Coach driver Rose Clark (50) had been a homeowner for many years, buying her own house before she got married. Following a divorce, she was left without enough money to buy a property outright, and thought she would need to rent through the council. However, thanks to shared ownership she’s been able to buy a home at Sovereign Living’s Vyne Park development in Basingstoke.
“I lived in Chineham previously, and it was so peaceful and quiet – I wanted somewhere similar,” Rose explains. Before getting married she owned her own home, which she later shared with her ex-husband. After getting divorced she had to sell the house and split the proceeds, which meant she didn’t have enough funds to buy another property.
“I contacted the council to see about being put on the housing list,” she says. “They gave me information about Help to Buy South and what it’s all about. I’d seen leaflets on shared ownership before, but hadn’t considered it.”
Rose decided to apply for a semi-detached two-bedroom house, and found the process simple. “I went to Help to Buy events, which were useful, and Sovereign’s sales consultant Ella Fletcher was also very helpful.”
Rose believes that shared ownership is ideal for people who don’t have a huge amount of money to use for a deposit, in particular young couples. “The home is yours, so you’re secure, but you’re not scrimping to pay a big mortgage,” she says. “Also, you’re not wasting money on private rent. If you’re paying rent you can’t afford to save for a deposit.”
It’s natural for a 21-year-old to want to move out of their parents’ house and into their own home, but with rising rents and house prices this can seem like an impossible dream. Shared ownership has enabled recent graduate Maisy Watkins to buy a house at Sovereign Living’s Saxon Gate development in Leonard Stanley, Gloucestershire – moving into her dream home just 42 days after applying.
Maisy heard about shared ownership from her cousin, who has lived in his property for five years, but was unsure of how to go about applying. Then a family friend told her she was going through the shared ownership process, which inspired Maisy to enquire more about it and the different stages it involved. She then registered online for Help to By South, which told her about the properties being built in her local area of Leonard Stanley, following which she registered with Sovereign Living.
“The process is pretty self-explanatory, and the team at Sovereign was fab in supporting me through it,” Maisy remembers. “They even send you a six-week breakdown of what you can expect through the process, while ‘progress chasers’ make sure everything goes smoothly and completes by the date chosen. Sovereign’s sales consultant Hope Bailey was the most helpful, motivating person I could have ever had contact with. She kept me going through the little hiccups that I faced in the process, and helped me rationalise, then overcome them.”
Maisy believes that enquiring about shared ownership was the best thing she’s ever done. Not only is she now in her own dream property, but she also has a foot on the property ladder.
Meet Becky and Steven
Becky Moore and her family had outgrown their two-bedroom flat in Liden, near Swindon in Wiltshire. They longed to have more space, and a garden for their two daughters to run around in. Shared ownership gave them the opportunity to buy their own house at Sovereign Living’s Badbury Park development in Swindon, without having to provide a huge lump sum deposit upfront.
“Living in a flat didn’t work with our lifestyle – especially having two children who didn’t even have any outside space to enjoy,” she continues. “Steven actually found out about shared ownership online, and signed us up to the Help to Buy South website. This gave us the opportunity to browse through available properties.”
“Now we’re in – and we’re loving our new home as a family,” says Becky. “Both our girls have their own bedroom now, which is great. The area and neighbours are so friendly here, too – it’s really refreshing, as we’ve never had good neighbours before. It’s also close to our places of work, schools, and family members.”
30-year-old accounts assistant Tamsin Abrams didn’t let her single income quash her dream of owning a place to call home for her and her six-year-old son. After an easy application process, she now lives in a stunning two-bedroom house in Bampton, west Oxfordshire.
“After selling my previous shared ownership flat in Carterton, we moved in with my parents for a few months. I wanted somewhere bigger and with a garden for my son, but I didn’t think I would be able to afford to buy again. After finding out that I couldn’t afford to rent by myself I looked at shared ownership, more by accident after seeing a friend on Facebook sharing her house for sale on Sovereign Living’s website, fully expecting not to be able to afford it. I searched for other property Sovereign had nearby and that’s where I discovered Oakwood Gate. When my application came back I was surprised to find out that I could afford it!”
Tamsin needed a 12% deposit of the share she bought and also had to pay her financial advisor for arranging her mortgage. The application process was largely online, which she found easy.
Being a busy, working, single-mum didn’t stop Trish Lapworth (39) from Newbury achieving her dream of buying her very own apartment at Newbury Racecourse for her and her two children (aged 3 and 14) to call home. After finding out about shared ownership, she knew it was an excellent way to get on the property ladder with a single salary and smaller deposit.
“I lived on the other side of Newbury at my parent’s house and was determined to buy my own home; however, I was unable to afford a mortgage on my single salary in line with the property prices in Newbury. I had heard about various schemes that the government offered and did some research online to find out more. Then, a couple of years ago, I went to a Help to Buy show to find out whether I was eligible, complete a financial assessment and learn about how much deposit and other costs involved in buying a home.”
Having moved in before Christmas, Trish and her family are now well settled-in: “I love my new home! It feels amazing to call this beautiful, modern, brand new flat mine. I love that it is warm and inviting, easy to maintain, and even has a view; I can see Donnington Castle from my balcony on a clear day.”
Meet James and Jasmine
A lot has changed in the last year for James and Jasmine (both 24) since buying their first home together, but not their enthusiasm for how shared ownership with Sovereign Living helped them get on the property ladder in Thatcham.
Much has changed in the last year for the young couple since moving into their two bedroom house at The Apiary, for one Jasmine has changed jobs. “This has allowed us to spend more money on the property and start putting our stamp on it. We were so used to living apart, so the last 14 months have been amazing as this has been something we have been working towards for years,” says Jasmine. “We love having our own home, and we are really enjoying decorating and making it personal to us. We love the layout of the property and really like the area the house is in.”
James and Jasmine put down a 5% deposit which they had been saving for whilst living separately at their parent’s homes. They also factored in costs for flooring, legal fees and a moving van, as well as treating themselves to new furniture.
Thinking of their next year and beyond, “I see us living here and eventually growing into a family. This could be in our current home, or eventually in a bigger property if we get the right opportunity to sell the property and make a profit.”