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the Ultimate Guide to... GETTING ON THE LADDER, THE PROPERTY MARKET AND HELP TO BUY April/May 2018 £3.95







“Look at your savings and see how much cash you actually have” Jonnie Irwin


TV presenter

9 771758 973014

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E D I T O R I A L – 020 7258 0036

Editor-in-Chief SARAH GARRETT Editor LYNDA CLARK Editorial Assistant CHLOE CAIN

Creative Director RYAN BEAL

Sub Editor KAY HILL

Social Media DAWN HARKER


Director of Advertising/Exhibition Sales LYNDA CLARK Special Events EILIDH MACLEOD – First Time Buyer Home Show – First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards

Welcome It seems to have been a very long winter but at last there are signs that spring has finally arrived. I am sure that many of you are keen to start searching for your first home and this is certainly the right time of year to begin looking. This is a real bumper issue and packed full of information and advice. If you are keen to use one of the Government schemes then turn to page 30 for our guide to shared ownership and how it works. Or, if you think Help to Buy is what you might be considering, then pages 34-36 highlights the best hotspots. Did you know that London has some of the worst air pollution records in Europe? On pages 22-24 we consider some eco credentials to see how clean and green our capital really is. Our recent FTB Home Show at Stratford Town Hall was a huge success and on pages 58-59 you can see a round-up from the very busy day. For any ftb living in the North West we have another Home Show on September 15th at the Lancashire County Cricket Club so do go to for more details and to register. Our FTB Readers’ Awards 2018 are now in full swing and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to vote. There is still time left to cast your vote, so please do go to Our Awards are a real celebration of the very best in the property market and your votes mean so much. We know that navigating the property maze can be very confusing especially when you are doing it for the first time. That is why we have produced the little A-Z to Buying Your First Home which is a small gift from us to help you along the way to buying your dream home. I would also like to thank SO Resi for its sponsorship and support. P.S For

anyone who is in the throws of searching for their first home I can tho roughly recommend Five Ge t On The Property Ladde r (Enid Blyton for Grown Ups) by Bruno Vincent. The original characters from the Five stories struggle to get their feet on the ladder. It’s very true to life, funny an da real gem!

Until next time, happy house hunting

Accounts DAVID SELF Managing Director SARAH GARRETT Public Relations RACHEL COLGAN


@firsttimebuyer SUBSCRIPTIONS 020 3874 1649


SWITCHBOARD 020 7258 1777 FAX: 020 7258 1787 THE ULTIMATE GUIDE COMPANY LTD, 37 IVOR PLACE, LONDON NW1 6EA All advertising copy for June/July 2018 must be received before 11 May 2018. Send all copy to: lynda@ The content of this publication, either in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, stored in a data retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without prior permission from the publishers. Opinions expressed in First Time Buyer magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. © The Ultimate Guide Company Ltd 2008-2018. The Ultimate Guide Company Ltd t/a First Time Buyer magazine will take no responsibility for any loss/ claim resulting from a transaction with one of our advertisers/media partners.

Most people see a commute time of an hour or less as being quite reasonable Jim Munson, Developer’s Doctor, Page 16

We are really excited by the prospect of our very first family home.

Natalia Guimarães, House Hunter, Page 14

It may be a question of going without a few luxuries for a while. Sian Lloyd, At home with, Page 12

When you are ready and you’ve saved a bit more you’ll also be able to buy more shares. Felicity Gentle, Agony Agent, Page 120

We really guide our customers through each step of the process. Liz Benson, Spotlight on... Page 138

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Cover Photo © Mike Prior


What’s in… 69

For sale


For Events Manager Ellie Wyburd, 25, it seemed out of reach for her to buy her own home and live in Zone 2, but buying with Hyde New Homes using shared ownership made her dreams possible.

14 House Hunter


10 Living To herald the start of the new season, now’s the time to brighten up your home with some lovely new springinspired accessories.

12 At home with... Sian Lloyd Sian Lloyd was the longest-serving female weather forecaster, appearing on ITV for 24 years. She talks to Lynda Clark about her fascinating career, her first home and gives some excellent advice to ftbs.


We help Natalia Guimarães and Joshua Parker in their search for a two or more bedroom home in Kent.

18 The View: Jonnie Irwin Jonnie Irwin has a passion for all things to do with property, and hosts Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun. He has recently taken on a new role producing and directing corporate films and is a Director with Judicare which specialises in conveyancing for foreign investments. He talks to Lynda Clark about his homes, plans for the future and offers some practical advice to first timers.

London has some of the poorest air pollution records in Europe and its

A simple guide to shared ownership.

Help to Buy has proved to be a very popular and successful Government scheme. We take a look at the most desirable Help to Buy hotspots around the country.

Jim Munson, Head of Sales and Marketing at Genesis Homes, answers your property question.


30 My Share! 34 Help to Buy Hotspot

16 Developer’s doctor

22 Green Shoots!



44 East Enders green credentials and recycling rates recently dropped for the first time since 2015. We take a look at how green our boroughs really are.

The last in our series following the story of a young family who with help from SiteSales take their first steps on the property ladder.

26 Stamp Duty – Cuts are Working as FTBS Celebrate

52 Should you use a mortgage advisor?

Since the Government’s cut in Stamp Duty last November we take a look at what impact this is having on the first time buyer market.

Which? mortgages expert Stephen Maunder explains how mortgage advisors work and what to look out for when choosing one.

28 First Dibs Following the recent announcement by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, we find out exactly what first dibs is all about.

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Jonnie Irwin



128 Purchasing a property with an unmarried partner or family/friend This will guide you through the process from Bill Dhariwal, Managing Director, and Sarah Lightfoot, a family lawyer at Lawcomm Solicitors.

READERS’ AWARDS 2018 First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2018 A chance to view the shortlist of all the different categories, plus details of how to cast your allimportant votes.

48 Hotspot We look at Loughborough as a place to live.



Competition Win a 4-piece Judge Radiant pan set worth £135

112 First home, first meal Executive chef at Brasserie Bar Co, Clive Fretwell, creates a tasty recipe for crispy beef with soy and citrus glaze. We test out the best Easter eggs from the UK’s leading supermarkets.

114 Mortgage Clinic David Blake of Which? Mortgage Advisors answer your mortgagerelated questions.

116 Finance

130 Directory Where and how to contact your Help to Buy Agents or providers.

138 Spotlight on. . . . We talk to some of the key players in the property world to get their views and ideas of how to get on the ladder and this issue we speak to Liz Benson, Head of Sales & Partnerships, VIVID.

Kay Hill investigates what Open Banking is all about and whether the changes it brings could help those saving for their first home.

118 Market Ginetta Vedrickas discovers that many young people today know very little about homeownership and highlights some fascinating research.

123 Buyer’s Guide Check out FTB’s Buyer’s Guide, which walks you through the property process.

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Mailbox NEW-BUILD MYTHS My partner and I are wanting to purchase a new-build property, but we are concerned with the amount of scaremongering we have read in the press. Stories such as being completely tied down to developer’s solicitors, corners being cut and properties not being ready on time have made us think twice about going down this route. Could you possibly shed some light on these issues? Alison Briggs FTB: To begin with, do not let those around you scare you with rumours. Plenty of people successfully buy new-build homes and only have positive things to say about their experiences during the process. If a new-build is something you have set your sights on, then you must have particular reasons for this and you should stick to your guns. Buying any property has certain risks. How you deal with these will determine how stressful your move could be. Having to use a developer’s solicitors is a myth and one that many potential new-build buyers believe. You are free to choose whichever solicitor or law firm you choose, but be warned that buying a new-build property can be a little complicated, so choose wisely and do your research before you commit to anyone. The contract your solicitor sets up should mean that you are protected from the possible problems that you mentioned. A good thing to check is that there is a long stop date on the contract as this will cover things such as late completion and include clauses within it such as snagging once the property is complete. Hopefully this will allay your fears about newbuild properties, and the myths surrounding such purchases will soon become a thing of the past. Good luck with your search. This issue’s star letter wins a pair of Judge oven mitts worth £6.72 each; made from soft, quilted cotton coated in fantastically malleable but robust silicone. The new Judge oven mitt is heat resistant up to 240°C and allows for a firm, non-slip grip on pots and pans, protecting you against liquid, steam and dry burns. 0117 940 0000

WRITE TO US! Please send us your questions, comments and suggestions concerning property, or the articles in First Time Buyer magazine. First Time Buyer Letters, 37 Ivor Place, London, NW1 6EA

RELIABLE EXPERTS I have just purchased my first property, but it does need some work decorating wise... I don’t know of any tradespeople who have been reliable. Can you recommend who to contact? Luke Hall FTB: You should look to hire a professional who is a member of the Painting and Decorating Association ( Members have been trading for at least a year, have had at least three references checked and have been financially vetted. You can get a full quote from them with material costs, labour time and whether VAT is included in the total price. It is also worth looking at the site Tradespeople on there are vetted, monitored and recommended.

WHAT LENDERS NEED TO KNOW I am nearly at the point of being able to start house hunting for my first home. I have been told that it would be advisable to see if I can get a mortgage before I start. Having never done this before, could you tell me the sort of thing that lenders will need to know? Pam Atkinson FTB: It is a great idea to find out if you can get a mortgage before you start your search for your new home. As well as looking at your income, lenders will also want to check your credit history – so they can see how you’ve managed any borrowing in the past. That means you’ll have to let them know about any credit cards or loans you’ve had and whether you missed any repayments. You will also have to show them six months worth of bank statements, or three years of accounts if you are self-employed. It may also be a good idea to check your credit rating before you start. If you want help understanding how credit referencing works or you would like to get your rating, go to

WHAT TYPE OF INSURANCE I am buying my first home and I know I need to get insurance before I move in; however I don’t know very much about it and what needs to be covered. Could you please tell me which type of insurance I should get? Sophie Turner FTB: You are correct in saying you need insurance before you move in, as it is essential to protect your home and all your belongings. There are two types of insurance you should look at. Firstly, buildings insurance, which protects the building from damage such as fire, water and severe weather, and secondly, contents insurance. Contents insurance protects your possessions inside the home if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. It is important that you look at all your items and make sure you aren’t under-insured. Insurance can give you peace of mind and provides reassurance if something does go wrong.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE For everything you need to know about buying for the first time, go to

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s e v o l FTB

What’s hot in the shops? Always on the lookout for exciting and innovative new ideas and accessories that will help create the perfect space, here are our favourites this issue

Let’s avo-cuddle!

A he lpful hand in the kitchen! We all remember “avocado hand” making the news last year, so avoid it in 2018 with this clever all-in-one tool for prepping your avocado! An inbuilt knife for slicing, a clamp to remove the stone and the slicer to scoop out the best part. A staple tool for your kitchen and to prevent a very painful mishap in the future! Oxo Good Grips 3-in-1avocado tool, £6.99, Lakeland

Hands up who uses half of something, leaves it in the fridge and it ends up going old and brown? We all have been guilty of it, but thanks to these food huggers fear no more! They hug the other half of your fruit or vegetable for when you next want it – and because they’re made of stretchy silicone, they fit over your food and make for easy cleaning. Buying this in the long run will save you money and will create less waste, what more could you want? Avocado pack of two, £6.99; food pack of 4, £9.99, Lakeland

For that spring clean! If you’re looking for sparkling worktops, sinks so shiny you can see your face in them and cabinets that gleam then look no further, help is at hand! For the past two years the industrial cleaning experts at Vamoose have been working to bring you the cleaner clean. Powerful enough to use every day and with the hidden bonus of not having to use good old-fashioned elbow grease, this is a powerful addition to have in your kitchen cupboard. No harsh smelling chemicals either, just a fresh and minty fragrance! Vamoose Kitchen Cleaner, £4.99, Lakeland

Who fancies a cuppa? What a fun addition to your kitchen, how cute is this set of woodland creatures? They’re a perfect way to add some character (or shall I say characters) into the fold. The sweet tea bag rest and knitted rabbit teapot would be a talking point for the most communal place in the house, guaranteed to be very popular with the little ones too. The fox tea canister and the owl compliment each other perfectly, a lovely size to nestle on your shelves and are a great way to inject your kitchen with some fun. Knitted fox tea canister, £8; knitted owl coffee canister, £8; knitted bunny mug, £3.50; knitted bird teabag rest, £2; knitted fox biscuit jar, £12; knitted bird sugar canister, £8; knitted fox mug, £3.50, George at Asda

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Homepage LIVING

Alright spring, do your thing! As the clocks roll forward, we embrace that spring fever and leave behind those dark winter months. So perhaps it's time to introduce some fresh, light and bright accessories to your home?

Home Sweet Home cushion,, £6; George

Tropical leaf mirror, £45, Dunelm

Rose clock, £30; Dunelm

Floral cushion, £14; Sainsbury’s Home

Ceramic vase, £20; Dunelm

Cactus cube, £5; floral pot, £6; speckle vase, £6; wing chair, £169; plants cushion, £6; George

C ON TA C T S » Dunelm » George at Asda » Sainsbury’s Home » Studio » Wilko


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Homepage LIVING

Frame, £12; Wilko

Above: Fulton curtains, from £65; marble lamp, £69; Carmine duvet, from £35; Carmine pillowcase (pair), £20; ceiling light, £149; rug, from £79; mirror, £50; cabinet, £229; ruffle cushion, £8; pearl cushion, £24; candle holder, £25; jewellery box, £25, Dunelm

Flamingo dinner set, £29.99; Studio

Canister set, £16.99; Studio

Floral printed vase, £6; George Marble clock, £6; Wilko

Printed candle, £6; Sainsbury’s Home Flamingo mug, £3.50; George

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At home with:

Sian Lloyd

Sian Lloyd is a television presenter and meteorologist and was the longest serving female weather forecaster, appearing on ITV for 24 years. She bought her first home aged just 24 and talks to Lynda Clark about her interesting career, her love of property and her good advice for first time buyers FTB: How did your career begin? SL: After leaving university I got a job as a researcher, presenter and producer at a new local Cardiff radio station. It was a great experience as I had the opportunity to try my hand at everything. I eventually decided I would have a complete change of scenery and took on the PR for the Development Board of Rural Wales. It was a very different lifestyle but I really enjoyed it. I had been living in the city and I moved to the countryside which I really loved; I still have a house in mid-Wales now. Eventually I returned to the BBC as a researcher for Wales Today and then to Worldwide TV news where my TV packages went out around the world. When I was there I worked with the Met Office on a documentary about extreme weather and I was invited to screen test for the weather presenter’s job. There were actually 200 applicants, and unlike the news where there is an autocue, you have to remember a great deal. As I have a very good memory I didn’t find it too much of a problem and I was offered the job. I presented the weather for 24 years and although it was very hard work it was also really rewarding and watched by millions of viewers too. I twice won an award from the Television and Radio Industries Club for the best weather presenter and also won the Best Weather Presenter in the World Awards in Paris. FTB: Tell us about your first home? SL: When I was 24 I bought a house for £21,000 in a beautiful little square on the outskirts of Penarth. I managed to get a mortgage and in fact I still own it today and rent it out. It’s in a beautiful spot overlooking Cardiff Bay and it has been a brilliant investment, especially as there has been so much regeneration and redevelopment in Cardiff.


FTB: Do you have any other properties? SL: I need a place to live in London for work and I have a small basement apartment in Kensington which is very central and ideal for getting around. I also have my house in mid-Wales which is very beautiful and stands in about 20 acres, but luckily the local farmer looks after the land. The house has six bedrooms and is very

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traditional. I love inviting my friends to stay and we have wonderful times walking, cooking and enjoying the pretty countryside. In fact, my friends are amazing as when they come down they help out with different jobs around the house like painting, unblocking the drains and clearing the gutters – anything that needs doing really and they all lend a hand! FTB: What are your plans for the future? SL: I have done so many different things which have been wonderful and I have covered everything from gardening to food. I even co-presented three specials on Wales for ITV in the run up to the last election. I am currently writing a novel based on a weather girl, which is obviously very close to my heart. I love walking and have done a series about walking in Wales which was shown in America. I have also recently been filming a reality series on a farm but I rather stupidly tripped over and broke my wrist which has been very frustrating. I was wearing wellington boots which didn’t have any grip and unfortunately fell over rather awkwardly. I am also filming another series this spring which is very exciting – so watch this space! FTB: What advice do you have for first time buyers? SL: I love property and there is no better feeling than owning your own home so I would advise anybody trying to get on the ladder to do everything you can in order to buy a home of your own, even if it means giving up a lot to achieve it. Once you have bought you will never look back. You can even consider buying with friends as long as you get the correct legal advice first. It may be a question of going without a few luxuries for a while but once you save up for a deposit you are well on the way to homeownership and it will be worth the struggle.


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What we found… THE WATERSIDE WONDER Holborough Lakes, Snodland

FROM £375,000

THE WELL CONNECTED Brambledown, Maidstone

FROM £330,000

This month FTB goes on the hunt with Natalia Guimarães and Joshua Parker, who are after a two or more bedroom home in Kent


Names Natalia Guimarães, 34, Joshua Parker, 35 Occupations Web analyst, recruitment officer Maximum budget £385,000 Requirements A family home with at least two bedrooms and a garden, close to rail links to London and within a 30-minute drive to Maidstone.

What they wanted… Josh and I have been renting a small apartment in south London for the past five years and are looking for a place to settle down and start a family. We have really enjoyed our life in London, but have fallen in love with the idea of moving somewhere close to the countryside and with plenty of fresh air. I work in central London, but work two days a week from home, so I’m happy to do a slightly longer commute on the days I’m in the office – a maximum of 90 minutes. Josh works in Bromley and he’d like a commute of under 40 minutes. We are hoping to start a family in the near future, so we’d like at least two bedrooms as well as a garden. Josh’s family live in Maidstone, and ideally we’d like to be fairly close to them. We’ve been saving for a while towards our first home, and I also received some money from my father, so we have a deposit of almost £40,000.

Set around a series of freshwater lakes in Snodland, these new waterside homes by Berkeley are the perfect retreat from busy city life. There are a range of two bedroom apartments and four bedroom houses available, all with beautifully finished interiors and tranquil views out over the water. The two bedroom homes are spacious, with an en suite from the master bedroom, an open-plan living/dining space and large balcony. The excellent on-site facilities include a private gym, a nursery and a village hall.

There are 36 new homes at this new development located a mile and a half from the centre of Maidstone. The homes range from two and three bedroom semidetached houses and bungalows to four and five bedroom detached properties. The two bedroom semidetached homes feature separate living area and kitchen, with a WC downstairs and bedrooms on the first floor. There’s also a private garage and rear garden. From Maidstone West railway station, London Victoria can be reached in just over an hour.

What they thought… Wow, what a lovely outlook! We love the look of these properties and particularly like the lovely waterside views. The four bedroom homes are over our budget, but the apartments are in such a great spot, I think they’re a very good option for us. Snodland train station is fairly close by and the commute would take around an hour and 20 minutes, which would be fine by me. Josh would be able to drive to work in around half an hour.”

This is a good location for us, we know Maidstone really well as lots of Josh’s family live nearby. These properties are really great – we really do love the idea of having an entire house after living in a small apartment for so long. The interiors are lovely and fresh and there’s a good-sized garden, which would be perfect for children. The commute from here for both of us is very good, Josh and I would both be able to get the train to work from Maidstone.”

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FROM £330,000

THE QUIET LIFE Windsor Meadow, Marden

FROM £360,000


FROM £389,995

Castle Hill, Ebbsfleet

This new collection of apartments and houses by Berkeley is located just moments from Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in a peaceful setting. Homes on offer range from one and two bedroom apartments to three and four bedroom houses, all within a short walk from scenic lakes and greenery. The apartments are thoughtfully designed with outdoor space and open-plan living/dining areas. London Bridge can be reached in 28 minutes by train, while Sevenoaks is home to many good shops, bars and restaurants.

Nestled in the Kent countryside, the pretty village of Marden is home to this new collection of two, three, four and five bedroom properties. The three bedroom semi-detached homes feature a spacious living room with doors opening to a rear garden as well as a separate kitchen with fully integrated appliances. Upstairs, the master bedroom benefits from an en suite. Marden Station, for services to London in under 60 minutes, is just a short walk away, along with a local farm shop, bakery, and country pub.

What a lovely location, so close to the nature reserve and the pretty lakes – it would be very tranquil indeed. The homes are really attractive and we particularly like the modern kitchen and dark wood floors, it’s all very sleek and very different to our current home. The balconies are a really good size and we just love the fully tiled bathrooms. Sevenoaks is a good location for us; the commute for both of us would be very good – Bromley is around a 20-minute drive.”

Such a rural area really would be a true departure from our current city life – and is something that we’re both really up for! We love the idea of getting our fruit and veg from the farm shop and getting to know the community, and it’s so nice to have the countryside on the doorstep. It also seems like a really great place to bring up children – there’s plenty of fresh air! The commute is also surprisingly quick, while Josh’s parents would only be around a 20-minute drive away.”

sfleet ular development in Ebb The next phase of this pop ntually see eve l wil and n, ctio stru con Valley is currently under the site. room homes added to a range of one to five bed ed with nish fi ully perties are beautif The three bedroom pro nstairs, dow m roo g livin separate sleek, fitted kitchens and . On-site side out s den gar r rea and plus private driveways planned. gery and shops are also facilities including a sur St don Lon ile be is close by, wh The town of Swanscom from n trai by s ute min d in just 19 Pancras can be reache tional station. rna Inte eet sfl Ebb nearby


“We are really excited by the prospect of our very first family home and are already in the process of arranging a mortgage offer so that we can proceed as quickly as possible. Josh’s family will come and take a look at the development with us, and are really happy that we’re so serious about moving closer to them. Fingers crossed we can get moving quickly!”

I can’t believe how quickly you can reach London from Castle Hill, it really is a great location for travelling, and not just to London – you can even get to Paris and Brussels from Ebbsfleet International! What we’re really excited about is that we would be able to afford a three bedroom house here – plenty of extra space for a growing family. It’s also super exciting that there are so many good facilities within easy reach. There’s plenty to see and do in the area, good shopping facilities and lots of lovely green space to explore. Plus, Josh’s parents would only be about 20 minutes away from us here, so babysitters would never be too far away! “

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Developer’s Doctor Jim Munson is Head of Sales and Marketing for Genesis, which owns and manages more than 33,000 homes across London, the South East and the East of England. As one of the most diverse housing associations in the UK, it aims to create and sustain communities, building and managing homes for shared ownership, social rent, market rent and private sale, and provides support services to more than 4,500 people. Jim has worked in property marketing for over 16 years, focusing on customer service and strategic planning. He is also chair of the London Home Ownership Group Marketing Sub Group, a National Housing Federation practitioner group which helps to develop best practice in the sector

Question… I am a first time buyer currently in a rented property and looking to buy my first home. I work in London and need to be able to commute to Liverpool Street station. I do have around £10,000 in savings, however, hearing about how difficult it is to get on to the property ladder, would I be better off waiting and saving more money for a deposit or look to buy a home now in London, or should I look further afield to an area where property prices may be cheaper?

Answer … It’s good to hear that you’ve been saving, and £10,000 is a good start when it comes to having a deposit ready to buy. I would rather be the bearer of good news than bad but, if you’re keen to make your move sooner rather than later, I’d advise that in most of London, especially in central parts, you’ll find that this isn’t enough to buy right now given the strength of property prices in the capital, even with affordable homeownership options such as shared ownership, which I think will be the best option for you. On the good news front, you do have some control on the timing of your buying decision, depending on how focused you are on purchasing a home in a specific area. If you are prepared to consider other locations, you’ll be able to make your money go further and be able to bring your decision forward. Most people see a commute of an hour or less as being reasonable, so if your work


is based in or around the Liverpool Street area and you are fairly flexible about where you buy, then this opens up a range of more affordable locations where you already have enough in savings to be able to put down a deposit to buy your first home. If you’re keen to stay in London, I would suggest searching on the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners website run by This provides a list of shared ownership and other affordable homeownership options from all active housing providers in the capital. At the moment, you’ll find that your savings will be enough to use as a deposit in Barking & Dagenham, which is still a relatively affordable location, with plans for major regeneration.

Jim Munson, Head of Sales and Marketing, Genesis If you love London during the working week, but like the idea of fresher air at weekends and are looking to get more for your money, then search for a home on which lists all shared ownership homes in Essex and Hertfordshire commuter towns, offering connections into Liverpool Street. Genesis is active in this area; City Park West is our landmark development in Chelmsford., offering a fantastic selection of one and two bedroom homes available to purchase with shared ownership that could well be within your reach financially. Just a short hop from Chelmsford’s mainline station, a new apartment at City Park West would mean you could get to Liverpool Street in around 35-40 minutes door to door. Chelmsford itself is a great city,; there’s lots of green space, plenty of shopping and leisure facilities to suit all tastes and it offers easy access to the east coast and countryside too. While it’s clearly a personal decision, I’d encourage you to look further afield as London house prices are unlikely to drop to a level where your savings give you plenty of choice any time soon.

CITY PARK WEST Chelmsford, Essex

Genesis’ new landmark development, City Park West, has been designed with first time buyers in mind. Once complete, the scheme will offer a collection of 645 one and two bedroom apartments located in the heart of Chelmsford town centre. Available to buy with shared ownership, the homes here provide an affordable way on to the property ladder. Purchasers at City Park West can buy a 35% share of a one bedroom apartment with a deposit as little as £8,050 (full market value is £230,000). While the prices for a two bedroom apartment start from £103,250 for a 35% share (full market value is £295,000). Chelmsford is perfectly placed to enjoy a superb range of amenities including bars, restaurants and cafes and even better, all are within walking distance of City Park West. Chelmsford station is a five-minute walk from the development, and residents can enjoy a speedy commute, with journey times of just 35 minutes directly into Liverpool Street. All of the properties have been finished to a high specification and offer contemporary living designed in a variety of layouts. The modern interiors boast floor-to-ceiling height windows, and residents also benefit from secure underground parking and a 24-hr on-site concierge service. For further information or to arrange a viewing please call 01245 806 484 or visit

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Top Man!

Jonnie Irwin is one of our most popular TV presenters, hosting a variety of property shows. He appears on Escape to the Country and A Place in the Sun and has recently taken on a new role, producing and directing corporate films, which he is thoroughly enjoying. He talks to Lynda Clark about his busy working life, his home and the property world Photos © Mike Prior Jonnie Irwin is a man of many talents, and he is not the sort of person to sit back and watch the world pass him by. Somehow he manages to fit his television work, property interests and being a director of a legal firm into his schedule. But if you think that is busy then think again. When we meet he is preparing to walk to the base camp of Annapurna in Nepal with six friends. “We will be raising money for the Lord’s Taveners; a charity which creates opportunities for young people from deprived areas and those with disabilities to engage in sport and recreational activities in their local communities. It is a great cause and very close to my heart. I’m not sure what to expect as you can get altitude sickness, which is very dangerous, but I’m hoping I will be fine but if I get into trouble I will just go down and recover and start all over again. I am really determined to do it.” Jonnie got married last year and is enjoying life in his split-level basement flat with a garden in Highgate. “It was a big job and I made lots of changes to create a new reception room and also build a utility room in the cellar with access to the garden. I did a lot of the work myself and used many of the skills I have learned along the way. Now we are ready to have a change, and for once I am taking my own advice. We want to move a little way out of London and are looking around Berkhampstead but we are going to rent before we buy. It’s such a good idea as you need to know every aspect of the area before you commit and buy and by renting it gives you the opportunity to really make the right decision. We will rent out the Highgate flat so it will still be here if we decide we want to come back.”

