For this week’s What I Own, we are venturing to the Welsh border to meet Emily.
She bought her first property through shared ownership using her Help to Buy ISA.
Emily lives with her dog in a two-bed property and has been there for just over a year – so is nice and settled.
Here’s what she had to say about her experience as a first-time buyer…
Tell us about yourself, Emily…
I’m 28 and a marketing executive. I’m based in the South West with access to both the Forest of Dean and South Wales on my doorstep.
Where is your property and what do you think of the area?
I’m on a rural new build development and I love that I’m able to commute to my work in the city in less than half an hour and then can go for walks in the countryside when I’m at home.
When did you move in?
I moved in after the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. It was not what I had planned at all as I was delayed moving in and had no visitors for months – but it meant I could do a lot of decorating.
What made you decide to go down the shared ownership route? And how have you found it?
I was initially viewing flats in the city and realised I really couldn’t afford a lot on a single salary. I was browsing Rightmove on Christmas Day 2019 after the festivities died down and I saw a house that looked affordable using the scheme.
I viewed in the January and reserved it that day, I was blown away that I would be able to live in a two-bed house with a garden which is not what I thought I would be able to do from looking at small one-bed apartments previously. My standard of living is really high and I’m really happy.
How much does your property cost?
The open market value is £230,000 and I own 50% of that and pay rent on the other half.
How much was your deposit?
I was able to put down a 24% deposit.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
I pay £325 on my mortgage and £262 on rent with a further £30pm on service charges and ground rent.
My other utilities are the same as anyone else’s would be. I am able to overpay my mortgage monthly as my mortgage and rent is less than I was paying on my previous rental.
How did you save up for your deposit?
I was strict with paying into my savings every pay day before I spent anything on myself, which I still do now.
I utilised the Help to Buy ISA so I also had the bonus from that. After I reserved, I was also given a boost from Bank of Mum and Dad – which I am forever grateful for.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
I personally didn’t have any challenges here but waiting for the approval was quite nerve-wracking. The process is similar to buying a house on the open market, however I just needed to make sure I was able to staircase to 100% before finding a lender.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
I have rented for the last 10 years. I travelled after university and then rented with friends and on my own for a while. I have lived in lots of different places but most recently in Bristol.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
I was keen to start building equity and be able to have more space to live in and call my own.
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
I found my house on Rightmove, I chose the house because of its location, affordability and moving into a nice new house.
How have you made the property feel like home?
I had no prior DIY experience but have since panelled my own bedroom and done my whole garden myself. I love to find inspiration from Instagram and share what I get up to on @emshomestyle.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Yes, I am very happy and have recently got a dog to share the space with me.
Do you have plans to change the property?
My next project is my kitchen, I’ll be making some changes over the coming weeks as that’s one room I haven’t yet touched.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
Any problem I’ve had the housing association have promptly fixed. All new builds come with their snags and I luckily haven’t had that many.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
Do your research. Shared ownership was never my initial plan and wouldn’t ever have been my first choice. I am happy with my choice but I know there are some stipulations you may want to check in your lease and make sure you’re happy with them before proceeding.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
I am due to remortgage in 2022. I am looking to either staircase or continue to own 50% until I buy my next home. I am always on the look out for my forever home, and this house is the perfect first step on the ladder.
Shall we take a look around?
How to get involved with What I Own:
What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]
You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected]
Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch: [email protected]
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