Meet the Warwickshire couple who climbed onto the property ladder aged 22
Rhys and Jennifer have the keys to their very own home thanks to Orbit Homes
When Rhys Bowen and Jennifer Cooke decided they wanted a place to call their own, little did they expect to be able to buy a new home together before they turned 23.
But when family and friends told them about an exciting development in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire which included one and two-bedroom apartments, they decided to take a look.
Rhys said: “We never would have dreamed of being on the property ladder at this age. We heard about the development from a number of people who all said how nice it looked and how it would be great for us with my work being so close and the train station being less than a minute's walk away."
The development in question is Arden Quarter, which offers the best in contemporary town living, with easy access to what is most important such as shopping, leisure, great transport connections, cultural activities and outdoor space.
“When we came to see Orbit Homes we were sold pretty much straight away, the only decision was which flat style we wanted," Rhys said. “We really love Stratford as well, it's somewhere we liked to come for a day out and it's great being a ten-minute walk away from such a great town centre and lovely scenery on the river.”
The apartments are perfect for first-time buyers and are nestled a stone's throw from the train station, which can get you to Birmingham in 46 minutes and are situated near the hospital, which makes it ideal if you work there.
It can be difficult to get onto the housing ladder these days, particularly if you are fresh out of university and a lack of income is often the biggest barrier.
Rhys and Jennifer received some inheritance money from family members, which they added to savings to get a one-bed apartment. They also received a builder gifted deposit from Orbit which they used as part of their deposit towards their £200,000 apartment. Rhys works as a financial analyst at NFU Mutual, which is within walking distance of their apartment and Jennifer is a postgraduate student who works part-time in childcare.
The apartments at Arden Quarter are well designed, spacious and have a lot of specification that comes as standard, making them ideal for home working.
“We both work from home, Jen for her studies, me for my job. Working from home has definitely become better since moving into our flat though. We love that we have our own space which we can keep the way we want it."
As for the specification, contemporary designs are featured throughout - together with modern appliances fitted as standard. Each kitchen features, an integrated Bosch fridge/freezer and dishwasher, stainless steel oven, LED downlighters, chrome recessed spotlights and Porcelanosa ceramic floor tiles. Bathrooms have white Vitra bathroom suites with chrome fittings and full-height Porcelanosa tiling around the bath and shower. The apartments all feature fob access and thermostatically-controlled radiators to all rooms.
As for the buying process, Rhys said Orbit staff were always proactive in chasing other parties involved in the process and were great at keeping them in the loop with what was going on and ensured they could move in just before Christmas.
The couple said some of the benefits of living in the town centre include great bars, pubs and restaurants, places to walk by the river and canal and great rail links. There are plenty of picturesque walks around the canals, adventurous types can even attempt the 26-mile footpath all the way to Birmingham.
“There is a lovely town centre vibe with friendly people,” said Rhys. “You are always a 10-minute walk from wherever you need to go. There's not much Stratford doesn't have really. No car is needed.”
However, each apartment does come with its own parking space if you do have a vehicle and the location offers great access to the M40 motorway and A46.
For first time buyers, there is an option on selected plots at Arden Quarter to use the Government-backed Help to Buy:Equity Loan Scheme, where you can apply for an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of your new home and buy your home with just a 5% deposit.