Help to Buy Saves Family From The Rental Trap

Posted 29 January 2021 by Keith Osborne

The Help to Buy scheme meant a Cambridgeshire family could purchase a perfect property for themselves from Linden Homes...

A Cambridgeshire family have been able to purchase their own home after renting for seven years, thanks to the Help to Buy scheme.

Katie Martin and Barry Stewart have moved into a new three-storey, three-bedroom townhouse at Linden Homes’ Laithwaite Gardens in Sutton, a few miles west of Ely, with their three-year-old daughter Sienna and Barry’s 18-year-old daughter Grace. Katie’s stepchildren, Annabelle, 14, and Archie, 15, also stay at the house every other weekend.

Katie and Barry had their sights set on purchasing a new build property so that they could take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme, which allows buyers to purchase a home with a 5% deposit and 75% mortgage. The remaining 20% is provided in the form of a government equity loan, which is interest-free for the first five years.

Katie, 31, who works for Sainsbury’s online shopping department while also running her own nail business, said: “The house that we lived in before was good, but we were renting. We decided that we were better off buying our own place rather than essentially paying for someone else’s mortgage.

“After I had Sienna, I started working part-time so the fact that we could use the Help to Buy incentive and didn’t have to spend as much money was great. We would not have been able to buy without Help to Buy.”

The family were previously living in an older three-bedroom home in Witchford. Katie said: “Our previous home was about 30-years-old. One difference with the new house is that we no longer have squeaky floorboards. Because I work shifts, my kids were always struggling to stay quiet in the day while they were in the house, but now that’s not a problem, especially now that we have three storeys.

Katie Martin and Barry Stewart“As well as being able to use Help to Buy, we wanted a new build home because it meant that we didn’t have to renovate. We really liked that everything was white because it meant that it was an easy template to make the house our own.”

Having lived at Laithwaite Gardens since December 2019, Katie and Barry – who works for a commercial property business – have both been able to forge relationships with the other residents on the development, in spite of the pandemic.

Katie said: “We have spoken to or met all of our neighbours – we get on really well with them. The couple who live on the corner of the street by us have a one-year-old and we see each other on our driveways. Sometimes we’re out there chatting for half-an-hour. It’s been strange because lockdown came soon after we moved in, but we’ve still managed to make friends. I feel like we’ve been really lucky with our neighbours.”

As well as loving their new home, Katie and Barry were also impressed by the development as a whole and its location.

Katie said: “I think my favourite thing about Laithwaite Gardens is the fact that there is going to be a park built right on our doorstep, which will be great for when Sienna gets a bit older. There was a park near the place we used to live, but it wasn’t in a position where I would feel comfortable letting her go out on her own. With the one being built here, I will be able to see it clearly from the house.

“There are plenty of shops and a doctors’ within a 10-minute walk of the house which is really convenient. There are also some farm fields right next to the development that everyone uses for walks – which has been lovely especially during lockdown.”

The couple found the buying process quick and straightforward and are grateful for the help they received from the Linden Homes sales advisor Damien.

Katie said: “Damien was fantastic, we could not have asked for anyone better. We were kept informed and up to date with everything, and it was made clear to us that we could always come and speak to him if we ever needed anything.”

There is still a selection of three- and four-bedroom properties available to purchase at Laithwaite Gardens, with prices starting from £270,000. There’s special weekend offer over 30/31 January, where you can reserve your home for just £99 and receive a gift of deposit contribution on selected homes (subject to terms and conditions).

Find out more about current Linden Homes developments.


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