What I Own: Felicity, who bought her Worcestershire home with Help To Buy

It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for another instalment of our property series What I Own.

Last week we heard from Martha, who put down a 15% deposit on her Croydon house with her boyfriend.

This time we are chatting to Felicity and her wife Amie, who live in Worcestershire. They bought their home back in 2019, with a 5% deposit through Help To Buy.

This is what they had to say about getting on the property ladder…

Tell us about yourself Felicity.

I’m 28 years old and work as a field sales manager – my wife Amie is 27 and owns her own pet care business. We share our home with our wonderful pets – eight-year-old Hudson the Labrador, one-year-old Caramel the Corgi cross and 15-year-old Nemo the cat.

Where is your property? What do you think of the area? 

We live in Worcestershire, about a 15-minute drive from Worcester and a 30-minute train from Birmingham. We love the location as it has good transport links, but is also surrounded by countryside. We would prefer not to live on a new build estate, but for our first home we needed to compromise.

When did you move in? 

December 2019.

How much does your property cost? 

We purchased for £210,000.

How much was your deposit? 

We only paid a 5% deposit of £10,500 as we used the Help to Buy scheme, meaning we received an equity loan from the government of £42,000.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills? 

Our mortgage is £550 pcm, and the household bills are about £400 on top.

How did you save up for your deposit?  

With difficulty – we could never have bought without the Help to Buy scheme, as a bigger deposit would have been totally unachievable.

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging? 

We used the mortgage broker and solicitor that the building company recommended as we thought it would be easier – in hindsight, though, we wouldn’t do this again, as we felt their interests didn’t always sit with us.

We were rejected for our first mortgage as the bank valued the house at £10k less than the purchase price, but it went smoothly with the second bank. 

Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family? 

We were renting for five years before buying.

What made you want to buy rather than renting? 

We were frustrated by paying other people’s mortgages, and found it so hard to find properties that would allow our pets (at the time, a cat and a Labrador). We would also constantly look around the place and say ‘if we owned this place we would…’

How did you find this property? 

Because we were using the Help to Buy scheme we knew we could only look at new build homes. We looked at a few developments in the area, but we preferred this floor plan and we were also given some great incentives by the building company.

How have you made the property feel like home? 

Because we already had most of our furniture from renting, we settled in quite quickly, but we’re constantly changing the decor. Being able to choose our own touches in advance (e.g. kitchen cupboards, bathroom tiles, spotlights) also made a big difference, as the house already had our taste sprinkled throughout.

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style? 

We get most of our inspiration from homes we see online – whether that’s blogs, magazines, brand photo shoots or Instagram. We’re suckers for Next Home and H&M Home.

What’s your favourite room and why? 

The kitchen diner is probably our least and most favourite – we wish it was just one metre wider with more storage, but it also gets so much natural light, and the French doors open right out to connect the home to the garden in the summer.

Do you feel like you have enough space? 

Yes – because it is just the two of us (but would never say no to more wardrobe space).

Even though the home is a two-bed, it would be so tight for space if both rooms were occupied full-time. 

Do you have plans to change the property? 

Constantly – but nothing structural, just forever changing our minds on paint colours and furniture styles.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with? 

Luckily nothing major – a few small snags that occurred in the first 12 months that were fixed by the builders.

What do you want people to know about buying a home? 

Do lots of research, and speak to friends who have purchased a home to understand the legal processes.

There will be so many additional costs on top of the purchase –  e.g. buying curtains and blinds that are usually there when you rent. But don’t strive for perfection straight away. It’s better to wait until you have found the style you want rather than impulse buying to tick boxes.

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?

We will definitely be here for a few more years until we are ready to size up.

Shall we take a look around?

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