Cost of living: Family who couldn’t afford UK mortgage moved from Bournemouth to Bulgaria - and saved £293k
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A British family left the UK for Bulgaria after realising they would never be able to afford a mortgage - and saved £293,000 in the process. Lewis Vye, and his wife, Jordan, both 31, left their two-bed rental house in Bournemouth and moved 1,788 miles to Haskovo Province in Bulgaria where they snapped up a farm for just £7,000.
Jordan got the idea off a friend of a friend, who told her she had bought a house in the country for just £3,000. After mulling over the idea and constantly checking Rightmove for properties, the pair bought a two-acre plot of land which included a three-bedroom house, a barn and outbuildings for £7k - cheaper than the £300k mortgage they were facing in the UK.
But then Covid hit and the family were unable to visit the property until May 2021. Jordan and Lewis then informed their family of the move, sold most of their belongings and packed up their caravan - arriving in Bulgaria in June 2022 with their two children, Leo, 11, and Fae, two.
The couple say their quality of life has improved as they have more time to spend with their children and with each other. Jordan, a freelance social media manager, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, said: “We were really struggling with the whole mortgage thing.
“We had our son at 19 and moved into a flat that we couldn’t afford, it all started from there. It set our path for never being able to get a mortgage - it was a really big thing of owning our own home.
“Even with two wages, it wasn’t something that seemed achievable for us in the UK. It hasn’t been easy but there is such a great community here in Bulgaria.
“It reminds me of what my grandma would use to say when she lived in Bradford. It was a community, it was a village, everyone knew everybody, everyone helped. We had so many people when we arrived offering to help us.”
Jordan was in Southampton, Hampshire, when she bumped into a friend of a friend who revealed she bought a house in Bulgaria. Jordan said: “I was talking to a friend of a friend, and she told me she bought a house in Bulgaria for £3,000.
“I asked her if I could have a look, I couldn’t believe it. I went home and had a look for myself, I remember showing Lewis and I joked saying ‘should we start again?’.
“We then looked, and we couldn’t believe what we could get for that price. We had always liked the idea of doing something up.
“It was also the countryside element, we had always wanted to live in the countryside. In Bournemouth, if you want a house in the countryside, it was never going to happen for us.”
Lewis and Jordan purchased the house in Bulgaria for £7,000 using their savings. But after they bought the plot, they were unable to visit the house due to covid restrictions.
After they were finally able to view the property, they broke the news to their family - who didn’t want them to leave. Jordan said: “They feel like we sprung the news on them, but we have had it planned for a while.
“A couple who had moved out here told us to book the ticket because if we don’t book it we will never leave. Neither of our families wanted us to go - part of that was I was a new mum.
“Our children were young, you have such a support network whether that be your mum, grandma or auntie - they were worried about what we will do.” The pair booked a ferry ticket on June 1 2022.
After packing up the campervan, Jordan, Lewis and their children set off from Bournemouth to Bulgaria and arrived 20 days later on June 21. Jordan said: “We made sure we slimmed down everything, we were going to ship everything over, but the prices were extortionate.
“We thought it wasn’t worth it, so we sold everything - everything was for sale. We were stopping every day to pitch up the caravan somewhere and unload it as it was full of our belongings.
“We would unload our caravan every night and reload it again in the morning and head out.” Since arriving in Bulgaria, the couple have been doing all the renovations themselves - spending around £5k so far.
Lewis said he aims to have the whole project finished in 10 years. The former engineer said: “It is going really well.
“We got in the house pretty quickly from the caravan even though we weren’t really expecting to. We have done a lot of work so far - we have redone all the plumbing and the electrics.
“We have patched up the roofs on three buildings, we have built a septic tank system, so we have all the sewage in place. I don’t have a background in construction, but I do have a past of being good at DIY.
“I look at YouTube videos, but I have friends who work in the trade too so if I get really stuck, I will lean on them.” The couple are documenting their renovation journey on their YouTube channel @frombournemouthtobulgaria and admit the journey hasn’t been easy but it is worthwhile.
Jordan said: “I remember pulling up in the caravan and we parked it in the middle of our land and we were unpacking. I remember looking at all of our stuff with flies all over the food and I thought ‘what are we doing’.
“The number of times I have said that I want to go home but we are in such a different position now. When we arrived, people realised we were struggling so people would turn up with bags of vegetables.
“It was lovely, the day we pulled up, next door came round, and they were all helping to get us moved in.”