How we bought a home: this couple lived apart to save a deposit — then moved further out to get more for their money

·2-min read
Arun Chopra and Shivani Gandhi  (Jeremy Banks Photography)
Arun Chopra and Shivani Gandhi (Jeremy Banks Photography)

Living at home made great financial sense for Shivani Gandhi and Arun Chopra when they were dating, but once they got engaged and started planning their wedding, something had to change.

The couple were living on opposite sides of the capital – Chopra in Hounslow, Gandhi in Stanmore – when they began house-hunting last October and at first, they struggled to find a property they could really get enthusiastic about.

“A lot of the flats we saw needed a lot of work, and at this stage in our life we were not ready to take on a project,” explained Chopra. “And for a new, two-bedroom flat in Hounslow you are looking at half a million pounds, which was a bit too much.”

The couple decided to widen their search area to just beyond the M25.

Maidenhead, with its promise of fast Crossrail services into central London from next year, seemed ideal. Early in the new year they went to take a look at its under-construction Waterside Quarter development.

Gandhi, 28, who works in human resources, and Chopra, also 28, a digital marketer, were impressed by the location close to the high street and station, and decided to reserve a two-bedroom apartment off plan through Shanly Homes.

It cost £400,000 and they moved into it in September – two months after their July wedding.

Living at home meant they had been able to save up a 10 per cent deposit, but they needed to take out a 15 per cent Help to Buy loan to make the deal stack up.

Their mortgage costs them just over £1,000 per month, plus another £150 for service charges.

So far they are delighted with their first property. Both work from home for part of the week and they use their spare room as an office.

They are looking forward to exploring their new town properly and getting to know their neighbours.

“Do I miss London? Not really,” said Chopra. “The funny thing is that the trains are already so good that I think I have gone up to London more from Maidenhead than I used to from Hounslow.”

Read More

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