Thrifty tips for First-time Buyers

With interest rates at a new low, it’s a great time to get on the property ladder. There are some fantastic deals to be had for first-time buyers that don’t require a huge deposit. The higher the deposit you have saved up, the lower the interest rate will be so it pays to put as much as you can into your deposit. 

I was lucky enough to get on the property ladder when I was in my twenties, I won’t let on how many years ago that was but let’s just say it was in the last century – just! House prices were lower back then, but so were our salaries and we’d spent all of our savings on the deposit. We didn’t really think about money for furniture and the only thing we bought in advance of moving in was a sofa and a mattress. We fell in love with a ex-display tetrad sofa in the Barker and Stonehouse moving sale, not bothering to measure up, it luckily came into two parts so we managed to get it into our little flat. We still have the sofa too so it pays to invest in some key pieces.

Getting the keys to your own home is probably one of the most exciting things in your life. Decorating it however can be a daunting one. Some people embrace the diy, some get help in. We went the diy route as we didn’t have any funds spare. This is where my obsession with upcycling began. It was also in the days before Gumtree, Preloved, Freegle, Ebay or Facebook selling groups so I raided skips, took hand-me-downs from family and took advantage of interest free options for some larger items.

With any home we want to put your own stamp on it, it’s rare that you walk into a house and don’t change anything. I’ve pulled together a few ways to save money when you buy your first home. These are easy diys for even the most novice of novices.

FlooringFirst-Time buyersFloors are a huge expense and there are ways you can save. If you have an older house, check the floorboards out. If they’re in good condition and you want that look, then the best way is to hire a floor sander. It will cost you around £50-60 a day to hire, then you’ll need sandpaper and varnish, but this will be a lot less than a good carpet. A good tip is to hire on a friday night and you may not have to take back until the monday for the same cost. Little House on the Corner have a great post on how to sand your boards.

First-Time buyers2

If you don’t want a bare wood look, then painting them is a good option. There are paints out there for anything these days and you can get some lovely colours too. Stick to a nice neutral pallets of white and grey and you won’t go far wrong.

If you really love carpets or the boards just aren’t good enough, then shop around for end of line stock or carpet remnants, you can often find pieces big enough for individual rooms at a really discounted rate.

KitchensFirst-Time buyers3
Not many people walk into the kitchen of their dreams, and it’s doubtful you will be able to afford a new kitchen when you’ve just spent all your money on the deposit. The simplest way is to repaint the cupboards and even the tiles.

You can buy specific cupbaord paint, or try the vast range of chalk paints that are out there, even chalkboard paint works well. However you do it, always make sure you prepare the surfaces well and finish with the recommended top coats, whether it’s a varnish, lacquer or wax, kitchens take a lot of hammering so the finish needs to be robust.

In our flat we painted the cupboards, radiators and the tiles, have a look at the product range from Rust-Oleum for inspiration.

FurnitureFirst-Time buyers
This is where you can save so much money. Charity shops, gumtree, freegle, your local facebook buy and sell groups are a great starting point for any first-time buyer. You can pick up some real bargains. If you don’t like the finish of a piece then think about painting it or getting a chintzy sofa recovered.

Pine bed frames, dark wood drawers, mismatched picture frames can all be painted the same colour to pull together as a scheme, look past the colour and finish of second-hand items and look at the shape and size. If you’re not keen on second-hand then you can even get thrifty with a few inexpensive flat pack buys. They have some great plain drawers that you could add your mark to.

Be creativeFirst-Time buyers4

This is where charity shops are fantastic. You can get so many bargains that will all be pretty unique to you once you add your own twist. It’s about pairing unusual items together or repainting or recovering. For lampshade try wrapping with wool, stripping the fabric off to reveal the bare frame, recovering with fabric or papers, you can really have a go at anything. The best thing about any of this is you haven’t spent a lot of money in the first place so it’s not a major  problem if it goes wrong, just repaint and start again.

The lovely people at Newcastle Building Society are giving away £50 B&Q giftcard to help get you started on your first home. All you need to do to enter is follow @NewcastleBSoc and click on the rafflecopter link here  Entries close on 31 August 2016 and the winner will be picked at random.

NB. This post was commissioned by Newcastle Building Society.
Images sources. All images are found via my Pinterest page here

2 thoughts on “Thrifty tips for First-time Buyers

  1. You pointed out that painting the cupboards is a good way to change the look of your kitchen without spending a lot. My husband and I are going to be buying our first house, and the kitchen is something that’s really important to me. I’ll definitely keep in mind that, even if we can’t afford to renovate after purchasing a home, we can repaint the cupboards to achieve a new look.

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