Young couple Frances Nicholls and Drew Alamgir have been transformed from child-free party people into a homeowning family of four in just two years. The pair have gone from being out every night to cosy evenings in after having two children and buying their own house at Bovis Homes’ Judith Gardens development in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire. Frances, 32, and Drew, 28, had been renting a two-bedroom terraced house in Biggleswade when they discovered their second child was on the way. And baby Amaris arrived on 30 May this year, just weeks after the couple and their one-year-old son had moved into their new four-bedroom detached property at Judith Gardens. “When we first got the keys to the house on April 1 it felt wonderful yet surreal,” said Frances. “As we walked in, I welled up and said to Drew: ‘I can’t actually believe that this beautiful home is ours’. “We had gone from party people to responsible parents in a very short time.” Frances and Drew knew they had to settle down when she fell pregnant with their daughter. “The two-bedroom house in Biggleswade was fine for our needs as we just had our son Bear, but then I discovered I was expecting again,” said Frances, an account director. “We hadn’t seriously thought about moving at all but knowing we were soon to be a family of four concentrated our minds. “There was no time to lose, so we hit the internet and started looking at houses. We wanted a new-build because with two young children we needed to be able to walk in and hang our hats without needing to do any work. “We both had family and friends locally and had grown up in Biggleswade so we started there. But one night I saw this showhome at Judith Gardens in Sawtry which was about half an hour away. “We had looked at five or six other houses at places near to Biggleswade but we both knew we wanted the house at Judith Gardens. It was the first house we both agreed on.” The couple used the Help to Buy
scheme to purchase the £405,000 Chestnut-style home, which would otherwise have been out of their price range. The scheme enables first-time buyers to secure a new-build property worth up to £407,400 in the East of England with just a five per cent deposit and a 75 per cent mortgage ?" the remaining 20 per cent is provided as an equity loan which is interest free for the first five years. Frances and Drew, a scaffolder, put down a deposit of £21,500 - just over five per cent of the purchase price. “There’s no way we could have afforded the beautiful house we have got without the Help to Buy scheme,” said Frances. “We had only been saving since Bear was born 19 months ago but because we only needed a five percent deposit, we were able - with the 20 per cent loan - to go for a £400,000 house.” Three months after walking into the showhome at Judith Gardens and reserving the property that day, the couple stepped over the threshold of the same house as homeowners. “We are now paying a joint mortgage of £960 instead of a monthly rent of £550 but that extra cost is more than worth it to be in such a lovely house. “Instead of wasting money every month, we are making an investment for us as a family and our children when they get older. We see this as our forever home and we feel so lucky to have it. “There is such a lovely community feel here. It is like a proper village. Everyone says hello and chats and all the neighbours know each other. “It feels like a safe environment and the perfect place to raise a family. A real bonus is that all the local schools have had good Ofsted reports.” Frances said her favourite part of her new home is the large open entrance. “There is not a hallway but a wide-open space which has windows bathing it in natural light. As soon as you walk in you are struck by all the light that floods in. “Drew loves the large kitchen-diner. He is the cook in our house and loves us having the space to be there with him which we did not have at the old house. “The folding doors out from the kitchen-diner into the garden create a massive play area for Bear to run about in with us easily able to keep an eye on him. It’s also a fabulous party space so one day we can roll back the clock if want to.” Frances said the Bovis sales team at Judith Gardens were delighted when Amaris, who weighed in at nine pounds and two ounces, arrived as she was the first new-born baby at the development. “They gave us a baby hamper after I had Amaris. It was packed full of outfits, nappies, baby wipes and cream. It was very thoughtful and so Bear did not feel left out they gave him a wooden fire engine which he absolutely adores. “The team has always gone the extra mile for us. Helen, one of the sales advisors, is a star. I know I can call her about anything and she will be there for me. “One day I bought a sideboard and the shop staff loaded it into my car. When I got home, I could not get it out of my car so Helen got a worker to use a forklift to get the furniture out and into my house. That is service above and beyond.” Bovis Homes, which is part of Vistry Group, is building a range of of three and four-bedroom houses at Judith Gardens, with prices currently starting from £330,000. For more information, visit bovishomes.co.uk.