Single mum saves £9k in a year to buy first home for £180k – but had to move 50miles away to do it

A SINGLE mum from Somerset saved a £9,000 house deposit in a year by moving 50 miles away for cheaper rent.

Jo Middleton, 39, bought her £180,000 three-bed home in Taunton two years ago, and lives with her 17-year-old daughter Belle.

But the pair had to move 50 miles away from their rental home in Bristol to Somerset in Taunton in order to save the cash to buy.

Despite moving to a similar sized house, Jo's rent bills dropped dramatically from £1,275 a month in Bristol to £675 a month in Taunton, so she stuck the £600 saved straight into a separate bank account.

Moving house also cut her council tax bill down by £40 a month and Jo, who’s eldest daughter Bee, 23, had already moved out, found she ate out less too as there was less choice on the high street.

Overall, her savings went from nothing to up to £800 a month and within a year, she had enough for a five per cent deposit.

But despite earning up to £60,000 a year as a self-employed writer and blogger, Jo struggled to get a mortgage with such a small deposit.

Many lenders tend to be more cautious towards self-employed borrowers because their income is considered less secure and therefore more risky.

Normally, self-employed homeowners need at least a 10 per cent deposit, but Jo turned to a specialist lender, Aldermore, which offered her a loan with a five per cent deposit – but it came at a price.

Typically, first-time buyers can expect to pay around 2 per cent for a two-year fixed-rate mortgage but Jo ended up paying 4.8 per cent, making her monthly payments £935.

To put it in perspective, Jo recently remortgaged to a deal that charges just 2 per cent interest, bringing her payments down to £640 a month.


Now, the savvy mum plans to overpay every month and make one-off extra payments to bring down the 30-year mortgage term.

We spoke to Jo for this week’s My First Home to find out what it took to buy a home on her own.

What’s your home like and how much did you pay for it?

I live with my youngest daughter Belle, 17, and three cats in our three-bedroom semi-detached house in Taunton that I bought in June 2017.

It’s a 1970s dormer bungalow with two floors. There is a garage too that is part of a block of garages.

It’s about a mile and a half out of the town centre. I normally cycle through the town’s main park to get to the co-working space I use a couple of days a week.

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