Hidden costs of property

07 September 2004
Getting on the property ladder can seriously damage your relationship as well as your wallet, new research reveals.

According to a study from Norwich Union, first time buyers are failing to account for all the financial and emotional costs of buying a property - leaving them out of pocket and unhappy in their new home.

Norwich Union's 'Moving Apart' study reveals that almost 100,000 first time buyers have experienced relationship problems with their partner due to the emotional stress of buying a home.

Those polled say lack of planning and money worries were a recipe for disharmony, with nine in ten (88 per cent) admitting they underestimated the cost of moving home and a quarter going over budget, to the tune of £10,000 on average.

According to 70 per cent of the nation's estate agents - who were also questioned as part of the study - first-time buyers often struggle to cope with the huge emotional rollercoaster of moving home.

And seven in ten (69 per cent) say it does not help that these people are often confused or ill informed about what is involved in the process.

According to relationship councillor Denise Knowles from Relate, the UK's largest relationship support organisation, the research highlights the need for open communication between couples.

"House buying is a stressful enough business at the best of times, but it can be even more so for those couples who are making their first long-term financial and emotional commitment by getting a property together.

"On top of having to come to terms with a new life of cohabitation and what that entails, they're also trying to muddle through the complicated process of buying a home, and it can be make or break for some couples."
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