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At 25 years old, Sian Dennis, senior marketing and communications assistant at Newbury Building Society took her first step onto the property ladder by purchasing an apartment through Shared Ownership. She tells us why the part-rent-part-buy government scheme gave her the freedom and flexibility she needed to fly the nest.
What type of property do you now own?
I own 25% of a one-bedroom apartment based in the centre of Newbury.
Why Shared Ownership?
As a single person looking to buy I couldn’t afford to purchase on the open market. I didn’t have the funds for a standard 10% deposit, nor enough of an income to pay the monthly mortgage repayments. I didn’t want to leave Newbury, so I looked into government schemes designed to help first-time buyers and Shared Ownership was the best fit for me.
With Shared Ownership, I could purchase a newly built home with a small deposit – it stripped away the burden of having to save 10% which seemed like an impossible and daunting task. With the option to pay as little as 5%, the scheme doubled my chance of being able to afford a brand new property in one of Newbury’s most desirable locations.
What is the best thing about Shared Ownership?
There are lots of misconceptions about owning a Shared Ownership property. Many people believe that you cannot redecorate, put things on the wall and that you’re under the watchful eye of a landlord. This is simply not true. Shared Ownership gives you the freedom to stamp your style on your home and decorate it however you wish. Whether that is minimalist Scandinavian or Industrial chic, as long as you avoid knocking down any walls without permission from the housing association first, anything goes.
What is the worst thing about Shared Ownership?
There is still a lack of awareness about the scheme and many people do not fully understand the purpose behind it. I was fortunate to already have a good understanding of the initiative as both my parents opted for a Shared Ownership property 10 years ago. Since then, both have staircased (buying additional percentages from the housing association overtime) and now own the majority share of their home.
Would you recommend Shared Ownership to a friend?
Absolutely! I am a huge advocate of the scheme and always encourage friends and family to consider taking their first step onto the property ladder in the same way. It’s affordable and surprisingly easy as there is a clear step-by-step process from start to finish. Additionally, more and more lenders are starting to offer mortgages specially designed for Shared Ownership and are on-hand to offer support to reduce the complexity of the money process.
I wouldn’t be the proud owner of a town centre apartment without Shared Ownership. In fact, I’d probably still be living with my Grandparents!
What’s the best thing about owning a home?
Being in control of the TV remote!