Moving to a luxurious four-bedroom home in an idyllic location from a cramped one-bedroom maisonette in Brixton is beyond the wildest dreams of most first-time buyers. In fact, Andy and Abby still have to pinch themselves.
“We feel so lucky to be in this position and can’t quite believe it,” says Andy. “To say we are delighted would be an understatement. To have finally found a property as lovely and spacious as this, without having to make compromises, was not something we thought we could have achieved, especially as first-time buyers.”
Andy, 30, an insurance broker in the City and his wife Abby, also 30, an Associate Partner at a leading brand design agency in the West End have lived in Brixton for almost seven years and wanted to find a new home that catered for their future aspirations.
“We initially loved the buzz of Brixton, but at this stage in our lives we have long outgrown it.” explains Andy. “We are beginning to think about starting a family so the lack of space was a real problem for us.”
The couple spent a long time researching potential areas and both knew that having an easy commute to work was going to be top of their priority list. “We have previously had significant commutes prior to moving into London, but we both hated the lost time and stress of the long daily journeys,” says Andy. “We also wanted to have at least three bedrooms, so it took us a long time to work out what compromises we would have to make to find something within our budget.”
The couple has now bought a four-bedroom home at The Reserve, a Higgins Homes development in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. They found out about it through Help to Buy and visited the development after yet another very long day of house hunting.
“This was the ninth and tenth property we viewed that day and we were both feeling pretty despondent by the time we got there,” says Andy. “The sales staff at Higgins were fantastic and their energy and warmth really helped us to get excited about the entire process again. While we were viewing a three-bed, we were informed that a four-bed was also available and could be moved into almost immediately. We cheekily viewed the property, thinking that there was no way we could afford it, but through Help to Buy we have been able to secure it and it has totally changed our lives.”
The Reserve is a mix of 54 brand new three-, four- and five-bedroom houses surrounded by landscaped green areas and forming part of a new gateway into Lea Valley regional park. Meeting the need for an easy commute, the development is less than a ten-minute walk from the train station which offers trains to Liverpool Street station in London.
“We love having the countryside on our doorstep, but not at the cost of a difficult and long commute,” says Andy. “Help to Buy has really unlocked a new way of living for us and we could not be more excited about moving in.”
What is more surprising is that it has only taken four weeks from their first viewing to exchanging – with the stress and worry that most first-time buyers seem to go through passing the couple by. “I was concerned about buying initially because everyone talks about it being one of the most stressful things you can do. However the entire Higgins team have been fantastic,” explains Andy. “They have patiently taken us through the whole process and reassured us every step of the way, so our excitement built as we moved closer and closer to moving in.”
Moving from a small one-bedroom property to a spacious four-bedroom home only has one drawback Andy jests: “We now need to think of ways to fill our new home, although I know my wife has the idea of a sewing room now we have the space. The overall design is brilliant and we are particularly impressed with the kitchen, which feels like it will be the heart of the home. It is far beyond what we thought we could achieve and we can’t wait to invite people over; currently, in our one-bedroom maisonette we don’t even have the space for a kitchen table.”
As well as being ideally situated for commuting into London, The Reserve also boasts a countryside location with the Lee Valley regional park stretching for 26 miles along the River Lee. “It’s great to be able to enjoy the energy of London during the week, to then be able to come home to peace and quiet and the facilities of Lee Valley White Water Centre, which is just a walk down the road,” adds Andy. “We both feel very fortunate to call this our new home.”