What I Own: Mel, who bought a Lincolnshire three-bed with a 10% deposit

It’s Saturday, so it’s time to chat to another homeowner for What I Own.

Last week, we heard from Gaby in Wirral, but this time we are in Lincolnshire, chatting to Mel Davison about her property journey with her husband, Steve.

Mel, originally from Australia, bought her first home in the UK earlier this year with a 10% deposit and now pays between £2,000 and £2,500 per month for her mortgage and bills.

Here’s what she had to say about getting on the ladder…

Tell us about yourself.

Steve and I are in our mid to late forties and we both work full time. Steve is a bioinformatician and I am a development and learner experience lead. We are based in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Where is your property? What do you think of the area?

Our home is situated in the developing Elsea Park area of Bourne, Lincolnshire. This area is simply stunning – think wide open spaced for homes to be built on, conscientious developments for green sustainability, recreation and all the while keeping that quintessential English village feel. I love the ability to walk to town – especially with the number of dogs, cats, and very friendly humans I meet every day.

When did you move in?

We moved in at the start of the year and it is coming up on five months since we have been in our home.

How much does your property cost?

Our home cost £250,00 at the time of our initial deposit.

How much was your deposit?

The deposit was 10% of the total cost of the house.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

Monthly cost of living with mortgage payments can fluctuate depending on if we are using heating. Lately we have enjoyed a lower cost due to not using the heating. It is between, £2,000 and £2,500 per month (bills and mortgage).

How did you save up for your deposit?

We both had savings which went towards our deposit. That coupled with some well-timed work bonuses and my parents helping us, we were able to save for the deposit.

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

We got the mortgage last year just before the rate increases – we found the process interesting since I am from Australia and had previously owned a home there. That created its own challenges since there were visa considerations and we were doing this process towards the end of the year when people were either going on holidays or the Christmas season ceased business. We persevered with the help of Adam from Ashberry, our lawyers (Hegarty) and our excellent mortgage broker (Emma from Meridian) who worked tirelessly for us.

Where did you live before this?

Steve and I lived rented together with our four cats in Melton Mowbray. Before that I lived in Cambridge but then we moved into a rental house in Melton. My family are in Australia and Steve’s mum lives in Yorkshire.

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

As an Australian, owning my own home is something that is part of my culture. If you have seen the classic Aussie film The Castle, you would know that we love having our own bit of land and a home. Steve and I talked about it when we got married at the start of 2020 but then went straight into lockdown so we could not really pursue looking for a house to buy at the time. Circumstances propelled us to that decision last year when the property we were renting was no longer available – so the timing was right for us.

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

This property was meant to be ours; we feel. We initially looked in Melton, but they had no houses available for the time we were looking at. On a call with Bellway, I spoke with El who casually mentioned her colleague in Bourne had some homes which would come available earlier. We were renting an Airbnb in Boston at the time, so we drove to Bourne and were taken to an almost completed house.

It was love at first sight with the house – one of those movie montages whereas we walked from room to room we talked about the house as if we already lived there. We made the decision on the spot to reserve it and get the process started. Then we went into the town of Bourne to see what would be ‘our town.’ Clinching the deal was the utterly sublime chocolate Guinness cake from family-owned café, Wild Heart. Sally and Simon welcomed us and made us feel as if this was already where we lived.

How have you made the property feel like home?

We both feel ‘home’ is where we are and where our cats are, and it is here. We have added our own individual touches and then our own decisions on what would work for us. Steve is passionate about his guitars and his study is charmingly studded with them. I love comfort and areas that allow me to embrace the zen in life, so our furnishings are all soft and in subtle colours. Together we love our cats, books, games, and technology so our home has quirky cat art, books in every room, Lego and the ubiquitous chargers, laptops, and consoles!

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?

Our inspiration for our interior décor style is comfortable, functional, and welcoming.

We love to enjoy where we live and have our home welcome us whenever we are here. Wood and metal create the functionality, soft fabrics, cushions, and throws give us comfort. For us, our home is our sanctuary – where we can be ourselves and be as comfortably happy as possible.

What’s your favourite room and why?

We both enjoy the communal areas where we can be together with the cats, Whiskey and Willow as well as welcoming friends. The living room and kitchen are inviting and spacious – we spend many happy hours watching TV, playing games with our friends or simply enjoying the natural light and the evening shadows in the living room. The kitchen has been a dream with the space and the intelligent design – I love to cook so the size of the kitchen and the ample benchtop and cupboards are a favourite of mine. We both love the bathrooms, especially our en-suite shower where the water pressure is excellent and there is room to really luxuriate.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

This is debatable with Steve and I – we have a lot of space because I am a minimalist. Steve would like a bit more space so he can have his drums, a few more guitars, a thousand more books… you get the picture.

Do you have plans to change the property?

We do not have plans to change the property beyond installing a cat flap. We love the layout and the way we have worked with the house design rather than trying to change it. We have some wonderful neighbours who have become like family to us, and they have been our inspiration for our garden. Maureen, Kevin, and their ‘Jackie Chon’ Milo (Jack Russell and Bichon) next door have a stunning garden we are inspired by.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

No problems at all. Adam and our site manager Darren were incredibly supportive. Even after we moved in and our movers scuffed the stairway, Darren came over with some paint himself and took care of it.

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

If you are doing it as a couple, make it an adventure that you are on together. It can be stressful if you allow it to be, but it can also be a joy to have your own place.

Buying a house is buying an investment, yes, but it is also buying a dream that you can make come true. Having your own place gives you such a sense of pride and happiness – knowing that it is yours and everything you do or do not do, is up to you. Whatever the process if you want it then to go for it.

Do you want to feature in What I Own?

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK.

If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?

For us, we have our dream home and dream life. We plan to stay here and enjoy the beautiful town of Bourne, our neighbours who have become good friends (a bit of Aussie humour there), our house which has become our home and the ability to grow as a couple (with cats).

Shall we take a look around?

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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