Cara, an Events Specialist from Newbury, had been living with friends when her situation changed. She found herself in a position where she had to choose between renting a place on her own or potentially purchasing her first home.
“I’ve lived in Newbury since I was ten and it definitely feels like home to me. With friends and family around I knew if I was to get on the property ladder, I wouldn’t want to compromise on location, but I also knew that prices were high and that houses were in high-demand in the area”.
Beating the stats
“I originally wanted to buy a property outright, however I found that this was near to impossible as a single person, even with a comfortable wage and what I thought was a healthy deposit. I’d read that the average age to buy your first home was over thirty and the average deposit was now over £30,000, which was nowhere close to what I had! So I began to look into other options. The government backed Help to Buy scheme looked good but unfortunately this was still unachievable for me on my own as I still needed to earn enough to cover a large mortgage”.
Fortunately, a friend of Cara’s had purchased a property through the shared ownership scheme a few years ago, so she knew that this was also an option. “It seemed like a great way to get on the ladder on your own but I was put off by the fact I’d only initially own 40% of a property. I realised that in reality most people I knew owned just half a home as they had purchased it with someone else! So when I began looking into it in more detail, and exploring how I could buy more shares in the future, it seemed a much more realistic option” she explains.
Exploring the options
With a specific location in mind, Cara began to look into developments in the area “I went to see two properties at the Newbury Racecourse development, both of which were 1 bedroom apartments. The Racecourse appealed to me as it was a new gated development that had a community feel to it – I was also familiar with the location having attended many Newbury Racecourse events”.
After speaking with one of the Sovereign Living sales consultants, Cara organised a viewing to take a closer look “I managed to get a feel for both properties quickly and everything was explained clearly by the sales consultant. There was a small difference in price as one property was slightly bigger than the other and I decided to go for the cheaper option. Although it was classed as a smaller property it felt much larger due to the layout, the balcony also didn’t face another, so I felt I had more privacy”.
The next step after viewing the property was to arrange a financial assessment through one of Sovereign’s recommended financial advisors. They were able to confirm Cara’s affordability and submit the application on her behalf within just a day of viewing the property.
Making a house a home
“The property itself was perfect for me and I couldn’t wait to move in. Just eight weeks after submitting my reservation form, I had completed and was moving my stuff in! Over the last six months I’ve been making my house a home - and although you don’t own the property outright, you are still able to do a lot with it! The apartment was brand new and didn’t need any work doing to it but I’ve hung a few photos, added a touch of paint, and even installed a breakfast bar in my kitchen, which is perfect if I am ever working from home or have friends over!”
“There is a great community within the development and people are very mindful of each other. There is a Facebook group that keeps people up to date with current happenings, and in general everyone is very friendly – I’ve even made a friend in my next door neighbour over a glass of gin!”
“Shared ownership has certainly allowed me to get on the property ladder as a single person, where other options were making it impossible, and would have forced me into renting. It is a great investment and one that will hopefully allow me to completely own my home in the next 5 years.”