Mortgage and me: Couple recall difficult decision after Covid impacted mortgage options | Personal Finance | Finance


Saving up for a mortgage deposit is no mean feat, but for many, the ability to become a homeowner means it can be rewarding. Regularly setting aside money for the future is something recent buyer Rebecca Canneaux, 26, began doing in her teens.

“I’ve been saving since I turned 18 really, and wanted to get a mortgage,” she says during an exclusive interview with

She didn’t opt to use savings schemes, explaining: “The majority of my saving is putting lump sums away at the beginning of month as soon as I get paid and then just letting Plum do its thing the rest of the time.

“So the majority of my deposit did come from accounts outside of Plum, but Plum kind of allowed me to get that extra money to secure the deposit.”

Expanding on how the account works, she continues: “So you’re putting the lump sum away at the beginning of the month,” adding that it gave her a general idea of what she can “play with in terms of general spend”.

Rebecca adds: “Plum would just regularly take sometimes more amounts just after payday and put those away to the account.”

Last month, Rebecca and her partner Ben Richardson, 29, moved into their new house, although the process of buying it did not come without some challenges.

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The couple, who live in Brighton, knew they would potentially need to save £20,000 to £25,000 as a mortgage deposit.

“We started looking for the mortgage around June time,” she says.

“Obviously we were well into lockdown and the pandemic and everything,” she recalls, “We found the property, we got accepted from the seller.”

The couple then spoke to their mortgage broker, but at the time, there was only one lender offering a 10 percent mortgage to first-time buyers.

“Because they were the only one offering it, the world and his wife were trying to get those mortgages and they’d only release a certain amount of money every day.

“It was literally a case of our broker would have to log in every day about 8am, fill out all the forms and just hope she was one of the people that managed to get through.

“She was doing this every day for about a month.”


As time ticked on, the pair were getting closer to the point when documents needed to be shared with solicitors.

“We had to kind of make the decision, do we look at some other mortgages which were probably less preferable?

“So there was some that needed guarantors and the guarantee would be their property and things like that.

“Or do we try and put down a higher deposit?”

Deciding having a guarantor for their mortgage didn’t suit them, the pair instead opted to try and raise a greater mortgage deposit.

“We didn’t want family members putting their mortgages on risk if we were made redundant or things like that, so the 15 percent deposit was kind of the only option,” she says.

Now facing the need to raise a significant sum of money, they had to consider how they could meet the new deposit target.

“I had a decent amount of savings within Plum which definitely helped but we still needed probably a few thousand more on top of that as well,” Rebecca says.

Aware they couldn’t “pluck the money out from anywhere,” they looked to family for a loan.

“But then luckily I had a tax rebate come in which meant that we didn’t have to borrow that money in the end,” Rebecca recalls.

Thankfully, they were able to put down a £33,000 deposit for their £220,000 home, and moved in in December.

Now they’re all settled in, their focus is on decorating tasks around the home.

Then, further savings goals will be ahead.

“”The first thing I want to do is make sure we get three months’ worth of wages saving behind us,” Rebecca says, explaining she wants to have the emergency fund to “fall back on” in case they ever need it.

Looking ahead to the future, the couple – whose mortgage term is 35 years – is to look at expanding their property portfolio.

“Ideally we do want to either get a second property or buy a property for ourselves and turn this into a buy to let,” she divulges.

They have plans for their mortgage payments too.

Currently on a fixed term mortgage, they are intending to look at remortgage options once the deal ends.

“We’ll probably continue doing that until I don’t know, we do something bigger with the mortgage. Just as a money saving idea,” she says.

“Once we’ve got the savings behind us, we’re going to start overpaying the mortgage. It’s not going to be very much every month, it might be a hundred pounds kind of every month but that’s the idea – just if we do get into difficulty any month, if we built a payment up behind us, we won’t need to pay.”

She adds: “Everyone tries to make their payments as low as possible, and it’s just trying to think of ways that if we were to get into a difficult month or there was an unexpected bill or Ben gets furloughed again or anything like that, we have something to help protect our credit files, and obviously not lose the property.”

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