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.”
From then Trish continued to save for her 5% deposit and regularly checked online to see what shared ownership properties were available within Newbury: “The homes at the racecourse were online about a year before I actually moved in. This gave me time to attend the information day held for the first block Sovereign Living were selling, but I realised that for savings-purpose, I’d rather wait for the second release of homes in December. In the meantime, I completed an up-to-date financial assessment to make sure it was affordable to me and registered with West Berkshire council and Help to Buy South.
“Having been accepted by the council, I was able to choose my apartment over the phone and then paid my £250 reservation fee and obtained my mortgage-in-principle to secure it. Luckily there was an open event to view the show apartment which was the same layout as the home I had chosen so I was able to get a visual feel for it.”
What's it like to be in?
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.”
Living at the racecourse is being part of a community, something Trish loves. “So far everyone I have met (usually in the lift) has been friendly; they seem to be like-minded people. An advantage of living at the racecourse is the buzz of the race days. It’s a great atmosphere, especially after the races have finished; it’s fun watching from my balcony.”
Reflecting on her decision
Asked whether she’d recommend shared ownership from Sovereign Living, Trish said: “It was a reasonably simple process which was explained well both online and by the sales team. I always knew what was expected in terms of costs and if I had any queries it was easy to get advice.
“There are some misconceptions about shared ownership - someone once asked me if I have to live with other people because it’s shared ownership (I don’t!) - but I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions before I committed to the scheme.”
So what does the future hold for Trish and her family? “For the time being I need to be in Newbury, but I think if I ever want to own 100% of my home I’ll have to wait until I am more flexible. For now, we are happy in our new home.”
Have you heard of our Money Diaries series? We're talking to real Sovereign shared owners to find out exactly what it costs to own your home with shared ownership. For an insight into how other shared owners manage their finances click here.