Kate Brown and Paul Fordham bought their first property at just 23 years old (Picture: Caters News)
Ready to feel that heady mix of resentment and jealousy?
Meet Kate Brown and Paul Fordham, who have bought and renovated their first home at the age of 23.
Yep, we’re seething too.
The couple, from Thurrock, Essex, bought a 1930s bungalow for £310,000 after finding out the property had been vacant for four years.
After picking up the keys in February, Kate, an apprentice lawyer, and Paul, a gas engineer, quickly got to work on transforming the rundown house into their dream home.
The entire renovation cost around £30,000 and took just seven months, and the couple love the end result, which has a more minimalist, modern theme.
Kate said: ‘I have always wanted to do a renovation and the only way we could afford to buy a property was to buy something that needed a lot of work doing.
‘Paul and I have been together for six years, but we weren’t actually looking for somewhere to live – we just stumbled across this bungalow and the rest is history.
The couple found out about the property from their neighbours, then knocked on the door to find out who owned it (Picture: Caters News)
‘I would stay up late every night just looking on Pinterest and planning exactly how I wanted the bungalow to look; I didn’t want to make any costly mistakes, so I planned it for months.’
The renovation took a lot of hard work.
‘The radiators had corroded, the walls were peeling, there was damp, and all of the house needed updating,’ Kate said.
‘We had heard so many scary stories about it being impossible to get on the property ladder, but I would encourage everyone to just go to the bank and see what you can afford as it’s free and you have nothing to lose.
‘Everything was ripped out – all the carpets were taken out, the walls were plastered and painted, it’s had new plumbing, new central heating and new electrics.
The old bungalow needed a total overhaul, which took £30,000 and seven months (Picture: thebungalow_reno/ CATERS NEWS)
‘We’ve always wanted to buy somewhere in this area as it’s where we have both grown up and my parents are only a few minutes down the road.
‘We’re very happy.’
Kate and Paul stumbled across the derelict bungalow after hearing some neighbours gossiping, and took it upon themselves to find out who the owner was.
‘The bungalow wasn’t listed for sale; we had just heard it was empty and wanted to try and find out who the owner was,’ said Kate.
‘After knocking on the neighbour’s door, we found out that it belonged to a woman who had died, and her son had taken over ownership so we got in touch with him.
‘We gave him a call and met up with him and it all went from there – he decided to sell it to us, and he really wanted us to have it as he thinks his mum would have been happy knowing it had gone to a young couple starting out.
The couple are so happy with the end result, which has a more minimal, modern theme (Picture: thebungalow_reno/ CATERS NEWS)
‘We put down a 5% deposit from our savings pot – which we called the renovation pot – and it all went from there.’
After visiting a few banks, Kate and Paul managed to secure a mortgage.
The couple had some help with finances from their parents and grandparents, but say the majority of the money came from them.
Kate said: ‘I’ve had a lot of messages from people asking how we saved but I just say to them that they should just save what they can – don’t restrict yourself so much that you don’t enjoy life.
‘We opened Help to Buy ISAs when we were 18 but we didn’t get the benefit from them as our bungalow was above the payment threshold so essentially it was just a savings account for us.
‘It’s important to go to different banks as some are more willing to take a chance on you and you won’t know until you go.’
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