Guernsey

 House Hunting in Guernsey: Savings Strategies

*previously penned in March 2016*
The past few weekends have been quite busy here in my little corner of Guernsey as I am moving house and have been sorting out clothes, dishes and packing up boxes.  Since arriving in Guernsey in 2013 I have been living in a beautiful, dreamy, lovely, cozy, rustic-yet-comfortable barn.  

 It came furnished so my packing process does not involve much in the way of furniture but it does feel a bit sad to be leaving behind my little piece of paradise. Whilst filling up suitcases with my belongings I am also shifting through memories and reliving how my life has changed over the past three years. It is primarily a happy time, but I will be sad to leave the Barn and the accompanying views over St Martin’s Point as well as the quiet and solitude provided by such a rural existence in the lanes of St Martin. But in life there is always an end to one experience leading towards the beginning of new and exciting ones, and I am moving for a very good reason: to save up to buy a house!

I have decided to blog about this process now and then for a few reasons:

  1. Some visitors to this blog are my family and friends who have expressed an interest my house-hunting journey.
  2. Future buyers of housing in Guernsey may find these entries useful.
  3. It gives me an opportunity to write about Guernsey housing styles — I love architecture!
  4. It will be a big part of my life in Guernsey and this blog is about just that – my life in Guernsey.

Over the next year I will periodically update on this process, but if there is anything that you as a reader are keen to ask, just get in touch. I am quite early in the process; although my partner and I have been out to view a few properties to get a sense for what is out there, we are in “Deposit Saving Mode” so on a frugal budget (hence the move).

My first house hunting blog entry is related to “Deposit Saving Mode.” Unlike the UK where Government has launched innovative schemes to help first time buyers, Guernsey is by no means offering similar programmes (although there are some discussions under way in relation to this). What this means is that as buyers we need to find our own full deposit — and this is hefty as housing prices in Guernsey are relative to or higher than those in London!

The UK has recently introduced a specific ISA for those looking to save for a house, but we do not have ISAs in Guernsey (they are related to UK taxes), so I had to find something else to help make my money work better for me. After meeting with my bank I determined that their measely 0.1% interest rate was useless and after some initial research moved to another bank with slightly better savings products. However, my research did not stop there and I learned about Peer to Peer investment platforms via MoneySupermarket.com. I did a lot of comparison and decided on Ratesetter, initially trialling a £10 investment. I liked it, so now I invest more. Ratesetter is like a savings bond in that you are guaranteed a certain interest rate (which you can see when you invest your money), but you cannot withdraw your investment until it matures (without a fee). I tend to use either the  one month or year long investment option as it fits my timescale and usually gives me an interest rate of somewhere around 3%, or higher. There is also a three and five year income option with higher interest rates which means the borrower pays you back a certain amount each month but your capitol remains locked in until the end of the contract. Check the website for more details.

Ratesetter has been really helpful for me in this savings process and I intend on using it even after the house is purchased. I wanted to share this with you as I really like it and it is one of the tips that you might find useful in your own savings mission. Plus, if you use my referral link to invest you get a £50 or £100 bonus – and everyone could use a bit of free money! 

(Note: This is not a sponsored post, but we both get a £50 referral bonus if you sign up and invest, which makes life sweet for us both. Also, I really do belive in the product!)
Next time on House Hunting in Guernsey, Why I Want a Guernsey Cottage…

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