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16 November 2017

How I, a millennial, bought a house with the £90,000 my parents gave me

An easy guide to getting a step on the property ladder from one millennial to another.

By ruby Lott-Lavigna

It’s easy to become disillusioned as a young person. Between the demand to succeed after university in a shrinking job market, to being verbally abused after every Pret visit, the world can seem like a dreary place.

But what if you could avoid all the pressure, expectation and demand to succeed in a weaker economy and saturated housing market? What if there was a quick route to saving for a home, without having to die, freezing on the floor of a house-share after murdering your room mate for the last bite of a Posh Cheese and Pickle?

The answer is simple, and I managed to do it with some easy rules. It lies not in giving up eating and central heating, happiness and purpose, but surreptitiously receiving large sums of money tax-free from your parents. I found, with careful budgeting, batch cooking, and a mother in the legal industry with disposable cash and a healthy neo-conservative attitude, I was able to easily afford a deposit on my first house. It took me less than six years. No years, in fact. It took me a day. Because all the family had to do was transfer me money.

Our generation is too focused on going out, having a good time, being happy, and existing, that sometimes we forget how easy it is to save up for a house. It’s just a myth that our generation can’t do it. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to budget, and this is especially true when it comes to saving for a house. Taking into account the deposit that your parents or grandparents gifted you, or perhaps even the house your parents gave you after you graduated (even better!), there should only be £0-1,000 to save. I know it’s easy to buy a £50 takeaway a week, or a weird amount of lottery tickets even though no one in their twenties buys lottery tickets, but hold off on those fictionally-priced chow meins for a bit!

Owning a property has so many benefits, but it can sometimes be difficult to explain to people why I, a 25-year-old waiter, can manage to live in a two-bed in London on my own. These are not easy conversations to have, and you have to accept that aspiring to property ownership takes work. It’s not all fun and games when you’re receiving literally free money from your parents.

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For example, people are sometimes shocked I’ve managed to get so far in the creative industry. “But you’re profoundly mediocre?” some say. “How can you afford rent  while working in a coffee shop on a wage of £9 an hour, and selling paintings when you’re based in Camberwell? I just don’t understand how you afford it? You genuinely work like two shifts a week?” Luckily, a legacy of British awkwardness about money and a culture where a large majority of my twentysomething middle-class friends receive some funding from their parents means a stony silence suffices as an answer. “It’s so awkward to talk about money,” I exclaim.

You see, in the end, saving up for that deposit for a house wasn’t that tough. Although I will probably avoid mentioning my property in social circles, complain about my fictional “landlord”, and make jokes on Twitter implying I too am part of the crushing community of struggling twenty-somethings, it was still worth it. Taking money from wealthy parents can sometimes be a difficult decision, but in the end, I’m glad I stuck with it.