For Danielle Angel (28) and Daniel Stewart (30), the decision of whether to continue renting or take that step onto the property ladder was made easy after hearing about Shared ownership.
New homes by So Resi by Thames Valley Housing in Horley, Surrey near to where they were previously renting in Reigate, became available earlier this year and provided the opportunity they'd be waiting for to afford to buy their new home. "I know that living in a two-bedroom apartment with our two-year-old son Finley, eventually we'd need a larger home," says Danielle, "so I'd signed up to receive email alerts from Thames Valley Housing but I didn't expect to see something so perfect for us, so soon."
After attending the open day in January this year, the couple bought a three-bedroom, semi-detached house at Foresta in Horley through shared ownership, buying a 45% share for £173,250.
"We were really lucky to be able to use money gifted to us from my parents, who helped us put down £25,988 – a 15% deposit of the share," says Danielle. "Our monthly mortgage payments are £595 and the subsidised payment on the share we don't own, is £485, totalling £1,080. It's the same amount we were paying previously in our rented apartment, except it was just paying our landlord's mortgage off – not ours!"
The couple decided that one day they'd like to own 100% of their new home so they also signed up for SO Plus. It enables shared ownership buyers to purchase an extra 1% of their home each year, without the hassle – and cost - of arranging a solicitor each time a share is purchased.
Danielle says: "It's just a great feeling, knowing we are now paying towards a home of our own." As well as getting on the property ladder, the house has given the family the space they need to grow, as Danielle and Daniel would like to have more children in future.
Danielle says: "We had a communal garden before, so Finlay absolutely loves our new, spacious back garden – we can't seem to keep him out of it! But it's not just the garden, the whole house feels so big, and the quality of the finish is fantastic. Even the third bedroom is a great size. We're currently using it as a study as Daniel's job as a Technical Manager means he can work from home sometimes. The loft space is particularly large so there's potential to do even more with our home." Danielle, who works as a nanny in nearby Kingswood, was concerned that a new development wouldn't have that established, community feel, but she has been pleasantly surprised.
"It's very family-orientated here," Danielle says. "It's lovely watching the neighbours' children playing outdoors together. It just confirms we made the right decision to move here – even our friends are tempted."
Originally Danielle and her partner were going to buy the house next door, but their current house, which is slightly bigger, became available. "We had to arrange a new mortgage, which was a lot of extra effort and hassle, but the So Resi sales team were very helpful throughout the whole process. There was even a sign on the front door saying 'welcome to your new home' on the day we moved in, along with a hamper waiting inside. It was a lovely touch that makes all the difference – we're very happy here."
Foresta has now all sold, however, So Resi offers shared ownership on a selection of homes across London and the South East. For more information please visit: www.soresi.co.uk or call 0208 607 0550.