Find out how the Help to Buy scheme enabled this young couple to purchase their first home in Buckler's Park, a new homes development in Crowthorne.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet”, comments Chantelle, 26, as she looks around her new house at Buckler’s Park, a Legal & General Homes development in Crowthorne in leafy Berkshire. “Even eight months after we moved in, I’m still pinching myself – we’ve bought our first home together and couldn’t be happier!”, she says looking over at partner, Jemel, 28.
The couple have been together for five years and first started their house hunt two years ago.
“We knew we wanted to buy our own place rather than rent. It feels really special to have something to build on and make our own.”
Finding unparalleled quality in the right location
“Our search area was fairly widespread: we just wanted easy commutes to our jobs in Reading – I’m a nurse and Jemel works for a bank”, explains Chantelle. “And to be somewhere that has quick links to London, so we can pop in for shopping trips or date nights. Buckler’s Park is also perfect as Crowthorne is just 14 minutes from Reading and less than an hour from London by train.”
The couple took their time searching for their home, deciding that they wanted to find a place they could live in for the foreseeable future, rather than somewhere they would outgrow in a year or two and have to move on from.
“We didn’t want to buy a place just to get on the property ladder. It’s our first home together and there were certain things we were looking for and weren’t prepared to compromise on”, says Jemel.
“We started by looking at the first-time buyer schemes available, such as Shared Ownership, but they all came with certain restrictions that curtailed our options – Help to Buy was definitely the best fit for us.
"We knew we wanted to buy a new-build property as they’re so much less hassle – you don’t have to write a renovation to-do list on the first day you move in because everything’s brand new.
“There are lots of new developments around Reading but as soon as we visited Buckler’s Park, it just blew all the competition out of the water.
“The quality and finish of the homes at Buckler’s Park is amazing. We couldn’t believe that everything you see in the show homes – all the Bosch appliances, carpets and landscaping – everything is included in the price, so you know exactly what you’re committing to and get so much more for your money.”
Homes designed for modern lifestyles
Using Help to Buy, Jemel and Chantelle bought a spacious two-bedroom Iver coach house at Buckler’s Park, where available properties range from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom houses. “We absolutely love it”, enthuses Chantelle. “It’s detached, which is fantastic because it means we can put our music on full blast and don’t have to worry about disturbing our neighbours.
“We love the fact that our home’s design, both inside and out, is not a carbon copy of the neighbouring properties. The Legal & General Homes team has been amazing at helping us to make this house our home. Small things like being able to choose our own colour palette at no additional cost made a huge difference and means that our house truly suits us.
“You see homes where a second bedroom has been squeezed in and all the rooms feel small. But at Buckler’s Park, the homes are purpose-built and carefully designed to give maximum space – you can tell they’ve really considered how people live in their homes.”
Customer service with a difference
It wasn’t just the quality of the homes that was superior to others the couple had seen. The Legal & General Homes team and the customer service they provided was a deciding factor for the couple to buy
Jemel says, “The Legal & General Homes team at Buckler’s Park is one of the main reasons we feel so at home here.
“They were really great throughout the whole process and explained everything to us in simple terms. As first-time buyers, we felt there was so much to take in and it could have easily felt overwhelming, but the team was always really responsive and would send us regular updates with photos showing us our build progress each step of way, which was hugely reassuring as we bought off-plan.
“On move-in day we were given a brand new iPad pre-loaded with all our instruction manuals, and the team had put together a welcome hamper for us filled with produce from the local shops – it made everything so easy and stress-free. We’d moved in with nothing so being given sausages, eggs and homemade jams from the local butcher was amazing and made a delicious first breakfast in our new home.”
Feeling at home in a community
Since moving in at the end of August 2019, Jemel and Chantelle have been settling into their new home, watching the community grow at Buckler’s Park as more people have moved in. “There’s a Facebook group for residents, which has been a great way to meet people and everyone is keen to help each other out”, says Chantelle.
“It’s been particularly lovely to see how everyone’s come together during the coronavirus crisis – the other day someone posted asking for some glue for her child’s schoolwork and people offered to bring it round and leave it on the doorstep.
“Jemel is in banking so currently working from home; I’m a nurse and I’m still going into work, as well as studying for a Master’s degree in clinical dermatology, so knowing we live somewhere with a community that looks out for each other is fantastic – especially at the moment with what’s going on.”
Jemel and Chantelle both agree Buckler’s Park has been their perfect move and wouldn’t change a thing: “We’d encourage people to come at have a look at the development – you’ll see and feel the difference instantly”.