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From Help to Buy: ISA saver to home owner

Read Lucy’s story on how the Help to Buy: ISA gave her a step up onto the property ladder, from having her deposit topped up by £1,000 by the Government bonus, to getting £750 cashback on her first-time buyer mortgage with Progressive.

22 July, 2019

Read Lucy’s story on how the Help to Buy: ISA gave her a step up onto the property ladder, from having her deposit topped up by £1,000 by the Government bonus, to getting £750 cashback on her first-time buyer mortgage with Progressive.

Help to Buy: ISAs were launched at Progressive in March 2016, and, having moved back in with my parents after university, I was eager to buy my own home and regain my freedom, so I made sure to open one as soon as I could.

I started working with the Society at the end of 2015 and the Help to Buy: ISA was the first big project I was involved with, so I felt I knew the product pretty well by the time it was launched. A common question was whether there was a catch – a 25% bonus on your savings account, paid to you by the government sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t! As long as your account balance was between £1,600 and £12,000, and you use the money to buy your first home, you’ll get a maximum of £3,000 extra for your deposit.  Getting so involved with the account from the outset, I am really keen to emphasise that it really is as easy as just opening an account, putting your savings into it and then closing it when the time comes to buying your home. I mean, you’re going to be saving anyway when you’re buying your first house, why not put it into an account where you can get a bit more back?!

The first month I opened my account, I invested the full £1,200 allowance, with the maximum £200 (apart from a couple of times where I maybe treated myself a bit too much!) going in every month after that.  By the time I closed my account, ready to buy my apartment at the end of October 2017, I had saved just over £4,000 in my account, meaning I got a fabulous £1,000 extra for my deposit! I was buying my apartment by myself, but if you’re looking to buy with someone else – your partner or a friend, for example, who is also a first-time buyer, you can both open a Help to Buy: ISA so you could potentially get double the return!

Just before I bought my apartment, Progressive also announced the great idea of giving £750 cashback to anyone who had a Help to Buy: ISA with the Society and also took their first mortgage with them as a loyalty reward, so I was able to avail of that too. In my experience, every extra penny helps when you’ve just bought your first home, and it meant I was able to buy a dishwasher too!

As I mentioned, I was pretty keen to get onto the property ladder as soon as possible when I opened my account, but you don’t have to be planning to buy your first home right away either to be eligible to open a Help to Buy: ISA. As long as you’re over 16 and have never owned a home, you can open one, and it can be closed any time up until 2030! Help to Buy: ISAs are only available to open until 30th November this year, so head to your local Progressive branch as soon as you can to open one! You can invest up to £1,200 in your first month of opening the account, and £200 every month after that, but if that seems like more than you’d be able to afford, you can put in whatever you can manage up to that amount – the account can be opened with just £1! 

Having gone through the experience personally, I can honestly say, opening a Help to Buy: ISA is a complete no-brainer. Chances are, if you’re over 16 and haven’t bought your first house, you’ll be thinking about doing so in the next ten years and as we all know, saving is really tough, you may as well take all the help available. In terms of saving, the only difference between a Help to Buy: ISA and any other savings account is really that you get a lot more money back for your investment! View full eligibility criteria and account terms and conditions.

Open a Help to Buy: ISA

Find out more about the Help to Buy: ISA. Don't forget, accounts can only be opened until 30th November 2019!

More about Help to Buy: ISA

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