Aldermore's First Time Buyer Index shows the importance of understanding the hidden extra costs of owning your first home

POSTED: 14th October 2019
IN: Newsroom

The latest First Time Buyer Index1 from Aldermore, the specialist bank, a survey of over 1,000 prospective and 500 actual first time buyers, reveals that:

  • A quarter (23%) say the initial costs of decorating and repairs on a home were so high that they were unable to afford any furniture for months, leaving the home empty
  • A third (34%) of recent first-time buyers have spent over £3,000 on decorating and furnishing since they bought. With 13% saying it took years to afford to furnish and decorate their home the way they wanted it
  • On average, first-time buyers are paying £563 a year on work needing to be done to the house and £289 a year on unexpected repairs, like boiler repairs and plumbing
  • However, home ownership remains a positive experience with over three in four (76%) happy to no longer be wasting money on rent and two fifths saying they felt a sense of pride and they have made a step forward in life. Only 4% of first-time buyers said they were unhappy with their mortgage
  • Aldermore has partnered with Salvage Sister’s Charis Williams2 to produce a useful guide for how first time buyers can make their first house a home and save money doing so

First year of home ownership proves for some as challenging as the buying process

Aldermore’s Index shows the first year of home ownership can be extremely costly, often leaving new buyers struggling to make ends meet. Over half (57%) of respondents said they spent more during the purchasing process than they intended. Due to this, one in four (23%) have admitted they ended up living in an empty house for months after moving in and over one in 10 (13%) said it took years to afford to furnish and decorate it the way they wanted. 

Many first time buyers who before buying lived with parents or were in accommodation where bills were included in the rent may find the costs of regular household bills a surprise. According to the Index, adding up average cost of council tax, ground rent, home insurance and monthly utility bills (gas, electricity, internet etc.) can total over £6,200 annually.    

Becoming a home owner remains a positive experience

Despite the complexity of the current system, home ownership remains something that most people aspire to achieve. Half (50%) of those looking to buy their first home said it is their dream to get on the property ladder. For many, it is a signifier of adulthood (81%) and it means they are no longer wasting money on rent (76%). Having bought, 40% said they felt a sense of pride while 37% feel they have made a step forward in life. Only 4% of first-time buyers said they were unhappy with their mortgage.

Damian Thompson, Director of Mortgages at Aldermore, says: “Becoming a home owner is a wonderful step forward in a person’s life, but it is clear the first year of home ownership can bring with it some financial challenges and responsibilities some may not have fully anticipated.

“It is unlikely that many new home owners will feel their house is a home on day one. It can take time and money to do repairs and decorate the house the way they would like it to be. New home owners should try to continue a regular savings routine, seek advice, and ensure they look to have some money put aside for those unexpected repairs and life events that happen from time to time.” 

Charis Williams, ‘The Salvage Sister’, says: “First-time homeowners shouldn’t despair. There are so many ways you can decorate and furnish your new house without having to spend even more of your hard earned cash. Upcycling and recycling are exciting ways to not only kit out your home on the cheap, but are also great in terms of reducing waste and conserving the environment.”


1 The figures are sourced from a nationally representative survey conducted by Opinium Research with a sample of 509 participants who have bought a house in the past 3 years and 1,0004 prospective new house buyers in the UK.

2 Charis Williams is ‘The Salvage Sister’ - Designer, Metalworker and Decorator who loves to create unusual, quality homewares with salvaged items. Charis has been featured on BBC1's 'Getting the Builders in', as an expert maker & presenter on Channel 4's ‘Fill Your House for Free’, and UKTV's 'The New Reclaimers'. You can visit her website here: is not responsible for the content on the Salvage Sister website or the Salvage Sister YouTube channel.

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