What I Own: Head of sales Darren, who put a £100,000 deposit on a Tadworth home

It’s Saturday, so it’s time to delve into all things property.

For What I Own this week we are chatting to Darren Ellicott, who lives in Tadworth with his wife and their young daughter.

The couple sold their flat in Mitcham and used the money, as well as their savings, to buy their new build home.

Here’s what Darren had to say about his property-buying experience…

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Darren, 33, a head of sales and based in Tadworth. I live with my wife and our nine-month-old daughter Amelia.

Where is your property? What do you think of the area? 

Our property is in Tadworth and the area is great for a growing family. 

We were in Mitcham before but the area wasn’t where I envisaged having a child growing up in. We moved to Tadworth as it was close to Epsom but a lot more affordable.

I work from home so it’s really useful to have enough space to have an office in the house – but also we are close enough to Epsom Downs and all the places around here, so there’s a lot for us to do with Amelia.

When did you move in?

We moved in in April this year.

How much does your property cost?


How much was your deposit?


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

Around £2,000. 

How did you save up for your deposit?

We saved up through our earnings while living in our previous flat.

We had £100,000 deposit as our flat in Mitcham was very affordable to live in, so we saved up money month on month. We didn’t actually get any profit off selling the flat – but that’s fine.

It was money saved before we moved in and then money we’d paid towards the mortgage went towards the deposit.

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

We agreed our mortgage in principal 17 months before we moved in. We had to extend it due to difficulties selling our own property after buyers dropping out, but after the third buyer dropped out at the point of completion just before Christmas, we got in touch with UPSTIX – who were the developer for the property – who made us an offer.

It wasn’t quite the market rate but it wasn’t too far off and it allowed us to get the property. Even if we put it on the market now we wouldn’t have got the same price and every time we’ve had questions on the house they’ve helped us.

I wish we’d known it had been an option right from the start – we probably would have moved in about a year ago. We’ve been let down by a lot of people in this process but UPSTIX has been really dependable. Our mortgage broker was great too. 

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

We owned a property in Mitcham.

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

Renting is dead money, where you’re paying in the current market, a similar price for a property which you have no rights on. 

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

It’s a great location for families, it’s a much larger property than what we could have got for the same price in London and it gets me closer to my own extended family.  

We were looking on various websites and we came across this area as there was a deposit scheme where, if bought early, they took 5% off the price of the property. It was on for about £670,000 down to £635,000. We were driving around looking for different properties and we saw a sign for the area, and we were like this is a nice area, let’s go and look.

We were bowled over when we saw it for the first time. The moment we saw it we knew this was the property we wanted. The sale of our property took almost 18 months, it was a long drawn-out process. This was the second or third property we saw, and we knew we wanted a new build and this one had been bought at the right moment, and with the property taking so long to sell we thought we’d lose it at one point, so we are just delighted to be here.

How have you made the property feel like home?

We’re still in the process of adding personal touches to the property. 

We are building it out slowly. After buying a new property everything is fairly expensive, we are building out the spare bedroom and I’ve put pictures of the family up.

We bought some garden furniture recently, which has made a huge difference to our lifestyle. Last weekend was the first time that we could sit outside and enjoy it with friends. 

What’s your favourite room and why?

Our bedroom as it’s got a nice en-suite and it goes out onto the balcony.  

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Yes, based on our plans for family, the home will be what we need. 

Do you have plans to change the property?

No, we intend to be here for the foreseeable. 

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

No, there are usually some issues with a new build, but so far, so good. 

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]

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

Even if it’s a financial stretch at first, buying a property sets you up much better in life than renting, due to both it being an investment and giving you more flexibility on the property. 

I also want to give credit to UPSTIX. I would recommend them as an organisation. We wouldn’t have been able to get this property if it wasn’t for them. 

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

No changes in the foreseeable.

Shall we take a look around?

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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