CHILDHOOD mates who clubbed together to buy a £525,000 three-bed flat in London have slashed their outgoings almost in half now that they have a mortgage.
Shropshire lads Harry Lywood, 21, and George Poynor, 20, bought their penthouse Walthamstow flat in December last year and reckon they save almost £450 a month each on household bills now that they’re homeowners.
Louis Wood – The Sun Harry Lywood and best pal George Poyner bought their first home together
The pair, who’ve known each other since they were eight, were forking out almost £1,000 each – £800 a month in rent and £200 for bills – to rent a room in a shared house.
Now, they pay £650 each every month – £461.50 for the mortgage plus another £188.50 towards bills and service charges.
Both property salesman Harry and George, a letting agent, were 20 when they bought the flat but say it wouldn’t have been possible with out the 40 per cent Help to Buy loan from the Government.
They’d been planning on buying together at 25 but they soon realised how much they save by getting on the property ladder sooner rather than later.
Louis Wood – The Sun The lads bought their home when they were both 20 – although Harry is now 21
Now, they’re putting everything they save aside to go towards paying off the Government loan before the five-year interest-free period is up.
It took both mates two years to save their half of the £26,250 deposit by curbing their spending and saving every penny of commission.
We caught up with Harry to find out what it’s really like buying a place with your best pal for My First Home.
What’s your flat like and when did you move in?
We live in a three-bed flat in Walthamstow, London. We moved in in December last year so we’ve been here for around five months now.
It’s a Taylor Wimpey new build and in a block of around 90 flats in the Eclipse development. We’re on the top floor so we have a great view of the wetlands nature reserve.
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It’s got three bathrooms – two en suites and a main bathroom – that’s more bathrooms than there are people living here!
The flat’s a bit weird in the layout because it’s across two floors but the bedrooms are on the ground floor and then you walk upstairs to the open plan kitchen and living room.
Louis Wood – The Sun The duplex flat is is open plan upstairs and has access to a roof terrace
Louis Wood – The Sun The flat is split across two floors with the bedrooms downstairs
We also have a terrace which will be great when the sun’s out.
It takes us both about half an hour to get to work too – I work in Stratford and George works in Hackney.
How do you know each other and when did you decide to buy together?
Me and George have known each other since we were about eight years old. We met when we were in primary school in Shropshire.
I moved to London when I was 18 and a year later George did too.
Louis Wood – The Sun There are three bathroom in the flat – two en suites and a main bathroom
Louis Wood – The Sun There have been a few teething problems with the flat such as the bathroom flooring
We’d always had plans to buy a place together but we didn’t think that it would be so soon.
I’ve got a girlfriend but she’s still at university and me and George have been talking about this for years, so it didn’t seem so much of a commitment.
Louis Wood – The Sun George and Harry have known each other since they were eight years old
Louis Wood – The Sun Harry saved enough for the deposit by cutting down spending and saving all of his commission
We rented a room in the same place so we know we can live together and we know each other’s family’s really well.
How much did you pay and how do you split the costs?
We paid £525,000 for the flat and took out a 40 per cent Help To Buy loan, which works out at £210,000.
We did it with a five per cent deposit – so £26,250 – and took out a five-year fixed rate mortgage for the remaining £288,500.
Louis Wood – The Sun The flat has access to a roof terrace that looks over the Walthamstow Wetlands nature reserve
Louis Wood – The Sun The open plan kitchen is all fitted to a high spec
Me and George have split the costs 50/50. We each paid £13,125 towards the deposit so we have equal ownership.
We also made sure we’re “tenants in common” rather than “joint tenants” which means that our share of the house can pass to our next of kin if anything was to happen to either of us.
When it came to furnishing the flat, we’ve been lucky enough to get so many secondhand pieces from parents and extended family.
Everything we did have to buy, we waited until the January sales so we could save some cash, like our beds should have been £250 each but we bought them for £150.
