We bought our £453k dream first-home with 'lifeline' small deposit scheme – we never could have bought without it | The Sun

FIRST-TIME buyers Ryan Adair and Victoria Wallace didn't think home ownership was possible until a small deposit scheme gave them hope.

Victoria, 25, and her husband Ryan, 33, were desperate to find a place of their own after their landlord increased their rent by £675 a month.

After stumbling across homebuilder Barratt London's development in Hayes, Middlesex, the pair set their sights on a two-bedroom apartment.

Ryan and Victoria, who both work for a whiskey company, knew they wouldn't be able to afford the property without a helping hand.

That's when they realised they could still use the Help to Buy Scheme.

The government scheme gave budding buyers an equity loan and allowed them to put down a deposit of just 5%.


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You can get up to 20% of the value of your property – or 40% if you live in London – under the scheme.

The loan is interest-free for the first five years – although bad news for any budding buyers, this specific scheme closed in March this year.

But there are others available that will give you a similar leg up on to the property ladder.

The Help to Build scheme offers an equity loan to help you build a home or convert a previously commercial building.

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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 First Homes scheme means prospective first-time buyers in England can 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.

Ryan and Victoria reserved their home in March 2022, while the building was still under construction, and moved in January 2023.

The Sun sat down with the couple to see how she went from being savers to homeowners for The Sun’s My First Home series.

Tell me about your home

It's a two-bedroom apartment in Hayes, Middlesex.

It's open-plan with lovely high ceilings and big windows so we get lots of natural light.

There are also two bathrooms and a balcony, which can fit a table and couple of chairs.

We have access to a communal garden in the building too and we have the option to buy a car parking space.

How did you decide on that location?

It's just a ten-minute walk to Hayes and Harlington station and only a half an hour commute to our office in London.

We love being in close proximity to such fast transport links, like the Elizabeth line.

This is a great advantage because our families live outside of the country, so the 14-minute tube ride to Heathrow is a massive help.

How much was it?

Our apartment was £453,000.

We took out a mortgage of £273,000 over 32-years at a fixed rate of 2.15% for five years.

Our repayments are around £900 a month.

We could only afford to buy the flat because I applied for a Help to Buy equity loan.

It proved to be a lifeline and was the only way we could get on the property ladder.

It's a scheme that helps first time buyers as you need just a 5% deposit.

The government will provide a loan of up to 40% of the value of the property if you live in London, otherwise you’ll get 20%.

There’s no interest added onto repayments in the first five years.

You have to buy a new-build in order to be eligible for the loan, but that suited us perfectly.

We received a £180,000 loan and put down a 5% deposit of just under £23,000, with the mortgage covering the rest.

How did you save for it?

It was in around December 2021 that we decided to look into buying our own home.

We were renting a two-bedroom property in Tower Hill for £1,350, but our landlord decided to put up our rent by 50%.

This took our monthly payment up to £2,025 which was just unaffordable.

Luckily, Ryan got on well with his previous landlord and he had a one-bedroom property for rent in Notting Hill at the time for £800 a month.

We took advantage of this, and moved in for a few months while we assessed our options.

Quite quickly after, we came across Barratt's development in Hayes and found out that we could use the government's Help to Buy equity loan scheme to purchase one of the properties.

We knew the scheme was coming to an end in March 2023 , and we were keen to reserve a property quickly as they were very popular.

Luckily, Ryan had already saved £11,000 in a Lifetime Isa, which he had opened in 2018.

When you open a Lifetime Isa the government will add 25% to your savings, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

That means if you put in £4,000 a year you'll get a £1,000 free cash bonus to put towards your first home.

Ryan got a bonus of £4,000, which we used towards the deposit.

We got married the same year, and used some of the cash we got in wedding gifts towards our deposit too.

We were also fortunate enough to get a few thousand pounds from family to get us to the goal amount we needed for the deposit.

How did you afford to furnish it?

We have been buying everything in stages to spread out the cost so some of it still feels like a work in progress.

My parents had recently downsized, so we also got quite a few pieces from them, which was really helpful.

We also make sure to shop around for deals so we know we're getting the best price.

Google's reverse image search is really helpful way of finding cheaper versions of designer furniture pieces.

For example, I will find a sofa that I like, save the picture and pop it in search.

This will bring up similar pieces for sale online and you can then go through to find one that's cheaper.

We will definitely be using this method when we get around to buying more bits and bobs to finish furnishing.

Do you have any advice for other first time buyers?

Make sure you do your research because the Help to Buy equity loan really helped us.

Although that scheme isn't available anymore, it's worth looking to see if there are any other first-time buyer schemes out there.

Plus, don't rush into a sale just because you are eager to move.

It's such a big commitment, so make sure it's exactly what you want.

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