Jonnie left university and worked as a commercial surveyor, which was very good grounding for his eventual work on TV property programmes. “I was working at a commercial business transfer agency and I got an email from a friend saying they had been approached by a production company who were looking for property experts for a new programme they were making. I thought it was a complete wind-up, but I decided to give them a call. I was told they had already looked at lots of people and they were down to the last 10, but I persisted and they agreed that if I got something to them after the Christmas break there still might be time for them to look at it. "I went back to my parents for Christmas and borrowed my mum’s camcorder and went with a friend to the local shopping centre, where we filmed me interviewing some of the shoppers. I sent the tape in and was called for a screen test, and before long I was flying to South Africa to make a pilot for a series A Place in the Sun – Home or Away. It was pretty much a whirlwind and I ended up making a series of 24 programmes for them. My motto is ‘If the door is slightly ajar, kick it open'. “Next week I’m off to Worcester as we start filming the new series of Escape to the Country. This series is one of the cornerstones of factual entertainment as so many people want to live a quieter life in more rural surroundings. With really good train links people are prepared to travel. I always tell first time buyers to consider moving out, as you can get the same footprint as in London but at half the price. I really enjoy the variety of what I do as two days are never the same. We also have a mini-series called I Escaped to the Country


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THE VIEW which is fascinating. We go back to re-visit the people who have actually taken the plunge and moved and we discover what has happened to them. For example, did they buy the chickens they were so keen to keep? Or are they growing their own vegetables as they planned? Then I start filming another new series for A Place in the Sun later in the year. Nowadays, though, I don’t like being away from home for weeks on end – I want to get a good work/ life balance.” Apart from his passion for all things to do with property, Jonnie is also a keen sports enthusiast. He loves playing cricket, tennis and is a big snowboarding fan. He used to be a rugby player too but had to retire when he broke his back and was in hospital for months. Some time ago he was snowboarding in Japan and had another accident. “It was amazing conditions and we decided to go off-piste and I fell off the side of a mountain, landing so hard on my left side that my right leg popped out of the socket fracturing my pelvis and dislocating my hip. It was extremely painful but unfortunately I got turned away from the first hospital as they were full so we had to go to another one for what seemed like hours. It’s ok now and pretty much back to normal but I had an epiphany moment up there and decided I had to calm down and stop showing off. I’ve broken so many bones maybe I will take up bowls!” Jonnie is always jetting off to film one of the TV shows he presents but he still finds time to work on other projects. Because he is an expert when it comes to buying abroad he warns that it can be a legal minefield. He is now a Director with Judicare which specialises in conveyancing, will writing and inheritance planning for foreign investments, which are very important when buying abroad. “I often get asked what the difference is to buying in the UK and I always say ‘everything’ and that is why independent legal advice is so important. If you use a lawyer chosen by the estate agent or developer they are not going to be acting in your best interests. I want to educate people so that they don’t fall into any traps. So many people buy abroad and don’t have any legal advice which is very foolish.”


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"WE WILL BE RAISING MONEY FOR THE LORD’S TAVENERS; A CHARITY WHICH CREATES OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE FROM DEPRIVED AREAS AND THOSE WITH DISABILITIES TO ENGAGE IN SPORT AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITIES. IT IS A GREAT CAUSE AND VERY CLOSE TO MY HEART" With so much property knowledge, Jonnie has some great advice for first time buyers. “It’s very tough and prices, particularly in London and the South East, have gone up and up. There are also not enough homes, particularly affordable homes, being built and generally people are not selling their homes and just sitting tight. Otherwise they extend either with loft conversions, which have the least impact on anyone’s lifestyle while they are being done, or by building extensions or creating space in the basements. As buying your first home is one of the biggest life and financial decisions you will probably ever make, making the right decision is vital. "I really believe that first time buyers should learn more about the area they are planning to buy in – look at about a five-mile radius of the area and if you can rent like

I am doing, which is a slight sacrifice, then if will help in the long run to make a much better decision. You might not be able to afford your exact favourite road so you may need to compromise; but do your research and find out which places are best to avoid. If you have a family, what is the school run like? where is the local bus stop and would you feel comfortable walking home? If you are commuting then what are the transport links like? It is just a case of doing the leg work and visiting at all times of the day and night. The quiet road you thought was perfect might be a major rat-run first thing in the morning and in the evening! Then if you find a place you like and it doesn’t work out then let it go as there are loads of properties on the market and there is bound to be another you will really like. "Also look at your savings and see how much real cash you actually have. When

budgeting you need to allow for moving expenses, solicitors' fees and Stamp Duty etc. It’s vital that you research the buying process so you know what costs are coming up. Only after you have done this should you speak to a mortgage broker and see how much they will lend you. It’s better to be honest and up-front rather than pretend you live like a church mouse and over commit. Many people are sick of renting and want to rush off and buy a home but they don’t plan it and think things through. You must get your ducks in a row before you start the process."  Jonnie certainly packs a great deal into life, but that’s the way he likes it. With a possible move out of London, climbing in Nepal and a job that he loves, I think you could say he is truly passionate about life and the wonderful world of property.

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Green Shoots! With four major airports, a population of around 8.6 million and 2.6 million cars, it’s no surprise that London has some of the poorest air pollution records in Europe. Even more worrying for the capital’s green credentials, recycling rates dropped for the first time in 2015, making it likely the UK will miss EU targets of 50% recycling rates by 2020 HOW GREEN IS YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? To see how London is fairing, home services’ experts London Cleaning System took a closer look at the eco side of London to find out how clean and how green our capital really is. According to the recent findings from multiple Government and independent data organisations, all five of the greenest boroughs in the capital are located south of the river, with Sutton leading the pack. Although it didn’t come top in any one category, Sutton performed well across the board to be named London’s greenest borough. It was closely followed by Kingston upon Thames, with Bexley, Richmond upon Thames and Greenwich taking the rest of the top spots. At the other end of the scale, north London fares badly, with Islington coming bottom of the list followed by the City of Westminster and Tower Hamlets. Fourth from bottom is Lambeth, the only southern borough in the bottom five, while well-heeled Kensington and Chelsea completes the quintet of environmental laggards.  The overall ‘greenness’ of a London borough was calculated across five important ‘green’ factors. These factors were recycling, air pollution, renewable energy, energy efficiency and the percentage of green space. The overall score was based


on an average of the individual scores attributed to each environmental factor.   

GREEN SPACES The amount of green space available for local residents to use varies dramatically across the capital. While Bromley dedicates over half its area to parks, gardens and natural spaces, the City sees grass, trees and shrubs cover just 3% of its outside space. Residents of Islington, Tower Hamlets and Newham fare little better with just 10%, 11.7% and 13% of the boroughs given over to Mother Nature respectively. At the top end of the scale, Havering comes in just behind Bromley with 53.2% green space while Richmond upon Thames (49.7%), Enfield (41.1%) and Hillingdon (40.6%) all provide plenty of open areas for their residents to enjoy. 

AIR POLLUTION Although the City comes rock – or should that be concrete? – bottom when it comes to green spaces, surprisingly the district sits at the top of the pile for air quality. According to the research, the City had the lowest rates of air pollution in the capital, with levels around six times less than those of Enfield, the worst offender.

This low rate of air pollution could be explained by the fact that it is the capital’s smallest borough.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY The energy efficiency score of each borough was calculated by looking at the number of domestic energy performance certificates with A-C ratings. Surprisingly, the best performing borough for this measure was Tower Hamlets; although the council sadly came close to the bottom in almost every other category. 

RENEWABLE ENERGY According to the results, there is a huge amount of variation when it comes to the percentage of renewable energy that is consumed across the various London boroughs. At the greenest end of the scale, Bexley manages to meet 51% of its total energy needs from renewable sources. This is followed by Enfield at 33% and then Lewisham at 29%. Across the vast majority of boroughs, however, less than 1% of the total energy consumption is met by renewable sources, with the City coming bottom once more with just 0.01% renewable energy consumption.

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RECYCLING RATES One of the most revealing elements of the research is that not one of London’s boroughs comes up trumps across all of the environmental factors. Although Croydon comes close to the bottom of the pack when it comes to renewable energy, the borough is top for recycling. And while the City is top for air pollution, it scored very poorly for recycling with just 1,156 tonnes of waste recycled compared to Croydon’s 58,020.

buzzmove, the data and technology business that is helping people to move, digitally catalogue and protect their possessions, has calculated that a typical home move creates an average 16.8kg of CO2 emissions. With 1.8 million moves a year in the UK, buzzmove is helping movers take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. buzzmove has teamed up with Trees for Life, an award-winning conservation charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands. The collaboration will enable buzzmove’s 250 partner removal firms to make a donation for trees to be planted to offset their carbon emissions. Soon customers who visit the buzzmove website to choose a removal firm will be able to compare companies on the basis of their carbon offsetting activity. Damien Seaman, Head of Brand for buzzmove said, “We have estimated that the CO2 footprint buzzmove removal companies emit adds up to 72 tonnes of CO2 each year, which, in fact, would amount to the size of 342 double decker buses. We have therefore launched a campaign to help movers find removal firms which have committed to offset their emissions through tree planting. We’ve calculated that planting 2,160 trees this year would offset the total carbon emissions generated through buzzmove, that’s at least 180 trees per month. "So, we are encouraging our partner removal firms to become tree donors in order that we can reach the 2,160 target. We have already had fantastic feedback from our partner removal firms who have become donors. We’ve also had commitment from other removal companies who we don’t work with directly, and this is even more encouraging.”


Insurance broker Nick Davis, 21, and his partner, social media manager Laura Southgate, 23, set their sights high for their first home, reserving a one bedroom penthouse at Inspired Homes’ Sutton Court development in the London Borough of Sutton for just £385,000 using the Government's Help to Buy London scheme. The contemporary development is designed for modern living, with high-spec, high-tech features including NEST Smart thermostats, 1GB Hyper-optic broadband, engineered hardwood floors, Bosch appliances, granite worktops and Villeroy & Boch bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling French doors open on to private balconies, offering far-reaching views of the London skyline. Nick and Laura had both been living locally with family. They were drawn to the high specification and central location of Sutton Court, but it wasn’t until they arrived on the top floor that they fully appreciated the incredible vistas. Nick said, “We hadn’t thought much about the views, we just wanted to buy a penthouse for the extra space, but when we saw the London skyline and the city spread out before us we couldn’t believe our eyes.” Located in the heart of Sutton, Sutton Court is just 27 minutes by train from London Victoria and 34 minutes from London Blackfriars for access to the City. Two penthouses remain for sale with prices starting at £360,000. Continued on page 24 First Time Buyer April/May 2018

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FROM £450,000

Casa Court



The River Gardens The prestigious waterside homes are located close to many cultural attractions including the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park.There are also fantastic travel connections from The River Gardens, where fast and frequent services to Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Deptford are accessible with journey times of around 15 minutes. As well as lovely waterside views, every home at The River Gardens boasts high quality interior specifications including a full range of integrated appliances, modern bathroom suites and high standards of energy efficiency. All apartments come with a spacious balcony, and parking is available to purchase.There is also a 24hour concierge service, on-site private gym, swimming pool, four landscaped gardens and tennis courts. The River Gardens is conveniently located within walking distance of the centre of Greenwich with its vibrant market, restaurants, cafes and shops. Ideal for commuters, Cutty Sark DLR station is a mile away from the development providing quick connections to Canary Wharf and the City. Mainline rail services operate from Greenwich station.


Genesis’ new development, Casa Court in Colindale, NW9, has just a few remaining apartments FROM £111,750 available to buy through * shared ownership. Thanks to the scheme, purchasers can secure a home with a deposit of just £11,175. Casa Court offers a selection of stylish one and two bedroom apartments in the newest phases within the well-established regeneration zone of Colindale. Residents can take advantage of a vibrant new community and an array of entertainment options, a community centre, public library and new urban and green spaces. The apartments at Casa Court enjoy a high quality and contemporary finish with spacious and light-filled open plan living/ kitchen/dining areas. Kitchens have granite worktops and a range of integrated Zanussi appliances. French doors opening out from the living area lead to either a private terrace or balcony. On-site parking facilities are also available for residents. Commuters can enjoy fast and frequent transport services into the heart of the capital from nearby Colindale underground station, which is served by the 24-hour Northern Line. Direct trains to the West End take a little over 20 minutes and reach Bank or Leicester Square stations in just 30 minutes. *Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £447,000

MERTON FROM * 0 £105,00


Morris Court

L&Q has launched the next phase of shared ownership homes at Morris Court, a collection of 42 one, two and three bedroom apartments. Moments from Colliers Wood station and Tooting railway station, commuting times into London Bridge and Clapham Junction are less than half an hour and Canary Wharf can be reached in 35 minutes. The nearby Cycle Superhighway also provides links from Merton to the City in 40 minutes. Residents will benefit from close proximity to pretty botanical gardens, a local retail park and numerous supermarkets. Morden Hall park is within walking distance and the picturesque River Wandle is also nearby Each apartment at Morris Court can be accessed by video entry phone and has its own private outdoor area. The living spaces are stylish, the bathrooms have a mosaic tile feature wall, and the contemporary kitchens come with fully integrated appliances. Prices for shared ownership apartments currently available start from £105,000 for a 25% share of a one bedroom home (full market value £420,000), £128,750 for a 25% share of a two bedroom apartment (full market value £515,000), and £162,500 for a 25% share of a three bedroom home (full market value £650,000). *Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £420,000

FROM £350,000

CROYDON Leon House

Located in the heart of Croydon, Leon House is an iconic part of the town’s landscape. The 20-storey former office block has been regenerated into a fantastic collection of sleek one and two bedroom homes with unbeatable views out over the surrounding areas and beyond. Residents will have access to a communal rooftop garden and private dining room. Transport links from nearby East Croydon station take under 20 minutes to London Victoria, and Brighton and the south coast can be reached in as little as 45 minutes.



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CUTS ARE WORKING AS FTBS CELEBRATE According to recent figures released, 2017 saw a 7.4% increase in the number of first time buyers getting on to the property ladder compared to the year before, with the Government’s cut in Stamp Duty implemented in November last year seemingly contributing to the rise More than 16,000 first time buyers are estimated to have already saved thousands of pounds since the changes took effect in November, with over a million first time buyers set to benefit in total over the next five years. This news is a great boost of confidence for first time buyers looking to get on the property ladder. Taking into account further savings through a number of initiatives currently available, including Stamp Duty, the upfront cost of homeownership can now be significantly reduced. Earlier this year the Prime Minister celebrated the success of the Stamp Duty reform when she visited first time buyer Laura Paine at her brand-new home at Montague Park by Barratt Homes in Wokingham. Prime Minister Theresa May said, “In the Autumn we set out ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market and make sure young people have the same opportunities as their parents’ generation to own their own home. “This has had an immediate impact, with thousands of people already making savings thanks to our Stamp Duty cut, and more than a million first time buyers over the next five years are expected to save money that they can put towards a deposit, solicitors’ fees or furniture.”

WHAT IS STAMP DUTY AND WHAT DO THE SAVINGS NOW MEAN? Stamp Duty is a tax that previously was only paid on properties over the value of £125,000, with the total tax paid varying dependent on the value of the property. Changes to Stamp Duty at the end of last year mean that a first time buyer purchasing a property worth up to the value of £300,000 will pay zero in Stamp Duty. For properties costing between £300,000-£500,000, first time buyers will only


difference to those buying their first home. 2018 has already seen a continued interest from first time buyers, with the number of those entering the market rising by 16.4%. This year is predicted to continue to see interest from savvy first timers who are ready to take advantage of a range of Governmentbacked schemes and snap up their first home.


pay tax on the amount above £300,000. This means that the buyers of a £500,000 property will be charged £10,000 Stamp Duty. when they would previously have paid £15,000, meaning first time buyers are now making huge savings on their property purchases. It is estimated that 95% of first time buyers will benefit from these changes, and a staggering 80% of people buying their first home are now paying no Stamp Duty whatsoever.

HAVE STAMP DUTY EXEMPTIONS REALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE? It has been a few months now since the Chancellor’s announcement, and already it is clear to see how prospects for first time buyers have greatly improved. The number of mortgaged first time buyers in the UK rose to 365,000 last year – the highest levels seen in more than a decade. According to recent figures, 2017 saw a 7.4% increase in the number of first timers getting on to the property ladder compared to the year before, with the Government’s Stamp Duty cut implemented in November last year contributing to the rise. On average, Stamp Duty changes will save first time buyers £1,700, which is already making a big

It is common to worry about how you will ever be able to afford to own a home, but what many do not realise is that there is more help than ever before to take the first step. Alongside the Stamp Duty exemption, first time buyers can also take advantage of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. This is available on properties up to the value of £600,000 in England, and will allow first time buyers to purchase a brand-new home with just a 5% deposit. For those wishing to combine these two fantastic opportunities, a £300,000 home will require a deposit of just £15,000 and no Stamp Duty charges.

WHERE ARE THE BIGGEST SAVINGS? According to Barratt Homes, it is first time buyers purchasing a home in the Kent area who have made the biggest savings in the country so far as a result of the Stamp Duty changes. The latest figures released by Barratt suggest that its newbie buyers have saved a total of £223,171 in Kent since November, thanks to the Government’s recent removal of Stamp Duty land tax for first time buyers. This is great news for the property market in that region and the savings will hopefully have given many hard-up homebuyers a real financial boost when saving up to purchase their first home.

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Here is a stylish selection of properties that will now be available for first time buyers to purchase without facing any Stamp Duty charges at all.


Martello Lakes

FROM £209,995

Martello Lakes is offering a brilliant range of contemporary two bedroom apartments and spacious three bedroom houses that offer coastal living alongside the buzz of an exciting nearby town. The apartments feature two good-sized bedrooms with one complete with an en suite, and the combined lounge/dining area optimises space. The homes offer a traditional façade with modern interiors, boasting a separate kitchen area with open-plan living/ dining room, and three bedrooms with one featuring an en suite. Conveniently located just 13 miles from Ashford, a designer outlet and international travel are practically on the doorstep of this development.


Aylesham Village Aylesham Village boasts a wide range of homes that are now also exempt from Stamp Duty, from contemporary one bedroom properties up to spacious four bedroom family FROM homes from £299,995. All £165,995 homes consist of an open-plan kitchen/dining area, cosy lounges and excellent sized bedrooms. In the larger properties, buyers can enjoy a master bedroom complete with an en suite. Aylesham is nestled amongst the countryside but provides easy access either via road or rail into Canterbury which is just 10 miles away.


Phoenix Quarter

FROM £265,995

Phoenix Quarter is offering a sleek range of two bedroom apartments just a stone’s throw from London. The apartments feature two good sized bedrooms with one complete with an en suite, and an open-plan lounge/dining area to maximise space and light. Dartford Station is right next to the development, offering a 40-minute journey into London.

Laura Paine, 27, had been renting for nearly 10 years before she finally managed to buy her first home. Saving for the last five years in order to fulfil her dream of getting on the property ladder, it was thanks to Help to Buy that she was finally able to own her first home; purchasing a stylish two bedroom apartment at Montague Park by Barratt Homes in Wokingham, Berkshire. Now, not only is Laura a homeowner, but she also pays less every month on her mortgage than she was paying previously in rent. Help to Buy, the Government-backed equity loan scheme introduced in 2013, meant that IT professional Laura was able to buy her first home at Montague Park with only a 5% deposit. Laura said, “I had been saving as much as I could for around five years to try to get on the property ladder, so I was delighted to discover Help to Buy, which meant I could finally afford to buy my own home. A few of my friends had used the scheme, so I could see how much it all made sense financially and so I decided to look into options around Berkshire where I could use it. The reduced deposit requirement was really appealing and when I realised that my mortgage repayments would be less than I was paying in rent to my landlord, it didn’t take long to work out it was perfect option for me.” Purchasing her new home from Barratt Homes at its Montague Park development in Wokingham in November, Laura has also benefited from the recent Stamp Duty relief introduced to first time buyers at the end of last year. Laura added, “The financial side of buying a property can be really stressful, even for hard working professionals like me, so when I heard that I didn’t need to pay Stamp Duty I was over the moon. This saving has made a real difference and has helped go towards all the costs of homebuying and setting up my first home. “Owning my home has always been really important to me and so I am delighted to finally be in my own place. Without Help to Buy, I would still be trying to save while facing increasing rental costs and struggling to put money aside every month. I will either pay the loan back in five years or whenever I sell.” There are no more properties available at Montague Park; for details of more Barratt homes go to

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First Dibs

Good news for Londoners who are trying to get on the housing ladder as housebuilders are to give UK-based buyers first dibs on lower priced new-build properties People who live or work in the capital will get a month’s head start to buy homes up to £350,000 before anyone else is able to purchase them. Buyers across the rest of the UK will then get a further two months to buy before overseas marketing of the homes takes place. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commissioned some research last year looking into the role of overseas investments in the capital’s property market. The research – the most extensive of its kind ever undertaken – set out the important role investment from around the world plays in getting housing developments in London underway. However, it also revealed the startling fact that half of new properties bought by


overseas buyers in London were homes under £500,000 – typically the price range for many first time buyers and those looking to access support through schemes such as Help to Buy. Mr Khan said, “I am determined we take meaningful steps to help Londoners buy more new homes they can afford, and the offer from across the housing industry will mean we can move quickly to make this a reality for our city. “Through the extensive research I commissioned, I was alarmed to discover that overseas buyers were focusing to such an extent on the lower-cost end of newbuild homes – many of which were being sold long before Londoners even knew they were available.

“That is why I have been discussing steps with the capital’s leading homebuilders and I welcome their landmark offer to give Londoners first dibs for up to a month on all their new homes under £350,000, with sales ring-fenced to UK buyers for three months before they are marketed overseas”. Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation said, “House builders are committed to helping Londoners realise their ambition of buying a home in the capital. London is a world city which presents a huge challenge for people wanting to purchase a property. The protocol will ensure UK-based buyers are at the front of the queue and are first to get the opportunity to find and buy new homes being built.”

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HOMES UNDER £350,000


FROM £305,500


Situated in Barking, the well-connected and contemporary collection of homes from NU living, will offer 195 apartments, which will benefit from fully integrated kitchen appliances, underfloor heating throughout and private balconies. The development will also include an on-site spa, communal outdoor spaces and a rooftop garden. Barking station is just a three-minute walk away, with travel to central London taking half an hour via the Hammersmith & City Line, District Line or the London Overground.

UPTON PARK, E13 Upton Gardens

FROM £334,995

Upton Gardens will comprise 842 one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and a small collection of three bedroom duplexes, as well as commercial space and a public library across an 18-acre site in Newham in Zone 3. Located on the site of the former West Ham United football ground, the area has undergone significant regeneration. Transport links, already excellent, are set to further improve with the imminent arrival of Crossrail. The development is just six minutes walk to Upton Park underground station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines. The City can be reached in 18 minutes and Canary Wharf in just 16 minutes. Help to Buy is available and Stamp Duty savings also apply on selected plots.

The London Mayor’s office answered these questions on First Dibs Do you think that developers are going to find it difficult to only market certain properties to specific buyers and what measures are being taken to ensure this happens? Homebuilders who have made this offer to the Mayor have agreed to market homes in the UK only during the first three months. In addition, they have also agreed to restrict sales during this period to those who live in the UK, with Londoners benefiting from a ‘head start’ period for up to one month during which homes will only be sold to those who live or work in the capital. Homebuilders have committed to making basic checks to ensure those purchasing eligible properties live and/or work in London or the UK. Given that the average property price in London for first time buyers is over £400,000, do you think this restriction might be extended to help more struggling first time buyers? In 2016 the Mayor commissioned the most in-depth research ever conducted into the role of overseas investors in the London housing market. He was concerned by findings in this research that found that more than half of sales to overseas buyers were for properties costing between £200,000 and £500,000 – a key price bracket for Londoners, especially first time buyers, trying to get on the housing ladder in the capital. In addition, for a household at the top of the intermediate income threshold with a 10% deposit, a property priced at £350k should be affordable to them with a standard mortgage offer of three and a half times income. The threshold also covers a significant proportion of the housing market, with homes priced at £350,000 and below accounting for around 28% of new-build market sale properties built in London each year. The Mayor would welcome any further first dibs offers from homebuilders, including those which may build on the offers that have already been put forward. Some of the homes which are available through housing associations may have a full market value of (for example) £400,000 but a share that they would initially buy would only be (for example) £100,000 - so I am not sure if they would be suitable for first dibs? The first dibs offer only applies to market sale homes – this does not include shared ownership properties, which are subject to separate income and residency eligibility criteria.

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Many ftbs are confused about just what shared ownership means and there are many myths and confusion about how it works. This simple guide explains what it is all about Shared ownership has been available since the 1980s, but has been restricted with local councils dictating who should be a priority based on a wide of range of factors ranging from salary to profession to where the buyer comes from. Following a relaxation to the eligibility criteria last year, the scheme is open to people of any occupation, and ensures second steppers (those who have owned before) are given equal priority with first time buyers. Furthermore, there is no longer a cap on the number of bedrooms an applicant can request, providing they earn less than £80,000 a year, or £90,000 in London.

HOW IT WORKS Shared ownership enables buyers to purchase a share in a brand-new home that they can afford – usually a minimum of 25% of its market value – with as little as a 5% deposit. The buyers pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share of the property, usually resulting in lower monthly costs than renting on the open market, and can buy further shares at any time, known as staircasing, right up to 100% and outright ownership.

ELIGIBILITY You can buy a home through shared ownership if:  You are a first time buyer (or you used to own a home, but cannot afford to buy at the present time)  Your household earns £80,000 a year or less with the exception of London where the threshold is £90,000 a year  You rent a council or housing association property  Only military personnel will be given priority over other groups through Government-funded shared ownership schemes. However, councils with their own shared ownership home-building programmes may have some priority groups, based on local housing needs


KEY FACTS  You will need a smaller deposit, as you only need to find the deposit for the share you buy  You will need a smaller mortgage, as you are only buying the percentage you can afford  There will also be a service charge on the property, so it is important to check what this is likely to be  You will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home’s purchase price  Shared ownership homes are always leasehold  You can sell your home at any time. The housing provider will have eight weeks to find you a buyer and during this time you cannot sell your home privately or through an estate agent. If they find a buyer, they will usually charge you an administrative fee, so you should ask them whether this is a fixed price. If they cannot find a buyer after eight weeks, you will be able to sell your home privately or through an estate agent  Housing associations offer resale properties, which have already been bought through shared ownership in the past, and the owner is looking to

sell their share and move on. You buy the share they are selling and pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. It is unlikely that you can buy fewer shares than the current owner has, but it may be possible to buy more. Remember that these homes will obviously be older and in more established communities

APPLYING FOR SHARED OWNERSHIP To buy a home through shared ownership you should contact the Help to Buy agent in the area where you want to live. See page 130 for details. What to consider and questions to ask:  Can you staircase up to 100% if you wish?  Can you start staircasing immediately?  What are the maximum times you can staircase?  What is the minimum share you can buy at any one time?  How well does the housing association maintain the property?  Look at your finances and ensure you keep on top of your mortgage, rent and service charges  Think about what you really want.

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Kelly Morris, 33, works in the education sector. She bought a 50% share of a four bedroom home at Manor Gardens in Walkden, Salford, through shared ownership with Plumlife. “Myself and my partner Michael had been renting the whole time we had been together. We have two children, so saving up for a large deposit is really hard to do when you’re paying rent as well as supporting a family. Affordability of the deposit was the biggest thing against us. “I’m from the local area originally and was only living five or 10 minutes away when I saw the development being built. We really wanted to stay in the local area as my eldest is 15 and goes to school just up the road – I didn’t feel like I could uproot my children at this stage of life by moving to a different area. “We made an appointment to view and were assessed for eligibility.Two semi-detached four bedroom houses were released and we were lucky enough to get one – we couldn’t believe it. We were able to buy a 50% share for £108,000 and put down a10% deposit. It feels so different to own your own home and we couldn’t recommend shared ownership enough. Our plan is to look at staircasing when we can, with a view to buying the full 100%.

EXPERT COMMENT Shared ownership provides a solution that is the best of both worlds, avoiding the high initial investment, while giving you the chance to save and progress up to 100% ownership of a place that you can call home. At Peabody, we have been able to help thousands of first time buyers get on to the first rung of the property ladder through shared ownership. It’s helped to keep the housing market buoyant and also given those that would struggle to own a home the chance to achieve it.

Is it location or property size that is important to you?  Your rent and service charges are likely to increase with inflation so you should ask yourself if this fits into your budget  Ask to see an estimate of the service charge  If you don’t understand anything regarding the lease then ask

STAIRCASING Buying the rest of your home is fairly straightforward and is known as staircasing. You can buy an additional percentage of your property at any point. Normally the minimum extra percentage you can buy is 10% at a time. Most people try to buy them in larger chunks as there are fees that you have to pay each time, so it can become quite expensive if you just buy 10% at a time. When you have staircased to 100% you will no longer pay any rent to the housing association. In order to staircase you will need to get an up-to-date valuation and you will buy the additional percentage at the current value. This may be higher or lower than when you first purchased your property. You will also have to cover all the legal fees as well as Stamp Duty. It is always advisable to talk to your conveyancer who will be able to explain what you need to pay and when.

MOVING ON If you want to move and sell your home then you have the option to resell the percentage you own. The housing association has the option to sell this to another shared owner but if they don’t find a buyer in eight weeks you can then sell it on the open market. When you decide to sell your property you should contact your housing provider

and you will be asked to choose a surveyor to value your home. The housing association should be able to give you a list of surveyors. You will have to pay a fee for the valuation; the valuation will set the price of your home. From this the housing association will then be able to work out the value of your share.

