Isabella Hunter is the definition of a super saver.
Just weeks after she turned 19, she managed to buy her first home, putting down a £17,000 deposit on a two-bedroom semi-detached house in Dearham, Cumbria.
The qualified health care assistant managed to do this all alone, having committed to saving every penny from when she was just 16.
In April she got the keys to her first property, and has since done all the painting and decorating herself, too.
Isabella, who is currently training to be a nurse and working weekends at a takeaway, said: ‘I started working when I was 15 and I opened the account with my £1,000 savings.
‘The maximum I could pay in was £200 per month, so that was my target.
‘I am a saver at heart. When I get paid before I spend anything I move a set amount into a separate savings account.
‘When I went to college, I had two days with no lessons, so I got a job in a GP surgery to gain experience and then I worked weekends as well.’
Opening a Help to Buy savings account, Isabella managed to stash away a portion of her earnings each month towards a £107,000 home.
Her basic salary is currently just £12,000 a year, but she’s still keen to save, so takes on regular overtime for a rainy day fund.
She was offered a mortgage on a 40 year term, and now pays just £210 a month.
She said: ‘I went to a mortgage advisor and they helped me with my options. It has been a very exciting experience.
‘I wanted a house and garden and I viewed my house the day it came on the market and put an offer in the next day.’
Always looking to save money, Isabella made a cheeky offer but it was declined. When she tried again, however, her second offer was snapped up by the sellers who were impressed by her age and financial position.
She’s decorated her house with bargain finds from Facebook Marketplace and charity shops, and plans to keep sticking to her budgeting mindset.
Isabella was determined to buy a home early in life, explaining: ‘I wasn’t going to university as I’m doing an apprenticeship, so I knew I didn’t have to spend money paying for student accommodation.
‘I wanted to get on the property ladder as it gives me independence and makes financial sense.
‘It’s an asset and my mortgage is much cheaper than renting.’
To save her deposit Isabella did sacrifice nights out with friends but said the end result has been worth it.
She said: ‘I went on less nights out and I would always take a packed lunch to work rather than buying food out every day.
‘I saved any money I was gifted for birthdays or Christmas.
‘Lockdown really helped me to work more and save more.
‘I stayed motivated because I knew what I wanted and knew smaller sacrifices would be worth it once I got a place of my own.’
Next, Isabella hopes to buy a second property and rent it out. She’s already saving up again to invest in her future.
Her mum, Kerri Hunter added: ‘When Izzie got pocket money from us and her grandparents she would save up to buy something she wanted, so she understood that you have to save if you want something from a young age.
‘Izzie has always been very driven and when she sets herself a goal she does everything she can to achieve it.
‘Izzie works hard to get what she wants and it’s been quiet without her at home, but the treat cupboard seems to stay full longer these days.’
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