How we bought our first £340,000 three-bed house with a £17,000 deposit

It can be difficult to find a home with a small down payment – but it’s not impossible.

First-time buyers Callum Paddy and Kye Strowbridge explain how they bought a £340,000 three-bed mattress in Suffolk for £17,000 – just a 5% deposit.

This couple used the Help to Buy plan to boost their budget to buy their first home


This couple used the Help to Buy plan to boost their budget to buy their first home
Callum worked a lot of overtime to send the bank £10,000 to pay for the deposit


Callum worked a lot of overtime to send the bank £10,000 to pay for the deposit
Their family kindly gave them £2,500 to buy furniture


Their family kindly gave them £2,500 to buy furniture

Used couple Help to Buy government scheme that allows you to borrow up to 20% of your property’s value or 40% if you live in London.

Interest-free for five years, but the couple are planning to mortgage their home to pay off the loan before they incur this interest rate.

Paramedic Callum, 24, and his assistant Kye, 23, spent 12 months saving a £17,000 deposit needed for the house by working overtime and cutting back on their spending.

The couple scrapped their favorite casual outings, limiting them to just once a month, and they swapped their expensive London days for free weekend seaside walks.

Callum also earns £10,000 from overtime, which goes directly into their deposit.

They only had to put down a 5% deposit because they used the Help to Buy program, which helped them get home faster.

There is the downside of a smaller deposit, for example, you may have to pay more for your mortgage.

So you should really do your research before deciding how to buy and whether or not to use a government program.

After starting the search in December 2019, they set a plan a year later when it was just a puddle of mud. They exchanged and moved in November 2021.

Despite saving on a deposit, the family was given £2,500 by the family to furnish their home, who also bought them essentials such as a washing machine and fridge. .

We sat down with Callum to learn more about how this couple bought their eternal home for The Sun’s My first house series.

Tell me about your house

It’s a newly built three-bed detached house, linked to the next house by our parking lots.

All are double bedrooms. We have a south facing rear garden, small front garden and large garage.

The master bedroom has a private bathroom. We have a family bathroom and a toilet downstairs.

We have a kitchen/diner with French doors that open to the back garden. There is a separate dining room with double doors opening into the living room.

Kye found landscape gardening ideas for our backyard on Instagram that he wants to start this spring and summer. We look forward to inviting all of our friends and family over for a barbecue when it’s done.

We turned one of our bedrooms into a home office for Kye, who sometimes works from home.

We wanted a new building because you could see exactly what you were going to get when you looked around the gallery.

The Help to Buy program means we can get a more expensive home using an equity loan.

How much did you pay?

The purchase price was £340,000 and we put a 5% deposit of £17,000 on it.

We also paid £7,000 more for optional extras such as lowering all floors, fully tiled family bathroom, fitted with thermostatic shower and glass shower door installation.

Hopkins Homes, the developer, cleaned up the back garden for free as a thank you for working for the NHS before the pandemic.

We have a 5-year fixed rate mortgage of 1.93% with NatWest for over 30 years for £255,000.

Our monthly payback is £937.

We used a Help to Buy loan of £68,000 which is 20% of the value of our house. It does not charge interest for five years.

We have worked out that we will pay around £60,000 on our mortgage over the next five years so we can then mortgage and repay the government loan.

Hopkins put £500 in our legal fees as a gesture of goodwill but we saved the deposit ourselves.

Why did you decide on the location?

I grew up in Stowmarket, Suffolk, so we were very interested in getting around the area.

We were looking for our permanent home so we gave ourselves a lot of time looking for real estate.

It was December 2019 when we started looking and we booked our house a year later.

That gave us plenty of time to look at all the different developments coming up in the area plus wait to see what projects are planned but construction has yet to begin.

How lucky we are to have seen this plot. We were unable to get an appointment for our first choice on another site.

When we visited this development, the advisor said they have a new plot that has not been advertised. We loved it so we booked it with an instant £500 deposit. It was a case of the right place at the right time.

It was half a mile down the road from my family and close to a country pub with plenty of walking trails nearby.

How did you save for it?

In February 2019 I qualified as a paramedic and started my career with the NHS.

Then we can put a little money aside. We decided to get serious about house hunting in December 2019 and started putting in more money.

I live with my mum and dad and pay them £200 a month in rent and bills.

My base salary plus a 25% allowance for night and weekend work brings my total salary to around £40,000 a year. On top of that, I have a lot of opportunities to work overtime.

I work about three to four shifts a month and get paid between £1,000 and £1,500 more for this – which has increased my deposit savings by £10,000.

Kye earned £24,500 as a legal person. He is paying £450 a month rent, which includes all his utilities, council tax and broadband.

He has set a savings goal of £750 a month for himself. To help him achieve his goal, he cut his weekly grocery shopping budget from £40 to £25 a week, saving him £720 over a year.

We both also broke the habit of paying for lunch at work. By making our own pack lunches we have saved a total of £1,152 a year.

Complications anything?

It was difficult to find a mortgage company that would take 25% of my salary. Although I am assured that payment does not drop on my payslip as part of regular pay.

Some lenders will only take half or 75% of that.

Thankfully we were using a mortgage broker and he scoured the market for us to find a lender that would use it all.

We had a deal with NatWest who were happy to use all of the allowance so we could get the mortgage we needed.

How did you equip it?

My parents secretly saved £200 a month and gave it back to us to make furniture.

That got us £2,500 for a sofa, dining table, six chairs and bedroom furniture.

Kye’s parents buy us all the supplies because they don’t come with us. They got us a freezer, washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer.

What is your advice to other first-time buyers?

We’ve given ourselves plenty of time to decide which development is right for us, so I’d say don’t rush into picking a home.

Use a banknote to keep track of your savings. It’s a good way to plan what you’ll spend next month.

You can use a formula to increase your savings. It’s great to see your money accumulate.

You can use a spreadsheet to see what you’ll have in 6 to 12 months based on your current savings rate or how much you need to increase to reach your larger goal. That is a great motivator.

This is how a pair save almost half of the required deposit by skipping long trips to get your first home worth £297,000.

This is how a savvy saver used envelope saving tips to save £10,000 on the necessary down payment on a £199,000 first home.

Another first time buyer used The 50/40/10 budgeting rule to help her save for her first home, worth £210,000.

I’m a real estate professional – this is the main question you need to ask yourself before renovating your garden How we bought our first £340,000 three-bed house with a £17,000 deposit


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