Andrew Peglau Head of Marketing, Peabody



The housing marketing is highly

You will need to ask an Energy Performance Certificate provider to produce an EPC. You will not be able to start selling your home until you have confirmed that an EPC has been applied for. An EPC gives important information on the energy efficiency of your home and will make recommendations on how it can be improved. The EPC must be provided within the first 28 days of marketing the property as it is a legal requirement.

are increasing. However, the


competitive and the costs of getting on to the property ladder ambition for people to own their own home is still as strong as ever. Unfortunately, without the Bank of Mum or Dad or a high level of savings, the UK’s ftbs are struggling to make the leap. Shared ownership provides a leg-up to attain the aspired step of homeownership. By purchasing a percentage of a property and paying subsidised rent on the remaining percentage to the housing association, initial costs

The freehold of the property will normally be owned by the housing association and it will be your landlord. The housing association will give you a lease for the property for the percentage that you have purchased, which will normally be for 99 or 125 years. You are the leaseholder and will be responsible for the property. The lease will set out what you have to do and what your landlord has to do so you need to read and understand this. You will be responsible for any repairs inside your home but communal repairs or maintenance will be carried out by the housing association and then charged to you through your service charge. The housing association may ask you to pay into a sinking fund, which is used to cover things like expensive repairs to the roof or lifts and for any communal decorations.

are kept low and repayments are more manageable, allowing ftbs the opportunity to save and invest in more shares (staircasing) at a later date, or even purchase their home outright. Without this option, home ownership would be at an all-time low and young people would have to carry on renting or living at home.

Minnie Dando Head of Marketing, Hyde New Homes

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This delightful new development offers a collection of two, three and four bedroom semi-detached homes located in the thriving town of Bury, Greater Manchester. Within close proximity of central Manchester, this new development is perfectly located for you to take advantage of a city centre lifestyle. These new energy efficient homes offer generous living accommodation with a spacious lounge, downstairs WC, dining area and modern kitchen with integrated appliances. The first floor has well-proportioned bedrooms and a contemporary bathroom. The homes also have gas central heating, smoke detectors, uPVC doors and windows, landscaped front and rear gardens as well as allocated parking. Bury has something for everyone with excellent shopping including The Rock shopping mall to its world-famous market. There is also a fantastic range of night life including leisure facilities and a superb range of cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants. The location also benefits from pleasant walks by the River Irwell, Holcombe Hill and Peel Tower. This new development benefits from excellent public transport links, with the Metrolink within walking distance and frequent bus services to surrounding areas. The properties are also within close proximity to Manchester city centre, Bolton, Rochdale, Prestwich and Blackburn. *Based on a 25% share with a full market value of £190,000

FROM £73,500*

STANDISH, WIGAN Barrowcroft Green

Plumlife has launched Barrowcroft, a new development of affordable homes in Standish near Wigan. It offers a collection of 11 three bedroom homes with superb eco-features, including new energy efficient boilers and full double-glazing. Each home has light, spacious rooms, modern fitted kitchens and contemporary bathrooms. Two house types are available – the three bedroom Weaver and the three bedroom Ellesmere. Barrowcroft Green is based within easy reach of both city life and green spaces, with Ashfield Park nearby. There are many other amenities on the doorstep including shopping facilities in Standish town centre. Great for commuters, the development is situated just off Junction 27 of the M6 motorway and is within easy reach of the M61, plus it also has direct links to Preston, Liverpool and Manchester. In addition, there’s a regular bus service from Barrowcroft Green. Based on a 35% share with a full market value of £210,000

WOKINGHAM SO Resi Wokingham

FROM £176,000*

SO Resi Wokingham offers three and four bedroom semi-detached houses available through shared ownership. So Resi Wokingham is part of the wider Matthews Green Farm development which enjoys an attractive semi-rural location on the outskirts of Wokingham. When complete, this new community will include onsite shops, a brand new primary school and plenty of landscaped open spaces. The four bedroom houses are arranged over three levels with a large open-plan living/ dining/kitchen area which comes with integrated appliances. The bedrooms are on the upper two floors and the master bedroom benefits from an en suite shower room in addition to the main bathroom. There is also a private garden and every home has allocated parking with car ports and garages at selected properties. The three bedroom homes have more traditional layout over two storeys and feature a separate kitchen. For commuters, the mainline station is 1.8 miles away; trains reach Reading in nine minutes, Guildford in 28 minutes and London Waterloo in 68 minutes. When the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) opens at Reading station in 2019, passengers will be able to travel through central London without needing to change trains. Based on a 40% share with a full market value of £440,000


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HELP TO BUY HOTSPOTS Towards the end of 2017, the Government announced that it will invest a further £10 billion into the Help to Buy Equity Loan due to the immense popularity and success of the scheme.According to, this new funding means that the Help to Buy Equity Loan could assist 135,000 more people to buy homes by 2021.This would bring the total number of households that would be supported through the scheme to about 360,000 EXPERT COMMENT Our new homes sales department is experiencing a significant reduction in the number of buy-to-let investors, and instead there is a surge of buyers (not limited to first time buyers) who are looking to take advantage of the Government's Help to Buy Equity Loan schemes. In the last two months of 2017, close to 50% of our buyers benefited from the use of Help to Buy assistance. In London boroughs, buyers can benefit from as much as a 40% loan (20% outside of London) and no interest payments made in the first five years. We have also noticed that, due to this, buyers are prepared to consider properties in a much wider search radius to ensure that they take advantage of new developments that are offering Help to Buy.

Mark Johnson Associate at Preston Bennett


Entering the property market has become an increasingly daunting task for many young people in today’s economic climate. As a result, many have looked to Government-backed help in the form of Help to Buy schemes and ISAs to turn the dream of joining the property ladder into a reality. Through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, buyers can receive an equity loan of up to 20% (or 40% in London boroughs) of the house’s total value, making it possible to purchase a home with just a 5% deposit. The required deposit can then be saved with the help of high-interest ISAs. Credit expert TotallyMoney has investigated Britain’s best and worst districts, cities and regions to lay down roots utilising Help to Buy schemes. The company researched a number of factors in each district across the UK to determine a ranking, including the number of equity loans utilised in each region, the number of Help to Buy: ISA property completions and the average amount left to pay after Government help (based on average property prices). The research uses Government data to compare every district of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to generate the complete ordered list of Help to Buy hotspots. 

DESIRABLE DISTRICTS Considering the ranking factors mentioned above, of the 388 Government-defined regions in the UK, the top Help to Buy hotspots are: 1. Central Bedfordshire – The Eastern district came up trumps, with a high level of equity loans (1,710) per capita, and 245 properties successfully bought using a Help to Buy: ISA. The district beat all competitors as the best place to purchase a property utilising Help to Buy in the UK.  2. Chorley – The Lancashire market town came in second position with a low average property cost (£182,818) making entering the property ladder through Help to Buy schemes more achievable. The district also boasts the lowest average minimum deposit from the top five districts (£9,141) and relatively high number of equity loans given out by the Government per capita making property ownership more achievable for residents. 3. Cheshire West and Cheshire – The second area in the North West to appear among the top scoring districts, Cheshire West and Cheshire scored particularly highly in terms of the number of Help to Buy: ISA property completions per capita where it

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came out top in the whole of the UK, with 495 residents purchasing homes utilising this scheme.

HELP TO BUY CITIES The research also accounts for the most populated UK cities and which of those offer the best options for buyers looking to utilise Help to Buy options. Of these, the most buyerfriendly cities were revealed to be:  1. Wakefield – Located in a prime spot between Leeds and York, Wakefield tops the UK’s most populated cities for Help to Buy hotspots. The city has one of the highest levels of Help to Buy: ISA property completions, helping 610 residents purchase new homes between December 2015 and March 2017. 2. Hull – In second place, and securing Yorkshire as a true hotspot hotshot, the port city scored highly in equity loans per capita. Hull’s low average property cost (£134,452) means that the 5% deposit required is the cheapest of any city at just £6,722. 3. Salford – Home to MediaCityUK, Salford sits in bronze position with 437 residents successfully purchasing homes utilising the Help to Buy: ISA scheme in recent times, and a good level of equity loans per capita boosting its ranking.

SO HOW DOES HELP TO BUY ACTUALLY WORK?  With a Help to Buy Equity Loan the Government lends buyers up to 20% of the cost of their new home. This means that buyers only need a 5% cash deposit and a mortgage to make up the remainder  To reflect the current property prices in London, the Government has increased the upper limit for the equity loan from 20% to 40% in London only  The loan is interest free for the first five years. After five years you will be required to pay an interest fee of 1.75% of the amount of your Help to Buy Shared Equity loan at the time you purchased your property, rising each year after that by the increase (if any) in the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 1%  The loan itself is repayable after 25 years or on the sale of the property if earlier  Help to Buy is available to both first time buyers and homeowners who are looking to move  The property must be newly built with a maximum price of up to £600,000  Current homeowners will not be able to sublet their home or enter a part exchange deal on their old home, and must not own any other property at the time they make use of Help to Buy to purchase a new home


Available with Help to Buy, Houghton Fields from Mulberry Homes is a charming collection of three and four bedroom homes, including bungalows and detached houses, set amongst picturesque and rural surroundings. The Marston three FROM bedroom bungalow offers a spacious living £294,950 and dining area and the kitchen and breakfast space comes with integrated appliances. The master bedroom has an en suite and there is also a family bathroom. Homes come with a private garden and parking. Nestled between the county town of Bedford and the market town of Ampthill, the village of Houghton Conquest has a shop, post office, active village hall and a selection of gastropubs and restaurants. The village is also surrounded by lovely countryside with an abundance of country walks on the doorstep. For commuters, trains reach London St Pancras in 38 minutes from nearby Bedford station.


King’s Court at Summerhill Park Redrow’s King’s Court apartments at Summerhill Park are a stylish collection of properties that are situated just a 10-minute drive from the city centre, and are ideal for those who want all that a city can offer, except for the stress! King’s Court comprises FROM two three-storey apartment buildings, each £122,995 containing 15 two bedroom apartments offering a choice of three different layouts. Contemporary kitchens come with integrated appliances and there is a dedicated parking space and bike store. Help to Buy is available. Broadgreen train station is a short walk away and offers frequent journeys to Liverpool Lime Street in less than 15 minutes.

ST HELENS Radley Park

FROM £165,995

Radley Park offers three bedroom homes for sale in St Helens, Merseyside, which are located just three miles from the town centre and are available with the Help to Buy scheme. The homes have been developed with light and height in mind and benefit from lofty ceilings and large windows that create bright open living spaces, as well as designer kitchens and modern fixtures and fittings. Radley Park is located just three miles from St Helens’ thriving town centre with a bustling high street, shopping centres and an abundance of leisure facilities.

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FROM £159,000

Orleans House

FROM £240,000

Barnes Village is an award-winning development of 39 historic apartments and townhouses, surrounded by 117 new homes, which gives a real sense of mixing the old with the new. Barnes Village is a contemporary restoration of a magnificent Grade II listed building amongst a collection of elegant family homes. Each home has its own private garden, a sharply pitched roof and large windows, making everywhere light and airy. There is a wealth of choice right on your doorstep and easy access to the surrounding districts of Wilmslow, Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall, as well as the thriving metropolitan city of Manchester.

Orleans House is a collection of seven studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments within a Grade II listed building – formerly a warehouse for the city’s Cotton Exchange. Developed by Forty/8, the high-specification apartments feature an open-plan living/dining area, and the kitchen comes with integrated appliances. Each apartment has a video entry system and a concierge. There is quick and easy access to the city’s main transport links on the doorstep, along with cycle routes and regular buses. Liverpool Lime Street station with high-speed connections north and south is just 15 minutes away. The development is also located close to a great selection of shops, restaurants and some vibrant night life. Help to Buy is available.,sk8-ref-4410323


FROM £187,495

Winnington Village The first phase of homes at the development has just a handful of three bedroom houses still available to buy, but the second phase will feature a range of two, three and four bedroom homes. The new phase will also include a central hub that aims to bring the community together, plus a nursery, restaurant, extra parking and a range of shops and a community centre. The homes will offer free-flowing flexible living space which is perfect for family living. Northwich railway station is in the village and provides excellent commuter access with a regular service to Manchester Piccadilly station.



King’s Glade

FROM £537,950

King’s Glade is an exclusive development of five and six bedroom houses in Wakefield. Positioned in Newmillerdam, which is known for its beautiful country park, these new homes feature designer kitchens and bathrooms and energy efficient fittings. Selected homes also include fully fitted carpets and floor tiling throughout. It is ideally situated in a pretty village but is also perfect for commuters who want to be near to Wakefield and Leeds. Help to Buy is also available.

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GET SETTLED WITH PRICEDIN For many Londoners renting in the capital, it can be difficult to cover the cost of living while simultaneously saving for a deposit to buy your first home. Often forced to move from property to property because of pushy landlords and short-term tenancy agreements, it can seem impossible to find somewhere to really call home, and truly settle in In a recent survey by L&Q of Londoners aged 24-35, nearly 80% of participants reported they had been renting for more than three years; with many of them feeling unable to put down roots in the capital. Over half of those surveyed even said they expected to have to move out of London in order to be able to purchase a property. Dedicated to helping first time buyers take their first step on to the property ladder, L&Q has launched its PricedIn Living campaign, to demonstrate how buyers can settle in with shared ownership – an alternative route on to the housing ladder. Shared ownership allows buyers to purchase a share in a property, renting the un-owned proportion at a subsidised level. Once they have a first step on to the ladder, buyers can then purchase more of the property as and when they can afford it, through a process called staircasing – and can ultimately own the home outright. L&Q has a plethora of new homes available, where buyers can start to put down roots in a range of sought-after areas in London and the Home Counties.   In the commuter hotspot of Chigwell, Essex, L&Q has launched a collection of 11 five bedroom shared ownership houses at Oaklands Hamlet, giving buyers the rare opportunity to purchase a large family home through the affordable homeownership scheme. Surrounded by 53 acres of countryside, the new eco-homes on the edge of Chigwell will also help to reduce families’ carbon footprints. Central London is easily accessible on the Central Line from nearby Hainault underground station. A private bus service runs directly from the development to the station, from where commuters can reach Liverpool Street in just over half an hour, and London Bridge in 45 minutes. Crossrail will also be arriving at Chadwell Heath mainline station in 2019 – just a 15-minute drive from Oaklands Hamlet. The new line will provide fast connections to Paddington, Bond Street and Heathrow. Alternatively,


Weavers Quarter

Oaklands Hamlet

Weavers Quarter

Oaklands Hamlet

Weavers Quarter

the scheme offers easy road access to London, Essex and further afield via the A12, M11 and M25. The stylish homes at Oaklands Hamlet offer an exceptional specification throughout; Symphony kitchens are complete with integrated Zanussi and Electrolux appliances, while bathrooms feature designer sanitaryware and chrome finishes. Plush wool carpet is fitted to all bedrooms, and oak-effect laminate flooring to living areas. Each home also includes its own private garden and a parking space. Prices at Oaklands Hamlet start from £166,250 for a 25% share of a five bedroom house with a full market value of £665,000. For those looking to settle down close to the hustle and bustle of central London, at Weavers Quarter, one of the capital’s most affordable new developments, first time buyers can enjoy high-spec living in Barking, east London. The first phase of shared ownership homes comprises 50 one, two and three bedroom apartments and duplexes, and

offers aspirational living for first time buyers. Design features include a Moore fitted kitchen and a range of fully integrated appliances from Electrolux; all bedrooms have Milan Granola wool-mix carpets, and bathrooms have sleek sanitaryware. Each apartment has a private outdoor area and access to communal gardens. The homes at Weavers Quarter are well placed for transport links into the City. The affordable east London homes are less than half a mile from Barking station, providing easy links to central London. Barking station is on the London Overground; and on the London Underground District and Hammersmith & City lines. It also connects with C2C national rail services directly into London and out to the South East. Prices for a one bedroom apartment at Weavers Quarter start from £71,250 for a 30% share, with a full market value of £237,500.  For further information about how you could put down roots with shared ownership visit

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Orbit unveils the first phase of Saxon Gate development A recent hotspot feature in First Time Buyer magazine revealed the many joys of life in Lichfield; from easy commuting, to excellent schools, and from beautiful historic buildings to unrivalled shopping facilities. With the launch of the first phase of its impressive Saxon Gate development, Orbit is offering first time buyers affordable ways to buy their own Staffordshire home. At the Saxon Gate development in Eastern Avenue, 40 outright sale and 40 shared ownership properties will be on offer, just minutes from the centre of the historic town. The development is comprised of spacious one bedroom apartments, and two, three and four bedroom houses, set in a beautifully landscaped enclave and built to Orbit’s exacting standards. With more than 50 years’ experience of building and maintaining sustainable communities, Orbit pays close attention to the build quality and layout of its properties, to their environment, and to ensuring that they suit the financial circumstances of their purchasers. “We want the residents at Saxon Gate to be comfortable and feel secure in their new homes, and to know that they have the support of a responsible developer throughout the purchase process and beyond.” explains Kim Craig, Orbit’s Sales


Manager for Saxon Gate. She continues, “We are proud of our exceptional construction standards, and of the outstanding service we offer our new and existing homeowners. We want to ensure that purchasers are buying the home that will best suit their needs, but also that it will suit their pockets. This is why we work closely with, and can recommend, experienced independent financial advisors who can advise clients on the best financial package for them.” The 40 homes for outright sale at Saxon Gate are available for purchase with Help to Buy Equity Loans, whereby the Government lends up to 20% of the cost of a new build home, so buyers only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest, and no fees are charged on the 20% loan for the first five years of ownership. Saxon Gate also has 40 Help to Buy shared ownership properties available to qualifying candidates, which means that the purchaser buys between 25% and 75% of the property initially, and pays Governmentsubsidised rent on the remaining portion. The benefits of this scheme to first time buyers, are that it is only necessary to raise a deposit for the purchased share of the property, and that further shares can be bought through a process called staircasing should their financial circumstances improve later.

Shared ownership is available to purchasers with a household income below £60,000 per annum (or below £90,000 for homes in London). Regardless of tenure, all properties at Saxon Gate come with high-end fitted kitchens, bathrooms and domestic appliances, and are built to be energy efficient, ensuring that heating bills are minimised. With Saxon Gate set just on the outskirts of Lichfield, residents will benefit from easy access to excellent transport links. (Lichfield Trent Valley Rail Station is just 1.5 miles away, and it’s only a few minutes to the M6, for fast routes to Manchester, Birmingham and London.) The area offers great local schools, and the huge variety of amenities and attractions on offer in Staffordshire’s Heritage City are within easy reach. The stunning countryside neighbouring Saxon Gate offers the perfect opportunity to unwind in the open air, and boasts great walks and cycling routes. Prices for the new properties at Saxon Gate were about to be released at the time of going to press. There is a show home and sales suite on site at Saxon Gate. For information about Help to Buy schemes or details of how to make viewing appointments, visit or call Orbit on 02476 437 040

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WHY A NEW METROPOLITAN HOME COULD BE THE BEST MOVE YOU MAKE IN 2018 Metropolitan’s new range of homes could be perfect for those in London, the South East and the East Midlands looking to buy their first home in 2018 Shared ownership still offers a welcome opportunity to buy a home for less than its full market value, despite the uncertainty in the property market due to Brexit, the increase of interest rates and changes in Stamp Duty regulations. It’s the preferred route for most first time buyers, as it enables them to buy a home without financially over-stretching themselves. Shared ownership allows you to buy a percentage of the full market value of a property (usually between 25% and 75% of the full market value, depending on what you can afford) and you pay a subsidised rent on the remainder. The rental element is index-linked – which means it rises predictably in line with inflation. If you can afford to, you can increase the share that you own to the point where you own the home outright. It’s a way of lowering the costs of buying and owning a home, while offering the option to buy it outright by stages – as and when you are able to afford to. During the course of 2018, Metropolitan is selling a selection of new homes available to own for less through shared ownership and a number for outright sale in a range of locations across London and the South East. From high specification apartments at landmark London developments, to houses offering the best of village life in the South East, Metropolitan’s 2018 range of new shared ownership homes offers something for all types of first time buyer. At Brampton Park in Huntingdonshire, Metropolitan has a wide range of homes for both outright and shared ownership sale. Built by a consortium with Linden Homes and Crest Nicholson, Brampton Park offers modern rural living while still being easily connected to the rest of the country. Closer to London, at Times Square in Welwyn Garden City, Metropolitan currently has available two and three bedroom duplex apartments and penthouses, giving people affordable living that is less than 25 minutes on the train from the Capital. Meanwhile in Stevenage, another commuter town that is preferred by


South West 9

Cavendish House

many first time buyers thanks to its close proximity to London and reasonable price of living, Metropolitan will develop nearly 250 new homes for shared ownership later in the year. In London’s trendy and vibrant Brixton, Metropolitan has nearly sold all of its homes at South West 9 with just a few one and two bedroom apartments remaining ( In another south west London location – Colliers Wood – Cavendish House offers one, two and three bedroom shared ownership apartments, giving quick and easy access into central London and beyond on the Northern Line ( Stephen Williams, Metropolitan’s Head of Sales and Marketing, explains, “Our new homes being developed in London and the South East will provide muchneeded affordable options to own where the housing crisis is at its most acute and so

Cavendish House

many people are priced out. “We’re building in both established hotspots and in up-and-coming areas. This means that our homebuyers don’t just buy into a good quality, affordable home; they’re also buying into locations that have lots to offer for a wide range of lifestyles.” New homes developed for Metropolitan’s homeowners come with high specifications, that are designed to give the new home owner everything they need in order to make the move into homeownership a smooth one. This includes fitted appliances in the kitchens, fully fitted bathrooms, carpeting, storage space or bike storage and a NHBC warranty for peace of mind. To find out more about Metropolitan’s new homes, get in touch with the sales team on 020 3535 2555 or by emailing us at

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The last in our series following the story of a young family taking their first steps on the property ladder The day has arrived for Danielle Dos Santos, Fabio Ferreira and their two children to move into their first dream home. They bought a lovely two bedroom apartment in Canning Town, off-plan, through shared ownership at One Housing’s Silver Quarter development, which is being sold by SiteSales Property Group. Having planned the big day, they are now happily settling into their lovely new home which they fell in love with as soon as they visited the development. It’s been a very exciting time for the family as they have been splashing out on new furniture and accessories after deciding that having been married for 14 years it was time to give themselves and the children a real treat as they start their new lives together. The apartment is very convenient as it is five minutes away from Fabio’s work and there is a great school nearby for the children. They bought a 40% share of the two bedroom apartment as well as secure underground parking. Surrounded by pretty communal gardens, there is also private bike storage which could come in handy if one of them decided to take up cycling The apartment was designed to a high specification, and Danielle is particularly happy with the beautiful new kitchen which comes with a glass splashback, stone worktops, integrated appliances plus a


washer/dryer in the storage cupboard. The open-plan living areas work well with the children and there are also retail units on the ground floor which Danielle and Fabio are sure to make good use of. One Housing appointed SiteSales to manage the sale of the properties at Silver Quarter because of its 25 years’ experience handling all types of developments, including affordable homes for first time buyers. The development has 55 one, two and three bedroom apartments and is part of a £3.7bn ongoing regeneration of the Canning Town and Custom House area. Canning Town station is located opposite the development and offers quick and easy access to central London, Stratford and Canary Wharf. As Danielle and her family enjoy their first home they can now settle back to a real family life and a brand-new start – we wish them every happiness for the future. There are 11 apartments still available at Silver Quarter with seven more to be released shortly. Prices start at £160,000 for a 40% share with a full market value of £400,000 for a one bedroom; £200,000 for a 40% share with a full market value of £500,000 for a two bedroom and £137,500 for a 25% share with a full market value of £550,000 for a three bedroom.

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Photo © Loughborough University

Let’s move to Loughborough


Average property price (December 2017) – £220,913 Property breakdown: * (Leicestershire) Detached – £315,934 Semi detached – £195,643 Terraced – £159,706 Flat – £125,224 *According to the UK House Pr ice Index, December 2017


This university town in the north of Leicestershire is fast becoming a must-move-to hotspot, thanks to its fantastic transport links, youthful population and reasonable house prices The bustling town of Loughborough is known for its world-class university and speedy commuter connections, but there’s a lot more to the town than meets the eye. From accessible house prices and a lively entertainment scene to great shopping facilities, good schools and beautiful countryside on tap, it’s a top choice for buyers looking for a wellrounded place to settle. The town sits to the north of the county of Leicestershire, and is just a few miles from both Nottingham and Leicester, while London is only 90 minutes away by train. So as well as making it a perfect spot for commuters, it’s also great for combining country and city lifestyles. Theatre, music and comedy shows can be found on a daily basis, while there’s no

Photo © Rich Grundy/Flikr

Queen's Park


end of outdoor activities to get involved in around Loughborough. Though it already boasts some excellent facilities, it’s also a town set for improvements, with the already comprehensive town centre marked for further regeneration in the near future.

HOMES AND RESIDENTS The world-class university, and the young population that it brings, helps shape the town’s identity and culture. As you’d expect, there’s a high number of 20-29 year-olds, but aside from this spike in the demographic, the age range of the population is fairly evenly spread. The county itself is a diverse one, and the nearby city of Leicester is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. When it comes to properties, Loughborough and Leicestershire are equally diverse, with all eras of property represented throughout the town and county. Homes range from Victorian conversions and apartment blocks in the town centre, to grand, detached properties with impressive drives and gardens close by. Prices are also relatively affordable: in Loughborough, a four bedroom detached property will cost around the same as a one or two bedroom apartment in London.

• Documentary maker Sir David Attenborough • Footballer and pundit Gary Linekar • Novelist Sue Townsend • Rock band Kasabian • Travel entrepreneur Thomas Cook

OUT AND ABOUT For those looking to learn and improve, there are regular free talks and seminars held at various venues around the town. Recent talks have covered everything from web-based business to art, and are open to students and non-students alike. Theatre and music is also extremely popular in the area. Loughborough Town Hall is a venue on the schedule of many touring shows and acts, while you can catch live music at several venues in the area including the White Horse at Quorn, Loughborough College and Loughborough Arts Centre at the university. Every year, the town hosts the Loughborough Comedy Festival, where comedy fans can catch shows from new, emerging talent and big-name acts over the course of a several weeks. And fitness fans will love the yearly half-marathon, which starts and finishes in the town centre. There’s no shortage of green space nearby, either. Queens Park, close to the town centre, is a beautiful Victorian green space, ideal for picnic lunches, jogging or dog walking. The Leicestershire countryside on the doorstep also means that exploring the great outdoors is always an option. Head to Beacon Hill Country

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SHOPPING There’s a great deal of choice for shoppers, from high street staples to quirky markets. The two shopping malls in the heart of the town – The Rushes and Carillon Court – are home to the big-name brands


Photo © Paul Wilkinson/Flikr

Park for stunning views out over the surrounding area and plenty of walking routes. Or try the Outwoods, a stretch of woodland that’s a hit with locals. Animal lovers, as well as families, will enjoy Manor Organic Farm, where you can say hello to the farm animals, and sample the delicious homemade cakes. There’s are also plenty of pretty country pubs in the area that are perfect for Sunday lunching. The Manor House at Quorn is a popular choice, favoured for its huge beer garden and traditional roast dinners. Walkers will love the Star Inn, a few miles north, in Sutton Bonnington. The cosy pub is known for its warm welcome and good selection of food and ales, and is a great spot to rest weary legs. In the town centre itself, all culinary tastes are catered for with a wide selection of foods from around the globe. Try Peter Pizza for perfect pizzas, including vegan versions, and Goodliffe’s, for laidback, fresh and seasonal fayre.

Loughborough Market

as well as gyms, supermarkets and bars. With a history going back more than 800 years, the market in Loughborough is a big part of the shopping experience in the town – and was even recently crowned Best Large Outdoor Market. The market operates between Thursday and Saturday, and is perfect for picking up household items, fresh fruits and veg, clothing and everything in between. On Fridays, traders sell vintage and antique items, while a farmers market, is held on a monthly basis, where traders sell local produce including delicious breads, preserves, cheeses and meat. Of course, if you can’t find what you need in the town itself, the nearby cities of Leicester and Nottingham also have wonderful shopping facilities.

Loughborough is a very well-connected town. Nearby Nottingham and Leicester are less than 30 minutes away by train or car. London St Pancras can be reached in just under 90 minutes, making Loughborough a very viable option for commuters travelling into the capital, or further to Europe. The nearby M1 enables road connections north and south, while East Midlands airport is handy for international travel. There is also a comprehensive bus network in the town, thanks, in part, to the need for good transport options for students. Kinchbus runs a number of routes, some running as frequently as every two minutes at peak times. For those looking to explore or commute by bike, there are plenty of quiet and cyclefriendly routes in the area, including into Leicester, which takes around 30 minutes. 5 REASONS WE LOVE… …LOUGHBOROUGH

1 Impressive commuter connections 2 Thriving arts and entertainment scene 3 Spectacular natural surroundings 4 The award-winning market 5 Loughborough Comedy Festival

HOMES on offer in the area… BARROW UPON SOAR Strancliffe Gardens

FROM £45,000*



Allendale Road

Buttercup Fields

FROM £42,500*

FROM £239,000

The pretty village of Barrow upon Soar lies around three miles south of Loughborough and is home to this new collection of two and three bedroom homes. The properties, in picturesque surroundings, are arranged over two floors and feature quality fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and economical gas central heating. The village, with its shops, bars and winding river, is just a short walk away, while Loughborough can be reached in around 15 minutes. Barrow upon Soar rail station, for services to Loughborough, Lincoln and Leicester, is a seven-minute walk.

