Top Tips for saving a deposit
The larger deposit you can muster, the easier and cheaper it will be obtaining a mortgage, so think ahead:
Learn the difference between saving (putting money aside in an account that keeps it safe and adds interest) and investing (risking your money in the hope of greater returns).
Investing, such as in stocks and shares, almost always outperforms saving over a five-year period, but it is volatile in the short term - when coronavirus hit, stocks and shares ISAs lost around 20% of their value overnight.
Beware of scams such as risky investment opportunities masquerading as savings and fake websites. You can check a firm is genuine and double-check contact details here register.fca.org.uk
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have never owned property before and are between 18 and 39 years old, the Lifetime ISA (LISA) offers a 25% annual Government bonus, worth up to £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000.
You can use it to buy a property worth less than £450,000, or for a pension. The ISA year for the 2020/21 allowance ends on 5 April and the LISA counts towards your £20,000 annual ISA limit.
Keep an eye on the best buy tables and move your savings regularly to ensure the best deal. Be wary of “introductory bonuses” that can push accounts to the top of the tables – if you go with it, make sure to put the end of the bonus into your diary to remind you to move.
Don’t be scared of lesser-known names as they usually offer better rates, but check the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) register fscs.org.uk/check-your-money-is-protected to make sure that you have up to £85,000 protection.
The Personal Savings Allowance allows basic-rate taxpayers to earn up to £1,000 of interest tax free, and higher rate tax payers to earn £500. However, if your savings are earning more than that, or you pay the additional tax rate of 45% so don’t get an allowance, make sure you use up your ISA allowance for more tax-free savings
Remember that every little helps – in the words of grandma, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!