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Overcoming Challenges: The Quest for a Home

FACT FILE

Property: Three bedroom semi-detached house

Purchase price: £367,500

Mortgage: £801 per month

Service Charge: £38 per month

Bills: £398 per month approximately (water, gas, electricity and council tax)

We decided to book an appointment and have a look round anyway. We opened the door, and fell totally in love

Raymond Wardle, 31 and Mark Wardle, 51, had been living abroad for years, travelling around the Middle Eastwith Mark’s job as a DJ. In March 2020, the couple came back from Bahrain for a short holiday in England, but ended up stuck in the country as the COVID lockdown hit the UK. Unable to travel and trappedliving in a friend’s spare room, Raymond and Mark decided they needed to find a permanent place of their own

Mark said, “My best friend lives in Newhaven, East Sussex, and we had asked to stay with him for three nights while we were visiting the UK. Lockdown hit and all our plans were put on hold – we ended up living in his tiny spare bedroom for two years and three months. It was a single room, and there was barely enough space for a bed. We slept on an airbed for a few months, and then eventually bought a double bed and a desk. There wasn’t even enough space in there for the two of us to stand up at one time. It started to really impact our relationship.”

Desperate for their own space, Raymond and Mark began looking to buy a property. Mark continues, “We started looking for somewhere to live quite quickly, but Raymond couldn’t get a job straight away because he didn’t have a visa. Once lockdown eased, I began working in a restaurant, but most of my earnings was going on Raymond’s visa. We were looking for homes on the open market, but they were all well outside of our price range. There was only ever about one house a month that came on the market within our budget, but we couldn’t even get a look in. It would always disappear straight away.”

Running out of options, Raymond explains how one of their friends pointed out new homes from Guinness Homes. He says: “In the second year of living in the spare bedroom, one of our friends told us about a new development from Guinness Homes, just 10 minutes down the road. Immediately we thought there was no way we’d be able to afford it – I assumed it would be totally out of our price range and we’d be wasting our time. Nonetheless, we decided to book an appointment and have a look round anyway. We opened the door, and fell totally in love.”

Mark a Customer Care Assistant and Raymond a Finance Administrator, purchased a three bedroom house at August Fields by Guinness Homes for £367,500. “The house was beautiful. The open plan kitchen/dining room, the en suite, the garden, the spacious hallway, how light the whole place was – we loved everything. I’d heard some negative things about developers and service charges, so I went online and tried to find bad things about Guinness – and I just couldn’t! My research just brought up positive reviews, so we felt very reassured.

 “There’s another development nearby from a different developer, and you don’t get any of the add-ons included with the house – things like a fridge, washing machine and dishwasher all must be bought as extras… even the carpet! At August Fields everything is included – we were given the keys on move-in day and walked into a fully fitted home.”

Now settled in their new home, Mark and Raymond are enjoying decorating the home and are already beginning to look to the future. “It hasn’t really hit me that it’s ours yet. This is actually our home, and we own it. We’re so happy to be here. The house gets more beautiful every day because we can’t stop buying new furnishings and accessories! Raymond has a real eye for design, so the whole place has been decorated brilliantly. The neighbourhood is also lovely – all of our new neighbours are so friendly, so we’re really happy here.

“Having gone from a tiny single bedroom to this huge three bedroom house, we have more space than we know what to do with! As we have extra rooms, we plan to get a tenant in the future and that will also help us with repayments. All in all, we’ve been very lucky. We’re so excited to be here.”

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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