EVELYN Igbinehi almost gave up on homeownership after being told that getting a mortgage would be virtually impossible.

The mum-of-four, 44, had fallen behind on her phone bill and wracked up debt on a credit card after going on maternity leave.

Evelyn Igbinehi bought her maisonette in London in April

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Evelyn Igbinehi bought her maisonette in London in April
She managed to get a mortgage with a specialist lender after struggling with debt

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She managed to get a mortgage with a specialist lender after struggling with debt

This caused Evelyn’s credit score to plummet and resulted in her getting a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

When a company or individual is owed money and is unable to get the debt repaid, they can ask the courts to take legal action.

A CCJ negatively impacts your credit score, which typically reduces your chances of borrowing money.

If you pay a CCJ off in full within a month it will be removed from your record completely.

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But if you repay it after the first month, the CCJ will stay on your record but it will be shown that you have settled it.

It’s possible to agree to pay off part of the debt, or to pay in instalments.

However, unless you repay all of it, the CCJ stays on your record for six years.

Evelyn, a nurse, managed to pay off her debt, which was just under £2,000, by taking on NHS bank shifts alongside her regular job in a private hospital.

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However, it did mean that lenders were wary of lending her money to buy her home.

Specialist lender Together eventually helped her to get a deal.

Evelyn borrowed £138,800 with a fixed rate of 7.54% for five years.

Pricing is usually higher than on a standard mortgage to reflect the added risk a lender is taking by giving a long to a borrower with a poor financial record.

Evelyn bought her two-bedroom maisonette in Edmonton, London, in April 2023.

She shares her home with her four children, aged between two and 14.

We sat down with Evelyn to chat through how she overcame these challenges to become a homeowner for The Sun’s My First Home series.

Tell me about your home

It’s a two-bedroom maisonette in Edmonton, London.

Downstairs, I have an open-plan kitchen and dining room.

There is also quite a lot of storage space which is helpful.

Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a separate bathroom.

How did you decide on location?

I have lived in my flat since January 2014.

I always knew that I wanted to get on the housing ladder, but I had struggled to save towards my mortgage due to my financial circumstances.

So being able to buy the property I had been living in for nine years proved to be ideal.

How much did you pay for it?

The maisonette was valued at £255,000 but I got a 56% discount and bought it for £138,800.

You get a 35% discount off your house if you’ve lived there for three to five years.

After five years, you get a 1% discount for every extra year you’ve been a tenant.

I’ve been living in council housing previously, meaning I got 56% off the value of the house – a reduction of £116,200.

I took out a mortgage of £138,000 for the house, and I didn’t have to pay a deposit – that’s because many lenders don’t require one for a Right to Buy purchase.

The mortgage term is 25 years at a five-year fixed rate of 7.54%.

The monthly mortgage repayments work out at £1,033 a month.

How did you save for it?

Because I didn’t have to save up for a deposit, I didn’t need to put too much aside to cover the costs of buying the house.

To cover the solicitor’s fees, I took on extra shifts working with the NHS to help me earn extra cash.

This worked out at a few hundred pounds extra and I was able to comfortably cover these costs.

Because I had already lived in the house for nine years, I also didn’t need to worry about furnishing the house.

Were there any complications?

Unfortunately, I had CCJ on my record after falling behind with my phone bill and racking up debt on a credit card.

I owed just under £2,000 in total.

This happened in 2020 when I went on maternity leave.

I was receiving £172.48 in statutory maternity pay, which left me short to cover my monthly bills.

This wiped my credit rating and I had been told by high street lenders that this would severely impact my ability to get a mortgage.

When I went back to work in November 2020, I got a new, permanent nursing job in the NHS and also took on extra bank shifts in order to pay off the debt.

I did this for around a year and managed to clear the debt completely in one payment by direct debit to each company.

My mortgage advisor helped me to find a lender who would offer me a mortgage despite the CCJ.

It helped that I didn’t have any other outstanding debt.

What advice would you give to other first-time buyers?

If I had known earlier that there were lenders like Together, I would have looked into buying my own home much sooner.

So it pays to do your research and find the best lender for you.

Buying your first home is hard work, but I’m really enjoying it.

I have plans to renovate my home and I can see myself moving again in the long term once my children have moved out.

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Here’s how one couple cut £11,000 off their deposit for their £217,000 first home.

An easy mortgage trick helped this family shave thousands off their £385,000 first home.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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