How a couple saved nearly £15k to buy their dream home by 22 – while paying rent and bills

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A young couple gave up their London dream to save £14,600 to buy a new house – despite paying rent and bills.

Harry Seaton and his partner Annie, both 22, are just days away from picking up the keys to their £292,000 home.

And the pair say it wasn’t as difficult as people might fear with relocating being their biggest sacrifice – moving into Annie’s family home in East Anglia where despite paying rent, they managed to save thousands.

They’ve just had an offer accepted on their “perfect” home, a new build semi in Norfolk, bought using the Government’s Help to Buy scheme with a 5 per cent deposit.

To make their dream a reality, they opened two Lifetime ISAs and gave up their car – but Harry insists you don’t need to give up your life to make it happen, reports the Mirror.



They bought the property with a £292,000 bid
They bought the property with a £292,000 bid

Harry believes the key to saving is simply being organised, saying “you don’t have to give up as much as you might think”.

“Annie and I opened our Lifetime ISAs in August 2018 and started saving immediately,” Harry, who works as a musician and vlogger, explained.

“We’d seen that you had to hold the account for a year before you could make use of the government bonus and we knew we weren’t going to be in a position to buy before August 2019, so it made sense to start when we did.”

Harry explained that they’d already rented together, so the “living together” conversation had already happened for the pair.

“We rationalised the idea of buying a house and chatted through why we felt it was a great next step for us.

“It’s not as scary as a lot of young people seem to think. We’ve been equally involved in every stage of the process too, starting with researching savings accounts.

“We also got advice from our parents and friends, again, we did this together, so that we were always at the same stage and page as one another.

“We worked out what size deposit we needed (and could afford) halved it and divided that by how many months we want to be saving for in an ideal world.

“We also used spreadsheets to budget for upcoming months to ensure we could always meet that figure, but this also helped us when we could add more into the fund too. I also stopped looking at expensive cars I could put on finance.”

‘Renting helps’

And surprisingly, he said renting actually helped.

“It’s so important to have a proper understanding of the value of the money before buying your first home.

“Renting was really good for in terms of preparing financially for bills. Since we moved back home to save, we’ve continued to pay rent to Annie’s parents and bought our own food, so we’re very much used to paying our way.”

When it came to putting down an offer, he said negotiation is key.

“The most important thing to remember is that most developers have a “target price”, which is usually quite a lot less than the asking price.



Inside their "perfect" home
Inside their home

“We started ridiculously low (with an offer we knew would get a straight rejection) and then slowly worked our way up. That way we still got it considerably under asking price, but the developers feel like they’ve talked you up a bit.

“After viewing what felt like a million properties, we’ve now had our offer accepted on the home we want, so the next step the mortgage! We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth ride.”

Harry said above all, his top tip is to open a Lifetime ISA as soon as possible.

“Get it open, stick a tenner in it and don’t worry about if you really can’t much save right now, but get it open,” he said.

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And once they’re in the property, he says the bargaining won’t stop.

“After we finished saving for the house deposit, we didn’t stop saving. We carried on saving the same amount or more into a separate savings account each month to set aside money for decorating and furnishing.

“It really does add up if you’re starting from scratch with no existing bits of furniture, but as we keep telling people, if you budget you can do it!.

“We’ll be buying our furniture in the Black Friday, Boxing Day and January sales.

“We’ve made a list of everything we absolutely need for the move-in date and everything else that we can afford to wait for, which has been really helpful too.

“Our immediate budget for the moving day is about £2,500. This will allow for a lovely sofa and bed and then leave enough for the other essentials that we’re not as fussed about like a dining table, coffee table, TV unit, chest of drawers etc.

“We’re also lucky to have built in wardrobes, if not we’d need to allocate even more.

“Facebook Marketplace is a goldmine. We’ve also recently discovered an independent store local to us that refurbishes old furniture and sells it on cheaply – so keep your eyes peeled.”

Harry’s top tips for first-time buyers

As well as your deposit, it’s important to take into account the additional costs of moving home, such as a conveyancer, which will cost hundreds and possible even more, experts say.

“When buying a home, it’s important to ensure you’ve got the costs of surveying, legal fees and room for negotiation on the price covered first,” Alex Beavis, head of mortgages at Skipton Building Society said.

“Getting used to your new outgoing expenses that come with buying a home means you can quickly work out how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a monthly basis.”

Here are Harry’s top money-saving tips to get you started.

  1. Open an account right now: As soon as you’ve decided what product is right for you (for me it was the Lifetime ISA), open an account as soon as possible.
    In fact, open one even if you can’t start saving significant amount into it yet, or don’t know what kind of house you want, or when.
    Not only will having the account open encourage you to save into it, but for some products you have to wait a year from opening it before you can use it. The last thing you’d want is to miss out on your dream house because you’re waiting for that year to pass!
  2. Be consistent with your saving: A bit of routine makes it so much easier to hit a goal.
    No matter how big and daunting it may seem right now, if you know how much you’re putting into your savings account and when you’re putting it in, it won’t take long before you don’t even think about it anymore.
    Set up a direct debit from your main account to your savings for a certain amount every month so you don’t have to do this yourself.
  3. Swallow your pride: I love cars. I’d love a nice car on finance, but I can do that any stage of my life and it’s not a priority. Think about what you can realistically give up in the shorter term.
    Not only do big outgoings like cars sometimes affect your mortgage amount, it’ll be so much harder to save with them looming over you every month.
  4. Budget and your social life won’t be ‘over’: Want to enjoy life while saving? Budget. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Annie and I work out what we need to spend each month and what we have to play with.
    We’re careful with the little things like food for lunch (because it’s the little things that add up), but because of that we can still go out for meals and to the cinema.
    We basically still do everything we usually would have done before we started saving. It’s all about finding a balance, but it’s hard to do that when you’re not sure what you’re balancing.
  5. Find a house you love: This is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t settle. We visited a number of developments and viewed so many houses before we found ‘the one’.
    On top of the cost of it, you’re going to be living there for at least the foreseeable future. If you can find a place that you’ll be excited to come home to each day, then you’ve done it right.



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