For Police Community Support Officer Michelle Buckley, a visit to a new Dawlish development to introduce herself to the Bovis Homes team there proved to be a life-changing experience.
The 24-year-old wanted to find out if the staff at Nickleby Place had any issues or concerns to report - and a few months later she found herself and partner Aaron Paltridge moving into one of the brand new homes there thanks to the Government-backed Help to Buy scheme.
"I like to know the patch I cover so I popped in just to see how things were going," said Michelle. "During the visit I mentioned to the sales team that all the homes at the site looked amazing and that I'd never be able to afford a property there. The team said I'd never know until we spoke to a financial advisor, so that's what Aaron and I did. Incredibly, it turned out that we could afford this house."
The house the first-time buyers bagged is a three-bedroom Beardsley housetype with large spacious sitting room, modern dining area, fully fitted kitchen with patio doors leading to the rear garden.
Michelle explained: "We wanted a three bedroom home because we want to have a family. It also has a really nice garden, two parking spaces, a downstairs toilet, as well as a cut off between the kitchen and the lounge, which is ideal because we didn't want to have an open plan.
"People have said to us that rather than just getting on the property ladder we've taken two steps up! First-time buyers normally start with something simple, like a one or two bedroom property. In terms of location, it's also perfect as it's near to where we both work and our families live close by too."
With the Help to Buy scheme the purchaser receives a Government equity loan of up to 20% of the cost of the property, leaving a 5% deposit and 75% mortgage required by the buyers.
"I would say it was easy to use and we were given lots of information about the scheme before making the commitment," said Michelle. "We also received further information about the breakdown of the scheme and repayments. I didn't have to do anything to set up Help to Buy, so it was a stress-free process. I was simply sent the paper work and then had to sign where indicated."
Michelle added that it wasn't just the house or its location that impressed her and Aaron, 22, who works as a residential support worker. Both praised the service and attention they received from the on-site sales team.
"The sales team was amazing throughout the entire process," said Michelle. "As first time buyers we didn't know what the process was going to involve. It was almost like going through a dark tunnel as there are so many things to do, but Bovis Homes just lit up the path and guided us through."