Thursday, 22 December 2011

Britain’s most persistent first-time buyers: Loretta Carr

Loretta Carr went the extra mile – all 100 of them – after she and her partner decided to live far apart for three years so they could live with parents and save up a deposit for their first home

The course of true love rarely runs smooth and so it was for Loretta Carr and her partner Andrew Lobo. After both graduating from the University of Southampton the couple took the difficult decision to live 100 miles apart while they saved for their first home.

Carr moved in with her parents in Essex and Lobo moved to Gloucestershire where his family is from. “It was really difficult living apart for three years and having to travel back and forth, but we both knew it would be worth it, if we could save money to get our foot on the property ladder together.”

The 27-year-olds had long dreamed of living in their own home, but were concerned that rising prices would keep them in rented accommodation. “We didn’t want to rent, that was key,” Carr says. “We wanted to own our home because of what happened with all the property prices going up from 2002 onwards until the peak. We were just really mindful that if something happened again like that then we would never be able to get on the property ladder.”

Their foresight and sacrifice eventually paid off and the two recently moved into a two-bedroom two-storey home in the Grade II listed The Galleries development in Brentwood, Essex. “It’s an old Victorian mental home that’s been converted into flats and houses,” Carr says. “We both really like period features and because it’s an old conversion it’s got lots of Victorian character.”
“We have our own patio terrace that looks over a communal  garden, separate kitchen and a parking space too.”

The mid terrace home cost £330,000, which, Carr, says was at the top of their budget and actually wasn’t even in an area they were originally considering. The couple had already looked at, and made offers on, a few other non-new build properties, but had been gazumped twice and also had a bad survey result on one of the properties, which required renovations of at least £30,000.

Carr says the new build property appealed because of its pristine condition and the willingness of the developer, City & Country Group, to sell – they exchanged and completed in three weeks. “Our white goods and a fully fitted kitchen were all included and that saved us quite a lot of money. We also got a ten-year guarantee on anything that went wrong or needed to be touched up. It made good financial sense.”

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