What I Own: Murray and Claire, who put down a £52,000 deposit on their home

Welcome back to What I Own – our property series where we speak to a different homeowner every week.

This time we are chatting to Murray and Claire, a couple who moved into their London home earlier this year.

They saved up during lockdown which meant they were able to purchase their home – and it’s safe to say their house has a few surprises in store (including an incredibly tropical bathroom and a theatre room).

This is what Murray had to say about getting on the property ladder…

Tell us about yourself.

I am 37 and Claire is 33. I am a lawyer in the film industry and Claire is a primary school teacher. For work, Claire is based in South East London and I am either in Soho, West London or working from home. 

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

Our apartment is in Southfields, just next door to the grass courts, close to the tube and Wimbledon park is on our doorstep. 

When did you move in?

August of 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?

Mortgage is £2,000 per month and bills come to about £300 per month (Wandsworth Borough have a really low council tax).

How did you save up for your deposit? 

We had both been saving, but lockdown definitely sped up the process. 

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

There was a big push to close the deal before the stamp duty holiday ended. We were lucky to have such good brokers from St James Place, who were amazing.

All said and done, we completed two hours before the stamp duty deadline, thanks to our solicitor who pushed it through, without him, it wouldn’t have happened.

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

We were both renting separately, I was in Southfields and Claire was in Crystal Palace.

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

Stamp duty holiday (as bland as that sounds) but also being able to buy a place has always been something we have wanted to achieve. 

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

We would look at properties online and not arrange viewings until Claire sent me a property with a hot tub in the back garden, so of course we had to have a look. I booked a viewing for that weekend. The estate agent put a few other properties on the docket for us to look at. We did not really like the property with the hot tub (the owner was also taking it with them) and we saw two other properties which both had weird and not so wonderful features which included a shower in a cupboard.

Finally, the estate agent showed us the last place that wasn’t on the the market yet and the current owners wanted to sell it as quickly as possible. We fell in love with it straight away and put an offer in that night for it to not go on the market. Luckily, it got accepted and the race to beat the stamp duty deadline began.

How have you made the property feel like home?

When we moved in the place was a blank canvas with all the walls painted white. We started swatching paints and Googling how to hang wallpaper to turn the blank canvas into home. The benefit of having four bedrooms is that we got to create different styles within each.

Having enough room for a home office and a spare room for family and friends to stay was a big focus for us. Not to mention that I always wanted a movie projector room (pipe dream) and this property allowed us to have that indulgence. 

What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?

We start with an idea (normally Claire’s) and it spirals from there. Instagram normally plays a role as well. 

What’s your favourite room and why?

We both love the spare toilet. It is the most outrageously kitsch room in the apartment. Where else can you get a disco toilet other that Soho?

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Do you feel like you have enough space?

Now that Claire has donated a lot of her clothing to charity…. yes, more than enough.

Do you have plans to change the property?

Not immediately, but in the future we want to knock down the wall separating the kitchen and main lounge to make it an open space. 

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

We no longer have a landlord to complain to when we have an issue. It’s all on us now, luckily Claire is pretty handy with a screwdriver. 

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

Have a good solicitor to advocate on your behalf. Our deal would have fallen through if it wasn’t for ours.

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

For now, we plan to stay here long-term. I doubt we will ever come to sell this place as we love it so much, but keep it to rent out if we move out of London in a few years time.

Shall we take a look around?

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