Fallon and Ian live in Staffordshire (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Welcome back to another instalment of What I Own – Metro.co.uk’s weekly series where we chat to homeowners about their buying experience.
This week we are speaking to first-time buyer Fallon, who bought her three-bed house with her boyfriend through the government’s home ownership scheme.
She found the property through housing group Bloor Homes and saved during lockdown to get the 5% deposit together.
This is what she had to say about getting on the property ladder…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m 24 and a special needs teacher. I live with my boyfriend Ian, who is also 24.
Where is your property?
Staffordshire – we love where we live. There is everything we need in the local area. We used to live around a 15 minute drive away.
When did you move in?
We got our keys in March but we didn’t move until the start of April, as we wanted all of our flooring completed first.
They pay £1600 for everything including bills and food (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
How much does your property cost?
£218,950. We live in Byron by Bloor Homes. It’s a three-bed semi-detached home.
How much was your deposit?
It was 5% – so £10,947.50 as we used the government Help to Buy scheme. We also used Help to Buy ISAs towards our deposit – we got a £2,216 bonus towards the deposit cost.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
£1,600 for everything including mortgage, bills and our food shopping. We did need to upgrade our internet speed as Ian works from home.
How did you save up for your deposit?
I have always loved saving, my parents always taught me to save a certain amount each month and I have worked since I was 16, but we found it difficult to save together as we love going on holidays. Lockdowns and cancelled holidays gave us the perfect excuse to save.
A cute windowsill (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
We used the mortgage advisor recommended by Bloor – Mark at The Mortgage Brain. I couldn’t recommend him enough. The whole process was so easy and straightforward and he was quick to respond to any queries.
The only thing we found difficult was setting up a joint bank account for our mortgage and bills. We were trying to do this during the November lockdown and proved much trickier than we imagined. Other than that it was a really straightforward process as our mortgage advisor sorted everything – even our life insurance.
Where did you live before this?
We both lived with our parents. When we exchanged contracts on our home we were both 23.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
We have always spoken about owning our own home and doing this as young as possible. We want to pay off our mortgage as early as we can so we can potentially retire earlier (a girl can dream).
They were keen to put their own stamp on it ASAP (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
We originally had an appointment booked for another builder on the same site but when we got to our appointment we had a call to say the sales advisor was isolating so we went to the Bloor sales office next door and we instantly fell in love with the Byron show home.
When I walked into the show home and spoke to the sales advisor afterwards I remember feeling emotional and saying to Ian: ‘I can’t believe we can afford something that nice.’
How have you made the property feel like home?
It’s definitely the little things that make a house a home. We bought pictures, decorations and other sentimental things and we got these up quickly to make it feel like home. The first few days we (Ian’s mum) also painted some walls different colours to put our stamp on it, rather than keeping everything all white. We painted a wall in our master bedroom navy and the downstairs bathroom a green colour. We also bought some custom-made furniture.
They bought their home earlier this year (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?
When we did our early bird reservation, I created an Instagram account, (@harrierwayhome) to find inspiration from others in similar homes. I also love Pinterest and spent hours creating boards for each room.
Another thing I’m a huge fan of is lighting, I love to have a statement light fitting in each room. My favourite is definitely the one in the living room, it’s so different to anything that I have ever seen before. My uncle is an electrician so he fitted all of our lights a few days after we got the keys.
What’s your favourite room and why?
The kitchen. I love how spacious it is and there is so much storage. I love our dining table – we had it handmade from a small carpentry company and we get so many compliments about it.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Definitely, we have three bedrooms, an en-suite, a family bathroom, a downstairs toilet, a separate utility, kitchen and a living room. We also have lots of outdoor space, we are really lucky.
The pair saved for their deposit during lockdown (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Do you have plans to change the property?
We are currently renovating the garden by ourselves. We found out we own the land to the side of our house (we have a corner plot) and wanted to do something with that and the back garden.
We had several quotes all around £7,000. We are currently half way through and have only spent £1,500. Although it has been stressful it is definitely more rewarding and maybe we can go on holiday with the money we save.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
We moved into our house on Good Friday and we had a leak. The waste pipe wasn’t connected in our en-suite but Bloor arranged for a plumber to come who was here within 15 minutes.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
Do it. I was so nervous and had many sleepless nights worrying but it is honestly the best thing we have ever done. I feel like I have changed and matured so much since owning my own home and the feeling of picking up your keys to your home is the best feeling ever.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
We are very happy here for now and I can see us living here for quite a long time, but eventually I would love to have a kitchen with an island and a bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe. That would be the dream.
Shall we take a look around?
Cute entrance (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
The lounge (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Downstairs toilet (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Light and bright shower space (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Dining/kitchen area (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Bedroom (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Second bedroom (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
The third bedroom/games room (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
The bathroom (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
Upstairs bathroom (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
A spacious garden too (Picture: Fallon Hayes)
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.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected].