Expert advice that helped Leeds woman purchase first home on her own during the coronavirus pandemic

Buying a home on your own can seem like a daunting task, but one Leeds woman managed it by following some expert advice.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:45 pm
Beth Nunnington, from Leeds, recently purchased her first home by herself.

Beth Nunnington recently purchased her first home by herself during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 31-year-old said her main tip to cut down on her outgoings was to transfer money into a separate account that she could not access.

She also cut back on takeaways, clothes shopping and moved to a cheaper part of the city to cut down on her rent.

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Beth said: “I bought my first house when I was 31 years old, all by myself, during a global pandemic.

"I formed a really good habit of always transferring money into a separate savings account that I couldn't easily access, on the first of every month.

"Of course, I still used interest-free credit cards and my (free) overdraft often, but I always saved.

"It became quite addictive seeing the numbers increase and, as I was always fortunate enough to be in full-time employment, I saved most months.

“In the 18 months before buying, I really pushed myself hard to save and to cut back. I bought less clothes, takeaways and unnecessary items and I moved to a much cheaper location in Leeds, cutting my rent by £250 a month!”

She added: "When it came to setting my repayment schedule, I maxed out the number of years to 35 as this meant my mortgage payments were a lot lower.

"I also just took out a mortgage loan for 2 years, as, not only did this have the lowest interest rate, but I also hoped that in two years time I would be in a better position to reduce the number of years to a lot less - meaning that I would pay less interest in the long run.”

Paul Elliott, Head of Mortgages at Atom bank, shares his invaluable expert insight on how best to secure a mortgage as a single person.

Is it possible to get a mortgage as a single person?

Paul said: "Though this question can seem like a silly one to ask, it’s often commonly assumed that being single can stop you from getting a mortgage approved.

“It’s true, buying your first home by yourself can be a pretty big hill to climb - but it’s nothing you can’t handle.

"Single homeowners usually don’t tend to opt for large, expensive family homes, so getting onto the property ladder and buying your first, smaller home is an achievable goal.

“If you’ve rented prior to applying for your first mortgage, you’ll know that additional costs such as utilities and council tax are, regrettably, a given.

"However, monthly rental payments can actually be more expensive than a standard monthly mortgage payment, so you may be surprised to learn that you could potentially save more by buying your home, rather than continuing to rent.

“I suggest that you review all of your outgoings and financial habits before applying, and make sure you have all the relevant information and documents you’ll need to hand. There’s no such thing as being too prepared. ”

How can I save and budget to buy a home alone?

Paul said: “You must consider everything from your current living situation to your daily spending habits. Do you really need to drive to work every day or can you afford alternative transportation?

"Is that Sky Sports subscription life or death, or can you sacrifice Saturday sports in order to save for your mortgage?

"It’s all about compromise and perspective and, without it, you’re unlikely to secure a mortgage on your own.”

What do I need to prepare for a mortgage application?

Paul advises: “Preparing all the necessary documents can be a lot easier when you only have yourself to worry about.

"Nevertheless, to make sure that you stand the best chance of getting your mortgage application approved, you will need to provide your chosen lender with the following information; ID and proof of current address, proof of income, proof of deposit, recent bank statements from the last three months and up to three years’ worth of payslips (even if you’re self-employed).

“It’s important to consider how your pay may have been influenced by the pandemic, too. For circumstances such as furlough or payment cuts due to COVID-19, it is important to flag such income changes with your lender well in advance.”

How much can I borrow if I get a mortgage on my own?

Paul said: “It’s imperative that you consider your personal financial limit and avoid getting carried away with the excitement of buying your first home.

"I suggest putting some serious time aside to filter through your finances and consider how much you realistically can afford to cover on your own, without stretching yourself too far. Give yourself ample flexibility, consider the what-if’s and be brutal with your budget.

“Do your research and look into lenders that offer 95% LTV mortgages for single buyers if saving a 10% deposit feels a stretch too far on your own. Make sure you also take additional fees on top of your deposit amount into account and prepare for those added costs. If you don’t, you may find that they’ll creep up at a rapid rate and make for a nasty surprise.”