Four ways to help in your struggle to save for a home

Almost nine in 10 renters would be unable to afford a 5% deposit

Four ways to help in your struggle to save for a home

If you're trying your best to get enough money together to buy a home, but finding it harder and harder to save enough, you aren't alone.

Almost nine in 10 renters would be unable to afford a 5% deposit, according to charity Equality Trust, while the Resolution Foundation think tank has found home ownership is at its lowest in 30 years.

So what's stopping people saving and getting on the housing ladder?

High rents are undoubtedly part of the problem, while high house prices make it harder to reach the minimum deposit levels.

So what can you do if you are trying to buy your first home? We've four steps which might just help...

1. Work out what you need

It's easy enough to work out 5% or 10% of an asking price, but do you know exactly how much money you'll need?

It's not just the deposit. You need to factor in Stamp Duty, solicitor and mortgage fees and an increase in monthly repayments if interest rates were to change.

The total is probably more than you expected isn't it? Don't be put off, this is now your goal – what you need to focus on. It'll help keep you motivated through the next steps.

2. Get your finances fighting fit

If you really want that home, you probably will need to make some sacrifices on your other spending. In part this means following all those thrifty tricks shared by money bloggers to make sure you're not wasting money that would be better off in your deposit fund.

You can also make your finances as lean as possible by making sure you're getting the best deals. Switch your energy, move your mobile, change your bank, transfer your broadband. Each of these could mean your bills are cut to the tune of several hundreds of pounds each year.

Once your spending is down to the bone, work out what you have left after your essential bills and transfer as much as you can into a separate savings account (or two). This way you won't accidentally spend your deposit on non-essentials.

3. Make your savings work

Now you've got more money to put into savings each month, make it work as hard as it can.

First on your list should be a Help to Buy ISA. Save in one of these and you'll get a 25% bonus from the government when you buy. There are restrictions, but if you're eligible it's well worth getting one. And don't wait for the Lifetime ISA (or the LISA as some people are calling it). You'll be able to transfer your Help to Buy ISA over if you want when the LISA launches next April.

After this, find the best interest rates in available ISAs and savings accounts. Keep an eye on these rates as they can drop. If that happens move your money to a better paying account. Right now you might find the best returns from current accounts.

4. Research home ownership schemes

These won't be for everyone, but they could be that crucial leg-up you need to buy a home.

Some of the schemes include Help to Buy (different to the ISA) which can help cover a shortfall in your deposit savings, and shared ownership, where you buy part of a property and pay rent on the rest.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.



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