Couple have a home office each after buying new property

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Kerry and Julian Greene used a new shared ownership scheme to move from a rented three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom house which enables them each to have a homeworking space.

Kerry and Julian Greene used a new shared ownership scheme to move from a rented three-bedroom home to a four-bedroom house which enables them each to have a homeworking space.

Kerry, a 44-year-old freelance interior designer, and Julian, a 53-year-old data analysis expert, are loving the extra space they have in the four-bedroom Juniper house they have bought at Bovis Homes’ Judith Gardens location in Sawtry.

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The couple used the Home Stepper initiative to purchase a 37 per cent share in the new-build house on a part-buy, part-rent basis.

Kerry and Julian and his son Eli at the door to their new homeKerry and Julian and his son Eli at the door to their new home
Kerry and Julian and his son Eli at the door to their new home

Kerry said: “The Home Stepper deal was great for us because there is no way we could have afforded a full mortgage on a house of this size otherwise. If our finances improve significantly, we can buy a larger share of the house which is something to aim for.

“We were aware of the scheme after reading about it on the Bovis Homes website but the sales advisors James and Matt, who were very patient and professional, explained exactly how it worked and helped us through the process. Our monthly outgoings are about the same as at the old place but instead of paying rent we are putting money into a property in which we have a direct investment.”

Kerry now has a dedicated home office in one of the bedrooms instead of having to set up each day on the dining table as she did at their old house. Meanwhile, Julian, who used to work in the lounge, is now able to work in the downstairs study.

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“It’s wonderful,” said Kerry. “Before we moved here, neither of us had a proper working-from-home space and it was far from ideal. It was particularly bad for me because my samples were all over the place and it really impinged on our home life.

Kerry and Julian outside their new houseKerry and Julian outside their new house
Kerry and Julian outside their new house

“Now we have turned one of the bedrooms into my studio and I have everything I need to work calmly and efficiently in one place, which is separate from the rest of the house. Julian is able to use the study and focus thanks to the peace and quiet. It is a great benefit to both of us because at the end of the day we can just shut the door on work and enjoy our own time.”

The new home also has space for when Julian’s four children come to visit. He has three adult daughters and a young son, Eli. Part of the reason for their move to Sawtry was to be closer to the specialist school in Cambridge that Eli, who has autism, now attends.

Kerry and Julian, who were previously living in Essex, searched online and were delighted to find Judith Gardens, just half an hour’s drive from Cambridge.

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“We went along and immediately got a good feeling from the place,” said Kerry. “The houses were well built and there was a lot of green space. I grew up in a village so it was important to move somewhere which has a rural feel and we have that here on the edge of Sawtry and in a position which is next to open fields.

The couple in the loungeThe couple in the lounge
The couple in the lounge

“This house, which we moved into in November 2023, is an hour’s drive closer to Eli’s school and also enables us to keep a bedroom spare to allow us to continue to offer short-stay fostering, which is something we have done in the past and are keen to continue to do.

“All in all, our new home is perfect for us. There is so much we love about it. We have a long drive where we can park both our cars and still have the garage for valuable extra storage space.

“One of the big plusses for me is having an en suite in our bedroom. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and at our previous house the bathroom was downstairs so I had to walk all the way down there in the night whereas now I can just take a few steps. It’s so much easier, it’s lovely.”

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Home Stepper has been launched by Bovis Homes and Sage Homes – the country’s largest provider of new-build affordable homes – to help people who can’t afford to purchase a home outright get onto the property ladder.

To qualify, buyers must have a household income that does not exceed £80,000 and be able to put down a deposit of at least five per cent of the share they are buying. An affordability check will be made on all potential purchasers.

Bovis Homes is part of Vistry Group, along with Linden Homes and Countryside Homes.

Nic Chapman, sales and marketing director for Vistry East Anglia, said: “The Home Stepper initiative has been very successful at Judith Gardens, as only one home remains to be sold with the scheme.

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“The scheme’s popularity underlines the need to deliver a range of affordable housing solutions, something which is a key priority for Vistry. More Home Stepper properties are available at our Cromwell Abbey location in nearby Ramsey, providing further opportunities for buyers in the Peterborough, Huntingdon, and Cambridge areas to purchase on a shared ownership basis.”

At Judith Gardens, there’s currently the Hawthorn house type that remains to be sold under Home Stepper – a two-bedroom semi-detached property, priced from £138,625 on a 50 per cent share basis. There’s also a choice of two, three, four and five-bedroom houses available to reserve as open market homes, with prices from £263,000.

Meanwhile, at Cromwell Abbey in Ramsey, a collection of three and four-bedroom Bovis Homes properties are available under Home Stepper, with prices from £180,000 for a 50 per cent share.

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