth that stands tall and steadfast: Now could very well be the perfect time for first-time buyers to embark on their homeownership journey. We interviewed seasoned Mortgage Advisor, Anthony Hall, to explore why, despite what you might have heard about mortgage interest rates, the time to buy is now.
Current Market Overview
Let’s start with the big question: Is now the right time to buy? To find out, we’re diving deep into the mortgage market with the guidance of Anthony Hall, an expert with 16 years of experience in the mortgage industry, including 12 years helping Pocket buyers onto the ladder.
What are Mortgage Rates Today? The last update on the base rate was in September 2023, when the Bank of England maintained it at 5.25%. The base rate remaining unchanged at 5.25% is good news for the mortgage market as new borrowers are boosted by the base rate being held as lenders use the BOE base rate when calculating their stress test rate. When the rate rises this in turn reduces the amount of borrowing available to purchasers. Mortgage borrowers on variable rates or trackers will be breathing a sigh of relief as they will not see an increase in their monthly payments which has gone up 5 times this year!
According to Anthony, “the current mortgage market is, I would say, currently stable.” However, it’s been a journey to this point. Following a rollercoaster ride of interest rate fluctuations, the market has landed on a steadier path. What once felt like financial whiplash due to volatile rates has now evolved into a more predictable landscape. Factors like inflation, the Bank of England’s rate adjustments, and lender responses have all played their part in the market’s ups and downs.
Historical Mortgage Rate Trends Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Anthony’s expertise is instrumental in navigating these waters and he highlighted an essential point: the current rates, while seemingly high in today’s context, are comfortably within the historical average. For the past quarter-century, the norm has hovered around 5%. The record-low rates we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years following the 2008 financial crisis were the real anomaly. Yes, we’ve been spoiled by those low rates, but in reality we’re returning to a more typical interest rate scenario, akin to that of 2008 when rates exceeded 7% for some buyers. We’re heading toward a market where 3% to 5% interest rates are the new normal. The good news? We’re not expecting rates to crash anytime soon. It’s all about settling into a healthier, more sustainable range.
What does this mean for the average homebuyer? In Anthony’s words, “if you can afford a mortgage now and get a fixed rate for five years, your rate won’t change during that time.” It’s about securing financial predictability. While the crystal ball remains elusive, the outlook is one of gradual, measured rate increases. The takeaway? Buying a home today, with a manageable fixed-rate mortgage, can set you on a path to financial stability and potential long-term gains. History has shown that property in the UK consistently appreciates, and despite occasional dips in reported growth rates, the underlying value remains robust.
The Downsides of Waiting to Buy a House
Here’s the deal: when you put off buying a home, you’re not just hitting the pause button on homeownership. You’re also missing out on a world of potential benefits. Let’s delve into why waiting might not be the best move.
First and foremost, it’s all about opportunity. So you’ve got your eye on a brand-new property, and it ticks all your dream home boxes. The catch? New builds tend to have limited availability. So while you’re contemplating your options, someone else might swoop in and claim your ideal property. When it comes to securing that perfect place, hesitation could cost you more than you think.
Now, let’s talk finances. Renting is like pouring your hard-earned money into a bottomless pit. Every month, you’re handing over your cash without building equity or investing in your future. Plus, there’s the looming spectre of rent increases. As interest rates go up, landlords may decide to pass those costs onto you. So that sweet rental deal you’ve got today might not look so great in the near future.
Security matters, too. Renting means you’re at the mercy of your landlord’s plans. They might decide to sell the property, forcing you to pack your bags and find a new place to call home. That’s hardly the stable and secure future you envision, is it?
Then there’s the question of interest rates. Anthony puts it bluntly: “We don’t know what’s going to happen definitively with interest rates.” Waiting for them to drop might leave you in a never-ending waiting game. While rates aren’t likely to return to the super-low levels of the past, they’re also not skyrocketing uncontrollably. So the real question is: when do you decide it’s the right interest rate for you? The sooner you start paying down your mortgage, the quicker you’re building equity and securing your financial future.
So, when you consider all these factors, it’s pretty clear – waiting might not be the wisest move. You could be missing out on the perfect property, wasting money on rent, and forfeiting the security and equity that come with homeownership. It’s time to seize the day and embark on your homeownership journey. Your future self will thank you.
Is now the right time to buy for you?
There are a number of things to consider when contemplating if now really is the right time for you to buy.
Anthony stresses the importance of understanding your current financial standing. He remarks, “A lot of people don’t realise that they are in a position to buy because they haven’t been assessed or received proper advice.” The first step he suggests is getting a clear picture of your affordability. Start by creating a budget planner. Analyse your recent pay stubs and bank statements, meticulously documenting your income and expenses. This budget planner becomes your invaluable tool for determining what’s genuinely affordable each month. Anthony recommends, “Look for a mortgage affordability calculator online to assist you in this process.”
In addition to your budget, your credit report plays a pivotal role in the affordability equation. Anthony advises, “Take a close look at your credit history and reports to understand where you stand.” Outstanding commitments, such as car loans and credit card balances, impact your borrowing capacity, which, in turn, defines what you can afford to purchase. Keeping your credit history in check ensures you’re in the best position to secure a mortgage that aligns with your goals.
Life Goals and Needs
Here’s the exciting twist – your decision to buy a home isn’t just about market trends. It’s about your unique life goals and needs. Anthony’s take? “The right time to buy is when you can afford it.” Waiting for the stars to align in the market can be like waiting for a unicorn sighting – uncertain and lengthy. Meanwhile, you could be pouring your hard-earned cash into rent or living in a place that doesn’t quite fit your vibe. So, if your life goals and needs harmonise with homeownership, don’t wait for the market’s permission slip.
