Case Studies

Raymond and Mark

Posted June 29, 2023
Raymond and Mark

Meet Raymond and Mark. The pair were enjoying a brief holiday back home in England after years of living abroad throughout the Middle East, when they suddenly could not return to Bahrain due to the pandemic.

Initially confined to a friend’s spare bedroom, they soon realised their need for a permanent place of their own.

With this new goal in mind, Raymond and Mark embarked on their homeownership journey. Their purchase? A spacious three-bedroom semi-detached house in Newhaven, East Sussex through the Help to Buy scheme.

Explore how this determined couple transformed their unexpected change in circumstances into an opportunity. They swapped temporary accommodation for long-term stability amidst the global pandemic.

Raymond and Mark Hero

Lockdown and our living

“My best friend lives in Newhaven, East Sussex, and we had asked to stay with him for three nights while we were visiting the UK. Lockdown hit and all our plans were put on hold – we ended up living in his tiny spare bedroom for two years and three months. It was a single room, and there was barely enough space for a bed. We slept on an airbed for a few months, and then eventually bought a double bed and a desk. There wasn’t even enough space in there for the two of us to stand up at one time. It started to really impact our relationship.

“We started looking for somewhere to live quite quickly, but Raymond couldn’t get a job straight away because he didn’t have a visa. Once lockdown eased, I began working in a restaurant, but most of my earnings was going on Raymond’s visa.”

“We were looking for homes on the open market, but they were all well outside of our price range. There was only ever about one house a month that came on the market within our budget, but we couldn’t even get a look in. It would always disappear straight away.”

New options to buy a property

Running out of options, Raymond explains how one of their friends pointed out new Help to Buy homes from Guinness Homes. He says: “In the second year of living in the spare bedroom, one of our friends told us about a new development from Guinness Homes, just 10 minutes down the road. Straight away we thought there was no way we’d be able to afford it – I assumed it would be totally out of our price range and we’d be wasting our time. Nonetheless, we decided to book an appointment and have a nosy round anyway. We opened the door, and fell totally in love.”

Mark and Raymond purchased a 3-bedroom house in Newhaven at August Fields by Guinness Homes for £367,500.

“The house was beautiful. The open plan kitchen/dining room, the en-suite, the garden, the patio, the spacious hallway, how light the whole place was – we loved everything – and because it was available through Help to Buy, we could actually afford it.”

Raymond and Mark in Kitchen

Mark “I’d heard some negative things about developers and service charges, so I went online and tried to find bad things about Guinness – and I just couldn’t! My research just brought up positive reviews, so we felt very reassured. The Guinness team were so helpful throughout the whole process. They really looked after us. Anytime we had an issue they would sort it – we cannot stress enough about how amazing they were.”

A stand out property

Speaking about what made homes at August Fields stand out from other new builds in the area, Mark comments: “There’s another development nearby from a different developer, and you don’t get any of the add-ons included with the house – things like a fridge, washing machine and dishwasher all must be bought as extras… even the carpet! At August Fields everything is included – we were given the keys on move-in day and walked into a fully fitted home.”

Now settled in their new home, Mark and Raymond are enjoying decorating the home and are already beginning to look to the future.

Mark “It hasn’t really hit me that it’s ours yet. This is actually our home, and we own it. We’re so happy to be here. The house gets more beautiful every day because we can’t stop buying new furnishings and accessories! Raymond has a real eye for design, so the whole place has been decorated brilliantly. The neighbourhood is also lovely – all of our new neighbours are so friendly, so we’re really happy here.”

“Having gone from a tiny single bedroom to this huge 3-bedroom house, we have more space than we know what to do with! As we have extra rooms, we plan to get a tenant in the future and that will also help us with paying back the Help to Buy loan. All in all, we’ve been very lucky. We’re so excited to be here.”