Welcome to series two of our blog where we catch up with first time buyers who’ve managed to get on the housing ladder without help from Mum & Dad. In this series we hear from Christian & .Janet, Kizzy and Hanna.

Name: Christian Mtima & Janet Mtima

Age: 28 & 26

Occupation: Secondary School Teacher, Administrator

My husband and I bought a £210k new build two-bedroom flat in Grays,
Essex back in July 2017. We chose to buy within Essex simply because the
property price tags were affordable for us.

At the time, Christian was earning £28k whilst I was on a £19k salary. There
were a number of schemes available to us but we were not eligible to some
as we were buying ‘outside’ of London. We used a Help to Buy ISA and
benefited from the stamp duty waive eligible to first-time buyers. 
Together we raised a small deposit of 5% meaning we only had to raise about £14.5k, which also covered administration fees.

To our surprise, we had a very smooth journey buying our property. Our
process was complete within 7 weeks. We saved for just under 2 years and
even had a big wedding in between! After we got married, I moved in with
Christian and his mother for 10 months and it was then that we really
managed to stash money away.
Key tip: Don’t be discouraged by the popular belief that becoming a
homeowner is impossible. Commit yourself to your goal and stay focused!

Name: Kizzy Aurum

Age: 29

I managed to get on the property ladder by myself with no bank of mum and dad and without using any government schemes. When I got my first graduate job at 22 I only earned £1300 pcm. I started saving £500 every month about a year and then as my salary increased I upped my savings to £800 per month. On the odd occasion id even save £1000. It took me nearly 5 years to save up. You have to be disciplined! Balenciaga can wait!
The process of buying was complicated. I had two purchases fall through and I lost £600 in the process but it actually turned out for the best as the property I did get is much bigger.

I talk about my top tips for saving for a deposit on my YouTube channel: Kizzy Aurum, but the top one is to decide on a goal amount and factor in ALL the costs like legal fees, mortgage arrangement fee, broker fee, stamp duty, furniture costs and 3 months of salary as a safety net. 
The best thing you can do is start saving whilst you are still living at home, don’t be quick to move out because trying to save whilst paying rent is much more difficult.

And lastly, moneysavingexpert.com and propertycohort.co.uk are the plugs for information on the buying process.  

Name: Hanna

Age: 25

Occupation: Financial Services industry

I always knew I wanted to be a homeowner and I wanted to do it on my own (for my first property) so set myself a goal to do it at 25. I lived on an estate for 21 years so from an early age I was fixated on the concept of owning a freehold one day.

Earlier this year I purchased a Victorian 3-bed house in South London.

I looked into the Help to Buy Schemes but I didn’t particularly like the idea of those schemes on offer at the time and I especially didn’t like the idea of the government owning a portion of equity in my property so I didn’t use that scheme. I did open a Help to Buy ISA (and later transferred that into a Lifetime ISA to maximise the bonus at the time). I found those schemes were hugely beneficial as it was a 25% top up on some of the money that I had saved.

Other things I did to prepare myself for the buying process were:

  • Ensuring my credit score remained as high as possible
  • Ensuring my salary was sufficient for the properties I was considering
  • Growing my deposit ensuring it is at least 10% (as this affected interest rates available to me)
  • Factoring in necessary funds for various fees (stamp duty, conveyancer, surveyor and broker)
  • Factoring in fees for potential renovations.

I chose the area I lived in based on a number of factors:

  • I wanted to live in either TFL Zone 3 or 4 but I went with Zone 4 as I wanted to ensure I got good value for money in terms of house size (spent a lot of time looking at floor plans).
  • I wanted good transport links and an area I have family and friends nearby.
  • The up and coming nature of the area and forthcoming regeneration developments
  • Ease of access getting to the city and local amenities.
  • Living in a multicultural area was extremely important to me and being a single independent young adult with no dependencies also had an impact on the location I chose.

In terms of the property consider whether you want a project (property that requires a lot of modernisation and/or renovation) or a property you can quickly move into – I chose the latter but many people chose properties that need a lot of work so they can quickly increase property value and therefore increase their equity in the property.

Key Tips:

  • Saving: Set up standing orders so money goes straight to your savings accounts on payday without you even seeing it. Out of sight of mind.
  • Financial Advice: I recommend getting a broker, they help immensely but it is necessary to ensure you use the right one. Research thoroughly and listen to peoples recommendations, read reviews etc.
  • Estate Agents: Do not allow any estate agents to pressure you into using their broker when you already have one. Be friendly yet very wary of Estate Agents they can be crafty and devious, remember their client is the vendor (person selling the property).
  • Location: Research the area you want to buy property in thoroughly and make sure it is an area you can see yourself living in and think about potential resale and any upcoming developments that could boost or lower the value.
  • Surveys: If you can afford to I recommend getting a comprehensive survey done on the specific property by a reputable surveyor– in one of the houses I had an offer accepted on Japanese knotweed was found on the survey! (invasive destructive plant) Needless to say I dropped out of that transaction.
  • Conveyancing: Regarding the legal side, a good solicitor that is thorough, attentive and efficient is imperative. Conveyancing is the longest part of the process, don’t just go for the cheapest one! My transaction only took 3 months from Offer to Completion despite the Christmas period and that was due to my on-the-ball solicitor!

*This article is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this page was first published.

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