First time buyer on how he saved £18,000 in 6 months without help from parents

A couple have explained how they bought their first home in just six months after a 'spur of the moment conversation' got them thinking about their future plans.

James Taylor, 26, said him and his partner had not even thought about buying until one day when they "finally had enough" and decided to get serious about getting their own place.

"We'd been living in Manchester city centre for years," James said.

"Then suddenly we decided we wanted to settle down and stop paying rent."

The marketing director, who was earning £24,000 at the time, said after that conversation they drew up a savings plan to help reach their £18,000 target. This, they hoped, would help them buy a new build in Greater Manchester with enough money spare to do up their property.

"It took six months in total to save up for the house deposit – including enough left over money for furniture and the other bits we would need to buy!

"The biggest sacrifice was my time as over the six month period I was also doing freelance work and growing my business over the weekends."

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In terms of savings, James said he opened a help to buy ISA and took up work seven days a week to help boost his income.

"Prior to my job now, I worked for a digital marketing agency for three and a half years. From the start, I always dabbled in little bits of freelance work," he told Mirror Money.

"It wasn't until I decided to get serious about saving for the house deposit that I really ramped-up the level of work, to the point where I was working weekends for the purpose of saving not only the deposit, but to also have enough money left over to buy things like a couch, white goods etc.

"The sacrifices for me were the time in building up the freelance side of work, as it had to be done after work and on weekends.

Despite their desperation to make it on the ladder, the couple said they received no help from the bank of mum and dad – instead introducing a strict savings plan to raise the funds on their own.

"My biggest advice for anyone is to save as much as you can, open a help to buy ISA (or equivalent) as soon as possible, and look into remote working websites to earn extra income as they can really help to grow your savings in a short period of time.

"Our help to buy ISAs covered all of our solicitor fees. I'd highly advise any first time buyers to get one set up as soon as possible.

"In total, I managed to save just under £18,000 in six months. This was between my freelance work and my part time job at an agency.

"I had a salary of 24,000, and was also earning around £3,000 more each month thanks to the freelance work.

"The part time job covered the essentials like rent, and the freelance money went straight into the house savings.

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"The best savings tip I can give is to find remote work or some side jobs and really give it your all.

"What started as a side business for me in order to save up for my deposit turned into what is now my full time job of running a remote digital marketing agency, so you never know where that initial effort can take you!"

Once they'd raised enough for their deposit the couple started house hunting.

"My girlfriend spent countless hours searching for a perfect location that would still be close enough to Manchester city centre, and within a few weeks we'd reserved the plot.

"Now, we're seeing people camping out at the sales office to reserve a plot on our estate, so we've been really lucky to say the least!"

James and his partner now own a three bedroom semi detached house in Failsworth, Manchester.

"We purchased it for £195,000, our deposit was £9,000 and the rest went on decorating the place and making it our own."

Speaking about the one thing they wished they were warned about in hindsight, the couple said solicitor fees.

"I think the value of the help to buy ISA is not highlighted as much as it can be.

"If we'd have started our ISA sooner we would have had even more of a return, so the sooner any first time buyer can open one the better, as the rewards are only going to increase over time."

Ross Counsel, director at property buyer Good Move, said: For those who are lucky enough to be able to save money by living with their parents, this can be a fantastic technique to quickly save for a deposit.

"Not everyone is in this situation however, so hopefully these tips will go some way to helping people raise money for a home while living independently."

My top tips

Here are James and his partner's top tips for anyone hoping to make it on the ladder.

Use your skills to earn money on the side with sites like Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour. I was able to find copywriting opportunities as a way to top up my deposit.

Take advantage of the help to buy ISA. The interest I gained from it paid for my solicitor.

This isn't for everyone, but I started a couple of blogs which I was able to get traffic to and monetised the sites with affiliate links and ads. These blogs ended up earning a few hundred pounds per month, which went straight into my deposit savings. 

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