I’m a first-time buyer – Supermarket swaps have helped me save half my wages every month to buy £334k for a house
IF you are saving for a house and renting at the same time, Watching your money drain away every month can be daunting.
But that didn’t stop Maria Padilla from investing half of her monthly wages in savings to buy her first £334,000 home.
Maria, an accountant, knew she needed to cut expenses in order to raise money to deposit faster.
But paying £1,000 a month rent for a studio flat in Ealing, London, she knew this was going to be a challenge.
So she went through her bills and figured out where she could save.
She reduced her meals, saved £3200 and canceled her £50-a-month gym membership.
She also managed to save money on her commute during lockdown as she worked from home and saved £150.
She also decided to move to a cheaper rental apartment to free up extra money for her savings.
She moved into a shared flat in Hammersmith in 2020, which reduced her rent payments by £300.
Asking for a raise at work also helped her increase her savings.
All of these changes meant Maria was able to set aside around £1,500 for her deposit – just over half her new salary.
When Maria set her heart on buying her own property, she decided to take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy program.
The government program provided prospective buyers with an equity loan and allowed them to put down a down payment of just 5%.
You can get up to 20% of the value of your property under the scheme – or 40% if you live in London.
The loan is interest-free for the first five years – but bad news for all would-be buyers, the program is now closed.
But there are other programs to help you climb the real estate ladder.
The Help to Build program offers an equity loan to help you build a home or remodel a previously commercial building.
Through the program, the government offers you a loan based on the estimated cost of buying land and building a house or buying a building to convert into a home.
The First Homes program means potential first home buyers in England can buy homes at a price 30% to 50% off the market price.
However, if the homeowner decides to later sell the property, the replacement value discount is also made available to any future buyer.
Maria finally got the keys to her one-bedroom flat in Hounslow in June 2021.
The Sun sat down with Maria to see how she went from saver to homeowner for The Sun’s My First Home series.
tell me about your home
It’s a one bedroom apartment on the second floor of Barratt
Development of London’s High Street Quarter in Hounslow.
I have a nice big bedroom and separate big bathroom.
The kitchen and living room are open plan and very spacious with underfloor heating.
There is also a large balcony that can be accessed from the living room and bedroom.
It’s big enough for a hammock, furniture and various plants.
My apartment also faces south-west, so I can make the most of the sun in the afternoon.
How did you decide on the location?
I have previously looked at properties in Ealing and Richmond Upon Thames but they were way outside of my budget which was between £300k and £350k.
Hounslow was much cheaper but still had a lot to offer.
It has good transport links and a lively main street with many shops and good restaurants.
how much did you pay for it
The flat cost £334,000.
I have a £311,000 37 year mortgage with a 5 year fixed rate of 2.9%.
My repayment is €600 per month.
I also applied for help to purchase an equity loan which helped me afford my apartment.
It’s a program that helps first-time buyers get up the real estate ladder with just a 5% down payment, even if they’re borrowing enough for a mortgage.
The government provides a loan of up to 40% of the value of the property if you live in London, otherwise you get 20%.
In the first five years, no interest is paid on the repayments.
You have to buy new construction to be eligible for the loan, but this suited me perfectly.
I received a loan of £133,600.
I ended up paying a 5% deposit of £23,000.
How did you save for this?
When I first considered buying my own apartment I quickly realized I didn’t have the funds to save up for a deposit whilst renting my studio apartment in Ealing.
I was paying around £1,000 a month in rent.
To supplement my savings I moved into a shared flat in Hammersmith in 2020 which reduced my rent payments by around £300.
At this point, I stepped up my other savings efforts to get my deposit together as quickly as possible.
The first thing I did was ask for a raise at work.
I asked for my salary to be matched to my performance and the workload I was taking on and was given a 30% raise.
I knew I needed to save around £1,500 a month to get my finances under control – just over half my new salary.
I’ve been able to save to save around £300 a month by not eating out, which has been made a lot easier by lockdown.
Before that, I went to work every day for lunch and ate out in the evenings about three times a week.
Working from home also meant I could save money on commuting.
I was spending around £150 a month on tube travel, which I was able to put straight into my savings instead.
I also canceled my Virgin Active gym membership which was £50 a month.
When my phone contract expired, I looked around and found a cheaper deal with another provider.
My bill has gone from £30 to £20 a month – a saving of £10.
At the time, I was just studying for my degree as a certified public accountant.
That meant I could apply for a student discount, which meant I could lower my monthly Spotify bill from £9.99 to £5.99.
While this was a small saving, it all helped me achieve my goal.
How did you afford to set it up?
I bought a furniture pack from developer Barratt London for £5,000.
This included most of my household items including a sofa, wardrobe, bed, bedside tables and a coffee table.
I already had appliances like a kettle and a toaster when I lived in my one-bedroom apartment.
Do you have any tips for other first-time buyers?
I think most people are afraid of getting their first home because it seems impossible.
I would definitely suggest seeking mortgage advice as it can help you put things in perspective and make them seem more achievable.
I’m so happy I invested and now own my apartment instead of giving cash to a landlord.
A saver bought her first home by cooking ahead and buying yellow stickers to save cash.
Another saver bought her first home with her MOTHER because of sky-high house prices.
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https://www.thesun.ie/money/10118055/first-time-buyer-save-renting-london/ I’m a first-time buyer – Supermarket swaps have helped me save half my wages every month to buy £334k for a house