A 22-year-old Vlogger who earns £27, 000 a year has told how he managed to save up for his first home with his girlfriend in just two years - and with
A 22-year-old Vlogger who earns £27, 000 a year has told how he managed to save up for his first home with his girlfriend in just two years – and without sacrificing his luxuries.
Harry Seaton, from Norfolk, is on the cusp of achieving something many people his age are unable to do – buying a property with his girlfriend Annie, 20, who works as a paralegal.
While the musician, who also runs his own marketing agency and earns an extra £1,000 from his online videos, started out renting in London, he and Annie quickly realised that in order to save for a home, they needed to move out of the Capital.
Now, they have had their offer accepted on their £292, 000 three-bedroom new build semi in King’s Lynn, Norfolk – and have already paid a 5% deposit.
But while saving, the couple, who are currently living with Annie’s parents – although not rent free – insist they have still managed to enjoy holidays, decent phones and gym memberships.
How? Harry believes the key to saving is simply being organised, and you don’t have to give up as much as you might think.
Harry Seaton, 22, from Norfolk, who earns around £27, 000 a year, and girlfriend Annie (pictured together), have bought their first home after saving for just two years
The couple have had their offer accepted on their perfect home, a three-bedroom new build semi in King’s Lenn, Norfolk (pictured)
‘I’ve thought long and hard about all the great tips we’ve picked up along my first-time buyer journey, but honestly the best one is so simple,’ he said.
‘Open your Lifetime ISA as soon as possible. Get it open, stick a tenner in it and don’t worry about if you really can’t much save right now, but get it open!’
Harry and his girlfriend Annie opened their Lifetime ISAs with Skipton Building society in August 2018 and started saving immediately – and were also part of a Help to Buy Scheme.
‘We’d seen that you had to hold the account for a year before you could make use of the government bonus and we knew we weren’t going to be in a position to buy before August 2019, so it made sense to start when we did,’ he said.
The pair had already rented together, so the ‘living together’ conversation had already happened for them.
‘We rationalised the idea of buying a house and chatted through why we felt it was a great next step for us,’ he explained.
‘It’s not as scary as a lot of young people seem to think. We’ve been equally involved in every stage of the process too, starting with researching savings accounts.’
Harry and Annie, a paralegal, told how they achieved their dream home by opening two Lifetime ISAs and sacrificing things like their cars. Pictured, the kitchen inside their new dream property
The musician said that saving a consistent amount each month was key to their property goal. Pictured, the living room in their new home
‘We also got advice from our parents and friends, again, we did this together, so that we were always at the same stage and page as one another.’
The musician says that saving a consistent amount each month was key to their property goal.
‘We worked out what size deposit we needed (and could afford), halved it and divided that by how many months we want to be saving for in an ideal world,’ he explained.
HARRY’S TOP TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS
1. OPEN AN ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW
As soon as you’ve decided what product is right for you (for me it was the Lifetime ISA), open an account as soon as possible.
In fact, open one even if you can’t start saving significant amount into it yet, or don’t know what kind of house you want, or when.
Not only will having the account open encourage you to save into it, but for some products you have to wait a year from opening it before you can use it.
The last thing you’d want is to miss out on your dream house because you’re waiting for that year to pass!
2. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR SAVING
A bit of routine makes it so much easier to hit a goal. No matter how big and daunting it may seem right now, if you know how much you’re putting into your savings account and when you’re putting it in, it won’t take long before you don’t even think about it anymore.
Set up a direct debit from your main account to your savings for a certain amount every month so you don’t have to do this yourself.
3. SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE
I love cars. I’d love a nice car on finance, but I can do that at any stage of my life and it’s not a priority.
Think about what you can realistically give up in the shorter term. Not only do big outgoings like cars sometimes affect your mortgage amount, it’ll be so much harder to save with them looming over you every month!
4. BUDGET AND YOUR SOCIAL LIFE WON’T BE ‘OVER’
Want to enjoy life while saving? Budget. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Annie (my girlfriend) and I work out what we need to spend each month and what we have to play with.
We’re careful with the little things like food for lunch (because it’s the little things that add up!), but because of that we can still go out for meals and to the cinema.
We basically still do everything we usually would have done before we started saving. It’s all about finding a balance, but it’s hard to do that when you’re not sure what you’re balancing.
5. FIND A HOUSE YOU LOVE
This is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t settle. We visited a number of developments and viewed so many houses before we found ‘the one’.
On top of the cost of it, you’re going to be living there… all the time (well at least for the foreseeable future). If you can find a place that you’ll be excited to come home to each day, then you’ve done it right.
‘We also used spreadsheets to budget for upcoming months to ensure we could always meet that figure, but this also helped us see when we could add more into the fund too. I also stopped looking at expensive cars I could put on finance!’
And Harry highlights the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of the value of the money before buying your first home.
‘Renting was really good for us in terms of preparing financially for bills,’ he said. ‘Since we moved back home to save, we’ve continued to pay rent (to Annie’s parents) and bought our own food, so we’re very much use to paying our way.’
‘We also made spreadsheets using online tools to work out all the costs that come with buying, from fees to bills, so we won’t get any nasty surprises when we move in.’
Harry added that renting was really good for him and Annie in terms of preparing financially for bills (pictured together)
The musician and Vlogger (pictured with girlfriend Annie) told how the couple used spreadsheets to budget for upcoming months to ensure they could always meet their financial deadlines
Speaking of negotiating a price on their dream house, Harry added: ‘The most important thing to remember is that most developers have a “target price”, which is usually quite a lot less than the asking price.’
‘We started ridiculously low (with an offer we knew would get a straight rejection) and then slowly worked our way up.’
‘That way we still got it considerably under asking price, but the developers feel like they’ve talked you up a bit!’
But while research by Skipton Building Society found first-time buyers are budgeting an average £11,263 for their first properties on styling their new pad, Harry says there are two items you shouldn’t scrimp on.
‘We’re planning to splash out a bit on two things: our bed and sofa,’ he explained. ‘After all, you spend most of your lives on them, so they need to be great!
‘The rest we’re pretty much buying from wherever has the best sales on: Black Friday, Boxing Day, January sales, you name it.’
‘We’ve made a list of everything we absolutely need for the move-in date and everything else that we can afford to wait for, which has been really helpful too.’
He added: ‘Our immediate budget for the moving day is about £2,500. This will allow for a lovely sofa and bed and then leave enough for the other essentials that we’re not as fussed about like a dining table, coffee table, TV unit, chest of drawers etc.’
‘Facebook Marketplace is a goldmine. We’ve also recently discovered an independent store local to us that refurbishes old furniture and sells it on cheaply – so keep your eyes peeled!’
The musician and Vlogger (pictured) told how Facebook Marketplace is a ‘goldmine’ and advised keeping your eyes open for any independent local stores