Where Should You Spend? Weddings vs First Time Buyers

Weddings have been known to break the bank for brides and grooms across the nation, but could couples be prioritising becoming first time buyers instead?  

Creating the picture-perfect day can be stressful mentally and financially for couples. Couples can definitely save when it comes to big investments like mortgages, but that doesn’t mean saying ‘I do’ isn’t expensive. 

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According to Money Saving Expert, the average cost of a UK wedding is anywhere between £18,000 to a heartbreaking £32,000. 

Research from Direct Line Life Insurance reveals that the combined cost of a wedding and first-time buyer deposit exceeds a massive £80,000 for couples. The study also shows couples would need to save 10% of their salary for 15 years just to fund their wedding and mortgage combined. 

Are couples opting to buy a home instead of blowing thousands on their wedding? 

According to Introducer Today UK, approx. 76% of Brits think buying a property is an important life goal, with 64% of Brits viewing marriage in the same way.  

But we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. So just how long does it take to pay off wedding debt, you may ask? According to Nerd Wallet, couples spend on average 4 years paying off their wedding loans. Borrowers should also keep in mind that they will need to budget accordingly, because payments are fixed. You can opt to repay over a timeframe of 1 – 5 years of course, but if you can afford to pay it back in a shorter period of time, it’s always great to do so – as it helps you pay less interest on your loan and overall save big bucks. 

Creating a perfect wedding day is a pressure that many engaged couples face, so keep in mind that details such as your wedding venue can cost up to 30% of your budget. The cost of a wedding dress, for example, can range anywhere from £300 to £2,000 depending on how expensive or elaborate you’d like your gown to be. 

As they say, money doesn’t grow on trees, so we’ve broken down the average costs for that dream day:  

Wedding Venue/ItemsAverage Cost in UK
Registry Office Wedding Price£57+
Average cost of Wedding Suit for Hire£140+
Average Wedding Dress Cost£300 – £2000+
Church Wedding Cost£560 – £512
Wedding Flowers Cost£1,500
Average Wedding Photographer Cost£1,590
Wedding Venue Budget£4,000 – £6,000
Average Price of a Wedding£18,000 – £32,000

*Please note that all numbers are averages.

How much is an average first time buyer home? 

With the crazy cost of weddings not becoming cheaper anytime soon, couples may want to invest that money in buying their first home instead. 

But buying a home isn’t cheap either. According to Statista, the average house price for first-time home buyers in the UK was over £264,000 in 2021, which was a slight increase of 3% from the previous year (2020). 

Planning is certainly essential, and it appears that many couples look to the Bank of Mum and Dad, if they can. Overall, a whopping £122 billion has been given to couples by family and friends to help with wedding costs across the UK. Because of unplanned additional wedding costs, 2 million people (23%) decided to dip into their savings to buy a property instead, while 2.2 million (25%) received help from family members to do so. 

Perhaps it’s time to take a look at that deposit and make the choice between a big wedding and your first home. 

How much do I need for a first time buyer deposit? 

The big question couples will often ask is, how much could we borrow? 

According to Introducer Today, the average cost of a first-time buyer deposit in the UK is £48,500. But of course, this depends on where you’re looking. Whilst calculating how much you’d need to save for your first time buyer deposit, you should consider the typical property prices in your area, including your monthly repayment costs. 

Be prepared when house hunting because the figures you’ll see on portals and agent websites usually will have asking prices – meaning they’ll be a bit higher than what the property is actually worth. 

Your mortgage cost will generally be available at up to 95% loan-to-value, meaning it’s possible to get on the property ladder with a first time buyer deposit of 5% of the property price

If you’re looking at a property for £200,000, here is how much cash you’d need to put down based on different deposit sizes: 

  • 5% deposit: £10,000
  • 10% deposit: £20,000
  • 15% deposit: £30,000

If you’re buying your first home as a couple or looking to remortgage, at Mashroom we’re able to help you figure out how much mortgage you are able to afford. Have questions about how much you can borrow? You can also calculate your mortgage with our free calculator to see which mortgages you are eligible for. 

What credit score do I need for a mortgage as a first time buyer? 

Identification verification and credit checks are an essential part of buying a property. If you’re a landlord for example, you wouldn’t want a bad tenant who attempts to launder criminal money, so tenant referencing is a must. Tenants should also be prepared to be asked for this proper tenancy referencing check. 

But what about credit scores for first time buyer mortgages? 

As a first time buyer, your credit score is really important, because the higher your credit rating the better your chances of being accepted for credit at the best rate possible. A good credit score will affect things like loans, mortgages, mobile contracts and plenty more. 

When you apply for credit, the lender will calculate your credit score to help decide whether to lend to you, which is usually based on the info from your credit report, your application details, and the data they already hold on you – such as if you’ve been a customer before.  Keep your credit score healthy by keeping an eye out for fraudsters, avoiding defaulted accounts, and only borrowing what you can afford to repay. 

So what credit score is needed to buy a house?

To put it simply, in the UK there’s no set minimum credit score you need in order to buy a home. It is calculated on your salary and other incomings, against your outgoings and other debts. However, if you’re buying a house with a mortgage your credit score must be high enough for lenders to be willing to give you an offer. 

wedding , first time buyers , couple

As a first time buyer, can I buy a house with bad credit? 

Buying a house with bad credit is never easy, so of course it’s highly recommended to keep your credit score high. Help to buy with bad credit is always out there, but most lenders will turn you down. 

Be persistent though, because if you can’t pass the affordability check, you could possibly find a guarantor to sign an ultimate deed of guarantee. There are some lenders who may be more willing than most to accept you with a bad credit rating, depending on your situation. But be aware as these will most likely be more expensive. If by chance you are accepted – use this as an opportunity to keep moving forward to buy your first property, move house, or remortgage your current home. 

With the cost of a wedding and a deposit both being high, it’s no wonder many couples are having to choose between a ‘perfect day’ or a ‘dream home’. The choice is yours really, but keep in mind that a home is always an investment that can pay off down the road and its value is likely to grow and help you move up the property ladder.

If you’re a first time buyer, know that you can access free help to guide you through the entire process. Contact us for free mortgage advice and book a call to see how much you can save. 

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