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Sunday, 5 May 2019

7 Strategies to Help You Save for Your First Home

money-saving, homeowner, house, property

AD | For many people, buying a home is a big dream. However, these days, it’s something that seems to be getting more and more out of reach. In this post, I'm sharing seven strategies that you can try in order to save for your first home.

1. Look to Downsize

If you’re currently living in a place that you feel is too big for you and you’re paying more rent than you can really afford, then that’s a good indicator that you should be looking to downsize. Not only is this a good idea if you’re looking to cut your monthly outgoings but if you’re hoping to be able to save a good amount of money each month, then one of the best ways to go about doing that is by cutting your costs. If you’re thinking of trying to save for a deposit but are stuggling with it right now, then downsizing is definitely one of the easiest and fastest ways to do that.

2. Bring in a Lodger

A great alternative to cutting your monthly rent payments - especially if you don’t want to move right now - is to look for a flatmate to come and live with you. If you have an extra room, then this is something that should be a consideration because it’s going to mean that you’re essentially only paying half of your usual rent and bills and the room isn’t just sitting there. When you have an unused room, you’re basically paying for nothing. You can easily list your room on places like Gumtree or Craigslist or even share on social media or post an ad in places like Universities and colleges to let people know there’s a room available.

3. Join a Help to Buy Scheme

In the UK, there is a scheme known as Help to Buy, which is basically exactly as it says - it’s a government funded scheme that allows people with a 5% deposit saved to get a loan towards buying a house. There are some basic conditions of the scheme, such as you must be over the age of 18, have a regular income, and the loan can only be used to buy your own place, but otherwise it’s pretty easy, and it’s definitely one of the best ways for those looking to get on the property ladder to be able to buy their own place.

4. Bring in a Guarantor

When it comes to buying a house and getting approved for a mortage, it’s not always about finding the money - sometimes it can be that lenders don’t see you as a good candidate for a mortgage and that you seem to be high risk. This can be especially frustrating if you have good credit and are earning a good income, but for some reason the algorithm they use to determine your creditworthiness just isn’t working in your favour.

A good option for this scenario is to get a guarantor, and usually the best person to do this would be a family member such as a parent. This basically works by you and them signing an agreement to guarantee that if you default on the payments of the loan, then they will take over the payments and be liable for them. Of course this is something that requires a lot of trust and faith, and you should be certain that you’re able to make the payments before asking someone else to be liable for them, but if you’re genuinely able to pay and know there won’t be any issues, then this is a great option.

5. Borrow from Your Parents

If you have family members who are able and willing to help you get your foot on the property ladder, then this is something worth considering. Although it’s never ideal to be borrowing money from your parents when it comes to buying a house, things are a little different and in most cases, they will gladly offer to help you out. Of course, you should always be clear that it’s a loan and you’ll pay them back with interest (and lots of gratitude), but it’s absolutely worth considering if you’re looking to get a place and are struggling to find ways of coming up with the money for the deposit.

6. Become a Property Guardian

Have you ever wanted to live somewhere really cool like a castle or stately home? Well, there’s now a chance for you to be able to do that without winning the lottery or marrying royalty. The way to do this is to become what’s known as a property guardian at a listed building in the UK. Basically, a property guardian is someone who lives in a property and makes sure everything is running okay when the owner doesn’t live there and doesn’t really have time to oversee the upkeep on a day to day basis. Although property guardians still pay rent, you’ll be amazed at how cheap it is, so not only do you get to live in a seriously cool place, but you’ll also be saving money on your overall rent payment each month which is a great way to ensure you can work towards saving for your own place.

7. Rent Something Cheaper Like a Room

If moving home either isn’t an option for you or isn't something you’d be willing to consider, then another great way to save money towards a house deposit is by looking for a cheaper place to live for a while. For example, if you’re single, you could even look at renting a room or a studio apartment for a while - sure, you may not love the idea and it may be sacrificing some of the comfort you’ve become used to, but it’s definitely a great way to save some money and if you keep your eyes on what you’re hoping for, then you can deal with it for a few years. When you find that property below market value that you’ve always wanted, then you can just go and get it since you’ll have saved enough money.

Depending on the kind of place you’re looking to buy, it might also not take you very long to save the money, although this will also depend on things such as your monthly income, the location, and your outgoings. However, if you're careful about your spending and are dedicated to becoming a homeowner, it shouldn't be too long before you're able to get your foot on the property ladder! 

* This is a contributed post

Are you a homeowner? Do you have any more strategies to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

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