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I’m a first time buyer and got £2,000 FREE to put towards a £183,000 home – so can you


21-year-old Ollie Leggett is in with a chance of getting £1,500 in free cash to help him buy his first home.

Project manager Olly bought his £183,000 one-bedroom flat in Witham, Essex in November 2022.


Ollie bought his first home in Essex in November 2022
A one-bedroom flat was valued at £183,000


A one-bedroom flat was valued at £183,000
He used the Help to Buy Isa to get the free money


He used the Help to Buy Isa to get the free money

The 21-year-old used a government savings scheme to get £1,500 of free cash for his home.

Ollie got free money from the government following the launch of the Help to Buy Isa in 2018.

The Help buy an ISA this is a savings account that allowed first-time buyers to save for a mortgage deposit and then claim a government bonus when buying their first home.

For every £200 you save, the government pays a £50 bonus towards the purchase price of the property.

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This government scheme closed in November 2019, but if you already have an account, you can continue to pay into it until November 2029 and claim the bonus until 2030.

There are other ways pet hunters you can also get free money.

The Help to Buy Isa has been replaced by the Lifetime Isa, which can be opened by anyone aged 18 to 39.

When you open a Lifetime Is the government will add 25% to your savingsup to a maximum of £1,000 per year.

This means that if you invest £4,000 a year, you’ll get £1,000 of free bonus cash to put towards your first home.

Desperate to climb the ladder faster, Ollie put £500 a month into his savings.

He split this between his Help to Buy Isa, which he put £200 into each month, with the remaining £300 going into his regular savings account.

Meanwhile, completing online surveys and using cashback apps also saved Ollie a couple of hundred pounds on his deposit.

We sat down with Ollie to discuss how he went from being frugal to The Sun’s homeowner My first house series.

Tell me about your house

This is a one bedroom flat in Witham, Essex.

The apartment has an open kitchen-living room, which has enough space for a desk, a sofa, a TV and a cabinet.

There is one double bedroom and a large bathroom.

I have a storage closet which is very handy.

How did you decide on the location?

I work in London so I knew I needed to be somewhere driveable but affordable.

Witham was the perfect middle ground because it was still accessible but within reasonable distance of London.

It takes me about 35 minutes to get to Stratford and about an hour to Liverpool Street door to door.

The train station is also only ten minutes away from my house.

How much was it?

My flat cost £183,000 and I put down a 25% deposit of around £43,000.

I decided to put down a bigger deposit because I wanted to buy somewhere more luxurious.

my thrifty habits put me in a good position to be able to put down a larger deposit.

I took out a £140,000 mortgage over 30 years with a five-year fixed rate of 3.66%.

Opting for a longer mortgage meant I could make my payments a little more manageable.

I pay around £640 a month on the mortgage.

I opened a Help to Buy Isa in 2018 and put £200 a month into it – the maximum you can put into it.

By the time I was ready to buy, I had built up around £6,000 in this account.

The bonus from the Help to Buy Isa was around £2,000.

How did you save for it?

I first started saving to buy a house in 2019 when I started my studies in London.

I already had a salary of around £5,000 which I had made working part-time since I was 16.

In 2019 I was earning £20,000 a year, or £1,600 a month before tax, and saving around £500 a month.

The money was split between my Help to Buy Isa and my regular savings account.

Both payments came out of my account as soon as I was paid, so I was never tempted to spend them.

Then I paid a few hundred pounds to my parents in rent while I lived at home, plus £400 a month for a rail pass.

As a result, I have a few hundred pounds left over to afford small luxuries such as eating out or drinking with friends.

When we went in quarantine in 2020 I started working from home which meant I didn’t have to pay for a monthly rail pass.

This meant I could add an extra £400 – the cost of my ticket – straight into the savings.

I worked from home for about two years which saved me around £9,000 – a huge saving and addition to my deposit.

I got a promotion and pay rise in June 2021 which means I was able to save an extra £100 without having to sacrifice anything else.

If I had anything left over at the end of the month, that would also go into my savings.

This amount can vary, but sometimes anything up to £250 is put into my savings.

I’ve always been pretty savvy when it comes to shopping and would always use cashback programs to earn some extra cash.

My favorites include TopCashBack, Checkoutsmart, and Shopmium.

They are very easy to use and I would use them to buy everything from groceries to clothes to electronics.

In the two years I’ve been saving for a house, I’ve managed to save an extra £200 just by using these apps.

How did you allow it to be furnished?

I put a little more than I needed in a deposit to buy furniture for my apartment.

I bought everything in stages and still have a lot to get as I just recently moved.

Facebook Marketplace was very helpful in finding quality used furniture.

For example, I managed to bring a second-hand coffee table, sideboard and TV from B&M for free.

The set was practically new and I was planning on buying exactly that for £150 which was a huge saving.

I shop regularly at B&M and always use the scanner app to find hidden deals.

For example, I managed to get a set of £4 candles for 10p and a £15 rug for £4.

The previous owners also left a lot of their kitchen appliances that were still in good working order.

This meant I was able to get a microwave, washer dryer, fridge freezer, oven and dishwasher for free – saving around £1,000.

I managed to buy a £300 bed using the vouchers I earned by downloading Ipsos Iris – consumer data tracking software.

I earned a £20 voucher just by signing up and installing the free app on my phone.

I also had to fill out a short questionnaire.

Then I get paid £10 every month for having the app installed on my phone.

I cashed in Argos vouchers which I used to cover the cost of the bed.

What advice would you give to other first-time buyers?

Just remember to enjoy the process.

I think so many people are negative about the home buying process, when actually working on buying a home is really fun.

Thinking more positively helps you think better.

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Do you have money problems that need to be solved? Get in touch by email money-sm@news.co.uk


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