Why it’s not impossible to buy your first home

For first time buyers, the prospect of saving a deposit for a first home can seem impossible. In the last few years, house prices have risen meaning that buyers need to raise thousands of pounds in order to secure a mortgage. For many people, this dream seems unreachable and young couples often make the decision to continue renting rather than spend years scrimping and saving for a mortgage. But, what if it wasn’t as impossible as it looks?

Make a plan

The first step in reaching any goal is to make a plan. Take a look at some of the houses you’re interested in and find out what kind of deposit they require. It’s also worth looking into the amount of deposit you’ll need to secure a mortgage. You can use as little as 5% to get a mortgage but it may mean you have to pay increased interest rates, so it’s better to aim for at least 10% if possible. This will give you an idea of how much you need save. The figure you come up with may seem impossible, but it’s important to consider your options before giving up entirely.

Rowan Heuvel
Help to buy

When it comes to raising a deposit for a mortgage, you may not have to do it all by yourself. After all, banks want your business, so it’s in their interest to provide you with as much help as possible. Help for first time home buyers can come in many forms. You may want to consider applying for a help to buy scheme, where a 20% deposit is put down for you. However, you do have to keep in mind that the deposit is repayable, and you may also have to pay interest if your home is sold for a greater price in the future.

Get paid to save

Saving money in your regular current account is just heading for failure. Unless you’re ridiculously strict on what you spend, it’s likely you’ll dip into your savings every now and then if you’ve got easy access to them. Putting your savings in a separate account is much safer. Take a look at the savings accounts that will give you the best return. You may have to deposit a minimum amount every month and you may not be able to make any withdrawals for certain period, but the amount you gain will be worth it.

An understanding family member

If you’ve got a family member with a bit of extra cash floating around and they’re willing to give it to you as a deposit that you eventually pay back, you’re in luck! However, many people haven’t got that amount to give but it doesn’t mean they can’t help. Take a look at the new 0% deposit mortgage offered by the Post Office. They will give you 90% of the house value and secure the other 10% by placing it against a family members home. The downside is, if you fail to repay your mortgage on time, both you and your family member are in trouble.

Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.


How To Save Money On A Rental Property

There has always been an argument over which is cheaper when considering a house move. Is it cheaper to buy or rent? The short answer is… it depends! In the long-term (if you aren’t intending to move for a long time), then buying is probably cheaper, as you won’t be paying a mortgage forever. On the other hand, if you don’t intend to stick around in an area for long, then renting is often the cheaper and more practical choice.

If you are looking for somewhere to rent then, you will probably want to know how to make a few savings. With this in mind, here are some money-saving tips we think you will find useful.

  1. Rent privately

While there are advantages to using a letting agent, you will usually have to pay a substantial amount in fees before you move into the property. This usually constitutes the first month’s rent up front, a deposit, admin fees, and even pet fees if you own a cat or dog. On the other hand, you can avoid the expense by going through a private landlord. There may be some fees to pay, such as a deposit, but you won’t be paying any administrative fees governed by the estate agent. Still, there is some good news. By 2019, there will be a ban on letting fees, so if you decide to go with an estate agent after all, your bank balance won’t be hit hard because of those nuisance expenses.

Toa Heftiba

  1. Share a house

Why pay full rent when you can share with others? Some estate agents specialise in this area – click here for an example – and they will have vetting in place to ensure you don’t end up with a terrible housemate. Of course, you can also move into a property with a friend, although be prepared for that friendship to be tested when you discover bad habits you were never previously aware of! In either case, you will be halving your monthly costs.

  1. Haggle with the landlord

When going privately, you may have some leeway with the landlord. Particularly if you spot any flaws within the property, you have the opportunity to try and lower the asking price. Now, some landlords are quite frugal but there is no harm in asking, and if you have the references to show your credentials as a tenant as well, you may have a reasonable chance.

  1. Pay your own bills

Some landlords sucker you in with ‘bills included.’ This sounds like a great offer – imagine never having to pay another utility bill again (or at least for the duration of your tenancy) – yet the promise is limited. The landlord will usually impose a ‘fair usage’ restriction, meaning you aren’t allowed to go over a specified amount of energy, and they will raise the rent to factor in their supposed ‘special offer.’  Instead, agree to pay your own bills, and haggle for a rent decrease. You can then shop around for better utility deals, and use as much energy as you want. Talking of bills, remember the importance of insurance (especially contents) too, as this probably won’t be included with any deal the landlord is supposedly offering.

  1. Go for an unfurnished or part-furnished property

It’s easier to move into a house or flat that’s fully furnished, but the rental price will often reflect this. Instead, consider somewhere unfurnished or partly-furnished. You will be paying a lower rate of rent, for starters, and you can pick and choose the furnishings you actually want. Hint: if you’re on a budget, check out furniture wholesalers or charity warehouses for furnishings at incredibly low prices.


Moving home is stressful, but you will suffer less financial stress if you follow our money-saving tips. Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any further advice for our readers.



Home Improvements On A Budget

Home improvements are something everyone gets to in their lifetime when they own their own house. We don’t own our own house just yet but this should hopefully be a different matter next year and we should hopefully have our own home by then. I’ve spoken plenty of times on my other blog about what we are looking for in a house of our very own. We are so keen to move as this house is just too small and we know exactly what we need.

But we have also been discussing home improvements we would make once we own our property. Most of the properties around here work for us size wise and have a brilliant sized garden but are lacking something we are keen to have – a conservatory.

I want a conservatory so the kids have somewhere to play, out of the way of me and not getting under my feet. I want to be able to use it to work during the day whilst they are at school or nursery. I want it to be absolutely perfect but I also know I want to do it on a budget.

I’ve been looking at these trade roof lanterns as they would be a subtle and stylish addition to a conservatory, bringing in light. They’re beautifully designed too. But how can I make sure I can have what I want on a budget? Research. I’ve been looking around and Direct Bifold Doors are definitely the best company for me when it comes to affordability.

We’re saving up the money for our deposit – although we know that may eventually be covered when Steve’s inheritance comes through – and we are trying to save up for the home improvements we want to do once we own a property. We may be saving the money but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to get the best value for our money.

That’s just one home improvement we’d like to make though – there’s a few others we’d like to make that suit a budget too.

Consider the decor

The walls, the furniture, the homeware – all these can help make a house look better. Choosing the right colours and items can really do the difference.


Reuse items – recover an old sofa, use up other items making something else.

Buy Things Built To Last

Home appliances may be expensive at the outset however if you buy the appliances that are built to last, they will repay you over and over again. Buying the more prestigious brands and their latest appliances cause a dent in the bank balance to begin with but they are less likely to break down and need replacing like less reputable brands. It may not seem very budget friendly to start with but it definitely helps your budget out over the long run. Why wouldn’t you want to do it? Buy extremely cheap, buy twice – or even more!

Whilst this is all still a pipe dream at the moment until we buy our house, a girl can still dream whilst she waits for her life to fall into place, right?