Two friends from Nigeria are looking forward to settling down and raising families across the road from each other after one of them recommended The Gateway development in Bexhill to the other.
Ayoola Arigbabu, 32, was the first to spot a house he wanted on the Bovis Homes location in the seaside town. And when he bumped into his friend Malcolm Onyeabo, 39, and discovered he was also ready to buy a home, he told him about the development and showed him the house he was buying, online.
Ayoola recommended the service he had received from Bovis Homes and after looking into it, Malcolm reserved a plot too.
“We have this joke we make in my country that when you cook and you don’t have enough spice or salt you just go to your neighbour,” said Malcolm. “So, I said to Ayo, when I’m cooking and I run out, I’ll say ‘hello neighbour can you give me some salt?’”
Now the pair live on the same street – both in three-bedroom properties. Ayoola moved in, in December, and Malcolm and his wife Ndidiamaka, 36, at the end of January. “From my window I could call his name and he would hear me,” joked Malcolm. And hardly a day goes by when one of them doesn’t call in on the other.
For Malcolm and Ndidiamaka, who works as a ward sister at Conquest Hospital at St Leonards-on-Sea, signing up for the house seemed to mark a turning point.
Shortly after that, the couple got two pieces of good news. They discovered they were expecting a baby and business analyst Malcolm landed a new job that allowed him to work from home.
“Everything worked at the right time. It was as though the baby was waiting to come at the right time,” he said.
Life is also at a turning point for Ayoola who got married to his fiancée in April. She has now moved into the house and loves it.
The psychiatrist, who works for a private mental health hospital in Bexhill, liked The Gateway as soon as he visited it.
He said: “I chose the location because it’s not far from my workplace – just five minutes’ drive. It’s not far from the shops and major roads, so if I’m going in and out of Bexhill it’s easy, and if I need to go to the shops, it’s easy.”
He said: “I liked the ambience of the estate when I drove into it. I liked the layout. It looked orderly and it looked like a place I envisage seeing my future kids playing. It felt like a safe environment.”
Being a homeowner is important to him and even being able to tick the box for ‘homeowner’ rather than ‘tenant’ when filling in a form online, is rather satisfying, he said.
It took a little while to sink in though. As a busy doctor he was on his ward rounds when the sale completed. He dashed out when he could to collect his keys and immediately ran back to work, so the moment was a bit of a whirlwind.
He said: “It wasn’t real until I slept there the first night. I woke up the next morning and thought ‘wow, this is actually mine.’”
He is full of praise for the customer service he received from the Bovis Homes sales advisors.
“They were wonderful, they directed me and gave me good advice. They referred me to mortgage brokers, and they regularly called to check that things were moving in the right direction,” he said.
Malcolm agrees and he complimented the way the advisors worked during all the intricacies of the purchase process, going out of their way to resolve problems and make sure that everything worked out.
“I thought that’s one of the nicest things I have seen. They are not just thinking about selling the house but thinking about my circumstances and seeing how they can help and support us while getting the house ready. It was impressive, and we were very happy with it. I was impressed every step along the way.”
Now the couple have settled in, and their little girl Ebube was born in June.
“Honestly it feels good,” said Malcolm. Their rented property was in a noisy area in Hastings near several pubs, but they appreciate the peace and quiet of their new location.
He is especially pleased with the size of their garden which he says will allow plenty of space for entertaining and for Ebube as she grows up.
He said: “There will be plenty of space for her to run around. That’s something I’m so happy about because if we were still in our former place she would just be running around the apartment.”
Bovis Homes is part of Vistry Group, which also includes Linden Homes and Countryside Homes.
A range of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes are being built at The Gateway, which is located off Wrestwood Road in Bexhill. Prices currently start from £309,995. More information can be found at bovishomes.co.uk.