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5 things: The reality of saving for a first home

15 June 2017

I mean it's the twenty-something crisis right?

Fresh into my early 20's I was ready for the get-go in life after graduating with my top notch degree, then the doom 'n gloom of the middle twenty crisis happened where I was stuck in a dreadfully paid job and endlessly questioned myself if this what my life was going to be - and then, when my career slotted into place and everything seemed like it was plodding along, I decided to move on to the next task: buying my first home. 

Here's five ways to beat the impossible:

1.  You need to be realistic with yourself. 

This is both literally and mentally. 
It feels like we've been saving for a house forever. When in reality it's only been in the last year that we've really buckled down. In that time we've really accomplished a pretty darn chunky deposit that's growing steadily each month.

But after a pretty disappointing meeting with our bank advisor, we were knocked back by how little this would get us due to the crazy house prices in our area. It took a while - and a lot of whinging on my part - to get over the fact that we could buy a four bed house up north with the savings we already have, but have to settle for a flat down south. Grumble aside, whilst our forever home might be further off than expected, it's all about being realistic and not beating yourself up about it.

2. Be in the know.

With shit getting real, we decided to #adulttheshitoutoflife and set up a meeting with a financial advisor at our local bank. Turns out this was completely pointless and they were in no hurry to help unless we were ready to buy a mortgage. Le sigh. 

Buying your first home is a minefield, navigating what is on offer (there are so many different government schemes on offer such as the Help to Buy ISA and part buy ownership), let alone how much you should be saving and what is within your reach.  What you do need to do is throw yourself into the deep end and educate yourself.

I started with the handy online government guide that dishes all the need to know on everything help to buy, explaining all the nity gritty to weigh up your options. Then I unashamedly became Martin Lewis (yep, the tv guy behind Money Saving Expert) newest fangirl after reading his impartial guide to buying a home as first time buyer - it's actually genius.

3. Set a goal.

Whilst it's important not to pressure yourself, it makes sense to have a goal in mind. We have a savings tracker on the go, an understanding of what position we will be in this time next year and what the next step should be. 

There's no rush, even though it feels like there should be. Buying your first home completely depends on what position you are in: Are you currently in the cycle of renting? Is a family member able to help you? Are you going it alone? Do you live at home?

Above all it may just take a little longer in certain cases - but that's ok. I personally live at home, and whilst I may not be handed everything on a plate, I am in the best position to save.

4. Ignore everyone.

Whilst my friends back home are navigating their next step on the housing ladder and probably questioning all my life choices, my London friends laugh at the very thought of having a mortgage. The best bet is to ignore everyone. Unless of course when they are offering you sound advice. Comparison is the thief of joy: you should neither feel guilty for lack of not having a house or even wanting one.

5. It's not the be all and end all. 

This is something I regularly have to tell myself. I will buy my first home next year, but in the mean time there are other things on my agenda too - which are just as important. Like pinning my dream house on Pinterest, yup.

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