Look, we’ll give it to you straight.
Abigael Aremu managed to put down a deposit on her first home in her twenties, and is now able to rent that out, in large part because she was able to live with her parents and save up as much money as possible.
That’s important to mention early, because, let’s be real, it’s much, much harder to save up enough for a deposit when you’re renting. Depressingly so.
But those who are living with family to save up for a deposit will know that while doing this makes things easier, it doesn’t make it easy. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done and strict budgeting involved.
And Abigael, 27, shares advice on that side of things, acknowledging that even with a helping hand, buying a home can be confusing, scary, and difficult.
The PMO analyst from London spent two years saving up for a £40,000 deposit for a two-bedroom terraced house in Luton, ultimately saving £53,000 in this time by aiming to stick to a budget of around £700 a month.
She was fortunate that her parents didn’t expect her to pay rent during this time, but she did contribute towards bills and household expenses.
Earning around £200 a day as a contractor, Abigael was able to put away a lot of money during this time, and with her minimal expenses, it only took two years for her to save enough to buy her first house at the age of 26.
Seeing her savings grow speedily month-to-month kept her motivated to minimise her spending and stick to a budget.
‘Generally speaking I maintained a budget of just under £750 each month for myself to live on,’ Abigael tells Metro.co.uk. ‘This covered all of my personal expenses and also outings/activities, shopping, miscellaneous things etc.
‘There were times when I needed a little more than this (i.e. birthdays, christmas etc), however I tried my best to live on this fixed amount of around £700 each month, in order to increase my savings figure.
‘What motivated me was the fact that I could quickly see my savings figure growing and knowing that I would soon have a house that I could call my own, something that I had worked hard for on my own, and would be the foundation of my plans for a much bigger property business.
‘I have always been quite strict with myself on spending. Denying myself things, like buying that nice new car/designer goods, was very crucial to being able to save so much in the amount of time I did.’
Once she had enough for a deposit, Abigael applied for a mortgage on a home in Luton, with the intention of renting it out and making back her money – plus a profit.
‘I chose the house as it was a great price for the newly refurbished condition it was in,’ she says. ‘I chose Luton as property prices are a lot more affordable than in London (where I currently live with family).
‘Luton is also not too far from London and I had previously worked there, which provided me with a good level of familiarity and confidence to buy in the area.’
While Abigael says she found the process of getting a mortgage ‘exciting’, there were things she didn’t know about the process.
That’s why she’s now sharing everything she’s learned, from how to find a property that’s below market value to her tips for saving for a deposit, on a dedicated YouTube channel.
Abigael is keen to talk openly about all parts of getting on the property ladder, having chatted through common first-time buyer mistakes, strategies for property investment, and advice on finding a letting agent.
Why? Because she wants to help other people to get ahead and feel confident handling their finances and buying their first home.
‘Buying the house was important to me as a way of taking my first step towards financial freedom,’ she says. ‘My plan is to purchase some more investment properties in the near future, as well as my own personal place.’
She urges those who want to get on the property ladder to do their research, get confident with the process, and most of all, to save more money than you think you need.
‘Don’t just focus on saving up for a deposit,’ Abigael says. ‘There are other costs to factor in such as stamp duty, legal/conveyancing fees; survey cost; potential mortgage product fees; furnishing costs and any work that needs to be carried out on the house.
‘I would also highly recommend having at least three months’ worth of expenses saved up, and also a couple of months’ mortgage payments as a buffer (in case your circumstances change). You’d never want to be caught in a position where you cannot pay for your mortgage, or afford other monthly expenses – if you were to lose your job, for instance.’