PAULA Horton and Adrian Keyworth got a £69,000 discount on their first home – and they didn't need to put down a deposit either.
Buying your first home is an expensive business, and many people feel that getting a foot on the property ladder simply isn't possible.
But there are government schemes to help savers desperate for a place of their own.
Paula, 54, and her partner Adrian, 50, used the Right to Buy scheme to buy their three-bedroom council house in Hull.
It's a government initiative that lets council house tenants buy the property they rent.
These homes are offered at a reduced price to help renters get on the ladder.
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It meant Paula and Adrian ended up paying £29,250 for their council house – even though its market value stands at £98,392.
This was a discount of 70% because they had lived in their home for 33-years.
And knocked £69,142 off the price of the property for them.
Using the scheme also let them bag their home much quicker than they thought – as they didn’t need to put down a deposit
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The maximum discount you can get through the scheme depends on how long you've been in your council house.
You get a 35% discount on your council home if you've been a public sector tenant for between three to five years.
After five years, the discount increases by 1% for each extra year you've been a public sector tenant.
You're a public sector tenant if you rent your home from the local authority or a registered social landlord, such as a housing association.
However, the maximum the discount can reach is 70%, or £87,200 across England and £116,200 in London boroughs.
As long as you have been a public sector tenant, you will be able to get the discount.
However, you'll have to pay back some or all of the discount if you sell within five years, according to the Homeowners Alliance.
If you sell your home within ten years of buying it through Right to Buy, you must also first give your old landlord or another social landlord in the area eight weeks to buy it.
Paula, a sales representative, and Adrian, a forklift truck driver, finally secured their first home in August last year.
We sat down with Paula to find out how the couple went from renters to homeowners for The Sun's My First Home series.
Tell me about your home
It's a three-bedroom terrace house in Hull.
My home is completely open plan, with a medium-sized back garden and a smaller front garden.
I use one of the bedrooms as a walk-in wardrobe.
The house backs on to a field which is quite scenic.
How did you decide on location?
I have lived in my house for 34-years now so I really didn't want to move.
We've had the same neighbours for years and there's a real sense of community.
We live on cul-de-sac so it's also quite quiet and private.
How much did you pay for it?
The house was valued at £98,392, but we got a 70% discount and bought it for £29,250.
You get a 35% discount off your house if you’ve lived there for three to five years.
After five years, you get an extra 1% discount for every extra year you’ve been a tenant.
At that point, I had lived in the house for 33-years, meaning I got 71% off the value of the house – a reduction of £69,142.
The sale was completed in August 2022.
We took out a mortgage of £29,500 for the house, and we didn't have to pay a deposit – that's because many lenders don't require one for a Right to Buy purchase.
The mortgage term is six years at a five-year fixed rate of 1.98% – for the final year we will go onto a variable rate.
We worked out that it would be feasible to pay off our mortgage in six years, which will work out great as it will be just before I retire.
The monthly mortgage repayments are around £430 a month.
How did you save for it?
Because we didn't need to save up for a deposit, we didn't need to put too much aside.
I got a cash gift of £1,500 from family to cover the costs of buying a house including solicitors fees and searches.
Were there any complications?
My partner and I didn't have great credit scores, but for different reasons.
Adrian has never had a credit card, or taken anything out on finance, so he had no credit history.
My credit score was low because around 15-years ago I had a CCJ over an unpaid broadband and landline bill of around £700, which my son had ran up by playing on a games console.
At first I was afraid I wouldn't be able to afford to pay it off, so I ignored it.
Eventually I contacted the company and paid the debt off in instalments.
What advice would you give to other first-time buyers?
Just keep at it and stick the process out because at the end of it you will have your own home.
I can't believe I managed to get a house for such a small sum of money, and it all came at the perfect time to retire.
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