A Welsh couple have shared the story of how they went from renting a room in a shared flat in London to part owning their dream home in rural Nottinghamshire.

Dayna Jeynes, 25, and Phil Hewitt, 27, are the first people to move into Beech Grove Homes’ Orchardside development in East Markham.

The couple have taken their first step onto the property ladder through Shared Ownership, which enables buyers to purchase a share of the value of their home and pay a subsidised rent on the remaining portion.

Now proudly residing in a three-bedroom contemporary countryside home, Dayna and Phil’s previous life in London - where they were paying £1,200 per month for a small room in a shared flat - seems a million miles away.

Relocating during the pandemic

Due to pandemic-related uncertainty with jobs and their rented flat, during 2020 the couple made the decision to move from the capital to Nottinghamshire, where they could live with family and save to buy their first home.

Dayna, a self-employed arts administrator and online business coach, was searching for a house with enough space to set up an office where she could comfortably work from home, and Phil, a production operative, desired a short commute to work.

An opportunity to get on the property ladder

They spotted Beech Grove Homes at Orchardside after scrolling through Rightmove, with a search radius of 10 miles from where they were staying with family. Seeing that Shared Ownership was available sparked conversations.

Dayna said: “At first, we thought Shared Ownership was too good to be true. But we soon realised we could get onto the property ladder, quickly, with a low deposit. It was the perfect opportunity!

We didn’t want a renovation job or to do anything structural, but we had assumed it would be quite limiting with what we could do, decorating wise. When we found out we could do things like paint the walls and make other changes, we were sold!

We now have a home, with an office / walk-in wardrobe, where we can add our style and make our mark - and we don’t have to use Blue Tac anymore!”

A place to call home

Not being from the area, the couple had never heard of the village of East Markham, but were quite flexible with their search.

Dayna said: “The location has been amazing! It’s a quiet village, which works for us. It’s well looked after by the people in it and it’s not a million miles from things. We have everything we need nearby and it’s a short drive to Retford train station, which has good transport links.

We have a garden and a good amount of space, which is important for the future if we get dogs or expand our family.

Being surrounded by the countryside, fresh air and being close to the Peak District is so welcome after living in the hustle and bustle of London. Especially as we grew up in the Welsh valleys!”

A new area to explore

“It would have taken us up to a year longer to save enough to move without shared ownership” Dayna explained.

“We wouldn’t have afforded a house in East Markham for quite a while. I’m not sure we would have even discovered this area if it hadn’t come up while searching, but we’re glad it did. We’re happy here and we have a new area to explore.”

The process just kept rolling in our favour

Being self-employed for under two years, Dayna had expected a hiccup along the way, but fortunately the process was very smooth.

“As first-time buyers, with no idea where to start, we were given everything we needed and were connected with the right people, including mortgage advisors and solicitors.

We could use whoever we wanted, but we decided to go with the recommendations from Beech Grove Homes for ease and speed. From the day we first visited the show home, to the day we moved in, the entire process took just over four months.

Everyone has been great, there was a lot of communication from all parts. We were given a pack with all the details of who to contact, even the workers on site are happy to help and accommodating.”

Shared Ownership – you can’t tell that you’re renting and buying

Dayna and Phil would recommend exploring shared ownership to others who may currently be renting and looking to buy a home.

“You can’t tell that you’re renting and buying. I was worried that I would end up paying more, but I’ve calculated that it’s probably the same amount.” Dayna said.  

“It feels so nice to be the first residents on the development. We’ve had a nose around and seen lots of people viewing the new homes going up. People ask us what it’s like to live here and we tell them it’s great.”

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