Paul and Dorrena’s homeownership story

Meet Paul and Dorrena, both 29, and their baby boy Rossa, who is just six month’s old. Paul and Dorrena’s home buying story is truly unique, with Rossa arriving into the world on the day they got the keys to their new Gleeson home.

After renting for seven years, the couple are so happy to be in their own home with their gorgeous baby and feel that everything is falling into place. They are saving £200 per month on their previous rent cost, with their mortgage being better value, and with it being a new house, their bills are low too!

We spoke to Paul and Dorrena to hear more about their whirlwind home buying journey.

When did you reserve your home? November 2021.

When did you move in? June 2022.

Which house type did you buy? 3 bedroom semi-detached Lisburn.

Is this your first home? Yes! Prior to buying our home we were renting, spending £550 per month, which was due to increase. Over the seven years of us renting, we calculated that we’d spent £49,000, with nothing to show for it. Our Gleeson home is now bigger than our rented property, not to mention far more modern and bright, plus we now have a garden and it’s cheaper. Our mortgage is only £350 per month, so we are saving £200 per month, which is a huge £2,400 per year extra disposable income!

We’re originally from Belfast, and were always unsure as to whether or not we would stay in England permanently so decided renting was the best thing to do at the time. We’ve been together since we were 16 and now we’re 29 so owning our own home was a long time coming.

We’d looked at a few houses before finding out we were expecting Rossa, and once we knew I was pregnant, this spurred us on to look more seriously. We didn’t want to begin a family whilst living in our rented flat and we were hoping to find the perfect home, which we now own thanks to Gleeson!

Why did you choose to buy with Gleeson? From the moment we went to see the development and spoke with our Sales Executive, we had a great feeling about Gleeson. The homes were stunning, modern, low-cost and had everything we wanted and needed for a first home.

Coming from Ireland the names of the different house types e.g. Lisburn, Wexford, Galway, Tyrone, which are all locations in Ireland was another ‘sign’ that our Gleeson development was where we would love to live. The development is a short drive from where both of us work in Carlisle but in a quieter, peaceful area surrounded by fields and close to the border of Scotland which was perfect for us.

Gleeson were brilliant and talked us through everything involved with buying for the first time, plus they put us in touch with Meridian Mortgages who essentially took care of everything comparing mortgage offers and also taking care of life insurance and home insurance for us. 

Why did you choose to buy new? After renting for over seven years we felt it was the right time to put down roots and begin building for the future. With our little baby boy Rossa due, we also knew that buying new would be the most stress free route. We didn’t want to be renovating a house with a new-born!

We also loved how affordable Gleeson homes were, and how energy efficient they are too. With us being a young family, we needed a home that was manageable budget-wise so that we can continue to enjoy treats and family holidays. We are saving a lot of money per month on our previous rent cost, which will allow us to grow our family in the future and enjoy treats.

Why did you choose the Lisburn house style? We bought the Lisburn because we believed this to be the perfect layout for our first owned home. The Lisburn is not too big, but not too small, the rooms are spacious, airy, and the third bedroom is great for Rossa’s nursery. As a couple who like to cook and eat together, the kitchen was everything we wanted, it has plenty of space for prepping food and for a large dining table. We also were keen to have outdoor space and we had actually underestimated just how much outdoor space we’d get with our home,  in the back garden, side and front!

How was the process of buying your new home? The process was flawless. We had the most amazing Sales Executive who was incredible from the minute we stepped foot into the Sales Centre to  after we moved into our home. She kept us updated weekly, sending us information and photographs regularly. This was really important for us as we were counting down the weeks of our little boy arriving. Even when completing the house demo, and after having moved in, the Gleeson team were amazing and really looked after us. They were helpful, friendly and made everything from paperwork to moving in as seamless as possible.

The Gleeson team genuinely cared about how the pregnancy was going, even calling in with some gifts for the little man. With Rossa being born on our completion day, Gleeson were very flexible and accommodating in the collection of keys. Walking into our new home with our new-born baby was a truly amazing moment!

What do you love most about your home? We adore our kitchen, when selecting our options this was a very exciting time and made us realise how real it was all becoming. It was lovely selecting the units, tiling for both floor and walls. We love the size of both our back and side gardens, it’s great to have the privacy in the back garden and being an end semi-detached house we only really have one neighbour beside us. To the other side of us is a massive farmers field. We have exciting plans for summer 2023, and plan to develop the garden with a patio area to really make the most of it!

Do you have any tips for anyone looking to move into a Gleeson home? Ask questions, enquire, don’t feel like any question is a ‘silly question’ and most certainly don’t feel like you can’t afford it because if you’re currently renting or living with parents then you most likely certainly can. Our only regret is that we didn’t look to buy sooner because of the money we’ve essentially thrown away by renting!

What is life like on your development? It’s amazing leaving in the morning and coming back to a stunning home which we can call our own. In our rented house, being in the ground floor apartment we didn’t get much  privacy or peace with people walking past the window. Rossa is a big fan of the lambs in the field next to us and all of our other neighbours are friendly and welcoming too. It’s great that there are people of all backgrounds at different stages of their lives living on our development. Rossa has become very popular and all of the neighbours are always stopping to see him and see how we’re getting on.

How has life changed since owning your Gleeson home? It’s has been a whirlwind experience with having our first child, and owning our first house. It has been surreal at times, and we often get sudden realisations of how far we’ve come and the exciting foundation we’ve now put in place for our little family going forwards. People don’t often believe us when we tell them about how everything unravelled – going for our home demonstration and then Dorrena going into labour at 3pm on the same day and Rossa arriving the next morning. We then collected the keys the next day after that, and moved into our new home the week after. We can’t thank Gleeson enough and are so thankful for how things all fell into place.

Fancy sharing your Gleeson home buying story with us? Just email and you could feature on our blog. Inspired by Paul and Dorrena’s homeownership story? We have over 80 developments located across the North and the Midlands and with prices starting from £102,995, what are you waiting for?!

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