Jan and Aleksandra Girman describe how they took advantage of Help to Buy before the current scheme came to an end.

Jan and Aleksandra Girman realised their dream of owning a family home could be a reality, thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme.

Jan and Aleksandra, who have two children – Lucian, aged 14, and Scarlett, aged 9 – had been living in a spacious, modern rented maisonette in the Trumpington area of Cambridge for 3 years, but were feeling in a rut after renting for 14 years.

The pair decided they wanted to escape “generation rent” and it was time to start the search for a home of their own.

With four-bed homes in Cambridge increasingly out of their price range – and many of the affordable properties they saw needing costly renovation works – they took their search a little further afield and discovered our Saddlers Lea development in Newmarket, Suffolk.

Jan said: “It’s really hard to find an affordable four-person family home in Cambridge, so when we saw the Cala Homes development in Newmarket, we decided to go and see it.

“It quickly became clear that it was a no-brainer for us. Through Help to Buy, it was a cost-effective way to buy a home and it was equal in terms of size of our rented property. We also liked the location as it isn’t too far from Cambridge, where we want Lucian to continue attending secondary school.

“One of the main reasons we went to visit Saddlers Lea was because we knew about the government Help to Buy scheme, only available on new homes, and recognised the benefits of it, especially so, as it enabled us to potentially buy something that would normally be slightly out of our budget.”

Jan and Aleksandra quickly reserved the Jenhurst house type – a three-bedroom semi-detached property which offers flexible living over three floors – and our team quickly set the wheels in motion to help them through the buying process, navigating the Help to Buy scheme.

“It was a lot simpler than I expected, but a lot of that was down to Cala sorting out much of the administration around it,” said Jan. “Once we had reserved the house, Cala kickstarted the process and they immediately registered us with the Help to Buy portal.

“Our solicitors took the initiative and completed the sections they needed, before sending us a link and asking us to fill in our parts. We were fortunate that Cala and the solicitors took most of the legwork out of the process and made it much smoother. Philippa and Kim at the sales office were particularly helpful, kind and willing to go the extra mile. I wouldn’t have known where to start without all their help.”

The couple are enjoying good connections to Newmarket town centre, which is about a 10-minute walk away on cycle paths and footways, and a 20-minute drive to Cambridge.

With hybrid working on the increase, Jan, a product manager for a London-based software company, works in the city two to three days a week, and Aleksandra, a VAT accountant for a South Cambridgeshire firm, works from home three days a week. They also now have the additional office space at home which allows them to enjoy a better work-life balance.

“The pandemic changed how we worked, which gave us more flexibility as to where we could move to whilst also being able to get the kids to school,” explains Jan.

“We’re just getting to know the neighbours and hope to get to know more people in time.

“Saddlers Lea is in a lovely spot. We’re just a 10-minute cycle ride to the railway station in Newmarket. The cycle paths are very well-connected and it’s an easy walk to the village of Exning. What we love is that the Jockey Club opens the horse lanes and training grounds after 1pm, so we can take our dog, Penny, for long walks there.”

Saddlers Lea is a collection of 55 three-, four- and five-bedroom semi-detached, detached homes and townhouses, ranging in size from 1,127 sq ft to 1,694 sq ft. To find out more and register your interest, visit Saddlers Lea for more information. 

*Help to buy: Equity Loan has now ended. View Cala’s incentive on our Helping you Move page.

Although no announcement has been made about replacing Help To Buy equity loan scheme, the Lifetime ISA (LISA) will still be available, which offers a 25% bonus on savings at the end of every tax year, rather than when a house purchase is completed.


Cala News & Lifestyle

The design of a home doesn’t stop at the door... We are passionate about sustainable and inclusive communities. Our homes look good together, mature well over time and sit well within their surroundings.
Social Spotlight: 2 guys and a new build

Social Spotlight: 2 guys and a new build

Top Tips for Moving Home with your Pet

Top Tips for Moving Home with your Pet

10 hacks to get your house ready to sell

10 hacks to get your house ready to sell

Keep your move simple and Part Exchange to a new build home

Keep your move simple and Part Exchange to a new build home

Arrow up
CALA Homes