AFTER seven years of cutting costs, ditching nights out and living at home with her dad, Helen Frampton can finally call herself a homeowner.
The chartered surveyor, 28, bought her four-bed detached house in the Daventry countryside for £277,500 in January last year.
Helen Frampton wanted to buy her first home before she turned 30
Helen set herself a goal of buying her own home by the time she turned 30 so started saving during her last year of university.
It wasn’t until she got her first job after graduating and rented a place with her friend that she began to seriously set her sights high.
But just a year after moving out, her landlord wanted to put the house on the market so Helen decided to take the plunge and move back home with her dad.
It took another four years before she had saved the £70,000 that she needed to cover the house deposit and moving costs.
She put down a 20 per cent deposit for the four-bed house in Daventry
Over all, it took her the best part of a decade to get the funds together but that was partly because she wanted a house big enough to rent out the spare bedrooms.
She also knew that the more she saved for a deposit, the smaller the monthly payments, so she set about saving enough for 20 per cent.
But saving over a long period of time mean that she could get the maximum £3,000 Government bonus from her Help to Buy Isa.
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The first-time buyer also cut back any unnecessary outgoings like cancelling her gym membership and switching to a sim-only contract.
After living alone for a year, she’s recently got a lodger who’s rent helps with the bills. We spoke to Helen for My First Home.
What is your house like and what did you pay for it?
I live in a four-bed house in Daventry which is about a half an hour drive outside Coventry.
There are three good sized double bedrooms and one single room which I’ve made into an office.
The house was built in the 1980s and is a four-bed detached
Helen didn’t have to pay for furniture after her brother gave her his after moving out of his rented property
Helen now has a lodger who’s rent goes towards paying the mortgage
It’s detached but linked to next door’s house via the garages.
Mine doesn’t actually have a normal garage door – it’s more like a front door but it’s still used as a garage.
I also have a driveway and a garden around the back which is low maintenance because the old owners put down fake grass.
I bought it back in January 2018 for £277,500 with a 20 per cent deposit – so £62,000.
I got a mortgage for £215,500 and locked into a two-year fixed-rate deal to take advantage of low interest rates.
How did you manage to save so much?
By the time I came to buy my house I had over £72,000 in savings, £52,000 of which I saved over seven years to cover the deposit, stamp duty and moving costs.
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.
As soon as I got my first job after uni at 20 I started to put aside as much as I could – it was probably a few hundred pounds back then because I was renting at the time.
It wasn’t until I decided to move back home with my dad in Leamington Spa that I really started to save.
He didn’t charge me rent but I did pay for the TV and broadband as well as all of my own food.
My Grandpa had opened a Poppy Isa for me when I was a child which had a bit of cash in it, so I added to it by putting around £750 a month.
I budgeted £500 a month to live off, not including my car.
Helen got the keys to her house in January last year and lived alone
The surveyor kept aside £10,000 of her savings just in case anything went wrong
Sometimes I had to dip into my savings towards the end of the month but I felt so guilty doing it that I never took out much.
After three years, the Poppy Isa had £23,000 in it which I left in there after I opened a Help to Buy Isa.
You can only pay into one Isa in a tax year so I started putting the maximum £200 a month into the Help to Buy.
By the time I came to buy my house, I had £12,000 in it so I got a Government top-up of £3,000.
For the rest of the money, I opened a regular saver account with HSBC that paid five per cent interest.
You can only keep the regular saver open for a year so once that one closed I’d move the money into another account and open another one.
You really need to keep an eye on your finances when you save if you want to get the most out of them.
The house is around 40 minutes drive away from where her dad lives
She says the biggest shock is how much it costs to heat a conservatory
I was lucky because my dad had a house in France so I could still go holiday because I just had to pay for the flights. You’ve got to use everything you’ve got available to you.
When it came to cutting costs on my car, I did some serious research to find the most economical one – a Vauxhall Mokka – and took out a 0 per cent finance plan, so I knew what I was paying every month.
I didn’t take subscribe to anything I didn’t really need like Netflix or Amazon Prime and cut my £30 a month phone bill in half by switching to a sim-only deal.
I inherited £20,000 from my grandmother a few years ago too which helped me buy a place a two years sooner than I had planned.
Why did it take you so long?
There were a whole bunch of reasons why it took me so long to be honest.
In 2017, I went to a see a mortgage broker to see what kind of mortgage I could get and at the time the bank could offer me £180,000 which wasn’t quite enough for what I wanted.
The house had three double bedrooms and a single
I was limited to what I could borrow because I was on my own so my salary wouldn’t go as far. I decided to spend another year to save like mad.
I had always planned to rent out the rooms so it was never a case of just buying a one bed flat for myself.
I knew that doing it on my own meant that it was going to be just me paying the bills so I wanted to get a bigger deposit to the monthly payments smaller.
As a child, I grew up on a small holding and always wanted to go back to country living which mean I hung on for the right property.
I also had to save to cover the cost of stamp duty but by the time I made the offer in October 2017 the Government introduced the tax relief.
I put aside that £10,000 to cover the costs in case anything went wrong after I moved in.Was it difficult doing it on your own?
I didn’t find it daunting but I always made sure that I brought a parent with me when looking at houses to stop me from getting over excited and making a rash decision.
It took me about four months to find the right property – I saw about 10 houses in the end.
I was really strict with myself too. If there was anything I didn’t like about the property I wouldn’t look any more into it. I wasn’t in a rush.
I offered £15,000 lower than the guide price and the seller ended up settling on £10,000 less than what they wanted for it.
Helen continues to use her money saving tricks including getting cashback
It took Helen seven years in total to save the £70,000 she needed for moving costs
It was a really short chain too as they’d already moved out and bought a new place, but it still took about four months for everything to be finalised.
I had always wanted to buy a place by myself and knew that it would take me longer to get the deposit together than if I as part of a couple.
But I would have stayed living at my dad’s and saving for another few years if that’s how long it took.
It’s more expensive to run a place by yourself than I had thought though.
Paying all of the upfront insurance costs, like building and contents insurance, but I managed to save about £80 by going through TopCashback to get the deals.
What was it like when you finally moved in?
It was so exciting when I got the keys but also really scary – it’s the largest amount of debt you’ll ever have in your life.
But it’s such a relief to have done it on my own because I can do things the way I want them done without any interference.
I didn’t have to buy any new furniture because my brother was moving out of his rented flat and gave me all of what he had.
ROTTEN LUCK I got hit with £20k bill to fix damp and rot 18 months after moving in BABY STEPS How having a baby helped us save £20k deposit for £180k four-bed house BARGAIN HUNTERS Couple save £24k furnishing first home using Facebook Marketplace and eBay GIRL POWER Friends buy £425k London flat because they couldn’t get a mortgage on their own COMMON PENCE I saved £20k deposit in two years by meal prepping and commuting off peak
I haven’t replaced any of it yet but only now am I starting to think that I might starting buying things that are more to my taste.
I gave myself a year to live here on my own and now I’ve got a lodger who moved in a few months ago.Do you think you’ll stay there for a long time?
I want to stay here for a while and it’s going really well with the lodger, so who knows I might get another one in the future as we’ve still got a spare room.
It wasn’t hard either to find someone through Spareroom.com and the payments help towards the mortgage but are below the tax threshold.
If I did move out, I’d like rent this one out and buy somewhere else.
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