Opinion  

Teach school kids about mortgages

Sonia Rach

Sonia Rach

A year on from when I first stepped onto the property ladder, the horrors of it still haunt me.

Like many, I aspired to buy a property at some point in my life but was clueless on where to begin.

Do you look for the property and then try and get a mortgage? Do you use a mortgage calculator and then start looking? Do you wander the streets hoping to find one that suits you or do you go to an estate agent?

The questions were endless to say the least – and that is despite me having the added benefit of being a financial journalist.  

Getting a mortgage seems like something, many rather than a few, will look to do at some point in their life. And yet, we are taught nothing about it.

Why are we taught about the aspects of trigonometry in schools but not about the basics in life such as opening an Isa or getting a mortgage? Who made this decision and why? 

Although not a question that gives me sleepless nights, it is one I find myself pondering quite often.

My personal circumstances meant I was opting for a buy-to-let property as a first-time buyer.

However, having witnessed others around me on the buying journey, I don’t think it would have been much easier even if my circumstances were straightforward.

So last year, I decided it was time for me to buy, probably spurred on because of the pandemic and lack of holidays, but I began looking for properties that would also be suitable for me as an investment. 

Having grown up in East London and worked in a sports retailer in Romford, I decided these areas would be the ones to look at and ended up finding two potential properties in this space and went off enquiring, quickly arriving at the first hurdle: a mortgage in principle (MIP).

Shouldn’t the aspect of needing a mortgage in principle be something taught to you?

Luckily for me, the properties I had selected were within the amount I could afford and the estate agent put me in touch with a mortgage adviser who was able to help me with a MIP. 

I placed an offer for the flat, celebrated the fact that I had it accepted and wiped my brow, somewhat pleased with myself.

The second hurdle then came: mortgage rates. 

As someone in the industry, these two words did not seem as daunting to me as they did for many of my friends, but deciding between a fixed or variable mortgage, what rate I wanted and which provider was still quite a task.