For young people these days buying a home has nearly become and impossibility, I know this from my son, but with the government 'help to buy' scheme here in the UK, he has finally been able to get a foot on the ladder.
As parents, we are all helping our children get started in various ways, he wanted to do the bricks and mortar all on his own so we have been trying to help with the furnishing. Here are a few tips for anyone in the same boat, on how to get the house into a home.
1. Look what the experts have done.
Visit the showhome or a showhome that is similar to what you are buying to get a feel for colour and size and light etc. Because my son has bought off plan, we have gone for a west facing garden with french doors to the lounge, so we are hoping for good light in the living space. I made a note of the type of floor coverings they used and where they place mirrors to reflect extra light and how they treated the windows, all good tips as these show home dressers know their stuff!
2. Floor coverings
Start with the floor coverings. Decide what you want and where. We have gone for wood effect cushion flooring throughout the open plan downstairs for its practicality. Laminate was too expensive and too noisy but cushion floor is so good these days you can get the same effect for less. Research your suppliers carefully and compare prices online and in shops remembering to add in fitting costs. We went to a carpet shop during the sale and negotiated for a price for the full house. make sure you can get the most from your purchase, we worked out off cuts from the downstairs would be used to floor the bathroom upstairs and downstairs toilet as well as understairs cupboard. Staircases and upstairs are best with stain resistant carpet these days. particularly for the young! Get the shop to give you a written quote and then you know exactly how much you are talking about. We had to use the plans and will have to get more accurate measurements when the house is built. If the house is new, this will be your biggest cost as you need all the gripper rods and door strips, so start budgeting now for it.
Make a list of what furniture is essential in each room to start with. Work out what you need right from the start and what you can buy later. You can split your list into phases.
4. What have you got already?
Even if you have been living at home of living at University of whatever, there will be things you already own. Ask family members if they have furniture they want to get rid of. Most householders have too much furniture or are thinking of changing something so put some feelers out and see if you get lucky. You can always refinish old furniture to your taste. Ask your parents if you can take your bed, they maybe looking to repurpose that room anyway.
5. Shop savvy.
Start monitoring eBay or Gumtree, both excellent sources of cheap local furniture. I will do a more in depth post on this another time with more tips for searching.
Make sure you or your parents are building up Tesco points or Nectar points on your normal shopping habits as these too will come in handy later. Start a Top Cashback account for money back on purchases you will be making, even better if a friend recommends you as they get money back too.
6. Sell, sell, sell
What can you sell to generate funds? A lot of the time we have things that are just sitting there in cupboards or the garage doing nothing. Sell them to generate funds to buy what you need. Every £1 adds up! (I have done well at this and generated more space too so decluttering and earning money!Win-win)
7. Blag some storage space
In our case we had a spare bedroom but someone may have a garage or shed so you can start getting together your items on a phased basis ready for the move in date. If you see something in the sale or cheap on ebay you can store it.
8. Find someone who sews!
If you want curtains/blinds making or altering find someone who sews. Often you can buy a large pair of curtains and make several pairs or even blinds from the one pair. This saves a lot of money.
9. Hot deals
Download the App HotUKDeals and look at the 'home' topic everyday to search out some amazing deals on all sorts of things you may need. Search the internet for sales and offer codes and watch out for sales on Argos where they have extra promo codes on different departments, or free £5 vouchers if you spend so much.
10. Work hard
Saving money takes time and effort. You need to research the net, shop wisely, keep checking the lowest prices and how to get money back on your purchases, what can you get in vouchers and what you need to pay full price for, where and when to save money. You will earn the money because of the amount of effort you put in but hopefully you will be making a start on a big journey.
P.S. Make sure you have a help to buy ISA in place if you are thinking of buying in the next few years. If you have never owned a home before, you can get your savings boosted. Check this out online, MoneySavingExpert.com is a good site. When choosing a mortgage some have cashback incentives, make sure the deal is good but if they offer one it could help with your fees.
Please let me know if you find any of these tips helpful or you can recommend any others by leaving a comment.