Home is Where the Heart is for First Time Buyers at Merrielands

With a deposit of £5644, Becky (29 years-old) and Dave (30 years-old) took their first step onto the property ladder in March 2022 at Merrielands by Latimer in their home town of Dagenham, east London. The couple moved with their house cat Ollie from a rented one-bedroom flat close-by into their new two-bedroom apartment. With wedding plans for July, it’s been a busy start to the year. Becky comments: “In terms of square footage, we’re getting a much better deal with our new home. We’d outgrown our old place, especially with Dave now mainly working from home, and had also grown tired of paying someone else’s mortgage. It’s so expensive to buy now, but shared ownership allowed us to set up a home we can call our own. We’ve bought a 35% share and plan to staircase in the future.”

Becky, a primary school teacher in Walthamstow, and Dave who works in music distribution, actually grew up in Dagenham and always wanted to put down roots close to their family. Becky continues: “Dagenham’s a diamond in the rough. There’s a lot to love about the area. As well as being an affordable London location, there’s plenty of green space around, the streets are nice and wide and there’s fantastic transport links with a choice of train stations, which makes commuting and going out a breeze. Although I lived away for university, nowhere feels more comfortable than my home town.”

Breaking free from the unpredictability of renting has felt freeing for the engaged couple. Becky explains: “It’s so nice to feel stable. With renting, you never know when the rent will increase or if the landlord is going to suddenly decide to sell. We’ve got our own investment now and we’re so proud of our new home. It’s much bigger than we thought we could afford and everyone that’s visited so far has been really impressed.”

Becky and Dave used a combination of their savings to raise the deposit and secure their new home. “When we discovered we could afford to buy using shared ownership, we didn’t waste any time. It felt like fate. With house prices increasing all the time, we knew we had to take advantage of the scheme now before it was too late. Our monthly rent is £600 and our monthly mortgage is £475. It’s only an extra £50 a month to what we were paying our landlord, but we have a lot more space, we feel more secure and we couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. Even Ollie is happier. He loves prowling around his new space and has a hammock on every window!”

Becky noticed Merrielands walking to the train station on her commute to work, researched the development online and after a viewing in August 2021, the couple bought off-plan. Becky concludes: “It was daunting buying a home that we hadn’t physically seen, but we could tell the layout was just what we needed. A few months later we were able to view a shell of an apartment which mirrored the home we had bought, and it all came to life then. Dave is very technically minded so he used software to arrange the furniture and get an idea of how the space would be used. Waleed and the whole Latimer team in the sales office were really encouraging and the processes itself was swift and easy.”

A hugely up-and-coming area, Barking and Dagenham is at the centre of a largescale regeneration within East London.

Prices at Merrielands start at £50,000 for a 25% share of a studio apartment priced at £200,000. For more information or to arrange a viewing please visit www.merrielands.co.uk or call 020 3151 3668.