AMELIA Welford had just months to find a family house to buy with her partner Jordan Sykes after discovering she was three months pregnant.

The couple had been saving for years, but with only a couple of grand between them, they were nowhere near ready to buy.

Amelia and Jordan raced against time to buy a home before their baby was born

They used the Deposit Unlock scheme to get on the ladder quicker

They got thousands of pounds of furniture free from local Facebook groups

Typically, you need enough money in the bank for a 10% deposit – at the very least – to buy a property.

With the average house price in their home town of Teesside currently £149,214, according to Rightmove, that mean they needed £15,000 or more set aside.

The pair desperately want to be able to buy a home before their baby arrived, but were worried they’d never afford it.

Keen to avoid renting, midwife Amelia, 24, and waste refuge operative Jordan, 23, last year found themselves in a race against time to buy a place of their own with just six months until their baby’s due date.

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That’s why they applied to use the Deposit Unlock scheme, which helped them fast-track their way onto the property ladder.

The scheme was launched in November last year and lets you buy a new build house worth up to £750,000 with just a 5% deposit.

Lenders see it as a risky investment, giving borrowers a mortgage if they don’t have at least a 10% deposit saved up.

But the Deposit Unlock scheme encourages banks to offer more mortgages worth up to 95% of the property price, to help give first-time buyers a leg-up.


It works like a guarantor scheme, with the builder taking on some of the risk – they pay for insurance to cover the costs in the event that the homeowner defaults on the loan.

But not many mortgage lenders are signed up to the scheme – currently just two offer these deals: Nationwide Building Society and Newcastle Building Society.

And you can only apply to the scheme if the developer you are buying your house from has also signed up to take part too.

Currently, 19 builders offer the help, according to the Home Builder’s Federation.

Amelia and Jordan beat the clock and bought their £216,995 home in April this year – using the scheme meant they only had to put down a deposit of £10,850.

The Sun picked Amelia’s brains on how they managed to become homeowners for The Sun’s My First Home series.

Tell me about your home

It’s a new-build three-bed detached house in Teesside, near Newcastle.

There are three bathrooms and a downstairs toilet, plus an open-plan kitchen and dining room, and a separate lounge area.

There’s a lovely, spacious garden to the back, and we have a double driveway and a garage.

For the space have, we think it’s great value for money.

How did you decide on location?

We chose Teesside because we are both originally from around here.

That means our family and friends are close by, and we wanted to stay close to them while we started up our new family.

It’s also near work, so we don’t have to travel too far.

How much did you pay for it?

The house was £216,995.

We took out a mortgage with Newcastle Building Society of £206,145 over a 35-year term at a fixed rate of 3.19% for five years.

Our monthly repayments are just over £815.

We used the Deposit Unlock scheme, which meant we only had to put a 5% deposit down for our home.

I found out I was three months pregnant in September last year.

As Jordan and I were living apart with our parents, it meant we had just six months to buy a place of our own – we didn’t want to rent.

That’s when we came across the Deposit Unlock scheme – it was great for us because we didn’t have a lot of savings in the bank for a deposit.

It meant that we only had to save £10,850, instead of £21,699 if we’d needed to put down a 10% deposit.

How did you save for it?

We had to really cut back to save thousands in just months – it was like an extreme savings challenge.

We had booked an all inclusive package holiday to Mexico in 2020 and were due to fly out in October, but when I found out I was pregnant, we asked to postpone it by a couple of years.

We had put down a £500 deposit for the holiday but hadn’t paid for it in full yet – delaying our trip of a lifetime freed up £5,000 that we were able to put towards our house.

We basically went on a “no spend” challenge for six months – we didn’t go out for food or buy takeaways, saving us a couple of hundred a month.

I also stopped buying clothes completely – I’m a bit of a shopaholic and was spending £X a month on new things to wear.

One of the main ways we saved though was to not spend ANY money on Christmas or birthday presents – the year before, we spent £1,000 on each other at Christmas and almost as much on gifts for our family.

While we were saving, we cut this out completely. It was horrible not buying gifts for people, but everyone understood why we had to do it.

It meant we could save over £3,000 – which all went towards the deposit.

I also took on a lot of overtime to earn an extra £600 a month – I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after work, and even worked Christmas Day, Boxing Day and over New Year too.

Our families were very generous and gifted us £2,000 for the deposit too.

It meant we could save up enough for all the solicitors fees as well as all the extra upgrades we added to our new home, which was being built at the time.

How did you afford to furnish it?

Nearly all the furniture in our house was either second-hand or free from Facebook local community groups near us.

We bought a Next dining table from Facebook Marketplace for £180, which would have been £750 full price.

Our four dining chair from Very we bought from Facebook Marketplace for £80 – they would have cost £500 directly from the shop.

I joined a local Facebook group where people post items they don’t need and you can pick things up very cheap or even free – this saved us thousands.

I got a TV stand and bedroom drawers for free, and paid £150 for a wardrobe that would have cost £1,000 full price.

What’s your advice for other first time buyers?

Save as much as you can, as soon as you can.

We were nearly caught out when we found ourselves on a sudden time limit to buy a house.

It’s hard to cut back – but we had to grow up quickly and realise we couldn’t splash our cash unnecessarily with a baby coming.

Go through your outgoings and make a budget.

Don’t turn your nose up at Facebook groups offering free furniture – you could save thousands.

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