Should I Buy a Car or a House First?

Couple unloading car and moving into a new house

For most people, a car and home are two of the biggest personal assets purchased over a lifetime. Both are major financial commitments and of course, exciting milestones. So, should you buy a car or a house first? Like all investments, it’s important to do your research, crunch the numbers and compare different options before committing to a purchase.

If you’re tossing up between buying a new set of wheels or getting the keys to a home of your own, we’re here to help. Read on for an unbiased guide designed to help you answer the question, “should I buy a car or a house first?”

Your personal circumstances

Your personal circumstances are one of the most important things to consider when thinking about whether you should buy a car or a house first. The car vs house debate isn’t black and white, which means it’s important to factor in your unique situation when deciding.

For example, if you live in a major city like London with world-class public transport links and sky-high property prices, saving for a house deposit could be a smarter choice than putting your cash towards a new car. That said, many Londoners do choose to own a car and enjoy the benefits.

On the other hand, if you live in a smaller city, town or village where owning a car would have an enormous benefit on your day-to-day life and homeownership isn’t a huge challenge, purchasing a vehicle could be a better option.  

Budgeting for extra expenses

Homes and cars are both exciting purchases. However, it’s important to pencil in extra expenses for both assets. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest expenses coming your way when purchasing a car or property. While they’re not exactly “hidden”, they can add up quickly and factoring them in should be an important part of your decision-making process.   

The “hidden” costs of car ownership

  • Car insurance

Car insurance can be a big expense, especially for new and young drivers with minimal experience. It’s not unusual for average annual premiums for new drivers aged under 24 to top £1,000. Many motorists buying new cars choose to add GAP insurance, which offers extra peace of mind but increases the cost significantly.

  • Vehicle tax

Vehicle tax, or ‘road tax’ as it’s often referred to, is another big one. Costs average around £140 a year, though this can vary between vehicles.

  • Fuel

With analysts predicting forecourt prices to hit an all-time high over the coming months, fuel should definitely feature in your car ownership budget. Of course, your fuel expenses will depend on how often you use your car.

  • Parking

The cost of parking varies dramatically across the UK, with some cities offering free parking and others hitting you with huge fees. It’s worth doing your research before making a commitment.

  • Depreciation

Depreciation will vary depending on the make, model, and age of the car you purchase. New cars tend to lose around 20% of their value in the first year of ownership, while second-hand models depreciate at a slower and less sharp rate.

  • Servicing and maintenance

Depending on what car you buy, servicing and maintenance can be a big expense or a non-issue. Many new cars not only come with warranties but also free servicing for the first few years of ownership. In contrast, if you buy a second-hand vehicle, it’s worth factoring servicing and maintenance into your budget.

The “hidden” costs of homeownership

  • Insurance

Most homeowners choose to take out insurance, with the average policy costing £142 per quarter.

  • Property taxes

Property taxes can push up the price of home ownership, with rates calculated based on the value of the property.

  • General maintenance and upkeep

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to carry out general maintenance and upkeep on your property. Many financial advisors recommend allocating around 1-2% of the value of your mortgage to cover everything from big structural jobs to small cosmetic changes.  

  • Interest rates on your mortgage

Interest rates can have a big impact on the total cost of your mortgage and naturally, it’s important to shop around for the best deal.

Boosting your credit score

For many Brits, a lacklustre credit score is one of the biggest barriers to homeownership. Banks can be ruthless when it comes to checking your financial history and even small hiccups like a missed credit card payment or late phone bill instalment can affect your score.

This is where buying a car first and a home second can be a smart option. If you’re wondering does car finance help credit score, the answer is often yes. Taking out a car loan and committing to regular monthly payments can be a great way to build your credit score and prove to banks that you’re a responsible mortgage applicant.

Most home loans are significantly larger than the average car loan, which means lenders are even more strict when it comes to vetting applicants. A credit agreement with a car finance lender can help position you as a responsible borrower, so long as you pay your instalments on time.

There’s no need to worry about whether applying for car finance will affect your credit score, with the best brokers preceding formal applications with a ‘soft search’ credit check. This is a great way to check your eligibility and assess your options before actually applying for a loan that will leave a permanent signature on your credit score.

The final word on car vs house

Ultimately, the answer to “should I buy a car or a house first” depends on your own personal circumstances. You’ll need to consider your current financial situation, as well as factors like your lifestyle and personal preferences. Exploring a variety of different factors will help you decide whether vehicle ownership makes sense for you and if it’s a smart financial decision.

If you’re leaning towards a car finance broker over a mortgage broker, My Car Credit is here to help. With a large panel of lenders at our fingertips, we’re best placed to find a great deal for all kinds of drivers. Start by calculating car finance and then apply online, with no obligation and without impacting your credit score.