There is a range of two and three bedroom homes available through shared ownership at this pretty new development just two miles from Loughborough town centre. The homes form part of The Chimes development, and are within easy reach of local amenities, including a large supermarket, schools, shops and sporting facilities. The homes are finished to a high standard and feature separate living and dining areas, with doors opening to a private rear garden, as well as plenty of storage. Residents also benefit from off-road parking.

Situated in the historic market town of Shepshed, this collection of three and four bedroom homes lies around five miles to the west of Loughborough. The three bedroom properties feature separate living and dining rooms, with French doors opening from the kitchen to the garden. Upstairs, there’s a family bathroom, as well as an en suite from the master bedroom. Local shops and cosy country pubs are within easy reach, while Loughborough is a 20-minute drive away, and buzzing Leicester only 10 minutes further on by car.

*Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £180,000

*Based on a 25% share of the full market value of £170,000

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WIN £500 BY TELLING US WHAT YOU THINK First Time Buyer magazine has launched an online survey to find out what you really think about the housing market, house buying process and housebuilders Is your next home going to be a brand new house? Or will it be one that’s been lived in by someone else? Just how important is location? Are you keen that your new home should be cheap to run (with low energy bills, for example)? Or are you just concerned with how much it costs to buy? Whether you are currently searching for a new home or have bought one in the past year, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us what you think at and we’ll put your name into a draw to win £500. We want to know about the whole house buying process, too. How easy was it to find the information you needed and to get a mortgage? If you were looking at brand new houses, how helpful were the staff in the show homes? Do builders’ websites tell you what you need to know? All this and more is covered in our survey – but it should


still only take less than 10 minutes to complete. And that few minutes could win you £500 in our draw! If you also agree to take part in a short telephone interview later – when we can ask more detailed questions about what really ‘makes you tick’ when it comes to house hunting – there’s a second prize draw with an additional £500 up for grabs too. But you can just enter the online survey. So, visit and give us your thoughts and we’ll use them to help shape the housing market of the future. The research is being undertaken by OlsenMetrix Marketing ( working with First Time Buyer and other partners. Survey responses will be anonymous. Names and contact details will be collected only to let you know if you have won one

of the prizes and will not be used for marketing purposes. Further information is available on the survey website at

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Which? mortgages expert Stephen Maunder explains how mortgage advisers work and what to look out for when choosing one With so much at stake, buying your first home can be daunting. This can especially be the case when applying for a mortgage; with so many different deals out there, it can be hard to know where to begin. With that in mind, many first time buyers seek advice from a mortgage broker – a certified professional who can help you find a mortgage, walk you through the application process, and deal with the administration along the way. Here, we explain how mortgage brokers work and offer advice on how to find someone who will genuinely act in your best interests – as well as pointing out some of the pitfalls you’ll need to avoid along the way.

MORTGAGE BROKER OR MORTGAGE ADVISER? You might be wondering what the difference is between mortgage advisers


and mortgage brokers. They’re basically interchangeable names for the same thing – somebody who offers professional advice about your mortgage options. While going to the bank that’s always looked after your finances and asking the staff there for a mortgage might seem like the obvious first step when you’re beginning the application process, it will rarely result in you getting the best deal for your personal circumstances. This is where a mortgage broker can come in useful. A good broker will search the market for the best mortgage for you and apply to lenders on your behalf. As well as making the process less stressful, this can speed things up as you’ll get the inside track on how to improve your application and won’t waste time applying to lenders that are unlikely to accept an application from someone in your financial situation.

WHO USES MORTGAGE ADVISERS? Mortgage advisers help all types of homebuyers, from first time buyers to experienced landlords who own multiple properties. Brokers can be especially useful for people who are new to the process, those who are too busy to spend hours trawling through deals and lending criteria, and buyers with more complicated financial backgrounds – for example if you’re selfemployed or have an inconsistent income.

DO MORTGAGE BROKERS SEARCH EVERY MORTGAGE DEAL? Brokers come in all shapes and sizes, from high street companies and telephone-based advisers to more technologically advanced

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online brokers that use chatbots and algorithms to match you with a mortgage. But the most important point of difference between brokers is whether they offer ‘whole-of-market’ coverage. If they do, it means they’ll be able to look at every available deal from every lender and recommend the very best mortgage deal for your specific circumstances. This isn’t the case with all brokers, as some only have access to deals from a certain number of banks (who they’ll describe as a ‘panel of lenders’), and others will only recommend deals that they get paid commission on – so do shop around before choosing an adviser.

HOW MORTGAGE ADVISERS FIND THE BEST DEAL To understand the pros and cons of using a broker, it helps to get to grips with how lenders source their mortgage deals. Some banks and building societies don’t make deals available directly to borrowers. For example, a lender might have a range they only offer through ‘intermediaries’ – which is just a fancy word for mortgage brokers. This means your adviser might be able to access a deal you couldn’t find on the high street. On the other hand, some lenders have deals that are only available directly to buyers, and therefore can’t be applied for through brokers. This is where the issue of commission comes in: you want your mortgage broker to find the best deal for you, not the best deal for them. In this instance, using a broker where advisers are paid on a salary-based model, rather than a commission-based one, is important. Mortgage brokers such as Which? Mortgage Advisers don’t work for commission, which means they don’t have a vested interest in offering you the deal that they can get the most out of. They will also tell you if you could get a better mortgage deal by approaching a lender directly.

HOW DO MORTGAGE BROKERS MAKE MONEY? This varies from company to company. Some brokers will charge you an up-front fee for their services, some will charge a percentage of the loan, others operate on a commission basis (where they make

their money through payments from mortgage lenders when they secure loans for customers) – and some will use a combination of these methods. For example, Which? Mortgage Advisers charges customers £499 for its service, with £299 paid when you submit your application and the remainder paid when the loan is granted. Lenders do pay Which? Mortgage Advisers a procuration fee for arranging mortgages with them, but because the advisers earn the same amount regardless of which deal they set a customer up with – and because they can see all the deals on the market – you know that you’ll always be pointed towards the best deal for your personal situation. You can, of course, find mortgage brokers who don’t charge a fee to the customer at all – but if you choose one of these companies you should do your due diligence and find out how they’re being paid, who they might have ties to, and whether they really offer a whole-of-market service.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS SHOULD YOUR MORTGAGE BROKER HAVE? Mortgage advisers should have a qualification that is recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Most commonly, you’ll hear the term ‘CeMAP qualified’. CeMAP stands for ‘Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice’ and is the nationally recognised qualification you should be looking for in your mortgage adviser. You should also look at reviews before choosing a mortgage broker. Websites such as Trust Pilot allow users to leave reviews about companies and offer an overall score that can be a decent representation of their reliability.

HOW DOES THE ADVICE PROCESS WORK? Your mortgage broker should be your first point of contact throughout the process of buying a home, and shouldn’t simply secure you an agreement and then disappear. Your journey with an adviser will usually start with a phone call or meeting where you outline your situation – you might have saved a small deposit, have inherited some money, or simply be wondering how much you can borrow.

Whatever position you’re in, it’s never too early to contact an adviser. They’ll be able to offer tailored advice based on your circumstances, perhaps offering help on how to improve your credit score or filling you in on how mortgages work for schemes such as Help to Buy. If you’re in a position to press ahead with finding the right mortgage, you’ll need to share your financial details with the adviser, including things like your salary, savings and any outstanding debt. Once you’re happy to continue, your adviser will begin to search for mortgages that match your criteria, usually offering you the option of securing a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) – an agreement from a lender that, in principle, they’d be willing to lend you a certain amount of money – before a formal application is submitted. Having an AIP already in hand can be useful when you start house hunting as it proves to estate agents and sellers that you’re serious and can actually afford the kind of property you’re looking at. Then, once you’ve had an offer accepted, your adviser will submit your mortgage application to the lender on your behalf to formally secure your mortgage. Your relationship shouldn’t be over at this point, though. Your adviser should still be your first port of call for any mortgagerelated issues while your purchase is going through, and a good broker should also be willing to assist you in chasing up lenders if the process is lagging.

WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG? As with any service, sometimes things go wrong and people have a bad experience. If you’ve gone through the mortgage application process without the help of a broker, it can be hard to find recourse. If you used an adviser, however, there are routes you can take to complain. If you’re unhappy with the service offered by your broker, they should have a complaints policy in place and offer a dispute resolution service. If the issue can’t be resolved between you and the broker, you can escalate the issue to the Financial Ombudsman within six months.

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FTB HOPEFULS HOP ON THE LADDER IN HARROW Ever popular with first time buyers, London’s leafy suburb of Harrow offers its residents the best of both worlds: a buzzing town centre complete with a plethora of shops and restaurants, combined with quick transport to central London and attractive green spaces. All this alongside the picturesque village-feel of Harrow on the Hill Despite its appeal, rising prices in Harrow, as in many areas across the capital, mean that getting on to the property ladder in this part of London can seem increasingly out of reach. Simon Scott, Head of Sales and Marketing at Origin Housing, comments, “Data shows that property prices in Harrow have risen considerably in recent years, and by the end of this year, the average home in Harrow will cost more than £500,000! As a result, homes will be even further out of reach for first time buyers, making schemes which help buyers get their feet on to the ladder, such as shared ownership, more important than ever.” Origin Housing has two landmark schemes soon to come to market in this up-and-coming hotspot that may help first time buyers.The first of Origin’s new schemes to launch in Harrow is Echo1; 116 apartments on Northolt Road. Designed by award-winning architects, the striking development will feature straight, clean lines, inset glass balconies, with upper floors including duplex penthouses. Offering spectacular views across London and the Home Counties, Origin’s


second development will offer 186 new homes, a number of which will be set within a 17-storey architecturally striking new landmark tower. Both schemes are ethically designed to reduce carbon emissions and lower living costs. Both schemes will launch later this year, with a proportion of homes available to first time buyers through Origin’s shared ownership scheme. This allows those unable to save for a large deposit to purchase just a share of their new home, and then staircase up – buying more of the property at a time that they can afford. Highlighting just how straightforward getting on to the housing ladder can be with shared ownership, recent purchaser Emma, a chartered surveyor and mum to two teenagers, describes how she recently purchased a 25% share in a three bedroom property at an Origin Housing scheme in Hertfordshire. She said, “For me, the biggest challenge was finding a home I could afford in the right area. I needed to be in Hertfordshire – I have family close by in Bushey and Watford, and it was essential for me to be near to my father, who suffers with health conditions, as I visit most days.”

Palmerstone Road

It is a common misconception that shared ownership is solely available to those buying a house for the very first time. In fact, the scheme is open to anyone who does not currently own a property. Emma continues, “I had been a homeowner in the past, but I had been renting for nearly six years. Securing a mortgage wasn’t the issue, however, as a single parent, getting together the large deposit required to get back on to the property ladder would have been virtually impossible without shared ownership. The scheme has allowed me to buy my own home with a manageable deposit of just 5% of the share I purchased – a fraction of what I would need on the open market.” For further information on how shared ownership can help you buy your first home, or to register interest in any of Origin’s Harrow schemes, visit or Tweet to @OriginNewHomes

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Castilla, a shared ownership development by leading London housing provider Peabody, is the latest selection of homes arriving at Elephant & Castle, offering 64 one and two bedroom apartments through the popular scheme With 75% of properties sold to date, Castilla is proving extremely popular with first time buyers. The development is at the centre of a thriving community with a revitalised town centre, more green spaces and an additional 450,000 sq ft of retail space adding to Elephant & Castle’s energetic, strong culture and heritage. Castilla is part of UNCLE Elephant & Castle, a development offering a large selection of private apartments for rent along with a new home for the Southwark Playhouse theatre. For those looking to explore the arts, the Southwark Playhouse offers a plethora of independent plays and revivals within the development, allowing

residents to be at the centre of a thriving artistic community. The area benefits from a vast range of international cuisines – the La Bodeguita Latin American grocery store, restaurant and deli being a culinary landmark. Other popular bars, restaurants and street food options include Mercato Metropolitano and Toulouse Lautrec. The area also offers residents a variety of entertainment options, including cinemas, theatres and a global clubbing scene – ideal for those looking to experience London’s night life. Just a four-minute walk from the Elephant & Castle rail and tube stations, Castilla provides residents with easy access

to the rest of London and beyond. Bank station can be reached in five minutes via the Northern Line while the Bakerloo Line sees keen shoppers reach Oxford Circus in just 10 minutes. All apartments at Castilla come with their own private outdoor space – many of which have views across London’s impressive skyline – as well as spacious interiors. Finished to a high specification, the apartments come complete with underfloor heating and all residents will have use of the 24-hour concierge service in the lobby of the development. Peabody is also offering a free gym membership incentive, where residents will be entitled to free local gym membership for up to twelve months*. Andrew Peglau, Head of Marketing at Peabody, said, “Peabody is proud to provide first time buyers with a unique opportunity to live in Zone 1 through shared ownership. Residents at Castilla will not just benefit from a fantastic new home but also the thriving Elephant & Castle community right on their doorsteps. We’re also pleased to now offer free gym membership on all available apartments. Castilla has proved to be highly popular with first time buyers so far, and we anticipate the remaining homes will be snapped up quickly.” Prices start at £112,500 for a 25% share of a one bedroom apartment and £143,750 for a 25% share of a two bedroom apartment, with just a 10% deposit. For further information or to register interest, please visit or contact 020 7021 4842 *Includes one membership per household


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TIM SHOSW HO WE OPNER NDP LO STO and successful We all enjoyed very busy Show at the First Time Buyer Home in February. Here’s Old Town Hall, Stratford m the day, where a selection of pictures fro et property first time buyers could me to buy their experts and find out how . dream home m for details of our Check September 2018 at next Home Show on 15 r. the LCCC in Mancheste


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FI Real Estate Management is transforming one of the UK’s finest surviving examples of mid-20th century modernist architecture into a blueprint for modern urban living Design was at the heart of the redevelopment of Croydon’s iconic Leon House from the start, as architects worked on plans to create 263 spacious, light-filled one and two bedroom apartments from the former office block – all featuring bespoke interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows, framing amazing views over London. But the building’s ‘secret history’ as an undiscovered masterpiece of modern brutalist art took the design to a new level, as architects, developers and interior designers worked together to respect the principles of modernist post-war artist William Mitchell, whose sculptures were revealed during early construction. Architect Roy Collado explained, “When we researched the architecture of the building, we came across a reference to a sculpture, and when we opened the plaster up we found it! It was like finding a fireplace if you’re doing up a Victorian house – it was that kind of moment. It’s probably one of the biggest pieces of installed art in south London.” The huge, intriguing piece was carved into the concrete by renowned postwar sculptor William Mitchell when the modernist tower block was first erected in the 1960s. Fully restored, it now forms the striking focal point of the grand doubleheight entrance. For years, the sculpture, and others dotted throughout the building, lay hidden away behind the walls, but the team overseeing Leon’s transformation were all in agreement that Mitchell’s work should become a central feature of their redevelopment. Mitchell’s work was prolific during the 1960s, with his company at one point employing more than 40 skilled craftsmen and artists. His pieces feature in a wide variety of schools, public housing schemes, public subways, civic gardens, shopping centres and religious buildings, and now have listed status. Croydon-born developers Joseph and Bernard Gold, through their company Centrovincial Estates Ltd, began the construction of the then £2million office and shop development at Leon House back in 1964. The name Leon was chosen because it was the name of the Gold brothers father, and of Bernard’s oldest son. Having worked for the brothers previously, Mitchell was brought in to oversee the design elements of the building.


He created two heavily sculpted structural columns in the entrance hall that ran through the two lower floors of the building. On the main staircase, Mitchell hand carved further pieces in wet plaster to produce a specialist design for each floor. The process was recorded for the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World programme, with Mitchell providing an ongoing commentary describing the technique. As many of the pieces as possible have been preserved and restored during the development of Leon House, which has been shortlisted for FTB’s Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Property award 2018. In addition, the inside of every apartment features bespoke design by Love Interiors, which worked with the form and function of the building to keep the spirit of William Mitchell alive. This was done by keeping the interiors clean, modern and clutter-free, and by specifying quality materials including oak flooring, specialist ceramics and designer-specification appliances and fittings.

Leon has been attracting plenty of attention from prospective buyers, thanks in part to its perfect location – within walking distance of both South London’s planned new Westfield shopping centre and East Croydon station – just 15 minutes from central London. Features at Leon House such as the sky garden, co-working space, and private roof dining room, all help this stunning redevelopment breathe fresh life into one of Croydon’s most well-known buildings. And a generous Help to Buy scheme is ensuring the luxurious properties will be truly affordable for local first time buyers.

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So Resi Wokingham

IMAGINE LIFE AS A HOMEOWNER WITH SO RESI Shared ownership is fast becoming the only viable way for many people to afford their own home, so it is vital that this flexible scheme, which is often misinterpreted, is made more transparent The route to buying your first home can be a confusing and complicated process and this can become even more of a minefield when adding shared ownership to the mix. Forward-thinking housing association Thames Valley Housing recognised that many people struggled to understand the concept behind shared ownership. Having to share your home with a stranger was just one of the misunderstandings that would regularly come up when speaking to potential customers. Most approaches to making shared ownership more understandable focus on just the here and now. The conversation is all about how to get into your new home with little or no discussion around what the next year and beyond will be like. As with most things in life, the costs increase over the years and it’s important that any would-be shared owner understands how the scheme operates. Rebranding its portfolio of shared ownership homes to So Resi, Thames


Valley is not only helping to improve understanding, changing perceptions, increasing awareness and breaking down the barriers to homeownership, but it is also equipping customers with all the information they need right from the start to help them make the best decisions for the long term. Buying a home is exciting, but it can also be a daunting experience and So Resi is designed to empower first time buyers with its clear and transparent approach. What So Resi does differently is to get customers thinking smartly about their future as a shared homeowner. Having open and honest conversations with its customers about what they can afford not just now but in five years’ time when their living costs will have risen, So Resi gets prospective buyers to look at their finances in detail and undertake a budget planning exercise, right at the start as part of the purchase process. The overall costs to buying and owning a property can often be underestimated by first time buyers, especially if they’ve only

ever rented before. The team at So Resi encourages prospective buyers to look carefully at what their monthly bills will look like aside from the mortgage and rent, including: 9 The costs of buying and running a home. These costs can change from year to year with unexpected costs for repair work or general property maintenance, alongside water, gas and electricity bills, council tax, buildings and contents insurance, ground rent and service charge, residents’ parking in some cases, maintenance and building work, and television, broadband, cable and telephone needing to be factored in. 9 Buyers need to remember that their So Resi monthly payment will increase annually. The payment paid is on So Resi’s share of the home. So Resi uses the government’s Retail Price Index measure and sets its monthly payment increase at RPI +0.5% every year. 9 Service charges also change in line with the cost of services delivered, and these are likely to increase year on year So Resi prides itself on helping with the decision-making process and ensuring that buyers go into this purchase, which is probably the biggest that they have made in their life, with their eyes wide open and are realistic about not just what they can afford to buy now, but also afford to run in the years to come.

SO RESI WOKINGHAM, BERKSHIRE A collection of one to four bedroom family homes on the popular Matthews Green Farm development, which when complete will boast onsite shops, a new primary school, landscaped open spaces, play areas, pathways and cycle tracks. Prices currently start from £145,000 for a 25% share of a four bedroom home, full price being £580,000. If you’re not after the big sell and want an open and honest conversation about becoming a homeowner, get in touch with So Resi. To find out more about how shared ownership works or to view a range of properties available across London and the South East, visit

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Liverpool-based Redwing Living has launched an estate agency service dedicated to shared owners and leaseholders The move is designed to help provide a comprehensive, all-inclusive package which brings together high street agent property marketing and specialist shared ownership knowledge. Customers will also benefit from the removal of the upfront costs associated with selling a shared ownership home. Established for over 50 years, the new service complements Redwing Living’s traditional offering and is already proving very popular with customers. Rachel Pedigrew, Head of Sales at Redwing Living, said, “We wanted to make selling shared ownership properties as easy as selling any other home. Our unique service helps to break down the misconceptions about shared ownership, and has proved that, if marketed right with a specialist team, there is a demand for this fantastic product. “We have found that there is an appetite for a specialist service which many high street estate agents aren’t able to provide due to a lack Here are just some of the benefits of buying a previously owned shared ownership property:  Customers buy the property like any shared ownership home but as it isn’t a new build, there are more lenders who will accept lower deposits  Buyers are not restricted to purchasing the share the current owner owns, and can usually buy up to 75%, depending on your affordability  Buyers have the opportunity to purchase more shares of their property, ultimately owning 100% if desired


of knowledge of the shared ownership product. The team at Redwing Living is perfectly positioned to provide this service, with 56 years of collective experience in both selling and marketing shared ownership homes, along with working for established high street estate agencies. “Our new service will help guide sellers and buyers through the journey, from marketing, viewings, application completion and assessment, right through to legal completion, ensuring a smooth transaction for all involved.” Shared ownership is the affordable option for those struggling to get on to the property ladder. It can also help buyers find a property in areas that might have too expensive when purchasing outright. Redwing Living has newbuild shared ownership homes throughout the North West as well as previously owned

shared ownership properties. Previously owned shared ownership homes are a credible choice for first time buyers and raising awareness of this is a high priority for Redwing Living.

To find out more about shared ownership contact Redwing Living’s specialist team on, @redwingliving or 0344 7360063

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A SIMPLE GUIDE TO SURVEYS FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS Buying a property isn’t cheap, so it’s not surprising that first time buyers are reluctant to pay out on a survey unnecessarily. However, without a survey, there’s no guarantee that your money is being well spent, and the shortterm saving could prove a much larger long-term loss when you later discover that your seemingly perfect home has hidden issues With as few as 20% of homebuyers getting a survey before buying a home, Iain Bain, Senior Surveyor at Fenn Wright – the Essex and Suffolk-based estate agents and chartered surveyors – shares his expertise to help simplify this often disregarded area of house buying. “A survey is a detailed inspection of a property carried out by a chartered surveyor, who reports on the building’s construction and condition, and highlights issues such as structural movement or major repairs required. If problems are discovered, the purchaser can choose to walk away or use this information to negotiate a lower price for the property, in order to recoup subsequent costs, or even ask the seller to fix the problems before purchase. “We would always advise employing a qualified surveyor, who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has in-depth knowledge of the local area and property values. If you’re buying an older or listed property, it’s vital to find a surveyor with the relevant expertise.” While many buyers will get a mortgage valuation as part of the home buying process, this isn’t the same as a survey, which offers a much more detailed examination of a property. A mortgage valuation simply involves a cursory look to assess the value, with a note about any major works that might be necessary and may affect its value. Banks and building societies instruct their own or an approved surveyor to establish that the property


is worth the money they’re lending, and normally you’re expected to pay for this; in part if not in full.

SO, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT SURVEY TO GET ON YOUR PROSPECTIVE NEW HOME? There are a number of different surveys available and the best one for you will depend on the age, size and value of the property. The RICS Homebuyer Report (with or without valuation) will advise you of any major problems such as rot, subsidence and so on, and it’s for properties of standard construction. It has an easy-tounderstand ‘traffic light’ layout to indicate the condition of the various parts of the property, with a summary of any risks found. Red indicates that serious repairs are required, orange means there is some cause for concern and green is positive. A RICS Homebuyer Report costs between £400 and £1,000, depending on the size and value of the property.

The RICS Building Survey is more expensive and ranges in price from under £700 to around £2,000, again depending on the size and value of the property. A much more thorough inspection of the property is carried out and a detailed report provided, even though it doesn’t include a market valuation or insurance reinstatement figure, unless specified. If you’re considering making alterations or having building work done, or if you’re buying an older or period property, particularly a timber-framed or thatched home, then a Building Survey is crucial. The report will include advice on repairs and future maintenance requirements and can provide an opinion on costs. It’s well worth the investment because it could potentially save you a great deal of money and untold stress!” To find out more, get in touch with the team of chartered surveyors at Fenn Wright. 01206 245 899

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FOR SALE THE CREAM OF THE CROP Each month, FTB scours the market for the best starter homes for first time buyers. Whether you’re looking for your first home to fit a modest budget or seeking somewhere you can enjoy some green space, we hope you will enjoy our selection.

C AT F O R D , S O U T H L O N D O N




HOT★ ★SP★ OT Starter homes p70-71


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Excalibur There will be almost 400 new homes at this exciting new development in the vibrant south London borough of Lewisham, with a number available through shared ownership. The development forms part of a large-scale regeneration programme that’s set to transform the Excalibur Estate. The one and two bedroom apartments available here are bright and spacious, with well-sized living areas as well as private balconies or terraces. Catford is an increasingly popular area with first time buyers and has good transport links into and around the city via local buses or trains from nearby Bellingham or Grove Park stations. L&Q 0333 003 3738 *Shared ownership available


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FROM £395,000

Rushgroves Leafy Hendon is home to this collection of apartments and houses, set in landscaped communal gardens. There are 387 new properties here, from studio apartments to four bedroom homes. Inside, they are beautifully finished; the two bedroom homes have openplan living/dining areas, which


open up to a well-sized balcony. There’s no shortage of green space, with Brent Reservoir and Fryent Country Park around a 15-minute walk. From Hendon, trains reach London St Pancras in under 30 minutes. L&Q 0333 003 3610 

FROM £290,000

Colindale Gardens Set within nine acres of landscaped gardens, this collection of one, two and three bedrooms homes is the perfect spot for those looking for a mix of indoor and outdoor space. The homes form part of the ongoing regeneration of the area that includes new homes, restaurants and businesses, and is just


20 minutes away from central London by tube. The homes feature floor-to-ceiling windows, open-plan living areas featuring oak flooring, tiled bathrooms and well-proportioned balconies or terraces. Redrow 0203 811 3734

FROM £200,000

Green Park Village An entire new community is being created in this picturesque location on the outskirts of Reading. The new homes, from one and two bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses, are set alongside a large lake and enjoy tranquil waterside views. The Lakeside Apartments feature open-plan living/dining

areas, tiled bathrooms and fitted kitchens. Facilities on the site will eventually include a school, hall and market square. Reading,10 minutes drive away, will soon offer links to London and Essex via Crossrail. Berkeley Homes 01183 218 751

The Mill This new collection of homes, created on the site of a former paper mill, occupies a desirable riverside location. There will be a total of 800 homes, from one to four bedrooms, including terrace houses and detached properties. All of the properties have been built with modern living in mind and feature stylish kitchens and

dining rooms that open through French doors to a private rear garden. Getting around is simple, with bus routes and road access close by, and rail services from Cardiff. Lovell New Homes 02920 601 598

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Shared ownership: Peckham, London SE15 Events manager Ellie Wyburd, 25, thought that buying her own home in Zone 2 was going to be out of reach, but her dreams became possible through the shared ownership scheme Ellie purchased a 30% share of her dream home for just £151,000. She explains how the scheme made her finances stretch further. “The element of affordability was one of the main attraction points for me. Buying through shared ownership means that you get so much more for your money as opposed to buying a property outright. It gave me the opportunity to purchase my first property and live in central London. To have a place of my own at 25 is amazing and to be living in a Zone 2 location is just unbelievable!” Woods Road is a Peckham-based development by Hyde New Homes and its Zone 2 location means that it is a very wellconnected area surrounded by excellent transport links. She said, “The location is ideal for me, I work in Canary Wharf and the commute takes no more than 25 minutes door-to-door so it’s the absolute dream location. I work in events, so a lot of the time I am working late nights. With Peckham being so well connected, it means that I am able to get home very easily, with options open to me such as the Overground and night buses. Nothing is inconvenient and it’s all very well thought out.” Similarly, convenient was the support Ellie received from the Hyde New Homes customer services team. “I seriously started looking for a place in February. I visited the development in March and within that same week I applied for a two bedroom apartment at the development. I exchanged on the property in July, and my partner and I have been comfortably moved in ever since. The staff at the Hyde New Homes team were so helpful and supportive, I didn’t have any issues. I really liked how the block had a designated salesperson. This was reassuring as they made a conscious effort to get to know everyone and their situations, it was excellent customer service.” With most shared ownership developments being new-build, this saves many first time buyers the hassle of having to budget for new appliances. Ellie said,


“I love that I purchased a new-build as there are limited maintenance costs and it means that I get to work on a blank canvas and really put my mark on the property. I haven’t actually needed to buy much as when I moved in all of the white goods


Full Market Value: £505,000 Share: £151,500 for a 30% share Rent: £456 per month Service Charge: £150

appliances were fitted. This has saved me a lot of time and also means that I can save my money rather than spend more.” 0345 606 1221


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VOTE NOW! We take our readers very seriously and want to know your views as first time buyers. That’s why we need you to vote for your favourite developments, housing providers and other categories, listed on the following pages, in our First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2018. You could win £250 Ikea vouchers! For more details, see page 108.

