A financially savvy woman who bought her first home at the age of just 20 has revealed how she managed to do it.
Jennie Crockart, from Yate, Gloucestershire, credits leaving school at 17 to pursue an apprenticeship and finding a £120,000 property that she had to renovate with being able to get a foot on the housing ladder.
The now 21-year-old said she had to make sacrifices such as not going out – as well as buy in ‘not the most expensive part of town’ – to get her first home, but claims it has been worth it to ‘not be reliant on anyone else’.
Jennie Crockart, now 21, from Yate, Gloucestershire, began saving money from the age of 16, by which point she was working five part-time jobs alongside studying for AS Levels
Before and after: The property that Jennie bought needed to be completely renovated, but she said she wasn’t put off by the work. Top, her living room after she had revamped it. Bottom, what it looked like before
How to buy a house by the age of 21
Began saving money when aged just 16
Saved £50 ‘here and there’ while working five part-time jobs and studying for her AS Levels
Left school aged 17 and got a job as a sales apprentice
Earned enough to save £500 a month for three years – £18,000
Paid a 10 per cent – £12,000 – deposit for her new property when she was 20
Home is now worth £150,000 – £30,000 more
Jennie began saving money when she was 16, by which point she was working five part-time jobs – as a cleaner, a waitress, a cafe manager, a gym assistant and in business development – and studying for her AS Levels.
By 17, Jennie decided to leave school to pursue a career in sales – and was quickly able to save up to £500 a month from her apprenticeship.
And just after her 20th birthday, she picked up the keys to her very own £120,000 two-bedroom apartment after putting down a 10 per cent deposit of £12,000.
Jennie, a Level 3 Advanced Sales apprentice at commercial furnishings company Furnished Homes in Yate, said: ‘Owning my own home has always been important to me.
‘In my opinion, when you’re renting, you are just paying someone else’s mortgage.
‘At 20, I’m in the fortunate position of having no debt, and I’ve become a homeowner at a time when many young people are struggling to get on the property ladder.’
Jennie added that financial independence was hard-wired into her from a young age.
‘Growing up, my parents didn’t have lots of spare money but they always told me that when I had my own job I could afford to buy whatever I liked,’ she said.
Jennie said she found a two-bedroom fixer-upper which ‘didn’t faze’ her, despite needing complete renovation throughout. She said she didn’t
By 16, ambitious Jennie was working five part-time jobs all whilst working towards her AS Levels.
She revealed to the City Of Bristol College: ‘I started off selling chocolate and cans in my lunch break in school.
‘I was taking home about £40 profit a week! It was brilliant as it meant I could go out and buy sweets and go bowling – whatever I wanted to do. Later on I sold hair extensions and false eyelashes.’
She said: ‘As soon as I started earning I started putting £50 aside here and there – or more if I could manage it.
‘I didn’t have a career plan or want to go to university, as my main goal was to become a salesperson or work in the business sector.
It was ‘eyes on the prize’. Admittedly at that point I didn’t go out that much – but I certainly don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything
‘I knew that I enjoyed sales and the confidence you feel when you’re doing well, and I knew that I didn’t need a degree to prove I could sell.’
At 17, Jennie made the tough decision to leave school before her A-Levels, and enrolled on a sales apprenticeship scheme with Furnished Homes.
And success came quickly, with the young apprentice generating £500,000 in new business during her first three years.
She said: ‘At 17, it was a great way to start out. It’s a brilliant way to start a career in sales.
‘At that point I started saving a lot more, around £500 per month. I also saw my bonuses as just that – a bonus – so I put the money away.
‘My savings quickly started to mount up.’
At 18, Jennie sat down with a mortgage consultant for the first time to get an idea of what she could borrow and the sort of deposit she would need to buy her first home.
At 18, Jennie – pictured at her home in Gloucestershire – sat down with a mortgage consultant for the first time to get an idea of what she could borrow and the sort of deposit she would need to buy her first home
And by 19, she found a home she wanted to buy and put all her efforts into raising the remainder of her ten per cent deposit.
She said: ‘It was “eyes on the prize”. Admittedly at that point I didn’t go out that much – but I certainly don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything.’
Jennie said her two-bedroom apartment needed complete renovation throughout.
But this didn’t faze her – instead, she saw it as a ‘good opportunity’, and put all her free time off work into painting and decorating.
And now, proud Jennie believes her flat is worth in excess of £150,000 – some £30,000 more than she paid for it.
She said: ‘I see where I’m living as a start. It needed work; it’s not in the most expensive part of town, but I made those sacrifices because I’d rather own than rent.
‘I’d like to think I’ll move on in a couple of years.’
Jennie said: ‘I see where I’m living as a start. It needed work; it’s not in the most expensive part of town, but I made those sacrifices because I’d rather own than rent’. Pictured her bathroom in the middle of the renovations
And despite her tender age and her frugal saving, Jennie has managed to fit in a decent amount of travelling, with visits to India, New York, Norway, Paris and Austria in the past few years.
She is currently saving to fund a trip around America’s west coast later this year.
And she encourages any youngsters considering an apprenticeship to ‘go for it’.
‘Starting my career at such a young age has taught me a lot about life, and I’m exactly where I want to be at the moment,’ she said.
‘I never wanted to be reliant on anyone else, and knowing I’ve achieved all this on my own is a brilliant feeling.
‘With an apprenticeship they’ll take you on, teach you how to sell, show you the ropes.
All finished: Jennie says her property (pictured, her new kitchen) is now worth £150,000 – £30,000 more than what she paid for it
‘It’s acknowledged you are learning and so you can progress from the bottom up without the pressure to perform amazingly from the word go.
‘I enjoy something new every single day. It’s very challenging as you’re constantly on your feet, quoting, driving around, making new sales and finding new business.’
She adds she is now considering progressing onto higher education, and pursuing a degree in interior design.
And her Operations and Development Manager, Liz Parsons, says Jennie is ‘the definition of a ‘self-starter”.
‘Jennie is a perfect example of how giving young people a chance to shine can really pay off,’ said Liz.
‘Her work ethic and energy supersedes our expectations and we feel privileged to have staff of her calibre working for our company.’