KITTING your new pad out can be costly, but first-time buyers Harry and Henry managed to get their carpet and flooring for free.
It meant the pair saved £1,000 on decking out their £145,995 first home.
Harry Smith, 25 and Henry Broad, 22, both work in telecoms and were given the freebies from home developer Gleeson, who built their two-bed home in Accrington.
To get a deal over the line, developers, builders and housing associations will offer financial incentives if you’re buying a new build property.
What freebies you can get varies on a case by case basis – it all depends on who you are buying from and how much they are willing to give to you.
But in some cases, you can get free cash to put towards buying your house worth up to five per-cent of the purchase price of the house, according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau.
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Harry and Henry saved for years to afford their new home, and made some sacrifices along the way.
Harry made £3,150 from giving up his car completely in February 2022.
The sale raised almost half of the £7,250 deposit that they needed to buy their first home.
Harry sold his car for £2,500, but he also managed to save £90 a month on car insurance and £20 on his road tax.
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Between selling his car and moving into the new home in Accrington, Lancashire, he managed to add an extra £3,150 to the deposit.
Harry also cancelled a number of subscriptions, like Spotify and Audible and kept track of his spending using a spreadsheet.
The pair bought the property just before the government's Help to Buy Scheme closed.
The government scheme used to give budding buyers an equity loan when they put down a deposit of just 5%.
You could get up to 20% of the value of your property in an equity loan – or 40% if you live in London – under the scheme.
Although that particular scheme has closed, there are still others available that will give you a helping hand up the property ladder.
The Help to Build scheme offers an equity loan to help you build a home or convert a previously commercial building.
Through the scheme, the government offers you a loan based on the estimated costs to buy a plot of land and build a home or buy a building to convert into a home.
The Right to Buy scheme is aimed at council house or housing association tenants in England or Northern Ireland and allows them to buy their home at a discount.
The First Homes scheme was launched in 2021 and allows prospective first-time buyers in England to get homes at a 30% to 50% discounted rate compared to market price.
But, if the homeowner decides to sell the property down the line, the discount on the new value will be made available to any future buyer too.
Harry and Henry got the keys to their first home on December 23, 2022.
We sat down with Harry to discuss how they went from being savers to homeowners for The Sun's My First Home series.
Tell me about your home
It's a two-bedroom semi-dethatched house in Accrington, Lancashire.
We have a large living room with two big windows so there's lots of natural light coming in.
There's a kitchen-diner which is the perfect size for the two of us and we can access the back garden from here.
We love how large our garden is and we can't wait to get stuck into doing it up.
Upstairs, we have a master bedroom, separate bathroom and a spare room which is being used for storage at the moment.
How did you decide on the location?
Accrington is really well connected but it still feels quite rural and quiet, which we really like.
We are around 15 minutes away from work and the same distance away from Henry's parents.
It feels like a small village, but we can very easily get to the centre of Manchester if we fancy a visit to a busy city.
How much was it?
The house was £145,995.
We took out a mortgage of £108,700 over 30-years at a fixed rate of 3.3% for five years.
We also applied for a Help to Buy equity loan to help us get onto the property ladder.
The scheme helped first time buyers get on the property ladder with a 5% deposit.
The government provided a loan of up to 40% of the value of the property if you live in London, otherwise you got 20%.
You had to buy a new-build in order to be eligible for the loan, but that suited us perfectly.
We received a £25,000 loan, alongside out 5% deposit of £7,250.
How did you save for it?
We started really ramping up our saving efforts in December 2021 when we saw the plot for our home and we set our hearts on it.
This was around the time that we found out about the government's Help To Buy scheme, which made buying seem realistic, and we were keen to get the ball rolling.
In February 2021, we were renting a flat which cost £450 a month. It was cold and had mould climbing all the walls which was just horrible.
Henry's parents let us move in with them in August of the same year, which allowed us to save deposit much quicker.
Instead of paying rent, we would cook for Henry's parents three times a week and do households chores.
This helped us to save a small fortune on the cost of rent.
We both started out with around £2,000 in savings which we had built up over the years, but it was in early 2022 that we really started saving properly for a deposit.
To get our finances on track, I made an excel spreadsheet to log what was going in and out when I got paid.
This helped me to make realistic savings goals, rather than putting away larger chunks and dipping into the savings later.
I was already putting away around £200 a month, but was able to put away between £100 and £150 extra using the spreadsheet.
This is because it helped me to recognise areas where I overspending, like on takeaways and tech.
Another way I saved money was by cancelling some subscriptions.
I cancelled Spotify, Audible and Headspace, saving around £50 a month.
I also managed to switch my phone contract from Vodafone to Tesco, reducing it from around £70 to just £17 – a difference of £53 a month.
Henry was a big fan of shopping at M&S which we found to be quite pricey and we would spend around £60 a week on food.
To save, we started buying food from local markets where we were able to spot good deals and even haggle.
This saved us around £20 a week on our food shop.
The most extreme saving measure we took was ditching my car.
Henry and I both work at the same place so we decided it was silly both having a car when we simply didn't need it.
I sold my car, which was a Ford KA, for £2,500 in February 2022 and this extra cash went straight into savings.
Henry and I work at the same company so we realised we just didn't need two cars between us.
Selling my car also meant that I could cancel by £90 monthly car insurance and £20 road tax.
Overall, I saved £3,150 between selling my car and moving into our new home.
How did you afford to furnish it?
Because we were moving into a new build, we wanted all of our furniture to be new too.
We had around a year to continue saving to afford the furniture we wanted.
We wanted the house to feel like it was ours, so we just continued on the same saving pattern as we had before.
We also got £1,000 worth of freebies from Gleeson because we're both considered to be key workers.
We got additional plug sockets, an outside tap, fencing, flooring and carpets.
What advice would you give to other first time buyers?
Don't worry about being embarrassed to ask questions – buying a house is complicated and there are lots of different elements.
We asked our solicitors so many questions and they were always more than happy to help.
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