Savvy woman buys first £139k home at 24 after saving since teenage paper round

A savvy woman has revealed how she managed to buy her first home for £139,000 at the age of 24, having saved up since her paper round when she was just 14 years old. Sarah Yates was keen to get her foot on the property ladder as soon as possible but soon discovered how difficult it would be to do it alone.

However, the impressive first-time buyer used her good money management skills and made some sacrifices along the way to achieve her goal, the Manchester Evening Newsreports. The journalist, now 27, has been an “avid saver” since she was a teenager when she started her first job on a paper round.

You are reading: Savvy woman buys first £139k home at 24 after saving since teenage paper round

She kept up the morning delivery gig until the first year of college, but admitted that she quit after she was left “mortified” when one of her classmates spotted her. She said: “I’ve been an avid saver since I was young, when I was about 14 I had a paper round and I didn’t stop doing that until I was in the first year of college.

Sarah's house needed a lot of work done but it was ideal for her as she wanted to put her 'own stamp' on the property
Sarah’s house needed a lot of work done but it was ideal for her as she wanted to put her ‘own stamp’ on the property (Image: Manchester Evening News)

“People used to take the mick out of me. I remember one of the boys said that they’d seen me one morning and I told him it wasn’t me because I was so mortified and embarrassed. I then quit and I got my first job as a journalist when I was 19. I’ve just always tried to save.”

Sarah had been living at home with her parents which allowed her to save even more. She always had ambitions of owning her own home and at 24 she began looking at what she could potentially afford on the property market.

She described her style as 'minimalistic' and 'simple'
She described her style as ‘minimalistic’ and ‘simple’ (Image: MEN)

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She said: “The first house that I put an offer on was £120,000. It was a really gorgeous little terrace house in Hazel Grove and it even had a driveway but unfortunately I lost out on that. I put offers on about five different houses over the course of a year but my offers kept getting declined and that’s when I realised that people were offering quite a lot more than the asking price.”

Sarah wanted to buy her own property in that specific area which is considered “desirable” but realised she was being priced out with her £145,000 budget. Eventually, she came across a two-bedroom terrace house in the Stockport suburb of Greater Manchester that was in need of some work but it was exactly what she was looking for.

Sarah said that she did a lot of DIY work in the property to keep the costs of renovating down
Sarah said that she did a lot of DIY work in the property to keep the costs of renovating down (Image: MEN)

She said: “It was in an absolute state, it was run down and everything needed doing to it, but that appealed to me because I liked the idea of being able to put my own stamp on it. I wanted somewhere where I could completely do up the kitchen and bathroom, paint the walls and put new flooring in everywhere.”

She initially offered the asking price of £140,000 but her offer was rejected by the owners so she ended up just asking them what they would accept. To her surprise, they asked for £141,000 which Sarah said was a “no brainer” as an extra grand would have little effect on the price of the mortgage.

She said: “Once the survey came back there were a few issues so I ended up buying it for £139,000. My offer was accepted in March 2020 which was right at the start of the pandemic. I think that’s one of the reasons why I got it for the price that I did because of the uncertainty at the time, people weren’t sure if they could buy because they weren’t sure if their jobs were safe.”

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Sarah received her keys to her first home in August 2020 and began renovating immediately. She did a lot of the work herself, with a helping hand from YouTube tutorial videos. For the bigger jobs she couldn’t manage herself, such as plastering and havung doors and windiws fitted, Sarah recuited local firms.

One of Sarah's new bedrooms
One of Sarah’s new bedrooms (Image: Manchester Evening News)

She said: “Over nine months I ripped everything out and the whole house was re-plastered, I got all new doors and I had a window put in the front bedroom to open it up.

When asked about her style and décor in the house, the proud solo homeowner described it as “simplistic and minimalist”. She added: “There’s still work to do, for example, I want to get the front of the house re-rendered eventually. I just love that it’s mine, I’m proud that I have managed to buy my own house and do it all up. Everything that’s in here has come down to my choice and my decisions.”

Another one of Sarah's two double bedrooms
Another one of Sarah’s two double bedrooms (Image: MEN)

When asked if she has any advice for first-time buyers who may be struggling to save, she said you “have to make sacrifices” to reach your goals. She added: “Penny-pinch and be that tight friend that everyone kind of laughs at because it will pay off in the long run when you own your own house.”

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