Welcome back to What I Own.
We are chatting to the Chan family this week, who moved from Hong Kong to live in London two years ago – following a tense political landscape at home.
They were able to move after the introduction of Boris Johnson’s scheme, offering Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National (Overseas) passport the right to live and work in the UK.
Now they pay around £1,500 per month on their mortgage and bills for their home in Hackbridge, south-west London. Here’s what they had to say about getting on the property ladder…
Tell us about yourselves.
I am Calvin Chan, nearly 40, and a bank manager in London’s Zone 2. I live with my wife, Maria, our eight-year-old son and our Labrador.
Where is your property? What do you think of the area?
I live at New Mill Quarter, a Barratt London development in Hackbridge in Zone 4. My home is a four-bedroom house. We’ve really enjoying living in the area – there’s so much green space and you also have lots of good and outstanding schools. We have a Lidl, GP, and dentist all within the development.
This is a very friendly community, Louie, my eight-year-old son loves playing at the playground with the other kids who live in the development. We like that Beddington Park is nearby and the surrounding area is full of green space. Bobby, our Labrador, loves having so much outside space to run around and play in.
It’s easy to get into central London which was a big priority for us – we often go into the city for shopping, restaurants and my son is a big Chelsea fan, so I try to take him to Stamford Bridge to watch them play when I can.
When did you move in?
My family moved to London in July 2021 – amid a backdrop of mass protests and a tense political situation at home in Hong Kong.
Boris Johnson, then Prime Minister, had announced a new scheme that would offer a right to live and work in the UK to any Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National (Overseas) passport.
It felt like the right time to move in search of stability for my young family.
How much does your property cost?
How much was your deposit?
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
Our mortgage is around £1,300. Then electricity, heating and water is around £200.
How did you save up for your deposit?
We were living in our home that we owned in Hong Kong – we then sold that property and emigrated to the UK in July 2021.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
I found a mortgage broker to handle my application. The application process was smooth but lengthy.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
Prior to moving to London, I lived in Hong Kong with my family in the home that I owned.
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
We wanted to live in a new build as it was difficult as new immigrants to arrange renovations, so we wanted a turn-key property where there was no need for extra work – moving into a brand new home made the most sense.
I found New Mill Quarter on social media, where I saw the Facebook advertisement from a Hong Kong property agent.
How have you made the property feel like home?
We’ve decorated with family photos around to make the space feel homely.
What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?
We wanted our home to feel relaxing and simple so we chose to decorate with white and grey colours.
What’s your favourite room and why?
The lounge (living room). It’s full of my family photos.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Do you have plans to change the property?
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
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.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
Making big life changes can be hugely rewarding – for my family that meant leaving Hong Kong and settling in the UK through the BNO visa route. We now love life here.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
We plan to stay here for the long term.
Shall we take a look around?
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
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