What I Own: Polly and Thomas, who paid a 5% deposit with Help To Buy

polly and Tom in their house

Polly and Tom were first-time buyers (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

It’s time for another edition of What I Own – our property series where we speak to homeowners about the buying process.

Last week we heard from Zita, who lives in Surrey with her family.

This time we are in Shrewsbury, chatting to Polly and Thomas who bought their first home together last year.

The couple used a Help To Buy scheme to get on the property ladder, this is what they had to say about their first-time buying journey…

Tell us about yourself…

I’m Polly, I’m 26 and I’m a journalist working from home. Thomas is 28 and is the manager of a wine shop in Welshpool. We’ve been together for three years and engaged for one – this is our first home together.

Polly and Tom

They moved in last year (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

Where is your property?

The house is on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, about a 10-minute drive to the town centre. We love the area as we feel close enough to everything but still nicely out of the way. We’re across the road from a supermarket and we have lots of shops, restaurants and other places right on our doorstep while still feeling like we’re in the countryside – we love it.

When did you move in?

We got the keys on October 1 (2021), and our first official night was October 3.

How much does your property cost?


Polly and Tom on the sofa

They paid a 5% deposit with Help to Buy (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

How much was your deposit?

£10,800 – we used the Help to Buy scheme so paid a 5% deposit.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

Our mortgage is £500 a month, and we spend about the same again on bills and other household expenses.

How did you save up for your deposit?

We were both lucky enough to be able to live with our parents, which allowed us to save. Thomas was also kindly gifted money by his parents, which we used towards the deposit. 

Polly and Thomas in the kitchen

They pay £500 a month towards the mortgage (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

We found getting a mortgage very challenging. When we got engaged we were still living separately at our parents’ houses so we wanted to find a place together as soon as possible. When we found this house and wanted to go for it, we were unable to get a mortgage without having to put down a crazy deposit – over £30,000. 

At the time, Thomas was working a part-time role, so our income wasn’t high enough to qualify for a suitable mortgage. We were absolutely distraught as it meant we would miss out on the house. 

However, a month later, Thomas got his contract increased to full-time and I received a promotion that meant we could afford the house, and by a great stroke of luck there was still one available that we managed to reserve by the skin of our teeth.

Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?

We were living with family.

art in their home

Pretty pics (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

We were both very against renting. While we have both rented in the past short term we really wanted to own our own place that we could do whatever we want with and not worry about a landlord.

Though we lived separately, I moved in with him at his parents house for the Covid-19 lockdown, which meant we already had a go at living together (and survived) so we thought we’d move straight to buying. 

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

We were looking for new build properties in the Shrewsbury area, as we wanted to use Help to Buy and Shrewsbury was a good location: it’s half an hour from each of our families, close enough for Thomas to commute to work and just generally a very nice area. 

I found the development in a Google search. I showed it to Thomas and he got very excited – it turns out the house was a five-minute walk away from Shrewsbury Town FCs football stadium, which he is a season ticket holder for. Being close to the stadium wasn’t the main reason we chose this house, but it was certainly high on someone’s list. 

We came to view the show home and really liked the design of the development and the location was great. It was pretty perfect for what we needed for our first home. 

books in their home

Ready to travel (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

How have you made the property feel like home?

We have put as much stuff in it as humanly possible, and have decorated it exactly how we want it. 

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?

The one thing we both automatically agreed on was that we had to have colour. We both hate plain things and didn’t love the fact we had to have white walls (the only other choices were off-white or a very light grey) so we wanted to fill the house with as much colour as possible.

We also wanted to make sure our decor reflected our own personalities. I think it’s very obvious that it’s our house with all our trinkets and pictures etc – it’s nice to feel like you belong in a space.

candles on a table

Table decor (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

What’s your favourite room and why?

I love the office. It’s a really cosy room and we have it set up as a craft room as well where I work during the day. I love to crochet and Thomas likes to paint wargaming figures, so it’s nice to have a room with everything in one place.

Neither of us had a specific hobby-space when we lived with our parents, so it’s nice to be able to do things and not worry about clearing the table for tea afterwards. We’ve split the room in half and decorated it really nicely to each of our hobbies and personalities. 

It just has really nice vibes and we love spending the evenings there together. 

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I think for the two of us we have plenty of space. I do wish we had a tiny bit more storage, for example my clothes don’t all fit in our built-in wardrobe but there isn’t really anywhere else another wardrobe would fit.

We have a few big cupboards but it would be nice to be able to use the attic etc, we’re looking into getting a shed for the garden.

the kitchen counter

Colourful kitchen appliances (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

Do you have plans to change the property?

We have no plans at all to change anything. We decided on a new build as there would be minimal faff and the whole house would be brand new, modern and ready to move in. Other than sorting out the garden with some planters and some chairs, everything is fab as it is.

Are there any problems with the property that you’ve had to deal with?

Touch wood, we haven’t run into any problems with the house. We had one incident with a little leak going through the ceiling from the bath, but a new shower curtain and sealing it properly sorted that out.

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

It costs more than you think it does. I feel like when you buy a house people tell you to save for the deposit, but they don’t talk about everything else you have to pay for. Solicitors fees, searches, conveyancing, mortgage brokers etc – all are costs that we didn’t anticipate and can add up to a couple thousand on top of your deposit.

Then you have to get all your furniture if you didn’t have it already – it’s a lot more money involved than you realise.

the craft room

Their hobby room (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?

We want to stay in this house for as long as possible. We really love it here and are very happy with everything. 

We do want to have children one day which may lead to us wanting a bigger house in the future, but right now we love where we are.

Shall we take a look around?

the hallway

Let’s start the tour (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the living room

The living space (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the living room

They wanted to inject some colour (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the living room

Cute (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the living room

A nice little nook (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the living room

Interesting detail (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the dining area

The dining space (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

a bookshelf

Lots of reading material (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the kitchen

The kitchen (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the kitchen

Lots of cupboard space (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the kitchen

Plus a pink microwave (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)


The downstairs bathroom (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

landing and stairs

Let’s head upstairs (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

master bedroom

The master bedroom (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

master bedroom

More colourful in here too (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

master bedroom

Fruity bedding (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

study room

The spare room (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

study room

This is their hobby room (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

study room

Lots of room for crochet and war figure painting (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)


The bathroom (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the bathroom

A strong slogan bath mat (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

the garden

The garden (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

Do you want to feature in What I Own?

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]

You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important. 

If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected].


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