Ben Nicholson and partner Rosanna Duarte moved into their first home together in early 2022, after taking a mortgage with Newcastle Building Society.
Ben, 24, said: “Having a nice garden was absolutely one of our top priorities when looking for our first home. We were really keen for a south facing garden and somewhere not too overlooked that would be a nice space to entertain and socialise with friends and family.
“As well as a garden, a top priority for us was big bedrooms and having enough space inside so that maybe we could start a family one day and not feel like we’d have to move to do that. Finding somewhere in a good neighbourhood was really important too; we looked in a few different areas and sometimes it just didn’t feel right, so we were keen for a home and location that felt safe.”
Accountant Ben and NHS physiotherapy assistant Rosanna bought their three-bedroom home in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, just a few months after graduating from Northumbria University. Having originally considered the Help to Buy scheme, they became among the first people to buy a home through the government’s new First Homes scheme, which offers a discount of up to 50% on new build properties.
Newcastle Building Society was one of the first lenders to support the innovative First Homes scheme as part of its drive to support first time and low-deposit borrowers across the UK.
Rosanna, 22, said: “Obviously one of the biggest concerns as a first time buyer was whether we could get a mortgage – especially as we were both still studying when we started looking. I didn’t have much credit history built up either so we were a bit unsure what we’d be able to borrow and how much it was going to cost each month. So it was all a bit nail-biting until we finally had the keys in our hands.
“We were definitely worried about the rising cost of living – especially because we’d never really had to pay bills before, but with fixed mortgage repayments for the next five years we’ve got a bit more certainty and we’re just being sensible with energy use to make sure we’re as efficient as possible.”
"Having a nice garden was absolutely one of our top priorities when looking for our first home. We were really keen for a south facing garden and somewhere not too overlooked that would be a nice space to entertain and socialise with friends and family."
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