Marriage or Mortgage: What’s Right For You?
16th August 2021
If you’re a young couple with limited savings, the biggest question you’ll probably find yourself asking is: marriage or mortgage. After asking ‘what should we have for dinner’, of course. So much so that there’s a whole Netflix series dedicated to it. With an average UK wedding costing £31,974 and average first-time buyer deposit of £58,986, it’s realistic to have to choose between these two huge life events when you’re planning your next steps together.
While the practical option is to invest in a home instead of spending on a big party, research revealed that 12% of people surveyed believed taking out a mortgage was more important than getting married proving that every couple is unique with their own priorities, so there really is no correct answer. That’s why we’ve summed up the real benefits of both choices to help guide you to a decision that’s right for you.
Getting on the property ladder
The obvious pro of getting a mortgage first is getting on the property ladder as soon as you possibly can. Once you’re on it, it only gets easier from there. The sooner you start paying off your mortgage, the quicker you’ll achieve the magical part of your life where you’re rent and mortgage free. There’s also the benefit of buying a property early, especially in a good location, as it’s likely to steadily increase in value over time.
Marriage can make mortgages easier
Being married doesn’t automatically grant you mortgage success, but it can certainly help you along in the process and potentially earn you better loan terms if you get a joint mortgage. With two sets of incomes and two sets of (hopefully good) credit history, you’ve got a much better chance at qualifying and demonstrating your ability to repay the mortgage. It still depends on your financial information like income, debt and credit score, but there’s more margin for error with both of you involved.
No more rent
The harsh reality of renting is that you’ll never see that rent money again. It isn’t an investment like a mortgage payment, and simply disappears into your landlord’s pocket if you rent privately, leaving you in a rent trap. Buying your first home can be a real challenge and need a big deposit to get started, but it’s now possible to get a mortgage for as low as 5% upfront. You may need to pay higher monthly payments, perhaps even higher than your current rent, but at least it’s contributing to your mortgage rather than vanishing.
Starting a family
Some couples don’t want to think about starting a family until they’re married, while others feel the same about owning their own home. If either of these sound like you, then it’s a big thing to factor into your decision. It’s also important to take your beliefs into account especially if you don’t believe in pre-marital sex or have traditional views on marriage.
Freedom to make your house a home
Owning your own property grants you the ability to do what you want with your home and fully personalise it to the two of you. No more restrictions from your landlord or family telling you that you can’t completely redecorate, make significant changes or even put a nail in the wall. For example, if you absolutely love hosting, you may want to knock down a wall to create an open plan kitchen/living space - definitely not an option in a rental, but doable in your own home.
Wedding registry vs housewarming gifts
One of the upsides of important life moments? The tradition of gifting. Both weddings and housewarmings are known for being occasions where gifts are - love it or hate it - the societal expectation. With housewarming gifts you roll the dice and it can be anything from a new blender or crystal vase to a bottle of wine and a plant. Meanwhile, wedding gifts, if you set up a registry, are more in your control, so you can actually get the things you need for your home. Hey, it might not seem like a big deal, but it’s surprising how useful this can be.
Time to make decisions
Buying a house together is a big deal with tons of important decisions to make, so by holding off on the big purchase, you’re buying yourself time to figure out what you truly want as a couple. This could be the location or neighbourhood you want to live in, which can take a lot of time and research to narrow down, or it could be the size or style of the house you want. Importantly, you need to firmly agree on a price range for your first home, which is easier once you’re married and no longer have to worry about future wedding costs.
Whatever you decide to do, there’s one piece of advice worth following: don’t sacrifice your emergency fund. And if you don’t have one, start with that first. Life can hit you with the unexpected at any time, so make sure you’re ready and can comfortably survive, above all else.