In just three years newly-weds Tom and Faye Smith have soared up the property ladder in leaps and bounds worth more than £1 million.
Having started in a £220,000 apartment in Croydon, they now live with their two young daughters in leafy Beckenham in a luxury five-bedroom house at Century Gate, an exclusive development from award-winning housebuilder Linden Homes.
Tom (27), who travels around the world as head of digital cinema at a film company, remembers: “We saw the house and Faye said, ‘This is ours’. We thought if it was possible in any way to get that property we had to do it.”
But the couple’s smart and speedy property journey would not have been possible without Linden Homes’ Part Exchange scheme which saved the day when disaster threatened to stop them in their tracks.
The Smiths’ story starts in Croydon in 2012 when, a few years into their relationship, they bought a new-build apartment together. It turned out to be the first of several smart moves because one year later it had rocketed in value – by nearly £100,000.
With an eye on the upcoming Westfield London shopping centre nearby pushing up prices even further, the couple quickly sold up and invested in two new apartments in the same Croydon development: a penthouse for them and a second property which they let to Tom’s brother.
When they had their first child Elsie, however, it was time to find a family home. Yet Tom and Faye (34) faced being marooned in an apartment with a growing daughter when their hopes of securing a five-bedroom house they’d found in Caterham were shelved by the sale of the two apartments falling through suddenly.
But where one door closes another opens; and in December last year Century Gate unlocked their next move up the property ladder.
Blessed by good connections, a village vibe and a family-friendly calm, Century Gate is a high quality collection of three, four and five-bedroom detached houses. They nestle behind a reassuring gated entrance in a leafy spot next to playing fields where Kent County Cricket Club plays in the summer.
“To be completely honest,” said Tom, “Century Gate looked a bit out of our price range and the numbers were a bit scary. But we went to have a look because I’ve always much preferred that area – and the houses were exquisite.
“It’s a lovely little development and it seems a very safe place to bring up the girls. Beckenham is a lovely town, it’s close to central London with an abundance of train stations, and I grew up near here.”
In the meantime, one of the Croydon apartments had sold. But the challenge remained to sell the penthouse which Tom and Faye had much improved since first buying it for £450,000 – that’s where Linden Homes’ Part Exchange scheme came up trumps.
Part Exchange takes out the hassle of finding a buyer and property chains. After choosing a property, the old home is valued by local estate agents and an offer made. The Smith’s home prompted an offer from Linden Homes of £715,000.
“We thought the price we would be offered was not going to be good,” said Tom. “In this day and age no one does anything for free – so we were shocked at being offered such a reasonable and fair price. Carol and Trevor in the sales office were also incredibly helpful and lovely.
“It changed everything for us. We have moved three times in three years but I will be surprised if we now move again in the next decade – it’s a family home and it’s a lovely blank canvas. We’re the first people to live there and we’re able to put our stamp on the place.
“We did not need to sell both apartments at Croydon, but we did. I think that speaks volumes about the house. It’s massive and it’s a pleasure to come through the gate and see it at night when I come home.”
Instead of an apartment, Tom and Faye now have a three-storey detached house, in the Peneden style, with 2,589 square feet (240.5 square metres) of floorspace for them and their two daughters to enjoy.
Alongside five bedrooms (two en suites) are a study, living room and an expansive kitchen/family/dining room, incorporating a conservatory, from where three sets of double doors open to the grassy back garden.
Stylish and elegantly traditional on the outside, each house comes with high specification fixtures and fittings, plus a 10-year NHBC warranty and two-year customer care warranty for peace of mind.
Darren Maddox, Linden Homes South East sales managing director, said: “Tom and Faye have come on an amazing property journey. With the help of Part Exchange at Century Gate, their smart choices have secured them a beautiful home in a perfect location.”
Beckenham is a commuter’s dream: between 14 and 20 minutes’ walk away are the railway stations of New Beckenham, Beckenham Junction, Beckenham Hill and Lower Sydenham – just four of nine stations serving the area.
For work, they link directly to the heart of the capital, with journeys of between just 16 and 36 minutes to London Bridge, London Victoria, London St Pancras and Charing Cross. For the children, there is a local selection of good-performing schools.
Handily set for eateries, parks, schools and amenities, Century Gate is a stroll from Beckenham’s bustling high street. There are restaurants on hand, plus upmarket chains, family-run independent shops and a six-screen cinema.
To find out more about Century Gate or to register your interest, call 0844 488 1802.
For further press information, contact Kelly Ward, Claire Oakley or Claire Cathersides at Remarkable Content on 01962 893 893.
16 June 2015
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.