What help is out there for first-time buyers?GETTING on the property ladder can feel like a daunting task but there are schemes out there to help first-time buyers have their own home.Help to Buy Isa – It’s a tax-free savings account where for every £200 you save, the Government will add an extra £50. But there’s a maximum limit of £3,000 which is paid to your solicitor when you move.
Help to Buy equity loan – The Government will lend you up to 20 per cent of the home’s value – or 40 per cent in London – after you’ve put down a five per cent deposit. The loan is on top of a normal mortgage but it can only be used to buy a new build property.
Lifetime Isa – This is another Government scheme that gives anyone aged 18 to 39 the chance to save tax-free and get a bonus of up to £32,000 towards their first home. You can save up to £4,000 a year and the Government will add 25 per cent on top.
Shared ownership – Co-owning with a housing association means you can buy a part of the property and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can buy anything from 25 to 75 per cent of the property but you’re restricted to specific ones.
“First dibs” in London – London Mayor Sadiq Khan is working on a scheme that will restrict sales of all new-build homes in the capital up to £350,000 to UK buyers for three months before any overseas marketing can take place.
Starter Home Initiative – A Government scheme that will see 200,000 new-build homes in England sold to first-time buyers with a 20 per cent discount by 2020. To receive updates on the progress of these homes you can register your interest on the Starter Homes website.
We pay £923 a month for our mortgage so it’s £461.50 each. That’s insanely cheap compared to what we were both paying in rent.
I rented a room in a shared house with three others and I was spending around £900 in rent and another £100 for bills. George was paying the same.
Louis Wood – The Sun The lads saved £100 by buying their beds in the January sales
Louis Wood – The Sun They moved in in December last year so have only been living there for five months
Now we pay around £100 each for bills on top of our mortgage and our service charge is £2,500 over the year. We each put in £650 every month so we’re saving a ton of money.
How did you save the deposit?
It took me around two years to save for the deposit. I work on commission so it was hard to budget but at the end of the month I’d put aside everything I left over.
Sometimes that could range from £100 to £1,000 depending on how good the months was on sales.
Louis Wood – The Sun The flat has access to a roof top terrace that looks over the wetlands
I’ve always been a bit of a saver to be fair so I didn’t necessarily have to cut back because I never spent that much in the first place.
I just kept spending down to a minimum, doing things like making packed lunches to work which saved me about £100 a month.How are you planning to pay of the Help To Buy loan?
I’d definitely recommend using the Help to Buy scheme because it helped us get on the property ladder years before we’d have hoped to.
One hundred per cent it wouldn’t have been possible to do it before we turned 25 without one. We did it because we could see how much we could save on rent in the long-run.
The aim is to pay off as much of the loan as possible before the five-year interest-free years is up.
Then we’ll reevaluate the situation – we might sell it and use the equity to pay the rest of it off or we might want to stay living here ourselves.
Louis Wood – The Sun The rooftop terrace will be great during the summer
Louis Wood – The Sun Much of the furniture was gifted to them secondhand by family
Both of us are putting aside all the money we’re saving that would have been spent on rent to go towards paying off the loan.
What happens if one of you wants to move out?
Well, we’ve locked into the property for at least five years because of the fixed-rate mortgage deal we took out but once that’s up we might reassess where we’re at.
We’ve already decided that if one of us wants to leave, the other one will need to either buy us out or we both look at selling.
Another option is that we rent it out when we’ve paid of the Help to Buy loan.
That way, we can make a bit of cash on it when we go our separate ways to buy our own places – who knows?
How long was the whole process and did you have any issues?
We bought it off-plan which means it wasn’t build when we first put down money for it.
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We got a mortgage in principle in May 2018 and put down the £500 holding deposit, and seven months later we got he keys.
We used the recommended broker and solicitor to make things easier and it was all pretty straight forward – we each needed six months payslips and enough for the deposits.
We’ve had a few teething issues with the flat but they’re all being fixed because it’s under warranty so it’s nothing to worry about.
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