EMMA Swan and Dean Bridgewater couldn’t believe it when the landlord slapped them with a £7,200 a year rental rate increase in April this year.
They couldn’t afford such a dramatic increase for a cost of living crisis – which is what prompted them to buy their first house for £475,000.
Delivering their notice, Emma and Dean had just two months to find a place of their own to shop.
But luckily, they managed to close a deal and get the keys to their two-bedroom flat in Woolwich, London, in June.
Using the government help to buy scheme meant they could climb the ladder faster as they only had to make a 5% deposit instead of the usual 10%.
Esther, 28, who works in banking, and software developer Dale, 27, pay £1,200 a month in mortgage refunds
That’s £800 cheaper than £2,000 a month rent fee they were told they had to pay for their previous flat in Canary Wharf.
The Sun spoke to the couple to see how they managed to buy a house of their own in a matter of months for our my first home Serie.
tell me about the floor
It’s a two-bedroom flat in Woolwich.
The apartment is located in the Trinity Walk development of Lovell Homes.
We are on the ground floor of a six-storey block of flats.
We have two bathrooms and an open kitchen, living room and dining room.
There is plenty of storage space and we have an L-shaped terrace, perfect for our dog, Yoshi.
How did you decide on the location?
Initially we were looking for areas closer to central London for our flat.
We soon discovered that many of the flats we wanted were out of our budget.
We looked for cheaper flats in areas where we could still take the subway.
Woolwich was a great find for us – it’s close to a DLR station, we can also catch the new Elizabeth line.
How much was it?
The flat cost £475,000.
We used the Help to Buy program to obtain a capital loan of £95,000 and put down a 5% deposit of £23,750; otherwise we would not have been able to pay it.
The government will lend you up to 20% of the value of your property, or 40% if you live in London, and the loan is interest-free for the first five years.
We took out a 30-year mortgage for £356,500 with a five-year fixed interest rate of 2.3%.
Our monthly payments are £1,200.
That doesn’t include the service charge, which is £150 per month.
We decided to use the Help to Buy scheme because we were in a hurry to buy, and using it meant we didn’t have to make such a large deposit.
The scheme also ends in October, so we wanted to apply before time ran out.
How did you save for that?
We really increased our savings during the Covid crisis.
We knew we wanted to buy, and this was a good opportunity to save money.
Ditching our holiday plans this year meant we saved around £2,000.
We also sold some of our items to raise funds; For example, we sold our rowing machine for £250.
One of our biggest expenses was meals and takeout.
We were spending around £300 a month on this, but managed to get our expenses down to £50.
Instead, we cooked meals at home and stayed.
Lovell Homes also gave us £8,500 to cover stamp duty costs free of charge.
Developers often offer incentives to prospective buyers to get a deal on the line.
The gifts you can get vary from case to case – it all depends on who you buy from and how much you’re willing to give.
But in some cases, you can get free cash to buy your home worth up to 5 percent of the home’s purchase price, according to the Mortgage Counseling Office.
The £8,500 they gave us meant we were able to move in sooner than we thought, instead of saving more and waiting longer to buy.
How did you afford to furnish it?
Since we rented a semi-furnished flat before we moved in, we didn’t have to spend much on furniture.
What we already had was mostly second-hand from charity shops.
We got a sofa from our local British Heart Foundation store for £200; it would have been £2000 originally.
And we also got a full-length mirror for £10, which would have been £75 originally.
What is your advice to other first-time buyers?
Start looking for help that is offered to first-time buyers.
Help to Buy was the right path for us, but shared ownership schemes can help you too.
Schemes like this mean you don’t have to make such a large deposit.
Look for places to shop at the end of the train lines, they are often more affordable than places closer to the city center.
Take a walk around the neighborhood and feel good before you buy.