It’s Saturday, so it’s time for another What I Own.
This week we are chatting to Selin, who bought her first flat in Winchester at the age of 24.
She saved up by living at home for a few years and working during the pandemic.
Selin tells us what her experience was like as a first-time buyer…
Tell us about yourself.
I am 24 years old and I am an executive assistant for a project management business, based in Winchester.
Where about is your property? What do you think of the area?
My new home is minutes from the heart of bustling Winchester making my commute to work an enjoyable five-minute walk – as opposed to the hour train journey each way, which I was having to do before buying my home.
The area is lovely and I am close to everything I need including the gym, which is within the building complex – this is one of the things I have enjoyed the most about living here.
When did you move in?
How much does your property cost?
How much was your deposit?
I put down roughly a £120,000 deposit.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
I haven’t paid a full bill just yet, my mortgage is £510 and electricity is about £60 or so.
How did you save up for your deposit?
I went straight into work at 18 and I worked from home throughout the pandemic, so I wasn’t spending money on going out with my friends, holidays, or anything fun – and I started to save like I never have been able to before.
When I started saving, I assumed I would put the money towards a new car or something similar – but after years of hard work, and a generous bonus from my company, a deposit for an apartment suddenly became very feasible.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
Although I was quite panicky about the whole process and found it to be very daunting, it was much smoother and easier than I initially thought. It was great to have the team at Berkeley (behind the development) support me every step of the way and explain everything.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
I was living with my family in the New Forest. Although I loved living with my family, there wasn’t a great deal happening in the local area so I was ready for a change of scenery.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
As I had saved a big deposit, I felt that buying was the right path for me. I was ready to move out and was lucky enough to have the financial means to do so.
Also, I see myself living in Winchester for the foreseeable – so I thought it would be sensible to put down permanent roots here instead of renting temporarily.
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
It was one of my colleagues at work who recommended the complex as she had recently moved into an apartment in the Shared Ownership section of the development and she couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
The show home was perfect – I would go so far as to say it was love at first sight.
The layout and specifications were exactly as advertised in the brochures, and I could instantly imagine living there – which was surprising as I never thought I would like to live in a new-build. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a Juliet balcony overlooking the communal garden area, the apartment I chose was light and airy, while also feeling cosy; it was not too small, or too big – it was just the perfect size for me.
How have you made the property feel like home?
I have loved buying new furniture and implementing my own style and personality into the home. Berkeley suggested that I don’t paint the walls until I have been here for a year or two so I have added splashes of colour with artwork and soft furnishings.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Absolutely! My home is lovely and spacious but I also have the benefit of the communal gardens, my large balcony and the gym which is just downstairs so I never feel cramped or confined.
Do you have plans to change the property?
I don’t just yet – I would like to decorate it at the moment.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
No I don’t have any problems, it has all been pretty seamless.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
I would say to all first-time buyers to not be put off by the buying process even though it can be daunting at first. As long as you have a supportive housebuilder, that is happy to answer any questions, the process will be smooth-sailing and exciting.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
I plan to stay long term, I love it here.
Do you want to feature in What I Own?
What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]
You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
Shall we take a look around?
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