Oxfordshire first time buyers set example for leaving Big Smoke living behind

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A couple of first-time buyers have escaped London’s rental trap and secured a home of their own in Banbury.

Having spent four years renting a one bedroom flat in London, Tom Chapell (28) and Olivia Allchorn (25) committed themselves to raising the money for a deposit and are now reaping the rewards of a brand new property at Barratt Homes’ Whitechapel Gardens development on White Post Road.

The couple, a Chartered Engineer and an Environmental Consultant respectively, graduated from the University of Exeter and subsequently rented their flat together in the Capital. Being frugal with their spending, they’ve set a great example for other first-time buyers looking to step onto the property ladder.

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Tom said: “We sought advice from a mortgage adviser and agreed a fixed amount to save each month. We have always been diligent with budgeting, which we think is essential to successfully saving for a deposit. There were lots of spreadsheets involved!

Tom Chapell and Olivia Allchorn outside of their new home at Whitechapel Gardens in BodicoteTom Chapell and Olivia Allchorn outside of their new home at Whitechapel Gardens in Bodicote
Tom Chapell and Olivia Allchorn outside of their new home at Whitechapel Gardens in Bodicote

“We were looking for a reasonably priced property with an approximate one-hour commute to London. Whitechapel Gardens appealed to us because of its modest size, its excellent transport links by car and rail, and the properties themselves – we love the Cotswold stone.”

Offering advice to other first-time buyers looking to purchase a property, Tom added: “Seek advice from a mortgage adviser as early as possible and be realistic about what you can afford, both in terms of property value and the monthly repayments. Research multiple mortgage providers to ensure that you are getting the best possible rate and any additional deals that may be on offer.

“Put a sustainable plan in place to save for the deposit. Do your research on the local areas that you are considering, and we would suggest looking at multiple areas to compare property prices and how they fluctuate, the travel links, schools, healthcare, and shops as the main priorities.”

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Tom and Olivia, who are from Hampshire and East Sussex originally, bought a three bedroom, semi-detached Lutterworth style home at Whitechapel Gardens.

Tom and Olivia in the living room of their new homeTom and Olivia in the living room of their new home
Tom and Olivia in the living room of their new home

They enjoyed the fact that there was no chain with a brand new home, which meant they didn’t have to wait for someone to find a new home before they could move in. Other standout factors were the minimal renovation costs, warranties included and the energy efficiency.

Tom continued: “Our utility bills for our three bedroom home have been comparable to the one bedroom rental flat in London. We have noticed that we rarely need to put the heating on, and when we do the property will stay warm for much longer than anywhere else that we have lived.

“We really like the relatively open and free-flowing layout of the Lutterworth, especially the entry and landing which let in lots of light, and the door connecting the living room directly to the kitchen and diner.”

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Banbury itself has been a hit with the couple, as Tom said: “We have found the local area to be very well-connected. We are only a short drive from Banbury Train Station and the town centre, which gives us a range of different supermarkets and shops to choose from.

Tom and Olivia with their home-working set up in BodicoteTom and Olivia with their home-working set up in Bodicote
Tom and Olivia with their home-working set up in Bodicote

“We also really enjoy the proximity to lots of pretty villages and the canal, and love that we can walk into Bodicote and to Wykham Park Farm Shop.”

Whitechapel Gardens currently has three bedroom homes available with prices starting from £333,995.

For more information, call the sales team on 033 3355 8475 or visit the website at Barratt Homes in Oxfordshire.