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FAMILY MOSAIC | LENNARD ROAD Family Mosaic, now part of the Peabody Group, created an affordable and highquality development that appealed to the varying audience of first time buyers. At Lennard Road, a 100% affordable housing development, Family Mosaic successfully created a popular, modern collection of homes. The development comprised 26 one, two and three bedroom apartments, including 17 for shared ownership and nine for affordable rent. It offered first time buyers, whether young professionals, couples or families, a great opportunity to get on to the property ladder with prices starting at just £87,000 for a 30% share of a one bedroom apartment.

PLUMLIFE | THE FIRS The Firs development, by leading affordable housing specialist Plumlife, was created to appeal to local buyers looking for modern and affordable living in the heart of Salford. The development consisted of 30 two and three bedroom terraced homes, specifically aimed at family buyers and working professionals. All homes featured a modern layout with light and spacious rooms, efficient energy saving systems and contemporary designs with allocated parking spaces – perfect for a growing family. Homes were for sale through shared ownership and proved to be a great way for local first time buyers to step on to the property ladder in an established community. Demand was incredibly high and all properties were reserved within two weeks of our VIP launch. We worked with Salford Council to ensure only buyers with a link to the area could purchase a home.

SOUTHERN HOME OWNERSHIP | LONDON LANE London Lane is a stunning new development close to London Fields, offering the best of modern day living. It has been cleverly designed to provide distinctive, innovative, boldly designed homes that today’s Londoners are looking for. London Lane offers one bed apartments to family homes close to the tech hubs of Old Street, the financial centres of the City and Canary Wharf, the studios of Hackney Wick or the media heartlands of Soho and Fitzrovia. London Lane will be contributing to the future of the housing market by reinvesting 100% of the profit to build new homes and improve existing ones.


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HIGGINS HOMES | CLISSOLD QUARTER Clissold Quarter – the transformation of the Kings Crescent Estate in Stoke Newington, London by Higgins Homes and the London Borough of Hackney – is providing new and refurbished homes, high-quality public realm as well as social and economic improvement. The current first phase has delivered 273 new homes (79 homes for affordable rent, 36 homes for intermediate sale, 158 for private sale of which two-thirds were bought using London Help to Buy). The funds generated by the private sales are being redeployed to refurbish 101 council homes. The regeneration has already been cited as a best practice project in such sources as the Architects’ Journal Exemplary Housing Estate Regeneration in Europe publication. Not only is Clissold Quarter a quantifiable success in regeneration terms, it is also a great new place to live, especially given its proximity to Clissold Park as well as Arsenal, Manor Park and Finsbury Park underground stations.

HOME GROUP | RAYNERS LANE At Home Group we’re hugely proud of the new Rayners Lane and its awardwinning success. Unrecognisable from the tired, run-down neighbourhood it once was, the former council estate has been transformed into a thriving hub of newfound opportunity for the people and businesses living and located there. Great partnerships are at the heart of this success, achieved through collaboration with the London Borough of Harrow, local residents and our specialist team of development partners.

L&Q AND LONDON BOROUGH OF BARKING AND DAGENHAM | WEAVERS QUARTER One of the capital’s most ambitious regeneration projects, Weavers Quarter, a pioneering partnership between L&Q and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, will transform the once run-down, eastern side of the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, east London, into a sustainable and long-term community, ultimately housing more than 5,500 people. Once complete in 2024, Weavers Quarter will bring 1,575 new affordable homes, 690 primary school places and 1,850 secondary school places, a community centre, retail and office space and a new public square to Barking town centre. More than just a collection of high-quality homes, the £300 million multi-phase scheme makes a significant contribution to the changing face of Barking – one of London’s last remaining genuinely affordable districts for first time buyers. Through carefully considered design, quality specification and an extensive community engagement programme, Weavers Quarter will create a remarkable new neighbourhood, which people will undoubtedly be proud to call home.


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Partners Lovell, the Tirion Group and Cadwyn Housing Association, with support from the Welsh Government and financial backing from the Principality Building Society, are developing one of Wales’ largest ever urban regeneration programmes at The Mill, Canton, Cardiff with 800 new homes. Addressing the need for affordable housing, half the homes are for discounted/social rent with Tirion, managed by Cadwyn, with the remaining homes for open-market sale through Lovell. Community, education, employment and sustainability are the four cornerstones of our commitment to sustainable community benefits. Investing in the local community, bringing new jobs/training for local people is at the heart of the work we are doing at The Mill. Alongside the homes being created, we’re committed to extending the positive impact throughout the area. Our extremely active community engagement programme includes activities with local schools, support for local events/charities and helping local unemployed people gain valuable construction experience and qualifications.

ST. MODWEN HOMES | TRENTHAM MANOR Prior to St. Modwen Homes breathing new life into Trentham Manor, it was an inactive and unused site of a former colliery that brought no benefits to the local community in Stoke-on-Trent. Today, it is a beautiful residential development that has delivered a variety of contemporary new homes, as well as creating thousands of new jobs and introducing a range of leisure and retail facilities. Trentham Manor has been particularly popular with first time buyers, many of whom have used Help to Buy or one of St. Modwen Home’s initiatives. Plus, all purchasers benefit from the luxury specification that is included in the homes as standard, as well as the high quality build and modern design that St. Modwen Homes is known for. St. Modwen Homes has also put a key focus on the local community, leading site safety lessons with local schools, naming streets after Stoke’s war heroes and even setting up a Sunday League football team. Proving just how popular Trentham Manor is, 100% of new purchasers would happily recommend St. Modwen Homes and Trentham Manor to a friend.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | ASPEXT Taylor Wimpey East London’s Aspext is one of the latest key elements of a masterplan which is creating a dynamic new metropolitan centre in east London. Set on the fringes of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the community of 175 homes will transform an unappealing industrial site, while providing a substantial increase in employment space with the inclusion of 15 commercial units. The mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments will help to increase the quality of Tower Hamlets’ housing stock, providing local people with more choice, while also attracting new people to what is a thriving area that’s definitely ‘on the up’ thanks to the Olympic legacy. The inclusion of 40% affordable homes, and a range of buyer incentives, will also help local people, first time buyers and key workers to put down roots at Aspext. Aspext will provide a visual stimulus to a run-down area, while complementing a nearby conservation area.

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INSPIRED HOMES | CENTRAL CROSS Central Cross by Inspired Homes is an innovative redevelopment of a 1970s office building in the heart of Croydon’s restaurant quarter, creating 82 affordable but high-end micro-apartments. Rethinking design conventions and ushering in a new era of urban living, Inspired Homes has created high-spec, high-tech, ultra-high quality private homes in Greater London that are affordable to first time buyers. The design, styling and finish in this development is a best in class.

LEON HOUSE CROYDON | LEON HOUSE Leon House is a Croydon landmark, built in the 1960s and is considered a great example of Brutalist architecture. Now Leon House is being remade, revealing the original sculptured interiors and creating spacious, light-filled interiors. When researching the architecture, the current Leon architect, Roy Collado, discovered previously hidden sculptural artwork by the renowned artist William Mitchell. This is purportedly the largest piece of artwork created by the artist and is being carefully restored to offer a central focal point to the double-storey lobby of the new Leon House. Above the lobby are 20 floors of apartments, one and two bedroom, fully designed by interior designers Love Interiors. The apartments offer fantastic floor-to-ceiling windows. Unlike any other office-to-residential conversion, the apartment sizes are London Design Standards. Leon House offers fantastic amenities such as a sky garden, concierge, residents’ private dining room and live/work areas.

SITESALES & BARNARDO DEVELOPMENTS LTD | BARNARDO’S GARDEN VILLAGE Set in a beautiful and tranquil location in Barkingside, east London, Barnardo’s Garden Village, created by Dr Barnardo in 1875 as a sanctuary for young homeless girls, has grown to become one of the capital’s most innovative redevelopment projects; now providing a prestigious collection of new homes. In partnership with Barnardo Developments Ltd, SiteSales Property Group assisted in the design and delivery of a stunning new development comprising 210 homes across three phases. The financial model of the scheme is unique, as a portion of the profits is being given back to Barnardo’s to aid the construction of its new head office, as well as funding important charity work. SiteSales and Barnardo’s were keen that as many of the homes as possible were sold to local residents. To date, over 90% have been sold to those living in the local area, particularly first time buyers.


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HAM & HIGH PROPERTY Ham & High Property, part of local newspaper Hampstead & Highgate Express, is a print supplement and micro-site all about property, interiors and gardening, in and around Hampstead and Highgate. This is one of the most affluent parts of London, and therefore often out of first time buyers’ reach. This does not mean we don’t cover the topic, however. We know that many of our readers will have children hoping to get on the ladder and are keen to understand how they can help them. Not only have we written ‘How to buy your first home’ guides, we regularly report on Government changes affecting first time buyers, and offer comment on the issue.


Property ON THE METRO Property


The home built on the site of a coffin workshop (well, it is Halloween)

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An established leader in first time buyer coverage, Metro’s weekly Property section reaches 1.93 million readers and more first time buyers than any other national paper. Its award-winning features continue: weekly exclusive case studies, the popular My First Home series, in which celebrities chat about their first steps on to the ladder, and all the latest news about development launches. It has also considered whether Philip Hammond’s Stamp Duty changes will benefit first time buyers, with comment from a range of industry experts, and published a four-page guide to less traditional routes to homeownership, as well demystifying shared ownership and Help To Buy schemes. There have been features about first time buyer hotspots, as well as ways to get on the ladder with a deposit as small as £5,000. Written in Metro’s accessible and jargon-free style, Metro Property provides a lively, entertaining mix of information, and is a must-read free resource for every aspiring homebuyer.

FOR LESS Given up the idea of buying your first home? Have no fear, Andrea Dean has good news


HEN trying to buy a place of your own there’s nothing more soul-destroying than constantly coming up against a brick wall because the figures simply don’t add up. You’ve probably made various sacrifices to save a deposit − bringing in your own packed lunch, giving up takeaways and ditching pricey gym membership. You might even have moved back in with your parents but you still can’t find anywhere remotely affordable. You may also have looked into the Help to Buy equity loan and

shared ownership schemes but decided they’re not for you. Or perhaps you’ve considered moving miles away but feel that a long commute, and not having friends and family nearby, would be a compromise too far. But if you’re at the point of giving up and resigning yourself to renting forever, don’t despair. The good news is that if you’re willing to do some homework, and keep your options open, it is possible to find a first home for far less that you’d normally expect to pay. Turn to page six for our comprehensive first-timer guide...

SQUARE MILE Property has long been a cornerstone of the Square Mile brand. The majority of our readership are City professionals in their 20s and 30s, many of whom are looking to step on to the property ladder for the first time and are looking for guidance on how and where to buy in an increasingly crowded market. Through our website and property newsletters, we promote a range of stylish properties with easy access to the City. Due to our uniquely tailored audience, we can ensure these properties fit with both their budget and their workplace.


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LAWCOMM SOLICITORS At Lawcomm Solicitors we take pride in providing a valuable service for first time buyers, with separate specialist teams for New Build, Help to Buy, and Shared Ownership transactions, as well as catering for all other usual purchase methods. We were very proud to receive the Highly Commended Award at the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2017, and hope to do even better this year after working tirelessly for the past 12 months to further improve our service, which includes Fixed Fees, No Move No Fee Policy, Online Case Tracking and Document Collaboration for clients and third parties. We also regularly attend customer facing trade shows including the First Time Buyer Show to find out from prospective buyers what questions and concerns they have when purchasing new homes so that we are constantly improving our service. Our aim is to be one of the UKs best conveyancing firms.

PRINCE EVANS Prince Evans is a leading west London law firm with a young, energetic outlook and approach. Our practice combines the best of City of London skills with an efficient and friendly service. Our practice was founded on the basis of a client-focused service which is of the highest of standards. We’re also proud members of The Housing Associations’ Legal Alliance, and were recently awarded Silver for the ESTAS awards for West London, highlighting the high quality service based on research conducted with customers. We offer our clients a broad base of additional industry experience and are proud to hold a national reputation in a growing number of niche areas. Our friendly and approachable conveyancing teams ensure that we help first time buyers navigate the conveyancing minefield with ease.

STEPHENSONS Stephensons is an award-winning, multi-service top 150 law firm, with 34 partners and more than 470 staff based in seven offices nationwide, providing tailored legal services to individuals, businesses and Government organisations. The firm includes an experienced team of award-winning residential conveyancing solicitors dedicated to ensuring that property transactions run quickly and smoothly for clients buying or selling a house or with any other residential property requirement to get them moving. Stephensons’ conveyancing solicitors have a vast amount of experience in guiding first time buyers through the entire process in a timely and affordable manner.The team also works alongside estate agents to ensure that they provide their clients with a professional and experienced conveyancing service.

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BROADWAY LIVING | ALTON COURT The two bedroom, two bathroom show apartment at Alton Court, Copley Hanwell W7, by Broadway Living, showcases the high quality of the new homes that are regenerating the Copley Close estate in Hanwell. This beautifully designed home has everything a first time buyer needs: plenty of space, great design and a convenient location within easy reach of central London, combined with affordability. Extending to 798 sq ft, the space is enhanced by a large balcony. The open-plan living space features vast floor-to-ceiling, triple-glazed windows that flood in natural light to create a peaceful, cosy and energy efficient home. Timbereffect flooring, full-height tiling in the bathrooms, linear oak internal doors and recessed spotlights in every room are examples of the excellent specification that make this home exceptional value for a first time buyer. Prices start from £430,000 with Help to Buy or shared ownership available.

CLARION HOUSING GROUP | THE ATRIUM AT EAST CITY POINT According to Halifax, a first time buyer in the capital needs a deposit of around £106,000 (or 23%) to buy a new home, making homeownership out of reach for most Londoners. At Clarion Housing Group’s East City Point, however, a new apartment can be acquired with a deposit of less than £7,000 – with no compromise on standards or quality. All of the 43 one and two bedroom apartments and duplexes offered within the development’s The Atrium building offer high-quality interior design and facilities, as well as access to both inside and outside communal spaces with panoramic London views. The development also benefits from excellent transport connections, with the Canning Town interchange providing access in minutes to the City of London, Canary Wharf, Stratford, the West End and London City Airport via the Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway. When the Elizabeth Line arrives in December, those connections will improve even further. Starting prices at time of launch: £115,500 for a 35% share of a one bedroom apartment, full value £330,000.

THE GUINNESS PARTNERSHIP | ELECTRIC QUARTER Electric Quarter is a collection of 133 one, two and three bedroom apartments at Brixton’s iconic Loughborough Park, all available with shared ownership. Ideal for first time buyers, these brand-new homes by The Guinness Partnership are located in an excellent Zone 2 hotspot, and start from just £85,000 for a 25% share. The new development of shared ownership apartments brings the total number of affordable homes at Loughborough Park to 487, including those for social and affordable rent. Brixton is in the heart of South London and has become a go-to hotspot for many, from foodies and clubbers to artists and rockers – these apartments are ideal for the first time buyer market.


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At Clissold Quarter by Higgins Homes in Stoke Newington, first time buyers have a great choice of one, two and three bedroom apartments located a short distance from three underground stations, as well as the open space of Clissold Park. Using London Help to Buy, the one bedroom apartments can be purchased for £285,300 (FMV: £475,500). From 544 sq ft and with all high-specification fixtures and fittings included as standard within the sale price – and not as an optional extra – the homes offer exceptional value for money. There’s no compromise on space either, with storage exceeding Lifetime Homes standards and all homes featuring private outdoor areas. Buyers also benefit from access to a car club, new communal gardens, allotments and a new community centre. Local buyers are prioritised with sales on multiple homes and overseas buyers restricted. Most of the two bedroom apartments are priced under the £600,000 price limit for London Help to Buy.

JOSEPH HOMES | 43 DURNSFORD ROAD 43 Durnsford Road provides a design-led collection of 20 loft-style studios and seven one bedroom apartments in Wimbledon, ideal for first time buyers. The properties combine innovative, space-efficient layouts and a contemporary urban specification to create modern homes for purchasers who care about style as well as value for money. Carefully converting a former office building, acclaimed architecture studio Alma-nac has created a cutting edge design with clever features that creatively maximise the use of space. The apartments represent excellent value for money in what is a sought after SW19 location where affordable first time buyer options are otherwise limited. All of the homes were available through Help to Buy, giving first time buyers an added boost. The two final units to be sold in December 2017 were able to reap maximum benefit from the abolition of Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, being priced at £295,000.

LOVELL HOMES | TRINITY WALK The two bedroom show apartment at Trinity Walk is the first show home to highlight this superb collection of apartments by Lovell Homes, just a mile from the new Crossrail station in Woolwich. At 1,006 sq ft, the show apartment, also wheelchair accessible, is completed to a high specification, with many elements considered a rare find in a first time buyer home, such as a separate utility room which can be repurposed as a home office space. The availability of two bathrooms and bedrooms of large and equal size means this home is ideal for two friends wishing to purchase together. Already offering an affordable option thanks to the availability of London Help to Buy, Trinity Walk’s location (Zone 4) means first time buyers can get even more for their money compared to buying in the capital, without compromising on great transport links. Prices for a two bedroom apartment start from £278,000 with London Help to Buy (full market value £420,000).

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BARRATT HOMES AND VIVID HOUSING | CHAPEL GATE Chapel Gate is a sustainable, new residential community of 600 homes located in the heart of Basingstoke, Hampshire, by VIVID Housing and Barratt Homes. Together, the partners have transformed a disused, run down industrial estate into muchneeded housing, including the refurbishment of a cherished local Art Deco landmark building. From one bedroom apartments to four bedroom family homes, the diverse range of high-quality contemporary new homes at Chapel Gate, combined with affordable price tags, purchasing options and appealing town centre location, mean it is selling fast. Each home has been designed to be flexible and suit every lifestyle, with open-plan living and plentiful outdoor space. With pedestrian and cycle routes into the town centre from the development, generous open space including a central park and play facilities, Barratt and VIVID have created an urban paradise for residents to enjoy at Chapel Gate.

CATALYST | ST BERNARD’S GATE St Bernard’s Gate is a mixed tenure development that provides a high proportion of new affordable housing on brownfield land. Built by Catalyst, a leading housing association based in Ealing, the scheme makes innovative use of existing listed buildings to create a buzzing new neighbourhood that mixes modern housing with the area’s unique heritage. Once complete, the St Bernard’s Gate development will deliver 270 new homes, consisting of 130 market sale, 98 shared ownership, 22 social rent and 20 at the new London Living Rent, giving potential first time buyers an opportunity to save for a deposit and make their first step on the housing ladder at a later date.

ST. MODWEN HOMES | LOCKING PARKLANDS Natural parkland, a thriving community and bespoke house designs are just some of the many reasons why so many people have chosen to call Locking Parklands home. Located just minutes from the seaside at Weston-super-Mare and surrounded by picturesque countryside, Locking Parklands is a mixed use development of homes, shops, new leisure facilities and plenty of open green parkland, with new employment space and a primary and secondary school being delivered in the coming years. Homeowners can also enjoy the new community centre which hosts toddler groups, Brownies and a range of other social activities; helping to bring neighbours together. As always, St. Modwen Homes puts design and quality at the forefront of its new homes. Proving popular, more than 80% of purchasers stated their main reason for buying a new home at Locking Parklands was the house designs, with people attracted to the large windows, bright, open rooms and luxury specification. Plus, 90% of new homeowners are first time buyers, with St. Modwen Homes providing lots of support throughout the buying process.


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LARKFLEET HOMES The design and content of the Larkfleet Homes website ( pay careful attention to the needs of first time buyers. The site includes mortgage and Stamp Duty calculators. First time buyers can work out quickly what they can afford. Detailed information about finance options and how to find them is presented clearly and concisely. Advice pages and information about schemes such as Help to Buy are tailored for first time buyers. Navigation is easy. Buttons and links are clear and easy to see. Information is presented in plain English to make all the options and services on offer clear. Jargon busting pages offer clear definitions of finance and property terms. First time buyers can make informed decisions about their choices. Larkfleet Homes developments feature many properties suitable for first time buyers. Details of these properties and the help available to assist them in their purchase is clearly signposted for a perfect user experience.

MILLER HOMES The Miller Homes website really does have everything a first time buyer would need when looking for their first home. Plus, we are the only UK housebuilder that allows our users to easily search, select and purchase their home online via their PC, tablet or even their mobile phone! With an easy to navigate search tool, personalised property recommendations, property release email and sms notifications, mortgage and Stamp Duty calculators, practical first time buyers’ advice, virtual tours and video flythroughs, kitchen visualiser, ability to complete credit checks and a blog with the latest tips and trends, there should be no need for a first time buyer to look elsewhere when looking for their first home. Did we mention they can also actually buy their first home on our website?

PLUMLIFE Our brand new website makes it easy for our customers to search for a new home by providing quick, relevant information at their fingertips. All features have been designed with the customer in mind – from search filters and property displays, to helpful advice and guidance on affordable housing schemes, including jargon busters to simplify complex terminology. Customers can favourite properties, book viewings and even get directions to the development to help them into their new home. Each shared ownership property has a chatbot link which customers can use to determine financial eligibility and what size share they can purchase. Website pages are easily digested and navigated and interactive features include our map view feature which allows the customer to see the exact location of the development they are looking for. Social media features also allow customers to share their ideal home with friends and family.


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L&Q AND THE ANDERSON GROUP | THE QUARRY A collection of 600 new homes and a state-of-the-art primary school, The Quarry is a highly desirable environment for first time buyers, thanks to its unique architectural design. Set within stunning retained ecological areas and newly provided open space, the development, a joint venture between L&Q and The Anderson Group, will breathe new life into the site of a former quarry in Erith, Bexley, which has lain neglected for the past 30 years. Multi-award winning architect Studio Egret West has created an innovative design concept driven by the site’s topography, with its network of streets arranged to hug the contours of the landscape and gently climb the hill in a series of terraced platforms. The streets and homes have been designed to integrate with the landscape, creating a distinct yet harmonised architectural appearance, taking aesthetic influence from the history of the site.

PEABODY, HILL AND LYNDON GOODE ARCHITECTS | FISH ISLAND VILLAGE The Lanterna Building is the ‘pearl’ in Fish Island Village, a vibrant canalside neighbourhood set in the heart of Hackney Wick. The 580-home development by Peabody and Hill offers a collection of stylish one, two and three bedroom apartments, innovative workspaces and picturesque courtyards. Designed by Lyndon Goode Architects, Lanterna is at the entrance to Fish Island Village and spills out on to Lofthouse Square, the social hub of this energetic community. The building is the most modern interpretation of the architectural influences within Fish Island Village. Its iconic pavilion design features a collection of canal facing apartments, so many residents will be able to enjoy waterside views. The ground floor commercial space, with an impressive 5m high ceiling, is described as “breathtaking”. This is anticipated to be a café/bar, providing opportunities for al fresco dining and socialising, making Lofthouse Square the ultimate place for people to come together and collaborate.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | ASPEXT Taylor Wimpey East London’s Aspext is one of the latest key projects in the London Legacy Development Corporation’s masterplan to create a dynamic new metropolitan centre in east London. Set on the fringes of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this mixed-use community of 175 new homes and 15 commercial units is an architectural gem. Aspext comprises six individual buildings, each with a unique character, varying heights, masses and materials, offering an overall appearance of organic development rather than an imposing single style. This design has been driven by the appearance of the nearby Fish Island conservation area with its characterful geometric architectural composition and dynamic roofscapes. Bordered by residential developments, a warehouse, an industrial area and a conservation area, the appearance of the site has been sympathetically designed to fit both within the context of the local area and avoid creating a homogenous wall of development – with stunning results.

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LOVELL HOMES | TRINITY WALK When a development marks the critical start of a major regeneration, it requires an exceptional and eye-catching initiative to market the first homes, especially when they are off-plan. By installing Virtual Reality (VR) show apartments and creating downloadable versions through Augmented Reality (AR), Lovell Homes has surpassed its off-plan reservation targets at its landmark development Trinity Walk in south east London. The VR technology is easy to use. It is activated by an Xbox controller, a technology with which many people are familiar. Using the analog sticks, potential homebuyers can then ‘walk through’ a one and two bedroom apartment, which are displayed on a large, curved screen directly in front of them. Downloaded as an app, AR technology was also created to help buyers visualise the new homes to an even greater extent, as the technology enables the user to view the interiors and exteriors in 3D.

THE MEDIA PEOPLE | SHARED OWNERSHIP WEEK Shared Ownership Week returned in September 2017, reaching millions of people trying to get on or move up the property ladder. The annual awareness Week took aspiring buyers on all-inclusive journey – explaining, advising, myth-busting, and educating. The multi-faceted yet cohesive campaign ensured the target audience of first time buyers absorbed shared ownership inspiration and information in the press, online, on social media and broadcast media. The skilful way in which the campaign was executed ensured the right messages were chosen for each medium and channel and was critical to the success of the Week. Now in its fifth year, the Week had a higher impact than ever before. Supported by Wayne Hemingway MBE and Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma MP, it resulted in thousands of people registering to find out more about shared ownership and saw nearly 10,000 unique visitors to the dedicated website during the Week.

THAMES VALLEY HOUSING (TVH) | SO RESI In a year when unaffordable housing dominated the news agenda, and purchasing a home seemed more out of reach than ever before for first time buyers, Thames Valley Housing (TVH) saw an opportunity to give the marketing behind shared ownership an overhaul. Despite the enormous potential for the scheme to help homebuyers priced out of the open market, there was still, worryingly, many misconceptions about shared ownership’s purpose and benefits. In order to encourage more first time buyers to consider shared ownership as a solution to the housing problem, TVH dared to be different, rebranding its shared ownership homes to SO Resi, creating a new way of explaining the scheme, a marketing strategy led by SO Resi’s strapline, ‘making home ownership possible’. TVH removed the jargon associated with the scheme, and created engaging but clear visuals for use in all forms of media, making the simple concept of buying a share in a home much easier to understand.


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BROADWAY LIVING | ALTON COURT The interior design of the two bedroom, two bathroom show apartment at Alton Court, Copley Hanwell W7, by Broadway Living, gives first time buyers a clear sense of what it would be like to live here and provides inspiration for the design of their own home. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows create a light and airy home; this is enhanced by the calming grey and green colour scheme that exudes style and is comfortable for day-to-day living. Touches such as striking copper tables and ceiling lights add drama and interest. A seat that incorporates a drawer in a bedroom, and simple stone seating for guests on the balcony, are examples of how this home is practical as well as beautiful. Most of the furnishings and decorations were sourced from online companies or from modestly priced shops like IKEA, making it easy for buyers to replicate the flair and impact of the design with a modest budget.

L&Q AND THE ANDERSON GROUP | THE QUARRY A joint venture development by The Anderson Group and L&Q, The Quarry is an exceptional collection of 600 homes and a state-of-the-art three form entry primary school, built on the former Erith Quarry site in the London Borough of Bexley. The contemporary homes and generous landscape have been designed with a distinct yet harmonised architectural appearance, taking aesthetic influence from the history of the site. Placing equal emphasis on open space, play, and the diversity and quality of housing, the new eco-development will be surrounded by woodland and will offer a 3.35 hectare ecologically rich grassland area. With the properties in this multi-phase project being marketed off-plan, a purpose-built three bedroom show home has been constructed – a fully functioning practical indicator of the innovative design, layout and quality a buyer can expect from their potential new home.

MAGNA HOMES | MAGNA RIVERSIDE Magna Riverside is a luxury conversion development, offering 17 lateral apartments in an impressive waterside location. Situated within the historic commuter town of Godalming and offering a superior specification throughout, The Mayfair Collection brings a touch of glamour to the first time buyer market. The inspiration for the one bedroom show home came from the opulence of the most exclusive and expensive locations in London. The area of Mayfair is synonymous with luxury and the aim was to bring this to a first time buyer audience at an affordable price. This was replicated on a budget, sourcing materials which a first time buyer could imitate. The apartment gives first time buyers an insight into how to get the most from a small space and let their apartment reach its full potential.


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Merchants Walk is a stunning collection of modern apartments designed specifically with first time buyers in mind, providing high-quality, well designed homes at an affordable price point in a prime east London location. Collaborating with leading consultancy Suna Interior Design, the show apartment design reflects the aspirations of a first time buyer, striking a balance of urban appeal and luxury finish. A neutral palette combined with rich materials helped to achieve a high-end feel on a first time buyer budget, and with clever design, were able to utilise readily available resources to maximise the impact of the apartment, while remaining within a first time buyer’s financial reach. Peabody has created a show apartment at Merchants Walk that a purchaser is able to affiliate themselves with, and aspire to, while also ensuring that the layout of the space is addressed to allow a purchaser to envisage living in the apartment themselves.

