London first-time buyers: ‘Living at home during Covid and turning landlord helped me save for a flat’

·2-min read

For most of the past year, Elliot Kemp has been living in his childhood bedroom. And, lovely though it has been to spend time with his parents, he could not be more thrilled to be back in London and in a place of his own.

Saving on rent while living with the family in Gerrards Cross helped Kemp, who works in digital marketing, to build up his deposit fund.

The 28-year-old moved into a three-bedroom flat in Whitechapel in February.

The property cost £770,000 and Kemp put down a deposit of about 40 per cent. The bulk of that came from an inheritance from his grandmother, who sadly died during the pandemic, but he also had long-term savings to contribute.

“Spending all that time at home, not paying any rent and not really doing anything meant that I could save quite a lot more,” he said.

His monthly mortgage now costs £1,700. Pre-Covid, he was sharing a flat in Stratford and spending about £900pcm on rent.

Kemp’s mortgage, plus bills and service charge, means that his monthly costs are high, but he said he deliberately stretched himself to get a larger flat so that he could rent out the rooms.

He currently has two flatmates. One is an old friend, the other was found on SpareRoom.

And although he has had to spend quite some time interviewing potential flatmates and learning the legal and financial ins and outs of being a landlord, it means that the large flat is affordable.

“I have never had to have a lawyer or an accountant before; it is quite a change of pace, but I am loving it,” he said.

“I used to spend large amounts of money on rent. Now I am paying large amounts on my mortgage, but I am gaining value. It feels great.”

What also feels great is getting back to the city after his enforced sojourn in the Home Counties, and being able to invite friends round to his flat or take them to watch a movie at the on-site cinema room at his development, the Silk District.

A gym is opening soon and, from next year, a workspace — which will be perfect because Kemp will be WFH for the foreseeable future.

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