Sam Wilson and Sallie Woodward were devasted when their Australian travels were cut short by 21 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But rather than rescheduling their trip when they returned home to Essex in March 2020, the couple’s priorities shifted, and they set their hearts on finding their first house together instead.
Nine months later, first-time buyers Sam, 25, and Sallie, 26, put down a reservation for a three-bedroom detached Mountford 2 house type at Linden Homes’ Finches Park development in Frinton-on-Sea, and they moved in at the end of June this year.
Sallie said: “Our original plan was to travel and work in Australia for two years, but when coronavirus hit, our plans turned upside down.
“Though Sam and I were gutted to return home after only 12 weeks, the pride and excitement we feel to own a house together now far outweighs that disappointment.”
Sam, an electrician at SRW Electrical, and Sallie, a support officer at Essex County Council, used the Help to Buy* scheme to secure their home – which meant they could put down a five per cent deposit as opposed to the usual 10 per cent.
Sallie said: “We couldn’t have afforded this home without using Help to Buy*. We’re so glad we got the opportunity to use the scheme and were able to put down a smaller deposit – we wouldn’t have secured a three-bedroom detached without it!”
The Help to Buy* scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a new home with a five per cent deposit and a 75 per cent mortgage.
The remaining 20 per cent is provided as a Government-backed equity loan which is interest-free for five years. To be eligible for a Help to Buy* loan, the price of the house must fall within the relevant regional price cap, which in the East of England is £407,400.
Sam and Sallie – who were previously living with their parents – looked around another new-build development in the Tendring district, but were won over by the quality of Linden Homes’ properties at Finches Park.
Sallie commented: “We knew about Finches Park through word of mouth and living in the area. If I’m honest, I was against buying a new build to begin with. But after Sam convinced me to look around it late last year, my opinion completely changed.
“The houses are so spacious and all of the gardens on the estate are a great size – which is the complete opposite of what I expected. I’m the biggest new-build convert going!”
After falling in love with the development itself, Sam and Sallie had the pick of various house types. They ended up reserving the three-bedroom Mountford 2 off plan as it ticked every one of their boxes.
Sallie said: “We could have chosen a different house type and moved in straight away, but we decided to wait for the Mountford to be built as it had the exact layout we wanted – a large kitchen and dining area with a separate living room.
“We didn’t end up looking inside this exact house type until we moved into our own – and it was definitely worth the wait and anticipation.”
Now having settled into their new home and community, Sam and Sallie couldn’t be happier.
Sallie commented: “We are so happy in our new home and can see ourselves living here for the next six or seven years as there’s plenty of room to expand. We’d definitely consider buying our next home on this estate too.
“The location couldn’t be better. Not only is the area quiet, but we’re also a four-minute drive from the beach and a five-minute drive from both of our parents’ houses. All the main supermarkets deliver to us as well which is handy.
“As I work from home, I get to take our puppy Lola on walks during my lunch break which I’ve really been enjoying. The sense of community here is also lovely; we are really close with our neighbours and are in regular contact with them on our Finches Park group chat.”
The couple say they can’t fault the customer service they received from site managers Chris and Richard.
Sallie added: “We couldn’t have asked for better customer service from Chris and Richard. They care so much about every house they build and pay such close attention to detail to ensure each property is perfect. If we ever need anything from them, they are on it straightaway. I’d be reluctant to buy a house again that hasn’t been built by them!”
Linden Homes, which is part of Vistry Group, is currently building a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom houses at Finches Park.
For more information about the homes available, call the sales team on 01255 388817 or visit lindenhomes.co.uk/eastern.
References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.
All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.