PLUMLIFE | POETS PLACE Poets Place, a contemporary new development located in Levenshulme, Manchester, featured a stunning show home which was aspirational, yet attainable within a first time buyer’s budget. The charming two bedroom semi-detached show home was a fully furnished, ready-made family home which perfectly captured the traditional craftsmanship of modern living on the outside, yet with the beautiful and most affordable design and stylish décor on the inside. Every detail was taken care of by the experts from Woodward-Kelly & Co giving the customer a realistic insight to life in their new home. The design was inspired by Manchester, with artwork purchased from local artists. Modern furniture was purchased from affordable high street shops allowing buyers to relate to the designs and feel. Light coloured carpets and fabrics added a feel of warmth to the home. Poets Place has a unique blend of contemporary design and modern specification which gave the show home uniqueness, individuality and personality.

TAYLOR WIMPEY EAST LONDON | CHOBHAM MANOR A world-class setting deserves the ultimate show home, and Taylor Wimpey East London has certainly delivered with its stunning three bedroom apartment at Chobham Manor. The in-demand development is a key part of the post-2012 Olympic Games legacy at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford – something which adds extra pressure when designing a show property. Happily, Taylor Wimpey has risen to the challenge and created a spacious showpiece home with a layout that’s proved to be a massive hit with potential purchasers. And its choice of interior designer for the flagship development’s show apartment was as inspired as the property’s impressive design, with Taylor Wimpey enlisting its long-time collaborator Derek Taylor, star of TV’s 60 Minute Makeover, to work his magic. Derek’s savvy styling provides potential purchasers with the inspiration they need to create their perfect retreat at Chobham Manor.

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BARRATT HOMES | CANE HILL PARK The Chaplin is a highly attractive three bedroom detached family home at Barratt Homes’ Cane Hill Park development in Coulsdon. Appealing by both design and location, these successful homes have been sold as fast as they could be built. Given its sought-after south London location with fantastic commuter options into London in under half an hour, the price tag on this impressive house type of under £600,000 means that any family is able to purchase the home more affordably thanks to Help to Buy London and a 5% deposit. Thoughtfully laid out over three floors and offering stunning views across south London, this property is a gem for families. Its flexible layout will appeal to a range of purchasers given its bright and open-plan spaces, well-proportioned bedrooms and stylish finish. Set in an award-winning family friendly development with superb facilities for outdoor play, this home is the perfect option for a growing family looking to tick all of their boxes.

CLARION HOUSING GROUP | EBBSFLEET GARDEN CITY The first phase of Castle Hill at the government’s flagship Ebbsfleet Garden City development is one of Clarion Housing Group’s most exciting shared ownership offerings, comprising 15 high quality two and three bedroom houses each with their own private garden. It represents the first of 426 homes Clarion will deliver at Ebbsfleet. These homes were brought to market in March 2017 and by the end of the first day 100% had been reserved. That success was based in part on the scale of ambition at Ebbsfleet but also the quality of these family houses plus the superb transport links into central London. Feedback from the first residents at Castle Hill has been highly positive, with the project allowing people to buy family houses at prices they can afford without having to compromise on location or quality. Starting prices at time of launch: £135,000 for a 45% share of a two bedroom house, full value £300.000.

HOME GROUP | TRINITY PLACE This exciting new development is situated in the quaint market town of Rothwell in Northamptonshire. Buyers can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in a tight-knit community with plenty to do and with Kettering just down the road, residents also benefit from easy access to London. Built on the site of a former football club, which was not only unsightly but an unsafe environment, this mixed tenure scheme is now home to charmingly designed two and three bedroom apartments and houses. Trinity Place is less than 500 metres from the centre of Rothwell allowing access to a wide range of facilities within the town itself as well as providing great transport links to nearby Kettering and Corby, with great rail links further afield to Leicester and beyond.


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Hempsted Park in the cathedral city of Peterborough is a popular development of one, two, three and four bedroom houses. Discerning buyers have access to sustainable, eco-friendly homes designed to help first time buyers with growing families on to the housing ladder. Properties such as the three bedroom Windsor include solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that produce electricity from daylight, generating useable power even on cloudy days, which reduces electricity bills. Hempsted is a developing neighbourhood on the outskirts of the historic and thriving city which gives homeowners the best of both worlds – easy access to the vibrant city life plus excellent communication links by road and rail to London, Cambridge and Stansted Airport. The heritage city of Peterborough boasts thriving shopping centres such as the nearby Serpentine Green, Queensgate and historic Cathedral Square, with its farmers markets, street entertainment and chic wine bars, restaurants and cafes. Nearby idyllic Fenland, woodlands and wildlife conservation areas provide many leisure opportunities for young families.

LOVELL PARTNERSHIPS LTD | THE MILL The Mill is a mixed tenure brand-new urban village in Canton, Cardiff of one and two bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom homes for sale with Lovell Homes, in a convenient riverside location to the west of Cardiff city centre. The two-bedroom Ashton house style with parking, is beautifully designed for first time buyers, featuring an inviting open-plan dining room and modern kitchen, a large separate living room and two double bedrooms. A high specification throughout including Bosch hob and oven, Symphony fitted kitchen with soft closers to cupboards and drawers and turfed front gardens as standard. Owning a home at one of the Welsh capital’s most desirable new addresses has become a reality for first time buyers, without premium prices, full price £178,000-£194,000. Purchasers have taken advantage of the Government Help to buy-Wales Scheme, with Help to Buy prices of £142,400-£155,200.

OCTAVIA LIVING | GLADSTONE VILLAGE Affordably priced for first time buyers, the Olive house type home offers extremely comfortable living for families. It is a three bedroom house on a quiet development, close to acres of open space and recreational parkland. The contemporary designed property is perfectly suited for family living. Situated next to Gladstone Park in Cricklewood, the house is realistically priced for families seeking a rare opportunity to buy a new family house within London’s North Circular. Attention to detail in the design of the property ensures it excels as a comfortable family home. Inside it has been fitted to a high standard throughout. Outside it has a small garden and off road parking. It is sited within a gated development of houses and flats for sale and affordable rent, with easy access to local communities and central London.

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LOVELL | NEW ACRES Located within the Raffles estate in Carlisle, which has undergone a transformative regeneration over the last decade, New Acres is a development of 52 houses, which has helped to breathe new life into an existing community, creating new homes, facilities and a fresh outlook. Our range of two and three bedroom homes appeal to a range of purchasers, from local first time buyers looking for an attractive, sustainable home to start their climb on the property ladder, as well as attracting new residents from further afield who have moved to Carlisle for work, studies or retirement.

MILLER HOMES | CATHEDRAL VIEW The village of Streethay, close to the historic Staffordshire town of Lichfield, is home to one of Miller Homes’ latest developments, Cathedral View. Surrounded by trees and open green spaces, this picturesque neighbourhood comprises a mix of two to five bedroom houses. This includes a number of housetypes geared specifically towards the first time buyer market in terms of style, layout and affordability and, to date, almost a third of properties on the development have been purchased by this demographic of purchasers. As well as the properties on offer, this cohort has also been attracted to Cathedral View’s location in the heart of the Midlands and the local amenities within easy reach. Its proximity to Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Derby means it has become a popular choice with those getting a foot on the property ladder, including young professionals and families.

RIVERSIDE HOME OWNERSHIP | SILVERBIRCH Silverbirch in Camperdown, Newcastle, is Riverside’s flagship development of 40 affordable homes in North Tyneside. With five property sizes and styles available through shared ownership, Riverside Home Ownership offers first time buyers and other eligible purchasers the opportunity to get on to the property ladder in a popular yet cosy village. Levels of homeownership in the North East have traditionally been below the national average. Shared ownership means purchasers at Silverbirch buy the share they can afford and pay a reduced monthly rent on the remainder to the housing association, with the option to own outright in the future. The properties are built to a very high specification, with quality finishes throughout and integrated appliances as standard. Buyers also benefit from advice and support from RHO’s expert team throughout the whole process and beyond.


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BARRATT HOMES AND VIVID HOUSING | CHAPEL GATE Chapel Gate is a sustainable, new residential community of 600 homes located in the heart of Basingstoke, Hampshire, by VIVID Housing and Barratt Homes. Together, the partners have transformed a disused, run down industrial estate into much needed housing, including the refurbishment of a cherished local Art Deco landmark building. From one bedroom apartments to four bedroom family homes, the diverse range of high-quality contemporary new homes at Chapel Gate, combined with affordable price tags, purchasing options and appealing town centre location, mean it is selling fast. Each home has been designed to be flexible and suit every lifestyle, with open-plan living and plentiful outdoor space. With pedestrian and cycle routes into the town centre from the development, generous open space including a central park and play facilities, Barratt and VIVID have created an urban paradise for residents to enjoy at Chapel Gate.

HENLEY HOMES | CONSTANCE COURT Constance Court by Henley Homes is a contemporary new build development of 51 one and two bedroom apartments, in Battersea, London SW11 – a stone’s throw from the Thames. It comprises three attractive blocks, two for private sale and one available as affordable housing through Wandle Housing Association, with two commercial units at ground level and a landscaped courtyard garden at the rear. All apartments have private balconies, gardens or terraces, and underground car parking is available to purchase. Constance Court, finished throughout to Henley’s trademark high standards and attention to detail, is on the market at a blended average of £826 sq ft (£789-£911 sq ft) and is eligible for Help to Buy. Apartments in neighbouring blocks are being marketed by others at in excess of £1,000 sq ft, making Constance Court an attractive prospect for first time buyers seeking a high specification apartment in a desirable, central location with great transport and leisure links.

PEABODY & HILL | FISH ISLAND VILLAGE Fish Island Village will be a vibrant canalside neighbourhood set in the heart of Hackney Wick. The mixed-use development by Peabody and Hill offers a collection of stylish one, two and three bedroom apartments, innovative workspaces and picturesque courtyards. Building on the area’s legacy, Fish Island Village takes inspiration from the existing neighbouring buildings, fusing traditional industrial architecture with forward-thinking design. When complete, the development will provide 580 new homes to rent and buy and 57,000 square feet of commercial space. A partnership with workspace provider The Trampery will support up to 500 people working on-site, creating an active, vibrant and harmonious village. The beautifully specified apartments at Fish Island Village include features such as underfloor heating, Silestone worktops and private balconies. Space and light have been optimised to create homes of real distinction, with fantastic open spaces overlooking the water, including a new public square which will be the social hub of this energetic community.

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BELVOIR BROMLEY Belvoir Bromley believes in helping first time buyers. Seeing itself as not ‘just another high street agent’ the recently opened estate agent understands the issues faced by this pressurised market place and focuses its efforts on helping others on the property ladder. Supporting first time buyers through a number of ways including building relationships with local developers, mortgage brokers, solicitors and removal firms; Belvoir helps to ease the process for those buying for the first time. Going further still, Belvoir holds regular first time buyer workshops, where it offers free financial advice from an independent mortgage broker where a range of professionals are also on hand. The friendly agent will also accompany buyers on viewings, explaining the buying process and any schemes available to them. First time buyer focused activity is promoted through its social media platforms, window display, A-board advertising and leaflet drops; making finding out everything they need to know easy. Continuing its commitment into 2018, Belvoir is also working on a scheme to help first timers raise a deposit – watch this space.

SAWYER & CO At Sawyer & Co we know that every buyer is different, and that’s especially true when it comes to first time buyers. Buying your first property is exciting and daunting in equal measure, so we make things as easy and enjoyable as possible. Some estate agents treat every buyer in the same way. We pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service, doing the little things that matter such as making viewings relaxed and unhurried so FTBs can really get the ‘feel’ of a property. We ensure reliable mortgage and legal advice recommendations are freely available, our ‘next step’ service talks FTBs through the buying process, we source residents parking permits to start on move-in day, and make ourselves available out of hours. We also offer an after sales ‘Welcome to the Area’ service including a guide to local amenities, to make sure our FTBs really settle into their new homes!

SITESALES PROPERTY GROUP SiteSales Property Group is an experienced, London-based sales agent with an established brand that is recognised across the new homes sector by developers and buyers alike. SiteSales has delivered out some of the capital’s most prestigious schemes for its clients including the former London 2012 Olympic Athletes Village in Stratford, the exciting redevelopment of the Walthamstow Stadium and the former Dr Barnardo’s children’s home in Barkingside. SiteSales deals with all tenures of housing, including many entry level and affordable homes aimed at first time buyers. These housing schemes are a mix of outright sale, shared ownership, shared equity and Government schemes such as Help to Buy. The team at SiteSales work closely with contractors, architects and designers to gain a clear and concise understanding of the homes that they sell. The resulting in-depth knowledge allows for an informative and reassuring experience for all buyers throughout their customer journey.


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MAGNA HOMES Magna Homes is a residential and mixed use property developer, specialising in the transformation of commercial buildings and undervalued brownfield sites into stylish, high-quality residential developments in and around London, putting luxury new homes within reach of younger buyers. Magna Homes, established in 2014, runs on the principle of delivering creative and desirable schemes, catering to a rapidly growing and increasingly discerning market. As a pioneering developer, Magna believes that luxury and build excellence should not be confined to a certain market segment, location or development size. This paves the way for a significant expansion of the Magna development programme with exciting new residential schemes planned in prime commuter belt locations. Magna successfully brings together exceptional levels of quality, expertise and a total commitment to urban revival, with contemporary and intelligent design.

MILLER HOMES Miller Homes is a leading private housebuilder building a range of high-quality homes for first time buyers in sought-after locations across the UK. We pride ourselves on our commitment to the customer journey and ensuring our first time buyers receive all the help and assistance they need as they embark upon the most significant purchase and journey in their lifetime. Regular customer feedback helps shape and inform our approach to ensure we are exceeding expectations and meeting the needs of our target demographic. This extends beyond our expertise to offering affordable, high-quality homes and attractive, innovative ways to purchase along with utilising technology to help our buyers get the most of living in their new Miller home. The recent launch of our new online reservation system, which enables buyers to reserve and pay a deposit for a new Miller home online, is a clear example of this commitment.

REGENTA Regenta prides itself on providing construction excellence, supported by a high quality and level of specification within its projects located in key commuter areas as demonstrated by the developments in Leyton, Romford, Hertford and Ware. With 50% of the programme concentrating on the sub £750,000 bracket, the directors see this as a key area of under-supply, especially so in the under £600,000 arena with a lot of first time buyers leaping straight to a house by utilising the highly attractive Government-backed schemes. With a high emphasis on quality, the homes delivered to date have been very well received by buyers, and as Regenta is fully owned by SiteSales Property Group, it is able to draw upon the services of the Group, which provide a high level of customer care. With a pipeline of 150 homes over the next five years, with a target to double this, we intend to continue providing the finest quality properties at prices that respect our target group’s desires and incomes as well as their need for good, commutable locations.

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L&Q One of the UK’s most forward-thinking developers, L&Q is committed to delivering 100,000 new homes. Creating the best possible homes for first time buyers, quality design and build are a priority; this is exemplified in schemes such as The Quarry, Erith, where award-winning architect Studio Egret West has created an innovative design concept driven by the site’s unique topography as a former quarry. Other recent major launches include Weavers Quarter, a joint venture with the local borough, leading the regeneration of Barking and forming one of London’s largest shared ownership developments. As well as shared ownership and Help to Buy, the team tirelessly invests in new means of helping first time buyers on to the ladder, with properties available through schemes such as London Living Rent. Marketing campaigns go beyond just selling homes. Instead, L&Q’s revolutionary PricedIn campaign is the ultimate informative guide for first time buyers.

PEABODY Peabody has been building new homes in London for more than 150 years. Its mission is to help people make the most of their lives by providing good quality affordable homes, working with communities and promoting wellbeing. The new, larger organisation, created by the merger between Peabody and Family Mosaic, is working to deliver more new homes for low-cost rent and low-cost homeownership than ever before, as well as homes for those who can afford to buy outright. Peabody provides a variety of products and services to help people buy their first home, including shared ownership, Help to Buy and resale properties. The organisation helped 394 first time buyers on to the property ladder in the last year, and has ambitious plans to build 2,500 new homes each year by 2021. From initial enquiry to full completion of a new home purchase, Peabody offers outstanding customer service, with 95% of new homeowners recommending Peabody to others looking for a new home.

TVH Thames Valley Housing (TVH) is a forward-thinking housing association unlocking new housebuilding opportunities in London and the South East. Through its diverse building model and range of partnerships, TVH builds over 1,500 homes each year, helping to make homeownership possible for thousands, all while growing the social fabric within its communities. TVH doesn’t just build affordable homes, but provides a combination of traditional rented housing, shared ownership, key worker and student accommodation. TVH also builds Private Rented Sector (PRS) homes through its subsidiary Fizzy Living, as well as homes for private sale through Opal, the first venture between a housing association (HA) and housebuilder Galliford Try. 2017 saw the exciting launch of SO Resi by Thames Valley, its latest innovative approach to delivering more affordable homes to first time buyers, and has seen its shared ownership offering successfully rebranded. With Thames Valley continuing to grow its reputation for being innovative, ambitious and commercial, SO Resi was designed to enable the HA to find new ways of building quality homes, use new technology to achieve its goals, and keeping people at the heart of the business.

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TONY HARKER | DIRECTOR, SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICE, L&Q EAST REGION Tony Harker is renowned for his passion, knowledge and commitment to helping FTBs. Starting as a sales negotiator at Barratt in 2004, he showed a natural flair for understanding the customer and the importance of after sales care. Through his time spent at Home Group and then One Housing Group he managed the sales and lettings of the whole Group Home Ownership programme. While at Family Mosaic, Tony took on the role of Resident & Commercial Sales Manager and was promoted to Head of Residential and Commercial Sales and pioneered the integration of four business areas into one. While Head of Commercial at Genesis in 2014, Tony continued to thrive in his role and also became chair of ESOG (Existing Shared Ownership Group). Joining East Thames in 2015, he is responsible for the Sales and Marketing of New Build, IMR/RNBL conversions and resales, Home Ownership products, staircasing, lease extensions, enfranchisement and all leasehold legal transactions, customer services aftercare and quality control. He is responsible for a 20,000 plus pipeline of sales.

JIM MUNSON | HEAD OF SALES & MARKETING, GENESIS Customer service is paramount to Jim Munson, who most people will know from his time at Metropolitan Housing where Jim spent more tha 16 years in Marketing & Customer Care. During his time there he was given full responsibility for customer service as well as the homeownership sales and marketing team, which went on to achieve 100% satisfaction ratings on aspects of service and also won a sector customer service award, twice! Further career highlights include supporting the delivery of a sales surplus of c. £15m-£20m annually through effective lead generation, the production of successful new business tenders, writing, editing and producing winning award submissions, TV appearances and ministerial site visits. A well-known figure in the industry, Jim is often found leading industry discussions with his peers at LHOG and the National Housing Federation practitioner group and is heavily involved in the annual Shared Ownership Week campaign.

KUSH RAWAL | COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, THAMES VALLEY HOUSING Kush Rawal, Commercial Director of Thames Valley Housing, has been instrumental in the forward-thinking housing association’s pioneering approach to shared ownership, helping more than 1,500 first time buyers on to the property ladder last year alone. Responsible for spearheading Thames Valley Housing’s SO Resi brand in 2017, which was specifically designed to promote the benefits of shared ownership, Kush has gone one step further than most in helping improve homeownership rates for first time buyers. Kush was also responsible for launching Thames Valley Housing’s innovative SO Plus scheme, which enables customers to buy an extra 1% of their home each year at a predetermined price. Thames Valley Housing is still the only housing association to offer this. Writing a study on why housing associations need to work more closely with the NHS Trust as part of his MBE in 2017, Kush is a firm believer in developing key partnerships to support the delivery of muchneeded housing. Kush is using partnerships and his expertise to do more and go the extra mile for first time buyers.

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READERS’ AWARDS SIMON SCOTT | HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING, ORIGIN HOUSING Simon Scott, Head of Sales and Marketing for Origin Housing, is a leader within the sector, constantly going above and beyond to help first time buyers on to the housing ladder. Simon consistently drives sales and exceeds targets in a challenging market. His marketing campaigns focus on education, for example, helping first time buyers make the most of their shared ownership home through staricasing – which contributed to Origin exceeding its staircasing targets for that year. What really sets Simon apart is his impeccable customer service; Simon knows that every buyer is different, and, despite having a plethora of customers at any one time, he delivers an incredibly personal service – helping all of his buyers, even in challenging situations.

LISA WESTERMAN | GROUP HEAD OF SALES, PLUMLIFE For over 23 years, Lisa has been helping first time buyers to get on the property ladder, particularly through her work with shared ownership. Lisa started her career with Barratt Homes before moving to Great Places Housing Group 20 years ago where she set up the sales division for affordable housing brand Plumlife Homes from scratch. Lisa is passionate about shared ownership. In one year alone, Lisa led the Plumlife sales team in delivering more than 400 sales, including shared ownership and Help to Buy, over 115 different housing developments. Lisa is committed to first time buyers and to ensuring they can access homeownership and have all the right information about Government schemes. She is a member of the National Housing Group, which shares insight and helps to form housing policy.


READERS’ AWARDS 2018 Please note, you are not able to vote in this category. The winner of this category was pre-chosen by our panel of expert judges in January.

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VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVOURITE IN EACH CATEGORY AT FTBAWARDS.COM AND YOU COULD WIN £250 IKEA VOUCHERS! Voting closes at midnight on 9 April 2018. FTB Award winners will be announced during the Awards Lunch at the Waldorf Hilton in London on 20 April 2018. A full list of winners will be published in the June/July issue of First Time Buyer.


Your details will automatically be entered in a free draw to win £250 Ikea vouchers. Voting closes on 9 April 2018. The winner of the vouchers will be notified by email. Voting is open to First Time Buyer readers, aged 18 and over, with the exception of employees of shortlisted nominees, their immediate families, agents, or anyone else associated with the administration or production of these awards. Random authenticity checks will be made.


Pre and post drinks sponsor


Designated charity

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Keep your home humidity free with the latest hybrid dehumidifier from Ecoair



Pan-tastic! New home? New kitchen? Old pots and pans? Judge’s new Radiant range will satisfy any demands on your home cooking. With its super efficiency and stylish looks your hob will never look the same again. Say goodbye to scraping burnt food from the bottom of the pan and say hello to the future of cookware The new Judge Radiant range benefits from Teflon’s very latest non-stick technology. This is a three-layer nonstick surface which uniquely integrates ferrous particles which accelerate heat transfer through the non-stick layer, creating a very even heat throughout the pan, perfect for that quick meal or the lavish three course menu you have been planning for weeks. Judge Cookware has selected the perfect balance of materials to provide a speedy and, most importantly, even heat transfer, making it ideal for efficient cooking. The heat-proof metallic coating looks stunning and is reassuringly hard wearing. To finish off there are matching soft grip handles and knobs to complete the look.

Answer the following question:

How many nonstick layers are there on each Judge Radiant item? Send your answer with your full name, address and telephone number to: lynda@firsttimebuyermag. Closing date: 1 May 2018

THE PRIZE… ONE OF THREE 4-PIECE JUDGE RADIANT PAN SETS WORTH £135 T&Cs The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be given. Competition is open to UK residents only.

The Radiant range is easy to clean and is suitable for all hob types. The pans come with a 25-year guarantee and highly sought after 10-year non-stick guarantee. It is easy to see why the Judge Radiant pan set will be a welcome addition in today’s domestic kitchen. The set includes a 16cm milk pan, and a 16cm, 18cm and 20cm saucepan.

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FIRST HOME, FIRST MEAL Created by Clive Fretwell, Executive Chef at Brasserie Bar Co., this crispy beef salad is light, simple to make and very refreshing, and with the arrival of spring, is the perfect dish to enjoy with friends and family


Clive Fretwell is the Executive Chef at Brasserie Bar Co., comprising Brasserie Blanc and The White Brasserie Company. Clive began his post-graduate career at the Hotel Jarl in Norway, before moving to Michelin-starred Hotel Richmond Geneva in Switzerland. From here he spent the next 13 years working for acclaimed chef Raymond Blanc at his two Michelin star Oxfordshire restaurant and hotel Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. While working with Raymond, Clive quickly progressed up the ranks from commis de cuisine to chef de cuisine, polishing his skills and developing an impressive repertoire of recipes. He then moved to Nico Central in Manchester, working as its head chef before becoming executive chef at Japanese restaurant group Itsu for four years in 1997. Clive’s natural flair for French food led to his next step as Brasserie Bar Co.’s executive chef working alongside his old mentor Raymond Blanc in 2002. At Brasserie Bar Co., Clive has been charged with supervising menu development, food costing, a new training programme and new site openings. He has overseen Brasserie Blanc’s expansion to a 17-strong group and, having already successfully launched five pubs, will oversee the rollout of up to 20 over the next three years for The White Brasserie Company. Clive works closely with the head chefs to create a seasonal quarterly changing menu filled with authentic French dishes, with British classics added on the menus at The White Brasserie pubs. Clive is also in charge of discovering the next great protégé, which he does though his effective training programme and individual development courses for staff.

Ingredients (Serves 4) For the dressing      

Zest and juice of 3 limes Zest and juice of 1 orange 2 tbsp palm sugar 2 tsp soy sauce 1 garlic clove, crushed 1cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated

For the crispy beef     

Vegetable or sunflower oil 2 eggs, beaten 4 tbsp cornflour 1⁄2 tsp salt 400g minute steak, sliced thinly into strips

For the slaw METHOD 1 2


4 5

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients (apart from the lime and orange zest) in to a small saucepan. Simmer until thickened and syrupy, stir in the zest and set aside. Heat 2-3 tsp of vegetable or sunflower oil in a wok or deep pan. You can test if it’s hot enough by dropping a cube of white bread in – the oil is ready when the bread turns golden in just under a minute. While you’re waiting for the oil to heat up, make the batter for the beef by mixing the eggs, cornflour and salt together. Dip the beef slices in the batter and carefully place in the hot oil, frying in batches until golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper before coating with some of the dressing. In a big bowl, mix all slaw ingredients together. In a separate bowl, toss the mixed salad leaves and cashews with the remaining dressing and divide amongst four plates. Top the salad with the crispy beef strips and decorate with the beetroot slices and slaw. Finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.


    

2 carrots, cut into long thin strips using a vegetable peeler 1⁄4 white cabbage, finely sliced 1⁄4 red cabbage, finely sliced 4 spring onions, finely sliced Handful of coriander, leaves picked

To plate  1 bag of mixed salad leaves  4 tbsp cashews, toasted  2 candy beetroot (or red, if you can’t find candy beetroot),

finely sliced  2 tbsp white sesame seeds

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FTB’S FAST FOOD Easter... the time of year when chocolate seems to be on every shelf and in every household. So which are this year’s best eggs for you and your family to tuck in to from the UK’s top supermarkets? E A S T E R E G G S T R AVA G A N Z A







Waitrose salted hazelnut and raisin dark chocolate egg, £7; Waitrose Belgian dark chocolate avocado egg, £8; Waitrose milk chocolate diamond egg, £10; Waitrose milk chocolate lamb egg £5

Specially Selected exquisite imperial egg, £8.99; Moser Roth milk and dark chocolate duo egg, £4.99; Moser Roth eggometric egg, £4.99; Single origin Ghanaian milk chocolate egg, £4.99; Curious inventions Easter egg, £2.99

Niederegger chocolate covered marzipan eggs, £6.99; Stockleys luxury milk chocolate mini eggs, £7.99; House Of Dorchester Easter treasure hunt milk chocolate slims; £5.99; Happy bunnies and ducks gift boxed Easter chocolates, £4.99

Tesco finest* salted caramel egg, £9; Tesco finest* milk chocolate egg, £5; Tesco finest* dark chocolate egg, £5; Tesco Rainbow the unicorn, £3.50

Co-op milk chocolate banoffee egg, £5; Coop milk chocolate salted caramel brownie egg, £5; Co-op Irresistible single origin Ecuadorian milk chocolate gem, with rich Cornish sea salted caramel truffles, £7

FTB SAYS: The Waitrose eggs are visually stunning

FTB SAYS: The Tesco eggs we sampled were all of a good standard, especially the finest*

FTB SAYS: The selection

FTB SAYS: Although not your

ones, but visually they were

of eggs from the Co-Op

and are just as nice to eat.

