First-time buyers Tasos and Michael felt that after renting for years, the time was right to buy a home of their own. However, what they didn’t anticipate was getting on the property ladder in the midst of a global pandemic.
Tasos and Michael had been renting in Little Venice and had to make the choice of extending their rental for another year or taking the plunge and getting on the property ladder. “We naturally had concerns about buying our first home during a pandemic; the global financial situation could impact the value of property,” says Tasos. “But London is a very attractive city to buy a property in and the flat is in such a great place that we feel confident that it will always be desirable. In fact, we had more concerns about being renters during this situation because we are not able to control rental increases. I really didn’t like the fact that someone else controls my future; now we have somewhere that we can call home and we are actually paying less in our monthly mortgage costs than we were in our rent.”
After a short search, Tasos and Michael have bought a two-bedroom apartment at the Higgins Homes development White + Green, using the Help to Buy scheme. The development comprises 144 properties featuring one, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as a range of citipads. It is situated between Whitechapel and Bethnal Green Underground stations and enjoys the buzz of eclectic East London with its mix of bars, clubs, markets, art galleries, boutiques and independent coffee shops.
This was only the third property they viewed but immediately fell in love with it as Tasos explains: “We instantly liked the feel of the place as soon as we got there. It looked great from the outside and when we got in, we were really impressed with the space, the features such as the wood floor and the overall design. The biggest wow factor was when we were shown the spacious balcony with the stunning views of the city, we had no idea that we would get a view like that so we were instantly won over. It’s especially lovely now that the sun is out and we have a space to soak it all up.”
Due to COVID-19, Tasos and Michael were unable to meet with their solicitor so the whole process happened over the phone and email. “Higgins Homes and everyone involved did everything they could to make the progression as simple as possible,” says Tasos. “At one point, we asked if we could go back and view the property again after we exchanged and the team said they would leave the keys in a secure space and allow us to go in without interacting with anyone. We didn’t end up doing it but it was a nice gesture and showed how good the communication was.”
In terms of the actual moving process, Tasos and Michael and their movers all wore masks and gloves and although they were anxious, it went off very smoothly. “Having a new property means that we really just had to unpack our stuff and settle in,” says Tasos. “We are both busy professionals so having the convenience of having everything ready for us, especially as we are working so hard at the moment, has been really appreciated.”
The location of White + Green is perfect for Tasos and Michael who enjoy their social life and the transport links it offers across the Capital. “We are just a 15-minute walk away from our offices and really love being in this area. It is so vibrant and matches our lifestyles perfectly,” says Tasos. “Although it is great to stroll around and enjoy the parks and green spaces, we are also very much looking forward to going to one of the fantastic bars to enjoy a cocktail or two.”