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First-time Buyer: Help to Buy got this couple a home and a shock for one of them

Key to happiness: Alex and Raquel lived with their parents and saved hard

IT WAS love at first sight for Alex Tucci, 25, and Raquel Da Silva, 23, who met when Alex, an electrician, was doing some work at Raquel’s office in Reading. Fast forward a couple of years and the couple have recently moved into their first home, a three-bed semi at Crest Nicholson’s The Pinnacle at Tadworth Garden Village in Swindon.

‘We wanted to live together but didn’t want to waste money on renting, so were lucky enough to be able to stay at home with our parents until we could meet our savings goal,’ says Alex. ‘We knew how much equivalent homes cost to rent and balanced this against what our mortgage repayments would be, and decided buying was not only achievable but also the best way to go.’

The pair quickly fell for Tadpole Garden Village. ‘We were so taken with the quality of the homes and the local area that we went against what our parents had always done — renovate — and instead bought a newbuild,’ explains Raquel, a mergers & acquisitions coordinator. ‘It removed all the stress and hassle.’

They bought using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which allows purchasers putting down five per cent deposit to borrow 20 per cent of the cost of a newbuild (40 per cent in London). The sum is interest-free for five years and paid back when the property’s sold. At the moment Help to Buy is available on homes with a maximum price tag of £600,000, but lower regional price caps will be coming into effect when a new scheme starts in April 2021.

Picking up the keys was all the more special as Alex popped the question, much to Raquel’s surprise. ‘When moving-in day arrived, Crest Nicholson’s sales team alerted us that a window in our house had been covered due to a crack in the glass. Little did I know it was all part of a guise to hide the roses and champagne inside. When we turned the key and opened the door, Alex proposed!’

Now settled in, the couple are looking forward to getting married. They have this advice for others: ‘Living rent and bill-free meant we were able to save more in a shorter amount of time. Stay at home for as long as possible, save as much money as you can and start looking early to see what’s out there. Working hard now will pay off — especially when you get the keys to your dream home.’

Do the maths

Purchase price: £323,000

Deposit: £16,150

20 per cent Help to Buy loan: £64,600

Mortgage: approx £967pcm

Estate charge: £25pcm

Total monthly spend: £992

Three, four and five-bed contemporary houses on tree-lined streets with access to open space, woodland walks, cycle trails and transport links are on offer at The Pinnacle, part of Tadpole Garden Village, a new community in North Swindon. From £323,000, crestnicholson.com