FTB SAYS: The exquisite imperial

typical Easter eggs, Lakeland

quite plain. The salted caramel

was interesting. By far and

The diamond egg with its

egg oozes class and is as

has some lovely alternatives to

egg had a smooth Belgian

away the best one was the

rich salted caramels looks

stunning as it is delicious with

satisfy your chocolate cravings.

milk chocolate base with a

Fair Trade milk chocolate

unique and you get a lot for

its gold coloured lustre. The

The mini eggs are tasty treats

creamy milk and white top. The

gem. Not only does it look

your money. Similarly the

Moser Roth Eggometric egg is

and there is a good amount

crunchy caramel pieces with

stunning, it tasted excellent

hazelnut egg is eye-catching

a perfect gift with its precisely

of eggs for the price. The

sea salt were pleasant. The milk

and the caramel truffles with

and the salted hazelnut taste

printed geometric pattern. If

treasure hunt chocolate slims

chocolate and dark chocolate

it tasted even better. The

is delightful. Perhaps one of

you are looking for a Fair Trade

could be the most sought-after

eggs have more to them than

salted caramel brownie egg

the most popular eggs this

option then the Ghanaian egg

chocolates this Easter, with a

their names suggest, with fruit

looks quirky, as if there is a

year will be the innovative

is for you with its eye-catching

fun activity as well as a sweet

or nut pieces providing complex

filling bursting out the middle,

avocado egg, something

animal designs. The curious

treat. The bunnies and ducks

flavours. Rainbow the Unicorn

but had a powerful flavour.

which I have never come

inventions egg is great for kids,

novelty chocolates are a lovely

will make the children smile

The banoffee egg will divide

across before. Although there

with infused popping candy


with its creative design and

opinions. For those who like

is no avocado taste at all, the

making a big surprise when you


strawberry chocolate.

to mix fruit and chocolate it

growing number of avocado

bite into it.


will be ideal, but we found

lovers in the country will be


trendy chocolate triumph.


the concept didn't quite work.

certain to purchase this


Judge’s egg holder from its ever-expanding wire collection gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘chicken wire'. This hen- shaped egg holder will give your eggs pride of place in the kitchen this Easter, as well as providing a protective yet attractive way to store eggs at an ideal temperature to maintain a quality taste. It is made from high-quality chrome with a 25-year guarantee as well as being lightweight and easy to clean. A must-have for any Easter enthusiast! 0117 940 0000 First Time Buyer April/May 2018

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Mortgage Clinic As a first time buyer, understanding mortgage terminology and knowing what mortgage is right for you can be difficult, so David Blake at Which? Mortgage Advisers has joined up with First Time Buyer to answer your mortgage-related questions

Q A 

Is a mortgage more expensive for a first time buyer?

A mortgage will not be more expensive purely on the basis that you are a first time buyer. That said, there are a number of variables that could lead to first time buyers paying more. There are now numerous lenders offering 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, where you only need to put down a deposit worth 5% of the value of the property. This is good news for first time buyers who might have less in the way of savings, but generally, the higher your LTV, the higher your interest rate will be and so the higher your monthly mortgage payments. As a result, you may find that your mortgage rate is higher than some of the other products available. Many mortgages will include an arrangement fee of about £1,000-£1,500. This doesn’t tend to differ as a result of you being a first time buyer. Some mortgage lenders may seek to draw you in with the promise of a low arrangement fee. This might sound like good news but often a lower fee can mean a higher percentage of interest. You may find that in the longer term this could cost you a lot more. You can usually add the arrangement fee to your overall loan, but keep in mind that you will pay interest on the additional mortgage.

Q A 

What are the pros and cons of shared ownership?

Shared ownership schemes are designed to help first time buyers take their first step on to the property ladder. It involves buying a share of between 25% and 75% of a property and paying rent on the remainder. For many people struggling to save up a large enough deposit to buy a home of their own, this is the most realistic way of buying a home. Shared ownership is good as it offers you a cheaper route to buy a property. However, there are a few factors to consider before deciding that this option is for you. There is a level of future uncertainty that shared ownership will give you. Although you know the amount of rent you will be paying for the next few years, this could


David Blake has more than nine years of experience in the financial services industry and prides himself on helping first time buyers get on to the property ladder. In his current role at Which? Mortgage Advisers, David (along with the entire team) provides independent, impartial advice and searches thousands of mortgage deals to help buyers find the deal that is right for them.

rise significantly in future. Given the low level of equity that you have in the property, you face higher exposure to drops in property prices. Your level of equity could be wiped out with a smaller percentage drop in the value of your property, as any significant depreciation could put you in negative equity, meaning that you actually owe more than you own. This could leave you in an awkward financial position in the future if property prices don’t continue to rise. Finally, shared ownership offers you much less flexibility and choice, as there are far fewer properties available under shared ownership than general sale. There are also questions around who you might be able to sell to when the time comes to move.

Q A 

How does the mortgage process work?

It can vary based on your individual circumstances, but the average mortgage application takes two to four weeks to complete. During this time the mortgage lender will assess your ability to repay the loan that you are applying for and will conduct a property valuation. To ensure you don’t hold up the process, make sure you have all the documents that

you need in advance. You will usually need two forms of photo ID, proof of address, and proof of earnings (usually three months of pay slips). Ensure that all of these are up to date, so that you don’t have any setbacks at the beginning of the process. The next step is to speak to a mortgage adviser. Look for one who will examine the whole of the market and offer advice based on your individual circumstances. There are a large number of lenders and deals available, so a good adviser will be able to save you plenty of time and offer expert advice on the best value for you. Once you have made an informed decision about which mortgage to go for, you can formally apply to that lender. A mortgage adviser may be able to do this on your behalf, although in some cases you will have to process the application directly. The lender will process your application in the next few days, assessing your ability to repay the mortgage. If you are approved, you will receive a mortgage offer within a few days. This will be subject to a property valuation that will be set up by your lender shortly afterwards. Most mortgage offers are valid for three or six months. This is worth noting, just in case there are delays during the home buying process. Provided your individual circumstances remain unchanged and the property doesn’t go down in value, it should be possible to extend your mortgage offer without too much difficulty. For further help and advice from Which? Mortgage Advisers, visit ftbmortgages, or call 0808 159 4852

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EXPERT COMMENT Eighteen months ago I was a data scientist in a payday loan company. I was dipping into my own overdraft every month and I thought I could create something to fix it. If you could get an Uber in a second or an Airbnb in two seconds, why couldn’t you manage your money the same way? Cleo is a digital assistant who connects to all your different accounts through Open Banking and helps you manage your money. You can chat to her and ask questions on Facebook Messenger just like a friend – she’s a companion in your day-to-day financial life, a bit like a financial adviser powered by AI, which people really like. With wages having stagnated, there’s a real societal need for young people to save and be in control of their

Open invitation It’s the ‘banking revolution’ that hardly anyone has heard about and many seem reluctant to embrace. Kay Hill investigates what Open Banking is all about and what benefits it might offer for those saving for a first home

money. Cleo will analyse your spending and balance history and work out how much you can afford to put away each week and then put it into a savings account for you. It’s a way of helping people to get started with savings; it can be apathy that prevents people from saving, but now you can auto-deploy your capital in the most efficient way.


As revolutions go, Open Banking has certainly been unobtrusive. Anyone who banks with one of the major UK institutions will have received a letter, but most, after reading it and coming away none the wiser, will probably have dropped it straight into the paper recycling bin. In fact, when consumer champion Which? carried out a survey a few months ago, 92% of the public had not heard of Open Banking at all, while a second survey by management consultancy Accenture found that 69% of those it surveyed didn’t think they would use it.

Hussey-Yeo Co-founder and CEO, Cleo

WHAT IS OPEN BANKING? In a nutshell, Open Banking means that the big nine current account providers (Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays,


Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS Group and Santander) are now legally required to give access to a customer’s financial data to a third party – if the customer requests it, and if the third party is properly registered and authorised.

WHY HAS IT COME ABOUT? Open Banking was a result of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigations into the banking industry combined with the Second Payment Services Directive from the EU, which came in to force in January 2018. These regulations are intended to ensure that customers’ data belongs to them, and gives them rights to use that information in ways that benefit them.

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Cleo is an artificial intelligence that manages money. The company has more than 100,000 users, mainly millennials, who talk to Cleo via Messenger. Cleo keeps track of transactions, calculates budgets and spots spending trends, and will autosave money into a separate account each week. At the moment no interest is paid, but the company hopes to launch savings options with partners. There is a £50,000 guarantee against losses through fraud. Cleo is free to use. Chip is a savings programme that uses an AI-powered algorithm to connect to your current account, calculate how much you can afford to save and put it away for you automatically every few days. You can also manually add up to £100 a day, six times a month. Your money is held in a Barclays instant access account that pays 1% APR for every friend you invite (up to 5%). Although, if Barclays were to go bust, you wouldn’t be covered by the normal Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Operated via a free app with no other charges. Moneybox connects to your spending card of choice and rounds up every purchase to the nearest pound. It will also accept regular or one-off investments. That money is invested weekly in tracker funds (usually housed within an ISA or a Lifetime ISA). Cautious, balanced or adventurous options are available, but returns are not guaranteed and your capital is at risk. Moneybox works via an app and has a £1 a month subscription fee, 0.45% annual platform fee and a 0.24% annual management fee.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Customers will have access to lots of innovative apps helping them to manage and grow their money – and because these apps can access all the individual’s existing current accounts, advice will be personalised. There are already some apps that help with budgeting, but until now they have used a ‘screen-scraping’ process which relies on users handing over their online banking details so the app can view statements. Use of these apps breaches most banks’ security regulations, so if anything goes wrong customers generally won’t get any help from their bank. The new legislation means that customers can authorise their own banks to allow access to registered third parties – and as they don’t hand over their passwords they are protected against fraud. In addition, a more secure technology called API (application programming interfaces) will be used instead of screen-scraping. This is the technology that enables Uber to overlap with Google Maps, or Citymapper to access travel information from Transport for London.

WHO WILL USE IT? Open Banking only works with online banking. According to the Office of National Statistics, 67% of adults now do at least some banking online, while according to Payments UK, 37% of adults use mobile

Plum was created by the team from Transferwise, which slashed the cost of sending money abroad. It analyses your spending and puts small amounts of savings away for you each week which is held in Barclays but again is not covered by the regular FSCS scheme. Plum doesn’t pay any interest, instead, it puts money aside for you into a savings account with the option of investing via peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter. The potential income is around 3%, but your capital is at risk, there is no FSCS cover and you don’t have instant access. Plum is free to use and works via Facebook Messenger. Squirrel is an automatic budgeting account. Your salary is diverted to the app which splits it into bills (paid back to your current account the day before the bill is due), savings (kept in unlimited different pots within Squirrel and earmarked for various goals) and spending which goes back into your current account – either all at once or divided into a weekly allowance. You aren’t paid any interest and Squirrel costs £3.99 a month. It works via an app. Other providers include (from ING bank),,,,, plus most of the major banks will be introducing their own Open Banking apps over the next few months. Please note that as Open Banking is so new, some of those mentioned are still using screen-scraping technology or are in the process of registering with the FCA, so take extra care to check that your money and data are secure.

banking apps. In the British Bankers Association report An App-etite For Banking, Eric Leenders, BBA Managing Director, Retail and Commercial Banking, noted, “Customers’ appetite for using technology to manage their money on the move is showing no signs of abating, with banking apps now the principle means by which we access our current accounts. And this doesn’t appear to be a fad with more and more people moving beyond payments, increasingly using apps to access a broader range of banking services, such as savings, credit cards, mortgage and investment accounts. Latest developments in the consumer-led digital revolution are empowering customers to manage their finances more conveniently.” While older customers may be instinctively wary, for younger people, already used to having apps monitor everything from their sleep patterns to their calorie intake, the convenience of having a single app to help with their finances is likely to outweigh data protection concerns.

WHAT WILL THE APPS DO? With Open Banking having only started in 2018, no one knows how far it will eventually go, but for now, most apps help you to budget, some offering automatic savings and investments, bill payments, comparisons for financial products and varying degrees of financial advice. Some

are free, others have an initial cost for the app or a recurring fee. Voice-operated programs such as Amazon’s Alexa should soon be able to work through Open Banking, and even supermarkets might get involved to offer you discounts as you walk around a store.

IS IT SAFE? Your data will never be shared unless you give your permission for a specific company to access it. The data security on these new apps will be as good as existing online banking, and you won’t be sharing your login information. Existing screen-scraping apps will be banned from Autumn 2019 (but will generally be changing to Open Banking processes before then), but in the meantime, it is safest to use only companies that are registered for Open Banking with the Financial Conduct Authority. Few of the apps are part of the £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme, although many have ring-fenced savings or other schemes to protect deposits.

WHAT IS IN THE PIPELINE? At the moment, Open Banking only applies to current accounts, but credit cards should be included by the end of the year, and ultimately savings accounts, mortgages and all your other financial transactions will be viewable in one place if you choose.

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Playing house: Next generation think property ladder is child’s play Eager readers of First Time Buyer may be clued up about the harsh realities of buying their first home, but recent research revealed some disturbing facts about how little most young people know about homeownership and just how hard it is to achieve

EXPERT COMMENT First time buyer activity underpinned the UK property market during

A study by Halifax found that the UK’s next generation of first time buyers faces some shocking home truths about getting on the property ladder. They found that one in five of those aged between 11 and 14 think that they can borrow as much money as they want to buy a house. Over a quarter of 18 to 21-year-olds expect to own a home by the age of 25, and one in 10 of those aged 18 to 21 think Stamp Duty is money to pay for stamps!

2017 and looks set to be the


driving force this year too, as long as favourable conditions prevail. Help to Buy continues to have a huge impact, enticing buyers into the new home sector with monthly repayments they can reasonably afford, while loans remain cheap and there’s plenty of stock as buy-to-let investors leave the market. The scrapping of Stamp Duty for purchases under £300,000 is making a big difference to first time buyers by reducing upfront costs and thereby boosting cash for deposits. Having waited years for a window of opportunity, first time buyers are negotiating hard and taking advantage of a lack of competition and falling seller confidence to secure a good deal.

Rob Houghton CEO,


Some of the findings are undoubtedly amusing, yet Halifax says that the study shows what it calls “a disjointed picture of homeownership” among young people aged between 11 and 21 over what is undoubtedly the biggest financial commitment of a lifetime. The British bank believes that the findings are “a wake-up call” for future first time buyers to get more clued up on what it terms “adulting”. Looking in closer detail at the study’s findings, a third of young people aged 11 to 14 are banking on mum and dad to cough up the cash for their first home. Meanwhile, more than one in five of their 18 to 21-yearold counterparts (21%) are relying on the Government to help them on to the property ladder. Future first time buyers however, have high hopes for becoming homeowners and 59% of 18 to 21-year-olds feel it’s “very important” to own a home. The report shows a reality gap about prices. One in five 11 to 21-year-olds in London think they can snap up a home in the capital from as little as £50,000 up to £200,000, when in reality, the average first time buyer house price in London is around £422,580.

THE HARSH REALITY Over a quarter of those aged 18 to 21 believe they’ll be homeowners by the time they are aged 25. In reality, they will have to wait another five years until they are 30, if they want to buy somewhere in most of the UK or age 32 if they are planning to live in London. Almost one in four 15 to 17-yearolds believe that “only rich people own their own homes” which is not surprising if a quarter of youngsters that age expect to save for 20 years towards a deposit.

THE GENDER DIVIDE When it comes to differences between the sexes, the study revealed that young men were more optimistic, as 23% of those aged 18 to 21 reckon a deposit of between £5,000 and £10,000 is enough to buy a home, whereas only 5% of young women thought that would be enough. It’s certainly short of the actual UK first time buyer deposit mark at £32,321. With an eye on the future, a fifth of 18 to 21-year-olds are counting on inheritance to pay off their mortgage, with men more hopeful of a legacy to clear their mortgage than their female counterparts (31% vs 18%).

PERFECT STORM FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS? The UK’s youth may be out of touch when it comes to how hard it really is to get on the property ladder but, looking at market activity for the start of 2018, some property experts believe that now is the best time to make that move, with some going as far as calling it a ‘perfect storm’. Experts say that the combination of falling prices at the lower

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EXPERT COMMENT The property market is a tough place at the moment, but at Notting Hill we are committed to supporting buyers who want to get on to and up the property ladder. We are really pleased to be able to offer the shared ownership scheme at Reynard Mills (in Brentford) as this will provide prospective purchasers the opportunity to buy a home in a popular west London location at an

end of the market, cheap mortgages, a surge in stock from departing investors, changes to Stamp Duty and schemes such as Help to Buy have made first time buyers the driving force underpinning the property market.

LOOKING AT FIGURES FROM 2017 First time buyer activity was at an alltime high last year, acccounting for 55% of all activity on comparison website for conveyancing, removals and survey quotes. The site found that average prices across the UK rose by just 1.4% from £284,577 in 2016 to £288,289 in 2017, but despite this the average price paid by first time buyers prices dipped from £204,726 to £204,090, suggesting that first time buyers were confident in taking advantage of their own strong position without a property to sell. Buy-to-let investors leaving the market created a surge in the supply of entry level homes, forcing sellers to compete on price. First time buyers paid 71% of the average house price in 2017, down from 72% in 2016 and 75% in 2015, according to the website.

GOVERNMENT HELP TO GET ON THE PROPERTY LADDER Meanwhile, the popularity of Government schemes aimed at helping first timers to get on to the housing ladder continued to grow. The proportion of those using the

shared ownership scheme grew from 4% in January 2017 to 6.5% in December, while the proportion of those using a Help to Buy ISA peaked at 19% in December, showing that first time buyers still prefer to own their own home outright with the help of a Government loan, rather than own a share of it. In London, where prices are highest, the popularity of shared ownership is more than twice the national average. The rise of first time buyers has also helped drive up the number of purchasers using mortgages to 83%, the highest it has been since 2012.

affordable price.

Jenny Murphy Head of Sales and Marketing, Notting Hill Sales

EXPERT COMMENT Despite being one of the most important financial decisions we’re


ever likely to make, becoming a

Recent research from Hometrack UK reveals however, that the house price to earnings ratio in London has reached an all-time high, with prices in the capital now 14.5 times the average London salary, a staggering 10 times more than the borrowing criteria stipulated by the Bank of England. With an average deposit of £123,000 required to buy a home in London, it is easy to understand why many aspiring buyers feel that owning a home there is out of reach unless they opt to buy a more affordable shared ownership property. Shared ownership offers the chance to buy a share of a home, between 25% and 75%, while paying a subsidised rent on the remaining share. Homebuyers can also choose to buy additional shares on their property as and when they can afford to, right up to 100%.

for Generation Z who will soon

homeowner feels like a mystery be thinking about flying the nest. Although our research found that the vast majority of 11 to 14-year-olds understand what a mortgage is, one in 10 aged 18 to 21 think that Stamp Duty is the money to pay for stamps – so there is clearly a job to do for all of us to help kids get a better idea of what’s involved with taking the first step on to the property ladder.

Russell Galley Managing Director, Halifax

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Agony agent Readers put their property questions to our guest panel of experts: solicitors, mortgage advisers, property gurus and Help to Buy providers

THIS MONTH’S PA N E L O F E X P E R T S Eloise Robins Assistant Director, SiteSales Property Group

Sara Hughes Conveyancing Team Leader and Solicitor, Stephensons

Can we afford to buy in London? Felicity Gentle Sales and Marketing Director, Optivo


We need your questions... If you have any queries, or difficulties in understanding the property buying process, our panel of experts is waiting to help. Send our team your questions on buying property, Help to Buy, legal issues, or your financial problems and we’ll find the best person from the panel to give the advice you need. Email your questions to:


My boyfriend and I currently live in a private rented apartment in Hertfordshire. We pay a small fortune in commuting to Canary Wharf each year and are looking to move closer to work. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can afford the prices in London. Any ideas please? Amy Lamburn, Stevenage


With its desirable location, Canary Wharf is one of the more expensive options in east London. Although the outright sale prices might seem above your current budget there are a number of schemes available to first time buyers, including shared ownership. Unfortunately, some buyers think there is a catch to shared ownership or believe it’s a complicated process, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! In its simplest form you ‘buy a bit’ and you ‘rent a bit.’ Of course, there are some eligibility criteria which you must fit, for example, as you want to buy in London you need to have a combined income of less than £90,000. But, to obtain a mortgage on a 25% share of a new home is a lot easier than the full amount. You can also increase your share if your circumstances change – something which we call staircasing. With the above in mind, you can look at some areas in east London such as Canning Town, Stratford and Bow which are within an easy commuting distance to Canary Wharf. By widening your search, you might get more for your money, still drastically improve your commute time and enjoy all of the great lifestyle options in and around east London. Our teams at SiteSales Property Group are able to offer advice on everything from affordability to all of the local amenities including restaurants, gyms, schools and your commute. We think of ourselves as east London experts with vast experience in working on a number of developments in the area. We can also offer you advice on your budget and wants. For example, a two bedroom apartment in Canning Town may be cheaper than a similar sized property in Canary Wharf, you can then decide if you would like to buy a bigger share or look at a property with an extra room – we will let you choose if that will be a man cave or a walk-in wardrobe! The most important and best thing is that you have options and hopefully after reading this, more than you thought you had. So start your search – and why not check out our brand-new website at where you can explore many properties in and around east London available via shared ownership. Owning your first home might be closer than you think. Eloise Robins


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Conveyancing for Help to Buy


I am buying my first home through the Help to Buy scheme and I wondered if the conveyancing was any different to the normal conveyancing process when buying on the open market Benjamin Kovac, Bury


So is it complicated? Will it delay things? Questions that we at Stephensons get asked quite often by those clients taking advantage of the Government’s Help to Buy equity loan initiative. True, some of the paperwork might be unfamiliar to you, but employing an experienced solicitor to guide you through should mean that the conveyancing process is no more difficult, enabling you to meet the 28-day exchange deadline that your developer will have imposed and ultimately allowing you to move into your brand-new home. Once you’ve found your new home and reserved it with the developer you’ll start the Help to Buy application process by completing a Property Information Form. You’ll be asked straightforward questions about the property and about your income (you should have all this to hand as you’ll need it for your mortgage application) and it is at this stage that you should be speaking to a financial adviser who will guide you through your mortgage

Affordable shared ownership


I’ve heard shared ownership talked about as affordable housing, but I’ve seen shared ownership properties with values as high as £800,000 being advertised. I’m confused, what exactly is shared ownership and how can a £800,000 property be made affordable? Emily Watts, Putney


There are a number of high-value properties being advertised for shared ownership in London. Many of these are in desirable central London areas, hence the high values. While it’s hard to comprehend that these may be affordable, there are a number of factors which make them so.

application. This is also the time to instruct your solicitor. Once you’ve submitted your application and been approved, the HtB agent (who administers the equity loan) will issue to you, your solicitor and the developer the Authority to Proceed pack. This is the stage when your solicitor should start to take charge of the process for you. The solicitor will be asked to complete some additional paperwork on your behalf and they will submit that paperwork together with a copy of your mortgage offer, your valuation and a form that they will have received from your developer disclosing any incentives. If the agent is happy, your solicitor will be issued with Authority to Exchange. This is the green light for the solicitor that

the HtB funding is all in place so they are now safe to proceed to exchange for you. Exchange is the legally binding bit (when you can finally take a deep breath and relax – it’s happening!). So when will you finally get your key? Well that depends on how quickly the developer can build. You might be able to move in quickly or you might find you have to wait a little while. Once your home is ready, the developer will let you and your solicitor know, and at that stage your solicitor will request that the equity loan is released. The loan will be sent from the HtB agent straight to the developer to help ensure things run smoothly.

You may well have heard people talking about percentage deposits needed for buying a property, for example people talk about needing a 5 or 10% deposit. You’ll need that 5 or 10% regardless of whether you buy on the open market or through shared ownership, the key with shared ownership is that the 5 or 10% will be of a lesser amount. Let’s work on the basis that you only need a 5% deposit – if you bought a property on the open market valued at £800,000 you would need a deposit of £40,000. However, if you were buying just a 25% share of a property valued at £800,000, you would need just 5% of the share value (£200,000) which is £10,000. This is still a considerable amount, but significantly less than £40,000. There are two significant payments to be

made each month with shared ownership; 1) your monthly mortgage 2) your monthly rent – this is paid to the housing association you buy your property from, for the share that you do not own. Often you will see with high-value properties that this rent is a relatively low percentage; this is another way in which high-value properties can be made more affordable through shared ownership. The great thing about shared ownership is that across the years, when you are ready and you’ve saved a bit more, you’ll also be able to buy more shares. In most cases you can own up to 100%, but it’s always worth double-checking this before you buy. You can find out which shared ownership properties are available in your area through your local Help to Buy agent; will help you find out who your local one is. You’ll find properties advertised on the Help to Buy agent’s website from all housing providers so you won’t need to contact each one individually.

Sara Hughes

Felicity Gentle

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Your options What are your funding options if you want to get on the housing ladder?


ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A GOVERNMENTBACKED SCHEME? The government runs several Help to Buy schemes to help people get on to the property ladder. To be eligible for Help to Buy your household income needs to be less than £60,000 a year. For more details, contact a Help to Buy Agent. Help to Buy Agents are housing associations that handle the application process for Help to Buy products. Details of Help to Buy Agents start on page 130.






HELP TO BUY The government will provide you with a 20% equity loan that is interest free for the first five years with interest charged at 1.75% in the sixth year and at annual RPI (retail price index) inflation plus 1% after that. The loan must be repaid when the property is sold or within 25 years. Buyers need to raise a deposit of 5% and a 75% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage. Only new build homes valued up to £600,000 can be bought. The scheme is available for ftbs and movers.

NEWBUY Available on all newly built properties offered by homebuilders participating in the scheme up to the value of £500,000.Under the scheme, the house builder will put 3.5% of the sale price into an indemnity fund, and the government provides an additional 5.5%. The mortgage lender is then able to offer 90-95% LTV mortgages, and the purchaser only needs a 5-10% deposit.


Most people buy property on the open market. Homes are either offered for sale by estate agents or sold privately. These include flats, houses and former local authority properties.

This scheme gives buyers the chance to purchase as little as a 25% share in a property and pay the rest in the form of subsidised rent. In the majority of cases, there is the opportunity to own the rest of the property outright by a method known as ‘staircasing’.



Some house builders offer first time buyer incentives on new build homes. These include cash back, a loan to help you with costs or paying your mortgage for a set period of time. To find out more, contact developers directly.

With this scheme you rent a newly built property for up to five years and pay a reduced rent. This gives you the chance to save for a cash deposit so you can apply to buy a share of the home later.

This is a loan for a certain percentage of a property’s value. If you remain in the property, you repay the equity loan within 25 years. If you sell the property, you repay the percentage of the property price the loan was for. For example, if the equity loan was originally £30,000 on a £100,000 property (30%) and you sell the property for £200,000, you’ll have to repay £60,000 (30% of £200,000).

HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY This is a government organisation that funds affordable homes including those under Help to Buy.

STAIRCASING This applies to New Build HomeBuy schemes and occurs when the resident tops up the number of shares they own in their part-owned, part-rented home until they own the maximum share or own the property outright. The shares can be bought in 10% increments.


To buy on the open market or from a house builder you’ll need to get a mortgage from a bank or other mortgage lender. To do so you’ll need to save a deposit and meet the lender’s lending criteria.

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The ftb process TIPS

Buying your first property can be a daunting experience. It’s a big decision, so it’s important to get it right. We take you through all the steps involved


Unless you have enough money to buy a property outright you’ll need a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan used to buy a property and is normally repayable over 25 years. The loan is ‘secured’ on the property, which means the mortgage lender could repossess your home if you fail to make repayments on time. For this reason it’s vital only to buy a property you can realistically afford. Before you start, find out how much money you can borrow. A mortgage adviser at a bank will need details of your income, outgoings, savings and credit history – they will then be able to give you an ‘agreement in principle’, which will state, in theory, how much they will be able to lend you. An agreement in principle, however, doesn’t tie you, or the bank, to anything. Instead, it will just give you a rough idea of how much money you’ll be able to borrow. You’ll also need a deposit, normally at least 10% of the property price. The bigger the deposit, the better the mortgage rate you’ll be offered. Each mortgage product will have a maximum loan-to-value or LTV.


APPLICATION You will need to have at least three months of bank statements, payslips or tax returns, a valid passport and information on any outstanding loans. Banks will look at your outgoings to assess how much you can afford to pay on your mortgage each month. The bigger deposit you have and the better your credit score, the better the mortgage rate you’ll be offered.

BUDGET Work out how much you can afford to repay each month. Look at your income and outgoings, including bills, council tax, food, insurance and travel. If you are buying a leasehold flat, you’ll also have to budget for service charges, so find out how much they will be.

MORTGAGE BROKERS VS BANKS CREDIT SCORE Get a credit report from Experian or Equifax, and make sure there are no default accounts, CCJs (county court judgements) or missed payments. If you are making lots of enquiries to find the best deal, make sure the lenders log your enquiry as a ‘quotation’ (soft) search rather than an ‘application’ (hard) search. Too many applications will leave ‘footprints’ on your credit score and can affect your rating. To improve your credit score, make sure you’re on the electoral roll, and pay your bills and any loan repayments on time.

