First-time buyer - Episode one

Three things to know before you start

Shannon is a first-time buyer from Dublin who recently bought her first home with her boyfriend Dan and are now sharing their house buyer tips. They bought their house in Dun Laoghaire, the same town where they had their first date seven years ago. Their home needed a lot of work, so the pair decided to do a complete renovation. Shannon sat down with us to share the top three pieces of house buyer tips she would give to anyone before they started renovating a fixer-upper.

Watch episode one of Shannon’s story

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00:00:00 Shannon
I’m Shannon and I’m from Dublin. Myself and Dan have been together for seven years. Our first date we actually walked Dun Laoghaire pier and Dun Laoghaire has always been special to the two of us.

So, last year Dan was thinking about getting onto the property ladder. My dad kind of said why don’t the two of us do it.

I actually found the house online. It’s small and it needed a lot of work, but we were willing to take it on. From day one we knew we were going to gut it, which cost a lot of skips, but it had to be done. We just went at it from day one as soon as we got the keys, but it was well worth it.

If you’re gonna start renovating a home there are three things i’d like you to know.

00:00:41 On Screen: Tip one – Create a habit of saving in advance

00:00:41 Shannon

The first thing is to get into the habit of saving in advance. Before we bought the house I started putting money by every month. Even though we weren’t paying the mortgage yet, I was mentally getting used to putting money aside for the mortgage and the bills.

00:00:53 On screen: Tip two – Think about how you ‘experience’ each space

00:00:53 Shannon

The second thing I want you know is to think about how you experience each space. We asked ourselves what was annoying about where we lived at the time and the beauty about a fixer upper is it’s a complete blank canvas. My pet hate is not having a socket near to me. So we planned out where all the sockets would be.

I wanted to be able to charge my phone while cooking so we put a USB charger in the kitchen. Small things like that make a huge difference to a home.

00:01:16 On screen: Tip three – Prepare for a ‘rainy day’

00:01:16 Shannon

With a fixer upper you really don’t know what it’s gonna throw at you. Getting used to saving for the mortgage we had that fund but I was always putting a little extra aside as well.

When we moved into the house we took up the timber floors and found that we needed a whole new concrete floor. Ripping up the concrete floor cost us a good chunk of money but don’t let something like this turn you off though, because you can’t turn a house into a home overnight.

00:01:41 Video ends

Shannon’s first three steps to a first-time buyer are:

Tip one - Get into the habit of saving

Before buying her home, Shannon started to save a portion of her salary every month to mentally prepare for paying off her mortgage and bills. Although she found it hard initially, knuckling down and pushing through meant that she’d adapted to budgeting by the time she started to pay off her mortgage.

Shannon advises any first-time buyer to save as much as you can every month, as far in advance of buying your home as you can. If you put in the sacrifice now, you’ll take some of the pressure off down the line. If you want to begin saving but don’t know where to start, we’ve got nine tips for staying on track with your savings.

Tip two - Think about how you ‘experience’ each space

Shannon and Dan both considered what it’s like to live in the space before starting their renovations. They planned out the simple things like the location of sockets and where they wanted them placed. As a food fanatic, Shannon wanted to make sure her kitchen had a USB socket so she could charge her phone while baking.

Shannon advises first time renovators to take advantage of the blank canvas that is a fixer-upper and really customise the space for your personal tastes and wants. Need some inspo? Here are five top interior design trends for 2020.

Tip three - Always have a rainy-day fund

With a renovation, it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected. Shannon strongly advises that you always have some money put away for any surprises your renovations might throw at you. Shannon discovered when replacing her timber floors that the concrete underneath needed to be replaced too.

This was a cost she hadn’t seen coming, but she was able to dip into her rainy-day fund to cover it. By having a safety net of savings, you can have peace of mind that you’re covered. Here’s how to budget and save money without needing to make huge sacrifices.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages, where Shannon will be revealing more tips and advice from her journey. Speaking of the journey that is renovating your home, check out eight of the most common home improvement blunders and how to avoid them!

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an established homeowner who's looking to make some savings, shopping around for mortgage protection is always a good idea. Why not get a quote and see how we compare? If you’re switching from your current provider, don’t worry, we’re at hand to help guide you through the process.

We want to help our customers be there for whatever life throws in their way.

At Aviva, we understand just how much work goes into making a house a home. That’s why we’re committed to protecting yours. Buy Aviva home insurance online and get 20% off. Get your quote today.1

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