Property Succession Planning - Or How To Save £100,000 plus

In the same way that asking a 20-year old if they've thought about how they're going to finance their retirement is something of a mood-killer, asking a first time buyer if they've considered how they're going to accommodate their ageing parents in 25 years' time is far from uplifting.

"But", says Linda Jeffcoat of Stacks Property Search, "there are enormous financial rewards to be gained for those buyers who plan for the future at an early stage in the property-buying process. The cost of moving is phenomenal, anything from 3% to 10% of the value of the property. If the bank owns half your property, you're effectively losing 6% to 20% of the equity every time you move. When you consider that the average person moves eight times in their life, the costs start to look eye-watering. If you have any respect for your equity, try and reduce the number of times you move by a process of careful planning.

"While only a tiny proportion of the population are born into the world of the great estates such as Badminton or Chatsworth, much can be learned from the way they operate with family members moving around different properties on the estate depending on their time of life. Re-creating this kind of musical-houses system in such a mobile society isn't always possible, but if families were more inclusive in their property succession planning, great savings could be made.

"If you're determined to be more autonomous than that, there's a great deal you can do to reduce the total number of moves in a lifetime.

Linda Jeffcoat's advice for property succession planning:

  • Spontaneity can be a good thing; but not when it comes to buying property. Spontaneous house purchases generally lead to high turnover.

  • Life rarely sticks to the rules you've laid down for it, but if you can produce some kind of mental spreadsheet for the timeline of your life, it will help you plan.

  • Buy as big a property as you can afford making sure to allow for any potential increase in interest rates.

  • Buy something which has the potential to extend or reconfigure in the future. An annexe, or self-contained part of the house is ideal - it provides for many different purposes throughout life, from nanny to ageing parents - and may be where you wind up living yourself!

  • Be sure of your chosen location: when the children are little it may seem idyllic to be in a rural spot but you will soon become a taxi driver as they grow up.

  • The same applies with a commute to work: make sure it's realistic otherwise you will grow weary of it and want to move on.

  • If you are buying but haven't even started a family yet it may not enter your head to think about education, but assuming you are it's never too early! We all know schools are important, but think ahead, concentrating on secondary education. Good secondary schools mean there are always good primary schools feeding them.                                                                                                                  

Bill Spreckley of Stacks Property Search believes that 80% of people aspire to live in a house that's 70% too big for them. He says, "There may be a time in your life when you think you need a very large house. This period of time may turn out to be short-lived; you will entertain less, your children will leave, or at least spend less time in, your home. And you will rattle around asking yourselves how you acquired so many rooms. Often it's not actually more space you need, it's different space, so consider re-configuring and using your space differently, rather than buying something enormous that you may quickly grow to resent as it drains your time and resources."

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