The Decision to Wait
Once you’ve conducted your affordability assessment and it aligns with your current budget, the question arises: should you wait for market conditions to shift, or is it time to take the plunge? Anthony offers a clear perspective: “The right time to buy is when you can afford it.” Waiting for interest rates to fluctuate or for headlines to declare an optimal moment can be a protracted, uncertain endeavour. During this wait, you could be spending substantial sums on rent or residing in a place that doesn’t quite suit your preferences. Anthony reinforces the point that “if you can afford to buy, waiting for market changes might not be the best course of action.”
3 Tips for first time buyers
In essence, the decision to buy a home is not solely driven by market dynamics but by your unique circumstances and financial capacity. Anthony suggests, “Speak to experts who understand the intricacies of interest rates and mortgages. They can provide tailored advice and guide you toward a decision that’s right for you.”
Tip 1: Income Insights First off, your income – it’s a game-changer when it comes to mortgages. Anthony says, “Different lenders treat your income differently.” If you’re the proud owner of a P60, get it ready. If you’re self-employed, gather those tax overviews and financial statements. And hey, if you’ve got an accountant, give them a shout – they’re like financial wizards for these kinds of things. Understanding how your income plays into the mortgage puzzle is your ticket to making the right moves.
Tip 2: Savings Savvy Now, let’s talk savings – the magic potion for a hefty deposit. Anthony advises, “Understand how much savings and deposit you’ll potentially have access to.” Whether it’s a generous gift from family or friends, get all the deets lined up. The more you know about your deposit, the clearer the borrowing picture becomes. Plus, it’s like having the answers before the big test – confidence booster, right? Oh, and here’s a pro tip: Check your credit report. Grab one for free from credit agencies, scrutinise it, and if you spot any hiccups, sort them out. Clean credit makes for smooth sailing in the mortgage world.
Tip 3: Budget Brilliance Lastly, let’s get down to brass tacks – your budget. Anthony’s top advice? “Put together a detailed budget planner.” Knowing how much you can comfortably spend each month is like having a superpower. It not only helps you choose the right mortgage but also lets you explore the mortgage products that are tailor-made for you. So, dive into your expenses and income, and emerge with a budget that’s your trusty sidekick on this homeownership journey.
In the world of real estate, the waiting game often leads to missed opportunities. The current mortgage market is stable, with rates favourable compared to historical trends. Hall emphasises that homeownership offers security, equity, and freedom from the rent cycle, So why wait for the perfect moment if you can make it now?
Visit pocketliving.com and get started on your homeownership journey today. By creating your My Pocket account, you can explore the range of 20% discount, 100% ownership homes tailored for you.
London’s first time buyers have made it clear that having access to outdoor spaces is really important. In our post-COVID-19 world, city makers have felt first-hand the difference this can make.
Our design ethos is to build homes designed for city living, and a key element of this is to include shared spaces in every Pocket Living development. Ample communal spaces encourage a sense of community, and our rooftop terraces have become particularly popular. Here are a few of our favourites.
Bridget (37) has always dreamed of putting down roots in London, but for the past three years she has struggled to find a home within her budget.
“I am originally from North London, and most of my friends and family still live here, so it was always a goal of mine to be able to afford my own home nearby. I rented on and off for 10 years and found searching for affordable and suitable apartments became quite hard work, which really forced me to start looking for my own home. But it wasn’t easy”, says Bridget.
It’s that time of year again where we all start thinking about sprucing up our homes for the warmer months ahead. If the thought of spring cleaning fills you with dread, then read on for 10 tips that will make the process a breeze!
So, you’re a first time buyer. You dream of getting onto the property ladder but it seems totally overwhelming… sound familiar? We can help! Buying your first home can be daunting, but it needn’t be. Here we have broken down the process so you have a step by step guide on how to buy a home.
For many first time buyers, the most daunting part of the home buying process is saving for a house deposit. In particular, many wonder how to save for a house on a lower income and whether it’s even possible to do it at all.
Pocket Living is built around the idea that everyone should have a fair opportunity to get onto the housing ladder, so we’re going to share our best tips on saving for your first home, whatever your circumstances. We’ve included a range of information on ISAs, bank accounts and more to show you that there are plenty of options to consider to get yourself onto the housing ladder. Let’s get started.
The UK’s rising cost of living has affected us all, but if you’re a first time buyer, you might feel particularly keen to keep your finances in check. If you’re wondering how to save money on gas and electric bills, there are many simple ways to reduce your outgoings, particularly by living more sustainably.
Our residents are first time buyers on middle incomes, so we know how important it is to them to make savings wherever possible. Buying a new build home is a great start, and by making an energy savings plan, you can reduce your bills and rest assured that you’re taking measures to live more efficiently and cut down on unnecessary costs.
Read on to find out our tips for saving money on your bills. They may seem small but can make a big difference over time, so start now to let the pennies begin to add up!
Indoor plants are brilliant for our physical and mental wellbeing. Having nature in our homes connects us with the outside world and helps filter the air in our home. Therefore, learning how to be an indoor gardener is useful for all of us, as we learn how to make our home both beautiful and better for our health.
This Second Hand September, we’ve teamed up with Haule, an online marketplace for vintage and second hand homeware, to talk about furnishing your first home. Second Hand September was created by Oxfam in 2019 and has inspired thousands of people to shop in a way that is kinder to people and the planet.
We invited Haule to give some advice on furnishing your first home using vintage and second hand items. Read on to find out what they have to say.