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First Time Buyer: How good research helped this NHS scientist

THE year got off to a great start for Cindy Acheampong, who’s 25 and a biomedical scientist at Bedford Hospital. For she and her fiancé Samuel Donkor, a 27-year-old accountant, had decided to get married and buy their first home. The pair started house-hunting in January, having narrowed down their search to Nottinghamshire.

‘We wanted to be close to family and decided to concentrate on the area around Nottingham, where my future mother-in-law lives,’ explains Cindy. ‘We’d viewed a lot of properties when we discovered Harron Homes’ Brierley Heath development in Sutton in Ashfield. After watching a video of the show home, we booked an appointment to visit the site, and went on to reserve a four-bed house. Several things sold it to us: the size, the layout, the way it was styled — which gave us inspiration for how we could decorate our own home — and the location as the road links are good.’

But then coronavirus struck and the couple, who now haven’t seen each other for two months, had to reassess their plans. ‘Our wedding’s at the beginning of October and we’re crossing our fingers that we can go ahead,’ says Cindy, who is currently working shifts, testing samples from the most seriously ill patients for COVID-19.

‘We initially expected our house to be ready in June or July, and although construction has now restarted, it won’t complete until later in the year. At the moment, I’m renting in Bedford and Samuel’s in Coventry, and we’ll both need to find jobs closer to our new home. I hope to be able to move to a new hospital over the summer, but no vacancies are being advertised at the moment.’ To her delight, Cindy realised that she’d be able to benefit from Harron Homes’ Key Worker discount, which entitles NHS and other essential workers to £5,000 off the price of their house, plus £1,000 worth of vouchers to use on home upgrades in Harron’s Excellence range.

‘Samuel’s often on Harron’s website and spotted that discounts were available for key workers,’ she says. ‘The NHS incentive was a huge advantage. We’ve used it to upgrade our flooring, lighting and amenities — little things that will make our house a home. We’re so excited.’

Cindy and Samuel are also taking advantage of the Help to Buy scheme, which allows purchasers with a five per cent deposit to borrow 20 per cent of the price of a new-build (40 per cent in London). The loan is interest-free for five years and repaid when the property is sold.

Everything’s up in the air right now, so the couple have a waiting game.

‘There’s nothing we can do about the situation. If the house isn’t ready, we can rent for a couple of months, or crash with Samuel’s family,’ she says. ‘We can’t wait to get into our beautiful home and start our life together.’

Brierley Heath is on the edge of Sutton-in-Ashfield, a couple of miles from the Derbyshire border. Three and four-bed detached houses range from £219,995 to £304,995, and a four-bed Tonbridge design, similar to Cindy and Samuel’s, starts at £279,995. Help to Buy is available, and the Key Worker discount scheme runs until the end the year.

harronhomes.com

Do the maths

For a four-bed Tonbridge home similar to Cindy and Samuel’s.

Full price: £279,995

(without £5,000 key worker discount)

5% deposit: £13,749

20% H2B loan: £55,000

Mortgage: £840 pcm*

Service charge: £10pcm*

Monthly spend: £850*

■ Figures are approximate

DO THE MATHS

The real

Discounts, freebies and other perks can help you save when buying a newbuild. andrea dean looks at the best incentives

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