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.”