Sunday, July 21, 2024

Open market: Camberley, Surrey

Despite the many pitfalls of the past two years, many first time buyers have benefited from staying at home, with aspiring homebuyers managing to save an average of nearly £1,086 since March 2020¹. For savvy saver and property sales manager Sofia Dihoiu, 31, the UK lockdowns helped her exceed her saving expectations, in turn leading her to purchase a brand new one bedroom apartment at Berkeley Homes’ Lumina development, in the heart of Camberley, Surrey

Having previously rented a four bedroom house in Chiswick, west London, with three of her friends; not going out and doing the things she loved for a year meant Sofia was able to save around £1,500 every month, significantly boosting her savings to buy her very own home. She comments, “I had been saving for about three years before Covid hit. Going into lockdown actually benefited me, as there was no more going out and I didn’t see the point in spending money if I wasn’t going anywhere. The usual things I do went out of the window, like getting my nails and hair done, buying clothes and shopping online, and I was just buying groceries and the basics week by week. This meant that I was able to save a massive £1,500 every month, compared to the £500 I was saving monthly prior to lockdown.”

She continues, “This valuable boost to my savings really did help me buy the home of my dreams, not just helping towards the deposit but for everything I needed to furnish it too. At Lumina, every apartment comes with a unique storage space – this is an extra room that is separate to your apartment but still within the building. Mine is located just across the corridor from my apartment, and it is a huge locked space that only I have access to. At the moment, I’m using it as extra storage for my things, but I’m planning on turning it into my very own walk-in wardrobe with shelving and a shoe cupboard – I can’t wait!”

After finding she had enough money to buy her own home, Sofia started her property search in Hertfordshire before finding Lumina. She said, “I was initially looking in areas around west London and Hertfordshire such as Hemel Hempstead but I found those areas quite expensive, and the quality of homes wasn’t that great. I was then browsing homes in Chertsey and the surrounding areas, and came across Lumina. I thought that as Berkeley build such high-quality homes, any property by them would be out of my price range, but a friend encouraged me to have a look anyway. I went for a viewing and after speaking to the sales team found that I could afford one of the apartments. I was over the moon!”

She continues, “One of the biggest factors for me when choosing a home was parking, and having the convenience of travelling into London. My apartment came with a dedicated parking space included, so that was a big draw for me. As I work in London and drive in every day, it was really important for me to find somewhere well-connected, with good road and rail links into London. 

“Camberley is easily accessible from the motorway, and the train station is actually right across the road from Lumina! Although I don’t use the train as much myself, it is really handy when my friends and family want to come and visit.” 

Like every resident at Lumina, Sofia has access to a number of exclusive residents’ facilities within the development. She adds, “I really enjoy working out, so the fact that I have a gym literally on my doorstep that I can use as and when I want to, is amazing. The communal gardens are also a lovely place to do a walking lap, do some circuit training outside in the summer months, or just sit and take a moment to yourself. I also love that we have a cinema room that we can use; it’s such a great place to take family or friends when they come over, and just spend some quality time together watching a movie.”

Sofia concludes, “I was initially trying to decide between two apartments and was nervous about making the right decision; but the sales team helped guide me to choose the property that would suit me best. I really love the specification and attention to detail that Berkeley takes when building homes; it’s just been such a smooth, fantastic experience and I’m so grateful.”

Prices at Lumina currently start at £225,000. For more information on the development, please visit or call 01276 819 526


First Time Buyer is an exciting bi-monthly glossy which takes a stylish and comprehensive look at all the options available, setting them out in an entertaining and informative way, and helping potential customers navigate their way through what is often a daunting and complex process. We dispel the myths, reinforce the facts and arm the reader with the tools necessary to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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