16 Oct 2020 • 5mins • Thomas Dibble

5 tips for saving for a house


Saving to buy a house can be a little bit daunting. Not only do you have to save for a hefty deposit (the bigger the better to get a good mortgage rate), but you’ve also got to budget for those pesky hidden fees like stamp duty and surveys. And that’s before you even start to think about paying for van rentals, cleaners, new furniture, and all those little extras when it comes to actually moving in!

So where to start? Well first, take a deep breath; and next, take a look at our top 5 tips to help you keep your house savings on track!

1. Get the right savings account

If you’re a first time buyer and under 40, then you should consider getting yourself a LISA. A LISA is a special type of bank account where you can save up to £4,000 per year and the government will top up your savings by a whopping 25%! That means you could be earning an extra £1,000 per year for free, plus interest. The LISA can also be used when buying a house with someone else, even if that person has been a home-owner before, or has their own LISA that they’re using.

There are a few drawbacks to the account though, so make sure you’ve done your research before you commit to one. First, the savings in there can only be used to go towards your first home or your retirement, so if you don’t spend the money on a house deposit you’ll have to wait until you’re 60 before you can touch it - or face hefty fees. You can also only spend it on a house worth less than £450,000, so those buying in London or going straight for a larger home might need to keep this in mind.

If the LISA isn’t right for you, you can still opt for a high-interest savings account. Check out our in-app partners Raisin to find the right savings account to suit you. Take a look in your Actions tab to find out more.

2. Know your options

If ‘traditional’ home ownership seems out of reach, take a look at some of the other options out there. If you’re currently renting a council house, you might qualify for the governments Shared Ownership scheme, or see if you can can find a home with the Help to Buy initiative, where the government will give you a loan towards your house deposit for a number of selected new-build properties. Find out more here.

3. See if you can borrow from BOMAD

The Bank of Mum and Dad is now the ninth biggest mortgage lender in the UK. While we all love the idea of buying our own home independently, with the rise in house prices in the UK it’s often not possible to get onto the property ladder without a little help. If possible, speak to your family and see if they would be willing to help invest in your future property or give you a loan - you never know, you might get a lower rate than if you went to one of the the high-street banks!

4. Set up a savings goal

The average first time buyer puts down a deposit of 20% - which can seem a bit steep when you first start putting money towards it! As well as money down for the deposit, you’ll also need savings to cover the hidden costs of buying a home, like:

- Stamp duty (which can add as much as 7% to the cost)

- Survey and valuation fees

- The cost of your building insurance policy - which many lenders will require you to have as a condition of your mortgage

Think about how much you can feasibly save each month once you take out your essentials (and a bit of living money!), as well as how quickly you want to start house hunting. If you want to be collecting those keys sooner rather than later, why not take a look at your spending in your Yolt app and see where you can cut back. Try setting budgets in categories like lunch and shopping so that you don’t overspend, and think about any cheaper swaps you can make to help ramp up your savings, like swapping your long-haul holiday this year for a stay-cation instead?

5. Watch your money grow!

Sit back and let your savings grow! While you’re watching your hard work build up in your savings account (with a healthy sprinkling of interest on top, we hope!), make sure you keep an eye out for the perfect property on Rightmove.

Got your own top-tips for all the first-time buyers out there? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at hello@yolt.com or tweet us @getyolt.

At Yolt, we’re on a mission to empower you with your money, but our blog is not official financial or professional advice. If you're looking for more information on credit cards or debt help and consolidation, seek independent financial advice