Rates from 6.9% APR. Representative APR 13.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

Calculating the Total Cost of Car Ownership

Buying a car is typically the second largest purchase that people will make (after a house). It’s true that you can find pretty decent nearly-new or used vehicles. This can make purchasing a car feel like a financially viable decision. But don’t forget that the vehicle itself is only the first step in the process – there are a number of other costs involved in owning a car.

Below, we detail the different variables that will affect the total cost of any car ownership. It’s best to be aware of all of these before you begin the process of purchasing – or even searching – for a new vehicle. This will ensure that you’re aware of your budgetary limits and personal requirements. Don’t forget that you can use our car finance calculator to establish what kind of numbers you’re looking at. Accordingly, you can then go into your search with eyes open.

Factors to consider in the cost of car ownership

The car itself – and lessons

If you’re already looking for a car, it’s likely that you know how to drive. However, you may be looking prospectively, in which case don’t forget that you’ll need to pay for driving lessons, too. You’ll also need to pay for both the theory and practical test, and your licenses.

Then there’s the car itself – the cost of this will hugely vary depending on make and model, as well as whether it’s a new vehicle or not. Keep in mind that as soon as you drive a new vehicle off the forecourt, its TMV (true market value) will immediately decrease. Typically, cars lose around 15% of their value every year.

Insurance

Again, the cost of your insurance is subject to a number of variables. If you’re a young driver, that is going to be significantly higher. What’s more, where you live and the car you buy will also impact your premium.

Fuel

The cost of fuel goes up and down depending on the market. However, you can generally use MPG figures (that’s mile per gallon) in order to work out how fuel efficient (or not) your vehicle is. Newer models are likely to have more accurate data available on this.  This is because since September 2018, the fuel consumption of all cars has had to be measured via the WLTP test (the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). Diesel cars are cheaper fuel-wise compared to petrol alternatives. However, their use is increasingly restricted and will be even more so come the 2030 Petrol and Diesel Ban.

Tax

Vehicle excise duty is an annual tax you have to pay, and it will vary depending on the emissions of the vehicle and its fuel economy. Cars that produce more emissions will be hit hardest by tax. Be aware, too, that as more people switch to electric or hybrid vehicles, there are tax-cuts and financial incentives to this move.

MOT, servicing, and maintenance

There are a number of different parts of a car, all of which need regular maintenance – from the tyres to your headlights. Once your vehicle ages over three years, it will need an annual mechanical check in order to ensure it’s roadworthy. As such, you need to factor both this and regular servicing into your budget.

Tips for reducing the total cost of car ownership

It’s not all doom and gloom – there are multiple ways you can be savvier about your vehicle purchase.

Insurance

Installing a black box to your car can reduce your premiums. Moreover, so can opting for a higher excess or even parking in a driveway or locked garage. If you purchase a cheaper model of car, this will also reduce your premiums. You may also end up paying less if you pay insurance annually rather than monthly. Under those circumstances, be sure to consider this lump sum payment into your budgeting.

For young drivers, taking the Pass Plus course will reduce costs, as will adding an older driver’s name to the policy in many cases. With insurance, it’s a good idea to shop around with different providers and get a feel for what deal best suits you.

Fuel and tax

You’ll find the best fuel economy with hybrid or electric cars. Not only is electricity cheaper than cars, you’re also doing your bit for the environment. In addition, you may benefit from tax incentives as a result. Before you buy, get a feel for whether or not you could take advantage of government grants. Consider your mileage, too, as this will determine how much you pay for fuel, and what vehicle would better suit your particular needs.

Maintenance and servicing

Manufacturers will often offer warranty plans that can help you manage your maintenance fees. Look at vehicles with longer warranty periods – some can be up to seven years. Shop around for a cheaper breakdown coverage, too, as this membership can end up being an exorbitant fee if you get the wrong one.

Vehicle depreciation

How significantly the value of a new vehicle depreciates is dependent on that vehicle. Buying cars that better hold onto their value will save you money in the long run. Of course, so will regular maintenance of the car and limiting its mileage. Consider, too, whether you really need a brand-new vehicle. Ask yourself whether a nearly-new car might serve its purpose and reduce the depreciation cost? Cars that are a year old are still great vehicles and their value depreciates at a much slower, steadier rate.

Any questions? Speak to My Car Credit today

We understand that it can be overwhelming trying to establish the total cost of car ownership. That’s why our car credit specialists are on hand to answer any queries you may have with the process. We’ve even got a one-stop shop of quality approved used and nearly-new cars that you can use to streamline the process for you.

Call our friendly team on 01246 458 810 today, and start getting a hold on the true ownership cost of your car.

Rates from 6.9% APR. Representative APR 13.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!