Martin Lewis recommends Lifetime ISA for first time buyers
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Beth Nunnington may be only 31 but she has a wise head on her shoulders – she has just bought her first home in Leeds in the middle of a global pandemic – despite the fact that she has just one income to rely on. Undeniably she has had to make a few compromises along the way, but she says not only is it possible, but she has a plan in place to make sure she pays less interest over the long term. This is how she did it.
Buying a property for the first time isn’t easy, and like many other young aspiring homeowners, Beth Nunnington has struggled to get to where she is today.
Despite this, she bought her first home in Leeds during the pandemic and not only that but she has a plan in place to make sure she doesn’t pay too much interest.
Because she is a sole homeowner she had to opt for a repayment schedule spanning over 35 years, but she said that she plans to pay it off much earlier than this.
Beth said: “I bought my first house when I was 31 years old, all by myself, during a global pandemic. When it came to setting my repayment schedule, I maxed out the number of years to 35 as this meant my mortgage payments were a lot lower.”
At just 31, a repayment plan of 35 years is not unrealistic but Beth wants to make sure that she doesn’t throw away thousands of pounds in interest and actually plans to pay it back much earlier than this.
She explains: “I just took out a mortgage loan for two years, as, not only did this have the lowest interest rate, but I also hoped that in two years time I would be in a better position to reduce the number of years to a lot less – meaning that I would pay less interest in the long run!”
This option could help other first time buyers of a similar age get on the property ladder to start with, in the hope that their situation will improve as they age as well.
However, many people in Beth’s position struggle to even save a deposit, but with a few simple changes it is possible she insisted.
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“I was able to achieve this goal by saving small amounts each month after university, even if it was just £10,” Beth explained. “I formed a really good habit of always transferring money into a separate savings account that I couldn’t easily access, on the first of every month.
“Of course, I still used interest-free credit cards and my (free) overdraft often, but I always saved. It became quite addictive seeing the numbers increase and, as I was always fortunate enough to be in full-time employment, I saved most months.
“In the 18 months before buying, I really pushed myself hard to save and to cut back. I bought less clothes, takeaways and unnecessary items and I moved to a much cheaper location in Leeds, cutting my rent by £250 a month!”
Paul Elliott, Head of Mortgages at Atom Bank said it’s becoming more and more commonplace for people to buy a house on their own and, although it can be pretty daunting, it’s definitely achievable.
He said: “It’s true, buying your first home by yourself can be a pretty big hill to climb – but it’s nothing you can’t handle.
“Single homeowners usually don’t tend to opt for large, expensive family homes, so getting onto the property ladder and buying your first, smaller home is an achievable goal.
“If you’ve rented prior to applying for your first mortgage, you’ll know that additional costs such as utilities and council tax are, regrettably, a given.”
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Despite this he said that young people who are used to renting could discover that they’re actually better off.
He added: “Monthly rental payments can actually be more expensive than a standard monthly mortgage payment, so you may be surprised to learn that you could potentially save more by buying your home, rather than continuing to rent.
“I suggest that you review all of your outgoings and financial habits before applying, and make sure you have all the relevant information and documents you’ll need to hand. There’s no such thing as being too prepared.”
As a general rule of thumb single people can borrow between 4.5 and six times their income, but it will of course depend on individual circumstances.
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