Separated by Covid-19, Hillary and Alex from Greater Manchester have reserved their first home together after taking a virtual tour of a Countryside development in St Helens.
Hillary Greenhalgh and Alex Murray haven’t seen each other in person for over three weeks but thanks to the power of technology have been able to use the government’s Help to Buy scheme to reserve their first home together with Countryside.
The couple were prompted by a Countryside advertisement on Facebook regarding the availability of the government-backed scheme at Abbotsfield in St Helens and contacted the sales team, currently working remotely, to obtain more information.
Several three-way telephone conversations later, combined with Countryside Whatsapp group chats and virtual tours of the development and its showhomes on YouTube, the couple reserved The New Stamford, a three-bed townhouse with feature skylights.
Hillary, who currently lives with her parents in Horwich in Bolton, commented: “I saw the ad for a gorgeous home available through Help to Buy pop up on Facebook and immediately rang Alex. Having studied the website, we began emailing Countryside and our consultant proved absolutely brilliant. We’ve had conference calls so we could speak to her at the same time despite being apart and she even set up a Whatsapp group with us so she could answer any queries promptly. And as first time buyers, we had a lot of questions! Countryside really took on board everything we said, particularly when it came to understanding our budget.”
Alex who lives with his parents in Makerfield, Wigan, added: “We arranged a virtual viewing of the New Stamford and were blown away. We love the three-floor townhouse style with the bedroom suite at the top with those amazing skylights. And downstairs, the open plan kitchen and dining with french doors leading outside is really impressive. We’d seen lots of houses prior to being isolated but none of them had met our expectations. We can just really picture ourselves living here.”
Hillary continued: “We read a lot of really positive online reviews that gave us the confidence to go for it. Modern technology has truly provided everything we needed to know that we’re making the right decision. Our parents were somewhat hesitant about the virtual process at first, coming from a less-digital era, but they have been with us every step of the way and are in full agreement with the purchase too.”
Being able to reserve their future home for £500 has also made life apart due to Covid-19 feel easier to bear too. Alex commented: “As first time buyers, we will now have more time to save so we can move in with the money to buy furniture and kitchenware. We’d already ramped up our saving efforts but life in lockdown will help us to save more.”
Mark Hadfield, Managing Director, Partnerships Merseyside and Cheshire West, Countryside, said: “We’re passionate about building beautiful, quality homes and are delighted that we can still give buyers the chance to explore them through our virtual tour videos. This tool is proving very popular with our customers because it’s bringing the house buying experience to life - whether buyers live apart or together. Congratulations to Hillary and Alex on reserving their first home, they can now use their time apart to look forward to their future together.”
Emily and Andrew from Nuneaton reserved their first home together virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic after finding Babaerton Grange ticked all the boxes.
We were looking for a new build close to Nuneaton and Baberton Grange ticked all the boxes. We looked around at other developers nearby but nobody came close to Countryside when it came to quality or value for money - we really are getting a lot for our money for a three bedroom home.
We wanted to get the ball moving as soon as we’d seen the Ashop and Countryside made it happen for us in lockdown. The virtual reservation process was so much easier than we thought it would be and we’ve now secured the plot we wanted!
Also green credentials were a big thing for us which was one of the main reasons we opted for a new build. We wanted to ensure that running costs would be low and that our home was not only well designed but energy efficient too.”
Seven days was all it took for Catherine and Dave Traynor to sell their St Helens home, thanks to Countryside’s Assisted Move scheme.
A stress-free move is at the top of every home buyers wish list, which is why the Traynors decided to use Countryside’s Assisted Move scheme when they reserved their three-bed home at Juniper Grove in Merseyside.
Catherine commented: “Assisted Move was really easy and made the whole experience hassle-free. Our home went on the market on the Thursday and by Monday we’d had ten viewings. It sold within a week! From signing up to the scheme to moving out, the whole process took about three months, which was amazing. Everything happened so quickly and the team at Countryside were really helpful.”
Having always lived in St Helens, Catherine and Dave wanted to stay local when they decided to move house with their two children Annabelle (11) and Matthew (8). Located just three miles away in Sutton, the Cherwell Avenue development became the perfect place for the Traynor’s to call home.
Catherine continued: “Staying local was our main priority when we started house hunting, so when we heard about Juniper Grove, it seemed like the perfect place. Dave’s parents live just behind the development, so we were aware it was going to be built a year before it opened. With it being so close to family, we held off on our house search until we could see what Countryside had to offer.
“We spoke to the sales team as soon as Juniper Grove opened and we loved the Ashbourne so much that we reserved it off-plan. When we found out about the Assisted Move scheme we were really excited, everything just came together instantly.
