Fabian's renting story - GFY x Coppermaker Square

We've spoken extensively on GFY about the experience of renting, how buying isn't always the best option and why we need to re-frame home ownership.

This interview is part of a three-part interview series where we've interviewed renters from the GFY community and Coppermaker Square, a build-to-rent development in Stratford, East London.

What is build-to-rent?

Build-to-rent properties are purpose-built developments designed with renters in mind. Crucially, the apartments aren't for sale, they're for renters only.

Coppermaker Square goes beyond the usual build-to-rent offering. It not only offers a whole host of amenities (think pool, gym, spa, roof terrace and co-working space) but it's a community too.

The lounge at Coppermaker Square

Having spent time there myself, here are the best bits, imho:

  • Flexibility and security – when renting through a professional build-to-rent landlord, tenants have peace of mind knowing they can control how long they want to rent for. Residents can choose long-term fixed tenancy options, without fear of being evicted or unexpected rent increases, as well as low upfront
  • A tailored and personalised experience – tenants can choose furnished or unfurnished apartments to suit their needs, all of which are contemporary, and design led. You are welcome to decorate you home however you like (see some of the pics below).
  • Community and support - The dedicated Coppermaker Square residents’ team can help tenants arrange everything from a handyman to a dog walker and drycleaning. It's also right by Westfields shopping centre.
  • Pet friendly – a stress free experience knowing you can move in with your pets to a welcoming and pet-friendly community.
Inside a Coppermaker Square apartment

To learn more about becoming a resident at Coppermaker Square, click here.

If you want a first-hand take on what it's like to live there, here's my interview with Fabian, a resident at Coppermaker Square.

Fabian and his dog, Grayson

Could you tell me a bit about you and your life?

FT: I'm currently the Head of Global Payroll for a tech company here in London. I'm originally from the US, but moved to the UK a few years ago for my job as the bulk of my team I manage is based here. I grew up in the Southwest (primarily Arizona), but moved to Seattle 10 years ago when I was 24 to experience a new setting, big-city and diverse culture that AZ didn't offer me. At the beginning of 2018 I got a Golden Retriever puppy named Grayson from a small little farm south of Seattle who instantly became my life. A year later I moved to London for my job (previous company) but shortly after got a new job that required me to move back to the US (San Francisco) during the pandemic for a year before ultimately settling back in London at the end of 2020. 

What are your priorities in life/what matters to you? 

FT: My number one priority in life is my dog, Grayson, and my partner, Owen. I've been really work focused over the past decade to get to where I am and while I really enjoy that, I've started to realize over the last 2 years how important life experiences and enjoyment are. I moved to the UK with the mindset of being able to experience a new culture/country and explore every opportunity and adventure that I could. I found the first two years I was here I spent my time working 12+ hour days and weekends without actually getting to enjoy the city I live in. I've started to reprioritize my time and ensure I'm putting my personal health and happiness first.  

What's been your experience of living and renting since leaving home? 

FT: My experience of living and renting since leaving home has been an adventure. I've lived in multiple states and moved to the UK twice during this time all while renting from various accommodation types. While I've generally had good experiences, I've learned a lot about what I want and to improve upon every single time I've moved to a new place and what I'm not willing to sacrifice. 

How do you feel about the pressure to own and the notion that buying is a sign of progress/adulthood? 

FT: The pressure and "societal norms" that buying is a sign of progress/maturity is something I definitely feel amongst my peers (both here in the UK and US), but it's something I've realized doesn't always equate to what it's made out to be. I can understand the desire others have to own a place as soon as possible, but I feel those jumping into it as early as possible don't think of the long term investment and maintenance that comes with it. In major cities like London, you have to sacrifice a lot of time, money, and experiences to save up enough for a deposit before the actual buying process begins. Then there are the hidden costs of maintenance, up-keep, taxes, etc that don't come with renting (all while not having amenities) that you're locked in to for years. For those looking at ways to progress financially, there are other avenues to invest your money in that don't involve the long-term commitment of purchasing a place.

Any advice for someone feeling the pressure to buy their own place? 

FT: For anyone feeling the pressure to buy their own place, I'd say to stop and really think about what your top priorities are in life right now and how buying a place would mix into that. There's a subsequent financial impact to your quality of life and flexibility that people don't often think of that is long-term when buying a place. While there may be societal pressure to purchase a place, only you have to deal with that financial burden that it comes with. Buying a place shouldn't be done just to check a box off some invisible checklist of life that others deem required to determine your success or maturity.

What is the best thing about living at Coppermaker Square? 

FT: The best thing about living in Coppermaker Square is that I have so many amazing amenities available to me at any time. Or as a friend has said, "It's like you're living in a spa/staycation 24/7!". In addition to the really nice pool/gym area for us to use, the amenities for Grayson are really great. We have the outdoor garden space literally steps away for him to run and get his energy out during the day and the recent opening of the pet washroom is his "spa/staycation" as he's in-between grooming sessions. 


How has renting and living at Coppermaker Square been a better option for you? 

FT: I was living in Central London for a couple of years when my partner (who lives here in Stratford) mentioned a new community was opening soon called Coppermaker Square just a few minutes away from him. As I wanted to move closer to him I decided to book a tour of the property in November 2022 (a few months before it opened) and instantly fell in love. The layouts of the flats were super spacious and well thought out, the finishings were super modern, the amenities were unlike anything I've seen before, and the area in general was exactly what I wanted. I was able to have more space (both inside and surrounding parks) for Grayson to place and enjoy life (he's a big dog so needs lots of room for his energy), the transport links provided more convenience to get around the city (it's actually faster for me to get to Soho for work from Coppermaker Square than it was when I lived in Aldgate), and the amount of restaurants/pubs/shopping/entertainment are all in walking distance...with more things constantly opening up. I put an offer in to move to Coppermaker Square almost immediately after the initial viewing. Coppermaker has been a better option for me because it gave me exactly what I felt like I was missing - opportunities to get out and easily enjoy the city I live in...all within walking distance. While living in Central certainly had things nearby, I could now properly adventure out with Grayson by my side (he comes everywhere with me here in Stratford). 

A Coppermaker Square apartment

For more information on becoming a resident visit www.coppermakersquare.com today and book a tour!