A baby-faced couple have shared how they managed to save £13,000 for a house deposit – allowing them to get on the property ladder at the age of just 20.
Take note: the pair haven’t borrowed, or been loaned or gifted, any money from friends or the Bank of Mum and Dad.
Joshua Shaw, 20, a customer service worker, and his girlfriend Wiktoria Zaucha, 19, say that they were motivated to save by the skyrocketing cost of rent in their area which was massively higher than a mortgage.
The hard-working couple managed to save the money and secured a £222,995 home in Birmingham using the Government’s 5% deposit scheme.
The flagship scheme is a part of a number of 'Help to Buy' programmes which you can find on the gov.uk website where is it described as an equity loan.
Joshua and Wiktoria chose to cut back on luxuries, like meals out, in order to save a big enough lump sum, but it’s not been an easy ride.
Joshua told The Mirror: "We were sofa surfing between parents and siblings houses and both working full time jobs plus all the overtime we could get.
“At times, we were working 16 hour days back to back. It was exhausting – but worth it.”
He added: ”When we first started saving, I was earning £18,000 but with the additional overtime, Wiktoria's earnings were just over £19,000 which also helped.”
Joshua advised that those looking to save should pay a portion of their wage, he recommends 40-50%, into their savings as soon as the money comes into your bank account.
He says that this way you instantly forget that the money was ever there.
Joshua said: “It sounds obvious, but our second tip is to cut down all takeaways, nights out and spending on luxury items - this includes cancelling unnecessary subscriptions.”
Joshua sold his car and started either walking to work or using public transport.
In just six months, the couple were able to put down their 5% deposit on the Wednesbury property.
Joshua said: “When you look at the cost of renting, it just made sense to invest in our own place, rather than someone else’s home.
“Some people may think that buying at our age is unrealistic, but my honest opinion is that buying at 19 and 20 is completely achievable, if that’s genuinely what you want.”
He added that saving the sum is very possible for those who went straight into work after school and are willing to make sacrifices, such as not going on holidays or eating takeaways.
The pair also say that they don’t think they would have been able to buy without the government scheme to help them.
The scheme requires a 5% deposit and then provides you with a 20% loan which is interest-free for the first five years.
Joshua and Wiktoria admit that they didn't know much about the scheme before they began the process but that it’s all been fairly straight forward.
Joshua said: “We were confident that a new build house was what we wanted, mainly because they are lower maintenance than older homes.
“Neither of us have a lot of experience with DIY, so a new build just felt like the right fit for first time buyers like us.”
It took the youngsters 12 months to find their dream home.
They happened to visit a countryside development called Wards Keep and knew that it was “the one”.
The couple placed a £500 deposit to take the house off the market and had it reserved in principle from a broker.
Their home spans three floors with an open-plan ground floor, two bedrooms, a family bathroom and a master bedroom with en-suite and dressing area upstairs.
The pair say that so long as you have the funds and your credit file is good then it should be easy to use the scheme.
They said: “There are so many things that we love about the house but, if we had to pick a favourite feature, it would have to be the master suite.
“It's a great size as it fills the entire top floor and it even has skylights!"
Adam Daniels, from West Midlands, Countryside, said: "Help to Buy, in particular, has enabled a lot of first time buyers at Wards Keep take those first steps onto the property ladder.
"So, it's great to see younger couples like Joshua and Wiktoria break the rental cycle by taking advantage of the scheme."