Opinion: Should you take a gap year or buy a house?

Take a gap year or buy a house?

Taking a gap year is one of the most exciting and life-changing decisions you can make in your life. When you are young, you have more time and energy to explore the world with limited responsibilities at home.

Yet, at the same time, all your friends who are not so interested in traveling may have started buying their own homes, thus, you question which is the right route?

Though you should only buy a home when you are personally ready, sometimes peer pressure can be overwhelming – especially if you are unsure whether your hard-earned savings should be spent on security or being free-spirited.

That said, should you take a gap year or should you buy a house?

As with all important decisions in life, I ask myself: “When I make my final speech on my deathbed, what are the happiest moments in life I want to reflect on with my closest friends and family?”

Though my husband and I own four properties, traveling has always been more important than buying a property as new life experiences are so priceless. However, there’s no right or wrong answer, only you can decide this yourself.

Two key questions to ask yourself before making a decision

1. Find out the working holiday visa age limit

On a practical note, once you know which destination you’re interested in, find out what the age limit is to qualify for a working holiday visa (that’s if you’re not eligible for an employer sponsored visa or an ancestry visa).

If you are younger, you have time to buy a house and then save money for your gap year. However, if you are approaching the visa age limit, then you need to make a decision before the cut-off date.

2. Who will live in your property?

You might be worried about house prices going up if you buy a house after you return from your gap year.

Before you worry about that, you need to ask yourself whether you want to live in your property, or if you want to rent it.

If you want to live in this property, then remember the mortgage will have to be paid from your salary as you won’t have any rental income.

If your mortgage repayments are too high or the interest rate increases, you might get trapped in a cycle whereby you feel that you can’t leave your home due to your financial commitments. I’ve had many friends in the situation.

Contrarily, if you rent out your house, you can use the rental income to pay your mortgage. But ensure the rent for the place you live in, whilst your property is rented, is ‘cheap’ so you can save for your gap year.

Short term sacrifices, such as living in a large house share, might have to be made so you can save more money.

What is the logical answer – buy a house or travel?

If you look at the numbers, buying a home is more logical than traveling but I think traveling will make your soul more fulfilled.

Remember, income does not need to be made in your home country or in your current job. You can work anywhere.

Just because your salary is lower in a new country doesn’t mean you can’t save money. Your income just needs to be relative to the country’s cost of living.

I think you will not regret taking a gap year nor would you regret buying a house, as long as it does not cause you financial hardship.

The biggest regret would be doing neither.

So would you prefer to buy a house or take a gap year? 

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Hi, my name is Jude Little, also known as ‘Big Sister Jude’. I am a comic artist and a property investor. I bought my first property at 26 and ended up owning four properties in Australia and the UK by 30. I created this blog to help millions of people, like my little brother and little sister, who want to climb the property ladder but lack the knowledge and confidence on how to get there.

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