You can apply for a mortgage via a mortgage broker (or financial adviser) or direct from a lender. A broker can look at the deals available and advise you which one would be best for your circumstances. Some mortgage products are only sold through brokers, not directly to customers. A broker will help you with the paperwork and deal with the lender on your behalf up until completion. You may have to pay them a fee or they may earn commission from the lender – find out how they are paid before committing to anything. Mortgage advisers in banks will only be able to sell you products offered by that particular bank, so it’s unlikely they will be able to offer you the very best deal for your circumstances. It’s important to shop around. You can compare mortgage deals yourself using websites such as SET A BUDGET


Work out how much money you have for fees, deposit and the monthly mortgage you can afford.


Make sure your credit rating is sound, and pay off any debts you can. or, then apply directly to your chosen lender.

FIXED-RATES Some mortgages are fixed-rates. This means you’ll pay the same rate of interest for a certain period of time, and your repayments won’t change. If interest rates go up, you’ll be protected from the increase, but you won’t benefit from any fall in interest rates. Normally at the end of the fixed period your mortgage rate will revert to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) for the rest of the term. You can either pay this rate or remortgage to another lender. Remortgaging to another lender will usually mean you have to pay a fee or early redemption charge (ERC).

VARIABLE-RATE MORTGAGES Variable-rate mortgages are either linked to the lender’s SVR or the Bank of England base rate, and the rate you pay can change. Lenders can change their SVR whenever they want, but they normally only change it when the Bank of England base rate changes. ‘Tracker’ mortgages have repayment rates directly linked to the base rate and are liable to fluctuate, so you need to be sure you could afford higher repayments if rates rise.

REPAYMENT OR INTEREST-ONLY You can either pay your mortgage on a repayment or interest-only basis. If you choose a repayment mortgage, your monthly payments will pay off some interest and some capital. At the end of the term, you’ll own your home outright. With an interest-only mortgage you’ll have smaller monthly payments, but these only pay the interest on the loan. At the end of the term you’ll still owe the original mortgage sum. If you take out an interestonly mortgage, you’ll need to have a plan in place (such as an investment) as to how you’ll pay off the capital.


Speak to a mortgage broker, but also look at lenders’ direct products and search the internet for the best deal.


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a floor plan. Sign up with as many estate agents as you can (and your local HomeBuy Agent housing associations if you’re looking at shared ownership properties). They should send you new properties that match your description, but it’s worth phoning agents regularly.

Buying a home is a big investment. You need to buy a home you can afford and one

horough research

you’ll be happy living in.

LOCATION IS KEY The first step is to shortlist the locations you feel you’d like to live in, then check if you can afford the house prices in those areas. It’s also worthwhile visiting places you like: it may be that there’s an up-and-coming hot spot just down the road you didn’t know about that’s much more affordable. Ideally, you will have rented in the area before buying, but if this isn’t the case, at least spend some time there, check out the commuting time to work, and visit local pubs, shops and leisure facilities. Visit the area at night, too.

PROPERTY SEARCH Once you have found the right location, go online and check out what’s on offer. Most properties are listed on property portals such as or or estate agents’ own websites. Most of the properties featured have pictures and descriptions and some have DECIDE ON A LOCATION

Be practical. Think about the commuting time and if you can afford to buy in the area.


Check out crime rates, future regeneration or new transport links.

VIEWING Once you see a property you like, arrange a viewing. Most people see at least 10 properties before putting in an offer. It’s worth bringing a friend or relative and also arranging a second viewing to check out any bits you may have missed. Don’t get taken in by the furnishings and décor too much. Remember that a property that is slightly run down can still be a great investment and may only need a touch of paint and a change of furniture.

ESTATE AGENTS It’s a buyers’ market, so make use of agents’ legwork in finding properties that fit your requirements. Be aware that estate agents are paid commission by the seller on the sale, so try to inspect the property yourself rather than just the parts the agent shows you. Don’t get sucked in by the hard sell. SEARCH

Register with local estate agents, and use the internet to search for properties.


Look at several properties, and visit ones you like more than once and with someone else.

Check online for prices of sold properties in the area, and make sure properties you like fit your budget. You can search for recent sold prices of property in any area at, although be aware that prices have dropped significantly in the past year. If you like a property, aerial shots of the area can be viewed at Before you put in an offer, visit the street at different times to make sure it’s safe. Ask neighbours and local shop owners about the area.

BEFORE YOU BUY When looking at buying apartments, check exactly what is included in the service charge and how much it is. Also, ask about the terms of the lease and its length. If the lease has less than 80 years left, use this as a negotiating tool and make an offer below the asking price.


When making an offer, don’t be afraid to ask for less than the asking price. If the property needs work done on it, use this as a negotiating tool.



Make sure you get a survey done – it could save you money in the long run.

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uying process


Once your offer is accepted, tell your mortgage lender. They will do a valuation to ensure the property is worth the money being advanced. At the same time, instruct a surveyor to carry out a survey. If this shows problems, find out how much they would cost to rectify and use this information to renegotiate the sale price. Or, tell the seller certain repairs need to be carried out before contracts are exchanged.


MORTGAGE FEE £0-£1,000

VALUATION £0-£300 (depending on your mortgage deal)

SURVEY £300-£500 (depending on the type of survey you have done)

SOLICITORS After the offer is accepted, you will also need to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer who will oversee the contract, deal with the finances and exchange the deeds. Your solicitor will carry out searches, check the terms of any lease and tell you how much stamp duty you have to pay. The seller will also appoint a solicitor, and the two legal teams will be in regular contact to make sure the purchase goes as smoothly as possible.


A QUICK SALE Push the seller to take the property off the market. This will limit the chances of being gazumped (another buyer making a larger offer). The seller can insist on continuing to show the property, especially if you haven’t offered the asking price.

EXCHANGE AND COMPLETION Once the mortgage offer is in place, the contract is satisfactory and buildings insurance has been organised, both parties will agree an exchange date. On exchange of contracts, you pay a deposit, and a completion date is set. At this point, there’s no going back – the seller could sue you if you pull out, and you could lose your deposit. The exchange can be on the same date as the completion, but they are usually a week to 10 days apart. On completion, the final paperwork is done, and the property is legally yours.

Use a recommended solicitor who you know to be reliable and can move fast. Never get pressured into an exchange and completion date without knowing all your finances and documents are in place. If you can’t complete, you may have to pay the seller’s costs. English property law is different to Scottish law: in England, if you put in an offer and then have a change of heart, you can legally back out of the deal or negotiate up until the exchange date. But, in Scotland, an agreed price is binding.


Compare quotes from solicitors, and ask your friends if they can recommend someone. A good solicitor can make a big difference to a purchase completing or falling through.

LOCAL AUTHORITY SEARCH FEES £300 (included in your solicitor’s bill)

LAND REGISTRY FEES £50-£920 (depending on the property’s value, e.g., £200 on a property costing between £100,000 and £200,000).


STAMP DUTY 0% for properties costing up to £125,000

2% for properties costing between £125,001 and £250,000

5% for properties costing between £250,001 and £925,000

10% for properties costing between £925,001 and £1,500,000

BUILDINGS INSURANCE £300 per year, payable monthly or in advance. Buildings insurance can cost a lot more if your property is at risk of flooding.

TIME SCALE From offer to completion usually takes about six weeks to three months, but don’t feel pressured or rush into anything you’re not sure of just because the seller or estate agent wants you to exchange.


Look at the results of searches your solicitor has done. They will tell you, for example, if a main road is about to be built at the end of your garden.


After you’ve exchanged contracts, arrange buildings insurance – this will be a condition of your mortgage offer.


Shop around for a removals firm, and find one that can move your possessions on completion day.



Your solicitor or estate agent will call you to tell you the property is yours. The solicitor will have some final paperwork to do, and you will then have to pay the solicitor’s bill and your stamp duty payment (if applicable).

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Home buying glossary Confused by financial acronyms and industry terminology? Buying your first house is daunting enough without having to decode property lingo. FTB’s home buying glossary is here to make the process a whole lot easier to understand AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE


The initial document your lender will give you outlining the amount you are likely to be lent. An agreement in principle is not a guarantee of getting a mortgage.

These are additional charges incurred during the home buying process such as stamp duty and Land Registry charges. You must give the money to your conveyancer or solicitor who will then pay the charges on your behalf.

APR APR stands for annual percentage rate. It is the interest rate you’d pay over a year. It takes into account not just the interest on your loan but also any other additional charges.




This is a term used to describe payments that haven’t been made on time.

The difference between the value of the property and the value of the mortgage you have secured.

BASE RATE The interest rate set by the Bank of England. Lenders use the Bank of England base rate to set their own charges.


This is an amount of money you have to pay a lender if you decide to move mortgage providers or if you pay off your mortgage quicker than expected.

EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS This is when you exchange contracts with the seller. When this has happened, both sides are legally bound to complete the transaction.

A broker is someone who gives you advice on your mortgage. Some are independent, while others work for lenders.



When a seller accepts an offer and then later on rejects it in favour of a higher offer from another bidder.

A survey carried out by a qualified surveyor to spot any structural problems or faults in the home you are buying.

COLLATERAL Something of value that is offered as a guarantee against a loan. With mortgages, your home is collateral.

COMPLETION The finalisation of the sale. Completion day is when all money is transferred and you become the legal owner of your new home.

CONVEYANCING The legal process of transferring ownership of a property.

A freehold is when you fully own a property and the land it stands on.


GUARANTOR A person, usually a parent, who guarantees that you can pay your mortgage repayments. You often need a guarantor if you are struggling to get a mortgage based on your own income. If for some reason you cannot pay your mortgage, your guarantor has to pay it for you.

HIGHER LENDING CHARGE If you take out a large mortgage on a property, some lenders charge you an extra fee. This is because the more money you borrow the more of a risk the lender is taking.

LAND REGISTRY FEES This is a fee you have to pay in order to register your ownership of the property with the Land Registry.

LEASE A type of contract where you buy the right to occupy the property for a fixed period of time. You usually have to pay annual ground rent each year.

LTV This stands for loan to value – the ratio between the amount of money you have taken out as a loan and the valuation price of the property.

LUMP-SUM REDUCTION In order to reduce your mortgage, you can make a lump-sum reduction. This is where you pay more than you owe each month in mortgage repayments.

REDEMPTION Paying off your mortgage in full is known as redemption.

REPAYMENTS The amount you have to pay back each month to your mortgage provider

STAMP DUTY Stamp duty is a shortened name for stamp duty land tax. This is an amount of money that the government tax you when you purchase a new property. Your solicitor or conveyancer will organise the payment for you.

TITLE DEEDS The legal documents that outline your rights and liabilities in relation to your new property. The title deeds also act as proof of ownership.

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Should you require any further information regarding this article or the services provided by Lawcomm Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact Bill Dhariwal (E: bill.dhariwal@ or Sarah Lightfoot-Webber (E: sarah.lightfootwebber@lawcomm.

Purchasing a property with an unmarried partner or family/friend

When purchasing a property, unmarried couples (cohabitees) do not have the same protection as married couples because the unmarried relationship is not recognised or protected in law. This means that, in the event of a relationship breakup, the parties would have to rely on civil laws, such as contract and trusts, to find a remedy and could pay thousands of pounds in legal fees either to reach a settlement or by going through Court proceedings However, when purchasing a property with your partner or someone else (such as a family member or friend) there are various deeds and documents that can be used to protect yourselves against future disputes in the unfortunate event your relationship breaks down. Below we detail some basic information to consider before making any decisions regarding the basis upon which you will own a property, and subsequently how you can protect your financial assets and possessions.


JOINT TENANTS OR TENANTS IN COMMON? Joint Tenants hold the property together on a 50/50 basis and the property will automatically pass to the other in the event of death. Tenants in Common specify how they hold the property, such as 50/50, unequal shares or stipulations and conditions, such as the reimbursement of a deposit to one party and the remainder being on a 50/50 or unequal basis.

Tenants in Common own their share separately. In the event of death, your respective shares will pass in accordance with what’s written in your Will, so if your partner predeceased you, you could end up owning the property with your partner’s parents or some other family member and/ or friend, depending on the provisions within the Will. There is no provision for either of you to directly inherit the other’s share, so the making of a Will is of utmost importance if you hold the property as Tenants in Common.

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BUYERS’ GUIDE TRUST DEED You only need to enter into a Trust Deed (or Declaration of Trust) if you are holding the property as Tenants in Common, because this document specifies and details your respective shares. The Trust Deed is then lodged at the Land Registry and acts to protect both parties’ interests and prevent either party from trying to sell or transfer their interest without the consent or knowledge of the other.

WHAT ELSE? Once you have decided how the property will be held it is then time to consider the foundations of your relationship. Being open and honest with each other from the outset and deciding together as a couple (or non-couple) what your expectations are provides you with the security and knowledge that you both agree from the beginning the parameters and/or limitations of your obligations and duties to each other. These principles can then be recorded in a Cohabitation Agreement. If you are purchasing a property with a family member or friend, the same principles apply but the document detailing your duties and obligations will be contained within a Deed of Arrangements.

COHABITATION AGREEMENT/ DEED OF ARRANGEMENTS This document details your duties and responsibilities regarding the property and your individual assets, such as:  Who owns what fixtures and fittings (white goods, furniture etc)  Who is responsible for which utilities and outgoings, in what sum/percentage and where these will be paid from (joint or single bank account)  If there are additional property and/ or assets, whether these are considered joint or singular assets  In the event the relationship breaks down, you can specify how fixtures, fittings, personal assets and/or property is to be divided  You can specify how debts accrued during the relationship are to be dealt with, ie sole or joint liability  If you sell the property and purchase another, you can detail what is to happen when purchasing another property, for example whether the same shares will be applied and/or a change from Tenants in Common to Joint Tenants or vice versa  You can specify whether there is an intention to provide financial support during the relationship and/or following the breakdown of the relationship

 You can make contingent arrangements for children, so you could agree what child maintenance you would pay during the relationship and/or following the breakdown of the relationship (this can apply even though you do not have children at present)  You can make pension provision as this is not an automatic right for cohabitees The provisions contained within these documents are determined by you. You can include as much or as little information as you choose. The ultimate aim of these types of documents is to detail the agreed financial arrangements between you so as to prevent potential litigation in the event the relationship breaks down.

WHY SHOULD I ENTER INTO A COHABITATION AGREEMENT/ DEED OF ARRANGEMENTS? As mentioned before, unmarried couples are not recognised within law and as such fall under the remit of civil law, with the same principles applying to family members and/or friends purchasing a home together. Legal rights and protections are limited, and the following points should be considered: If you are not named or documented as an owner (either as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common):  You do not have a legal right to occupy the property  If the relationship breaks down you will have to prove your interest in the property before acquiring your share and/or sale proceeds If you purchase the property as Tenants in Common:  There is no automatic right of succession on the death of the other, meaning the other person can specify anyone they choose as the beneficiary of their share in the property without your agreement or consent  There are no automatic rights under the Intestacy Rules (when a person dies without a Will)

For unmarried couples, the above points apply and should be considered alongside the following:  There is no duty to provide financial support following the breakdown of the relationship  You do not have defined rights or remedies in relation to financial issues, such as maintenance or pension shares  You do not have the right to financial compensation if you give up your career to stay home and raise children of the family  You have limited rights to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 As can be seen above, there is limited automatic protection for unmarried couples, family or friends when purchasing a property together. It is paramount that you adequately protect yourselves, your share in the property, your personal assets, and agree your duties and obligations to one another from the outset. Not only will this provide strength and steadiness to your relationship, but it will also alleviate the need for any litigation in the unfortunate event of the breakdown of your relationship, regardless of the nature that takes.

WHEN SHOULD WE MAKE THESE ARRANGEMENTS? You can enter into these types of agreements at any time during your relationship. The benefit of doing it at the time of purchasing a property is that both you and your partner (of whatever nature) will have a clear understanding of the foundations upon which your relationship is built, including what duties and obligations you are expecting and/or agreeing to. We cannot stress enough the importance of putting an agreement in place. The benefits to all parties of full and open disclosure from the outset regarding your respective expectations and financial obligations to each other, both now and in the future, can save you time, money and unnecessary emotional distress in the unfortunate event your relationship breaks down.

Lawcomm Solicitors provide a specialist conveyancing services to first time buyers including Help to Buy and shared ownership transactions, and can also assist with lease extensions, purchasing freeholds and leasehold disputes. Our services for first time buyers are provided for competitive Fixed Fees, with a NoMove-No-Fee Policy, and includes automatic updates and secure document sharing via our online portal where you and associated third parties can keep track of your case progress at any time. Call 0333 202 1132, email or visit to make an enquiry now.

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HELP TO BUY NORTH WEST Tel: 0300 790 0570 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Cumbria Lancashire Merseyside Greater Manchester Cheshire

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

1 2

Northumberland Tyne & Wear Durham North Yorkshire West Yorkshire South Yorkshire East Riding of Yorkshire




HELP TO BUY MIDLANDS Tel: 0345 850 2050

Tel: 03333 214044


1) Shropshire 2) Staffordshire 3) Derbyshire 4) Nottinghamshire 5) Lincolnshire 6) Herefordshire 7) Worcestershire 8) West Midlands 9) Warwickshire 10) Leicestershire 11) Rutland 12) Northamptonshire

1) Norfolk 2) Cambridgeshire 3) Suffolk 4) Bedfordshire 5) Buckinghamshire 6) Hertfordshire 7) Essex 8) Surrey 9) Kent 10) West Sussex 11) East Sussex



5 4









Tel: 0800 456 1188 1) 2) 3) 4)

Gloucestershire Oxfordshire Bristol Bath & NE Somerset, Mendip and North Somerset 5) Wiltshire 6) Berkshire 7) Hampshire 8) Isle of Wight





5 7

8 1 HELP TO BUY SOUTH WEST Tel: 0300 100 0021 Cornwall Devon South Somerset Dorset


1 9



1) 2) 3) 4)


6 4


4 2





3 2







HELP TO BUY LONDON Tel: 0300 500 0996 1) London

Map supplied by Help to Buy South


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Help to Buy London

guarantee, please contact the participating lenders

Tel: 0300 5000 996

Tel: 0345 850 2050

0300 500 0996

directly. Shropshire Share to Buy


Staffordshire Derbyshire Nottinghamshire

Please note:

Tel: 03333 214044


Help to Buy agents administer the Help to Buy: equity


loan scheme but not the mortgage guarantee scheme.


They have the authority to give the go-ahead for you


West Midlands

to purchase a home with help from the equity loan



scheme. The agents make other key decisions during



the purchase process. For the Help to Buy: mortgage







Essex Surrey Kent

Tel: 0300 790 0570

West Sussex

East Sussex

Cumbria Lancashire Merseyside


Greater Manchester Cheshire

Tel: 0300 100 0021


Cornwall Devon South Somerset

Tel: 0113 825 6888



Northumberland Tyne & Wear

Tel: 0800 456 11 88


North Yorkshire West Yorkshire


South Yorkshire


East Riding of Yorkshire

Bristol Bath & NE Somerset, Mendip and North Somerset Wiltshire Berkshire Hampshire Isle of Wight

ADVERTISE IN THIS SPACE Speak to our advertising team to find out the best ways to give your organisation maximum exposure. Call 020 7258 1777 or email

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Swan Housing

Estuary Housing

Fusion Homes



020 8354 5500

0208 942 4062

0203 675 9933

0300 304 5000

Thames Valley Housing


020 3202 0263


033 3000 4000

0800 783 2159

Genesis Homes


Origin Housing 0300 323 0325

LONDON Catalyst Housing

Family Mosaic


Wandle Housing


020 7089 1315

0303 123 1890

Home Group

Paradigm Housing

0300 2000 116

0345 141 4663

0845 337 4877 0300 456 2099 East Thames

Flagship Homes


Hyde New Homes


Accent Group

0345 606 1221

020 7021 4842

Islington and Shoreditch

Places for People

01603 255 444

0345 678 0555 0300 303 7333

Guinness Partnership

020 8607 0550

LienViet Housing

Aster Group

Estuary Housing


01772 667049


020 7226 3753

01380 735 480 Sanctuary London sanctuary-homeownership.

Chelmer Housing




0800 916 1444

0300 100 0309

0300 304 5000

0300 555 0500 Site Sales

0800 783 2159 London and Quadrant

CHS Group

Family Mosaic

0208 502 5758

0300 456 9997

0300 111 3555 Shepherd’s Bush Housing

020 7089 1315 Metropolitan Home

Crown Simmons

Gateway Housing


020 8996 4200


020 3535 2555

020 8709 4300

01372 461 440 Southern Home Ownership

Newlon Housing Trust Genesis Homes


033 3000 4000

0800 058 2544

Guinness Partnership

Notting Hill Housing


0203 815 0000

0300 555 2171

0303 123 1890 Nu Living Hexagon

0800 819 9390

020 8778 6699

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Four issues for just

£14 Please call our subscription team on

1 issue


020 3874 1649

4 issues


6 issues £21

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(Free P&P)

(Free P&P)

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Metropolitan Home

PA Housing

Southern Home Ownership



01932 235 801

0300 555 2171

0800 783 3097

020 3535 2555 Paradigm Housing

Sovereign Housing

Home Group


0845 337 4877

0300 330 0718

0345 141 1663

0300 323 0011 Peabody


Housing Solutions Group

Nu Living

020 7021 4444

01202 319 119

0800 876 6060

0800 819 9390 Places for People

Swan Housing


Hastoe Housing Association

Aster Group

0300 123 2250

01380 735 480 Knightstone Cornerstone Housing

08458 729 729

01392 273 462 Places for People CURO

01772 667049

01225 366 000

Hyde New Homes

One Housing Group


01772 667049


0345 606 1221

0300 123 9966

0300 303 2500

0800 0421 800

Rosebery Housing

Rooftop Housing Group

01752 856 037

Knightstone Housing



Thames Valley Housing



Elim Housing

020 3202 0263

01372 814 000

0800 131 3348

020 8607 0550

01454 411 172

01934 526 000

Sanctuary Southwest

Origin Housing

Sanctuary South East


Town and Country Housing


0300 323 0325

0800 131 3348

01684 272 727

01892 501 480

01249 465 465

0845 304 1002

Severn Vale Housing

Orwell Housing

Soha Housing

London and Quadrant


Worthing Homes

Guinness Partnership

01235 515 900


0845 712 5530

0300 456 9997

01473 218 818

01903 703 108

Sovereign Housing

0300 123 1890

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Wakefield and District

0345 601 9095

0345 678 0555

Metropolitan Home

Acis Group


0345 8507 507

Westward Housing

0800 027 2057

020 3535 2555

Housing 01202 319 119


NORTH EAST Broadacres

0300 100 1011 Midland Heart

Accent Group

01609 767 900 0345 678 0555

0345 60 20 540 Accent Group

Crucible Homes

Muir Group


0345 678 0555

0114 241 3430

Arcon Housing

Places for People

0344 800 3800


Equity Housing

Erimus Housing Ltd

01772 667049

0161 214 4120

0300 123 1222 Accord

Nottingham Community

0300 111 7000

Housing Association

0300 1234 460

0300 111 1000 Acis Group

Black Country Housing

(Northern Counties)

020 3096 7730


0300 00 44 444

0300 123 1890

Guinness Partnership

0344 736 0066

Headrow Limited

(Northern Counties)

0345 602 1120

0800 678 1221 PA Housing

0121 289 3956

0845 618 5008

0300 123 1890


01768 861 400

0345 155 9029

Equity Housing

Sanctuary North

0300 1234 460

0800 781 0401

Guinness Partnership


(Northern Counties)

Places for People

020 3202 0263

L & H Homes

0300 123 1890

01772 667049

Home Group

Home Group

Places for People

0800 085 2499

0345 141 1663

0345 141 1663

01772 667049 Caldmore Accord

Leeds Federated Housing


Riverside Housing


0300 111 7000


0300 300 1505

0113 386 1000

0345 155 9029


Rooftop Group

01332 346 477

0345 601 9095

Sanctuary North

0845 618 5008

Manningham Housing

0345 141 1663

0800 781 0401


Sanctuary Midlands


0300 123 6000

0800 131 3348

01274 771 144

Friendship Care and Housing

South Staffordshire

Muir Group

Housing Association

08456 019 095

0300 123 1222

0161 610 1000

0800 085 1171

0345 141 1663


01772 667049

WM Housing Group

0300 123 1890 0300 790 6531

Latimer 0845 304 1002


Knowsley Housing Trust


Rosa Homes 0151 290 7000

Accent Group

0845 077 0027

Liverpool Housing Trust

0345 678 0555

Sanctuary North

0151 708 2421

Adactus Housing Group

0800 781 0401

Muir Group

0300 111 1133

Stonewater L & H Homes

Accent Group

01202 319 119


Irwell Valley Housing

Places for People

03448 736 290

0300 111 1000 Association

Waterloo Housing

(Northern Counties)

Association (North East)

0800 435 016

Impact Housing Tees Valley Housing Group

Two Castles Housing

01785 312000 Home Group

Your Housing Group Home Group

0800 0421 800 East Midlands Housing

Riverside Housing Eden Housing Association

0116 257 6716 Bromford Group

Regenda Homes Contour Homes

Guinness Partnership

03333 204 555

Four Housing


Derwent Living Housing

Guinness Partnership

0115 844 3447 0800 027 2057

Progress Housing Group CDS Co-operatives

0300 123 1222

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Liz Benson is the Head of Sales & Partnerships for VIVID. The organisation was formed through a merger between Sentinel housing association and First Wessex in April 2017. Liz has worked for the team for over 15 years and has seen many changes in both the housing market and customer expectations. Liz is very proud to work for a company that truly believes in building more homes to help change people’s lives; a company that makes homeownership a reality Tell us a little about VIVID VIVID is Hampshire’s largest provider of affordable homes. It operates across 20 local authorities and works with top builders and local companies to ensure their modern homes cater for all customer requirements. VIVID offers a range of tenures for customers, including shared ownership, private sale and market rent. The organisation aims to build 1,200 homes each year, with 40% being available for either shared ownership or private sale. VIVID is currently rated 19th in Inside Housing’s ‘Top 50 Biggest Builders’. Last year VIVID worked with Phil Spencer of Location, Location, Location fame and this is what he had to say about the team, “I really like what you guys do, and your whole approach to the very important and relevant issue of our housing market is absolutely first class! Hampshire is lucky to have you!” What are your recent developments and what have you got coming up? We’ve already secured planning for 2,167 shared ownership and private sale homes over the next five years. These will be on 48 developments throughout Hampshire – and we’ve only just begun! We’re more than confident that we’ll reach our objective to build 1,200 homes per year. And importantly, we’re building in areas that people want to live – but without our range of tenure options wouldn’t be able to afford. Our vision is ‘More Homes, Bright Futures’ and we understand that as well as building more homes, they need to be


the right type of home, offered at the right type of tenure, in order to support our customers’ wellbeing. What are your thoughts on shared ownership? I don’t think I can give a better endorsement of the shared ownership product than the fact that two members of our sales team have purchased homes via the scheme! One of them has actually used the scheme twice. They brought a flat and when their circumstances changed, sold it and purchased another shared ownership home. Realistically, with house prices as they are, lots of our customers wouldn’t be able to afford a mortgage, or be able to save for a deposit to buy on the open market. Statistics show that the average deposit required for a home in the South East is approximately £23,000. However, the beauty of buying a shared ownership home is that you only have to save a deposit for the share you’re buying. So, as a rough guide, if you’re buying a 25% share in a two bedroom house in Havant that costs £205,000, you may only require a 5% deposit of around £2,562. This is much more achievable for the average customer and makes owning their very own home a reality. I’ve heard a few rumours over the years that the shared ownership product is great to help people into their first home, but that homes can then be difficult to sell. I think this comment is unfounded and this is reflected in our business. Not only has VIVID sold 301 new-build homes in the last nine months, but we’ve also helped

186 previous buyers purchase further shares in their property. Nearly half of these customers purchased 100% of their home; we were the stepping stone that helped them along the journey to buy their own home; in their own time, when they could afford to. I think it’s also worth noting that not many housing initiatives or products have survived over 30 years, virtually unchanged, like the shared ownership product has. This speaks volumes to me. What advice can you give to first time buyers looking to buy a home? There’s that saying that buying a home is one of the top three stressful things you’ll do in your life. I think our homes sell themselves, so my team focus on making the customer experience as stress free as possible! This is why we take a digital approach to selling; 90% of the transaction with each buyer is electronic, so customers can communicate with us in their own time when it suits them; after work and at the weekend. We also help source solicitors and financial advisors. We really guide our customers through each step of the process, letting them know what to do and what happens next. This is how we achieve an excellent customer service rating and, on average, move customers into their new home within just one week of it being built.

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First Time Buyer April/May  
First Time Buyer April/May