9 min read

Think buying a home is an impossible dream? Meet the users who made it come true

Hannah Salih
6 July 2018

To help you overcome the biggest obstacles when buying a home, we asked our users for their help. Here’s how they got on the property ladder, and what you can learn from them.

Buying a home isn’t just about the facts and figures - it’s an emotional process too. So, for the last part of our buy a home series, we wanted to get personal.

Buying your own home isn’t always plain sailing. For most of us, it can be a lengthy process with many obstacles along the way, especially if you’ve ever encountered financial difficulty. But these 5 ClearScore users prove that whether you’re starting from scratch, have had past debts or bad credit, you can still reach your goals. Here’s what they did and what they wished they’d been told when they were buying their homes…

Re-training meant I could secure a good job to help us save - Mark*, 31, North West

I entered into an IVA in 2011 and thought that was it for our dreams of buying a house. We hated our home and wanted more for the kids. Being in this situation the only thing I could do was to become an adult learner and re-train so that we could be in a better position. All while working to support my family.

After lots of hard work, commitment and time spent using the ClearScore app I was able to become a qualified engineer and was able to secure a good job in a booming industry with a great pension scheme. ClearScore also helped me manage my money, control my credit file and gave me milestones to aim for.

Then in February, I secured a mortgage with a high street bank with a low interest rate fixed for 5 years. By April we’d moved into a brand new property and we are extremely happy with our new life. We can honestly say using the ClearScore app has been one of the most influential things in turning my financial position from bad to good. Thank you everyone at ClearScore. Changed our life.

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Working on my credit score helped me secure a mortgage - Dani, 27, East Midlands

I'd been renting on my own for 5 years and living in small flats or in bad areas to save enough money for a deposit. I started using ClearScore about 2 years ago when I started seriously thinking about buying a house.

My credit rating was average but I knew improving it would make it easier to get a mortgage and improve the interest rates I would be offered. With ClearScore I could see what I needed to do to get my credit score in the best place before applying. I also reduced my credit cards and worked hard to increase my savings and was able to buy in November last year.

Having my own house has meant I could decorate and do what I wanted to it. My house is also bigger and in a better area than my renting flats and the mortgage is only £50 more than my rent was. I’m really happy.

What do you wish you’d known before? That the whole process of buying is really difficult I wish that there was more help around fixed terms, total term, and interest rates - I just used my best judgment but would say you should do your research on these things first.

Carefully managing my money after being in debt and having a clear goal to work towards has meant I’m now a proud homeowner - Wendy, 51, South East

Many years ago, I was a single mum of five up to my ears in debts and students loans with no understanding of borrowing, debt or how to manage my money. I was basically surviving and borrowing off Peter to pay Paul.

As my children turned into adults, I started to clear my debt and think of my future and maybe buying a home. But I had no idea where to start.

I registered with ClearScore and began to understand how money and credit worked, as well as how to be more financially stable. ClearScore showed me how to manage my money, gave me a goal and a plan to follow and allowed me to better understand how credit works. I signed up for credit cards and paid them off in full each month, I got rid of old accounts I no longer used and built up my credit score.

I applied for a mortgage and waited on tenterhooks to find out the outcome.... and I WAS ACCEPTED. I am now a homeowner with a secure future ahead of me.

What do you wish you’d known before? Just to never say never, a few months of careful management can get you a mortgage.

Looking after your credit score, even if you don’t need it now, is the one thing I would tell everyone to do - Andrew, 44, North West

I attempted to get a mortgage but was rejected because I had a poor score, which I was actually really surprised to find out.

When I joined ClearScore, I was a bit sceptical, but since I had to do something to improve my situation, it seemed to be a no-brainer. Once I looked into my credit file I found that an old mobile phone contract that I'd had was in default. I was rather surprised because at the end of the contract I'd cancelled it. Anyways, I went through the process via ClearScore, to dispute the default and the mobile phone company agreed with me, after having looked into it and their own records supported my claim. This took around three weeks to complete and my credit score went from poor to excellent overnight!

It was surreal and really empowering, to have been able to challenge the data that they hold and be found to be right. I honestly didn't expect them to fix it and was getting ready for a battle.

Since then, I've been able to get the best high street mortgage available for someone in my situation which has saved me thousands of pounds compared to the deal I would have had to settle with, had I been forced to go with a more high-risk lender. In addition to that, I've also managed to get a credit card with zero interest for nearly three years on purchases at a time when I needed it.

What do you wish you’d known before? Regardless of your status, look after your credit file, even if you don't need it now. You may in the future and it's quite frustrating (and annoying) to find out that you’re deemed "unworthy" of a credit line, when you know yourself, that you don't use it or abuse it.

Chipping away at our debts meant we could buy our first family home - Lisa, 34, Scotland

We thought we would never be able to get our credit ratings back on track after years of struggling to make ends meet but with ClearScore we were encouraged seeing that our scores were improving every few months.

We loved that every few months our score came up and that encouraged us to slowly keep chipping away at any debt that we had without missing payments or paying late. We also liked that we could see offers so it meant we could get the best interest rate on our loans and credit cards to help us pay them off sooner.

All this work meant that we have finally bought our first family home 3 months ago. We are so excited. It finally feels like we have something that is truly ours and that our son can make his room his own!

by Hannah Salih

Hannah reads all the finance info on the web so you don't have to. She also spends a disproportionate amount of time responding to Moose and Flearoy's fan mail.

ClearScore exists to make your finances simple.
We offer a free service where you can handle everything to do with credit in one place. In your ClearScore account, you can see your credit score and the full details of your credit report. Your credit cards, mortgages, mobile phone contracts, loans, overdrafts and utilities all on the record. Our goal is to make ClearScore as simple, calm and straightforward as possible. Money is stressful enough.