A SINGLE first time buyer from London managed to save £17,000 in a year by sacrificing holidays with her mates and cutting back on unnecessary direct debits.
Theo Fashesin, 28, who works in marketing, lived at her family home which enabled her tuck away at least £1,000 a month.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Theo set herself a goal of owning her own home by the time she turned 25
She set herself an ambitious goal of buying a house by 25, but as the deadline crept nearer she knew that it wouldn’t be possible to stay in London.
That’s when she made the daunting decision to quit her job and move 200miles away from friends and family to live in Manchester.
Here, house prices are a fifth of what they are in London making home ownership achievable for a single first-time buyer.
Theo ended up buying her three-bed mid-terraced house for under £130,000 – the same house would have cost her around £708,000 in London, according to Zoopla.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media She decided to ditch London and move to Manchester to make home ownership a reality
Typically, it takes first-time buyers doing it alone 10 years to save for a house deposit but moving to a cheaper city meant Theo could get on the property ladder in a tenth of the time.
But upping sticks so far away wasn’t easy and she struggled balancing finding a job with sorting out a place to live.
Six months after getting the keys and three years after her deadline, Theo’s settled in and enjoying her life up North.
Even though she misses being so close to friends and family, she’s sure she won’t be moving back any time soon.
We caught up with Theo for this week’s instalment of My First Home.
Where do you live and what’s your house like?
I now live on the outskirts of Manchester in a three-bed mid-terrace house.
There’s one small single room and two double bedrooms, which is great for when my friends and family from London come to stay.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Theo moved in a week after getting the keys so she could rip up the carpet and lay down wooden floors
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media The house has a medium sized garden but off street parking
I’ve got a medium sized garden, a front porch and a massive cellar that could one day be converted into another room.
Why did you move so far away from friends and family?
I have always wanted to be a homeowner and I had it in my head that I had to do it by the time I turned 25.
I also wanted to buy by myself and there was no way that would be possible in London where property prices are just insane.
One day, around Christmas time in 2016, I was talking to my aunt about how I was saving but still nowhere near being able to buy and she just said, “why are you looking in London?”
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I did some research and found that Manchester seemed to be a lot like London – I wanted to be somewhere where there was a lot going on and it is like the capital of the North.
There were loads of jobs in my sector being advertised in Manchester too so I knew that I’d be able to get work.
I looked at property prices and realised I could buy somewhere for around £150,000 there – it was far cheaper than London and seemed totally doable.
Let’s talk money. What did you pay for your house and how did you save?
I bought the house for less than £130,000 with a 10 per cent deposit – that was around the £13,000 mark.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media She’s been slowly furnishing the house over the past six months or so
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media In Manchester Theo could afford a three-bed house compared to a one bed flat on the outskirts of London
I took out a mortgage for the rest that I pay off every month.
I probably saved another £5,000 that I used to buy furniture – it’s so expensive.
After that conversation with my aunt, I decided to pay off my credit cards so I didn’t really start to save hard until June 2017.
Living at home with my mum really helped me to save money. At first it meant I could put aside £500 a month but that increased to £1,000 once I’d paid off the cards.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Sometimes she misses living so far away from friends and family
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Theo’s friends come to stay and she limits herself to going home once a month
The biggest thing I cutout was my holidays – I love going away and reckon I would go away three or four times a year and would spend anything from £750 to £2,000 on a trip depending on where we were going.
But in 2017 I only went on one holiday for the whole year – I only went on one mini break that was seriously subsidised by vouchers.
I went to Milan for my birthday and I had an Airbnb voucher accommodation was free and flights and spending money came to less than £100.
It was frustrating for my mates because I was always the one that was up for going away but I said no to everything. I was serious about buying a place.
I stopped shopping for clothes and shoe to save me a few hundred pounds a month.
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.
Cutting out my direct debits helped too – I got rid of Amazon Video, insurance for my phone and TV which I didn’t even watch any more. That freed up another £100.
I still had to pay £64 a month for car insurance but in the end I sold my car for £220 to boost my savings.
But it was so depressing saving in London because the house prices kept going up and it felt like it was never going to happen.
I made sure to regularly book weekends away to Manchester so that I could go house viewing and keep myself motivated.
Was it hard starting over again in a city where you didn’t know anyone?
It was difficult, especially as I really didn’t want to rent anywhere otherwise it defeated the point of moving away.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media She bought the house with a 10 per cent deposit
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media The house has a downstairs toilet and an upstairs bathroom
I began aggressively looking for a house and a job after Christmas in 2018. Whenever I went up there for a job interview I’d book a few viewings in at the same time.
It was really hard because my heart was so focused on getting the perfect house but I knew I couldn’t move without a job either.
I’d already seen this house a month before I made an offer, but I came up to interview for the job I’m in now in April and was offered it the next day.
I thought I really have to find somewhere to live now and remembered this house and made an offer. Within four days, it was accepted.
Of course, it can be a long wait until you actually complete on the house so I had to move up here and start my job in the May.
Luckily, my mum’s friend’s daughter was living here so I rented a room from her for four months. I’m so grateful but I was living out of a suitcase.
The sale didn’t go through until September.
Did you have any setbacks?
I put in offers for a few house that fell through, including what I reckon was my dream house – I still think that it is.
Someone outbid me on the first property and on the second one, the house I really wanted, I offered £5,000 over the asking prices.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Theo, who works in PR knew that there were jobs going in the industry in Manchester
It was accepted but the bank wouldn’t give me a mortgage for it because it didn’t think it was worth that much. But I’m happy with my house now.
The hardest thing I found was the waiting game after my offer had been accepted. They couldn’t find the lease documents and it seemed to take forever.
Everything was a standstill for about a month an a half, and I really thought I’d have to pull out because I didn’t want to carry on renting – that wasn’t the point of me moving here!What was it like when you finally got the keys?
It was the most surreal moment. It was so odd because I was doing everything by myself, none of my friends lived here and my family weren’t around to help either.I guess that’s part of the package of moving so far away.
I didn’t move in for the first week as I wanted the carpet replaced with wooden flooring.
One of my friends came up from Peterborough on the day I moved – I no furniture then, just two suitcases full of clothes.
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media She lived at her family home in London while she saved
©AndyKelvin / Kelvin Media Theo loves her knew home and doesn’t think sh’ell be returning to London anytime soon
We hired a van, went to Ikea and bought a mattress for a double bed so I had something to sleep on.
I ended up slowly furnishing it all over the following few months.
The last big item I bought was a dining room table in December so that I could have all of my family up from London for Christmas. It was the most amazing feeling.
Do you miss London?
I have my moments of missing people, like my friends and family. I miss when they were all so close as I do feel so far away from everyone here.
One of my mates was up from London recently which made me miss it a bit more.
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But I do really love it in Manchester and it was so worth moving away to buy my own place.
I don’t know if it’s for forever but I think I’ll definitely stay here for a while.
If I do move home it will be to buy somewhere and house prices are still so unafforable so it won’t be any time soon.
I have no regrets. Sometimes I look at my friends who are still renting in London and hear how much they spend on living costs which makes me I know that moving away was the right move for me.
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