s a management consultant, Busola Ilesanmi knows a thing or two about optimising fiscal performance. And she used all her professional skills to propel herself on to the property ladder, without any financial support from her family.
Ilesanmi, who is in her late 30s, began saving up for a deposit in 2015. By the end of last year she had finally put aside enough cash to purchase a one-bedroom flat and cover all her buying costs.
“My strategy around finance is fairly strict,” she explained. “Half of my income goes on bills and living expenses, 30 per cent on entertainment and lifestyle and 20 per cent on savings and investment. This approach meant I could reach my saving goals in a realistic time frame, while continuing to rent and enjoy life’s small luxuries.”
To make sure she stayed on track Ilesanmi even carried out a yearly life audit, when she looked at her income and spending habits and tried to make improvements.
Over the years these included negotiating for pay rises and opting to live just outside of London, in a shared flat in Ashford, Kent, in order to reduce her living costs. Her share of the monthly rent came in at £950, including bills.
To get to her goal faster Ilesanmi decided to buy a new-build property so she could take advantage of the Help to Buy Scheme, borrowing 40 per cent of the value of a flat, putting down a five per cent deposit, and raising a mortgage for the remainder. She picked a £324,000 one-bedroom apartment with a private patio at the NewHayes development (fairview.co.uk) in west London, and put down a £17,100 deposit. She moved in December, and her mortgage now costs £863pcm. Service charge adds around £120pcm.
“I’m really excited by the prospect of the Elizabeth line coming to Hayes, it definitely made the area more appealing knowing that this investment will positively impact the area,” said Ilesanmi. “It will also make it an even more attractive location for buyers wanting to live in suburban London, so I am grateful to have gotten on to the property ladder now.”
Her advice to other would-be buyers is to follow her financial rules. “Make sure you have a vision and stay focused on the plan,” she said. “If it doesn’t work out, you know you tried but if it goes well, it’s like hitting the jackpot.”