“Friends were absolutely shocked that I was buying in Bognor Regis. Why? But when I show them The Royal, their response is WOW, how did you find it?” says new homeowner Ania.
After months of trying to find something for under £350k on one person’s salary in London, a 3am internet search on Rightmove brought that breath of fresh sea air she needed. Until then she had felt either over faced by expensive, small spaces in need of renovation, or underwhelmed by “new builds, further out of town with, “not a lot going on”.
When she saw The Royal, a heritage landmark restored for contemporary living, right on the beach, she realised that she could have the best of all worlds. Large living spaces, two bedrooms and big beautiful bay windows overlooking the sea. She decided to go and take a look. And, she wasn’t disappointed, the minute she pulled up outside she was smitten, “I just thought, this is it”.
Like many in London, Ania has rented since she arrived there nearly 20 years ago, aged 19. She knew that she loved to live in Victorian heritage homes, and wanted lots of light, high ceilings and the spacious feel of those rooms. These features are essential to her, “I love having friends and family over for dinner, so I need to consider space. That’s so expensive in London. Every square metre you pay so much money for it. The Royal and Bognor Regis could give me both the generous living space I wanted, and the outdoors space I craved.”
Ania is a keyworker for the Department of Health & Social Care. After years of study to gain her PhD, she has also only just cleared her student loans. So, being able to utilise the Help To Buy scheme has given her some flexibility to manage her long term finances better and make them go further.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also caused her to reflect on her priorities. Although she remains in London for work reasons, the opening up of Work From Home (WFH) meant she could widen her search for her own and her family’s benefit. She, and her sisters, had become concerned for her mum, who was isolated with health issues away from them.
They wanted her to have her close but living in a one-bed flat was difficult. Ania saw that the purchase of a seafront apartment at The Royal would give her mum a place to stay, in comfort and security. Plus, be a minute’s walk to the shops, cafes and all the leisure facilities Bognor Regis has to offer. While, easily able to hop on a direct train to London Victoria, to see the rest of the family in an hour and 40 minutes.
She didn’t know much about Bognor Regis before she visited, but she is won over the by place. “I’m really surprised how everyone so lovely”. From the agents, local solicitors and developer, all have made themselves available to help make the process smooth. With no long chains, award-winning build finishes and guarantees, she is confident about the purchase.
And, wherever she goes in the town, she enjoys The Royal reception she gets. She understands its significance and importance. On her first visit, as she was having a coffee round the corner with a friend, two other customers had overheard they were going to view. “They were dying to find out what it now looked like inside. They said it was a big thing for Bognor. We invited them along – they loved it!”. It’s been a welcome that she is looking forward to making into friendships.
Now, all she needs to do is get moved in. Many of her initially shocked friends have booked in for weekends by the sea and walks in the nearby South Downs National Park, and she and her mum are planning how to make it theirs. But the first thing for Ania will be to take advantage of the great outdoors, “I love running. My dream is to put my trainers on, go out and be able to run along the beach. To be right by the seaside.”
Ania is “over the moon”, about her new home, community and to share her new lifestyle in Bognor Regis with friends and family, who won’t be asking why, but why ever not?