“We went back to view the showhome after it opened, so we could see our home in person. We were definitely happy with our choice. Our home is lovely both inside and out - from the white painted exterior to the separate living room. Plus, the kids are very happy with their new bedrooms. We just love it!”
Countryside’s Assisted Move scheme provides buyers with practical support in selling their existing home by working with an independent estate agent. Plus, the homebuilder will pay the estate agent’s fees once the property is sold, saving buyers money and enabling a hassle-free move.
Deborah Hughes, Regional Sales and Marketing Director at Countryside, said: “Our Assisted Move scheme is designed to put the enjoyment and excitement back into home buying, by providing practical assistance for buyers looking to sell their current home, in order to reserve with us.
“It’s great to see that the scheme was able to provide a quick and stress-free move for Catherine and Dave and hope they enjoy their new Countryside home. Juniper Grove has been exceptionally popular since its launch and, with our nearby Abbotsfield development launching soon, the demand for homes in St Helens is increasing.”
Homes at Juniper Grove start at just £194,995. For more information about the new homes visit www.junipergrove.co.uk or visit the sales office, Thursday to Monday, 11am to 6pm at Juniper Grove, Cherwell Avenue, St Helens, WA9 4YW.
With over 50 per cent of first time buyers admitting to putting their wedding on hold* to save for their first home, homeowners Gemma Love and Neil Kelly have broke the mould at Countryside’s NGV Liverpool development, thanks to the Help to Buy scheme.
Nursery Teacher Gemma (29) and her fiance Neil Kelly (30), a Business Development Manager, are set to move into their three-bedroom Longford home this month, just two months before their wedding date.
Gemma said: “Through Help to Buy we’ve been able to save for both our home and our wedding at the same time, which we never thought would be possible. We had no intention of buying so soon, but over Christmas we visited the showhomes at NGV Liverpool and we just couldn’t resist putting down a reservation fee. We fell in love with the development!”
The pair previously rented an apartment in the local area and are currently living with Neil’s mother while they wait to move into their new home.
Gemma added: “The location of the development is what appealed to us, as well as the high standard of the homes. The open-plan kitchen is our favourite thing about the Longford - I can already picture us entertaining our guests whilst cooking in the kitchen. We also love the layout of the home, as there’s so much space!”
The three-bedroom home is designed with contemporary living in mind. The kitchen / dining area comes complete with a double electric oven, a five ring gas hob, integrated fridge freezer, alarm system, chrome LED downlights and French doors which not only let in natural lighting but open out onto the large garden.
Gemma added: “We did look at other home builders in the area, but we couldn’t visualise our lives there. We just knew that the Longford was the home for us the moment we walked through the door!
“The Help to Buy scheme was a huge help - we’ve been saving through the ISA since August last year and Neil made a budget planner so that we could put away money whilst we’re living at his mums. We’ve made small cuts, like not going out for meals, but it’ll all be worth it once we’ve moved in.”
Deborah Hughes, Regional Sales Director at Countryside, commented: “Gemma and Neil are one of many couples, who we’ve met, that are celebrating two of life’s biggest events - both a wedding and a first home in the same year. This really demonstrates how Help to Buy is assisting first time buyers onto the property ladder, without having to put their lives on hold.
“Help to Buy, combined with our high quality affordable homes, really opens up the market for first time buyers, meaning that now is an excellent time for young buyers to make that investment into their future. Particularly with Help to Buy reported to end in 2021.”
Aimee and Ryan are just one of many young couples who have already secured their first home with Countryside, at age 23, thanks to Help to Buy. In fact, they were the first residents to move into Countryside’s new Silkin Green development in Telford.
Aimee, who works as a Sales Coordinator, commented: “We’ve both always been in the habit of building up our individual savings, so we’d actually been saving for a while before we decided to buy a house. We weren’t looking for very long – we started house hunting one Saturday in October, last year, and then reserved our home the very next day!
“As we reserved early, we went to another Countryside development to view the showhomes and just knew that we’d found ‘the one’. We really love the skylights and the open-plan kitchen in the New Stamford, but what really caught our attention was the master suite – it fills the entire top floor and feels really spacious.”
Aimee continued: “The whole Help to Buy process was really smooth and we’ve had a lot of support along the way. If it hadn’t been for the Help to Buy scheme, I’m certain that we wouldn’t have been able to afford our new home.”
All Countryside homes are available through the Help to Buy scheme and benefit from our high specification as standard, which provides buyers with a number of exclusive extras such as integrated appliances, vanity units and Porcelanosa tiles.