First-time-buyer makes property dream a virtual reality

Over the past year, there has been a notable surge in the number of people viewing properties virtually; despite restrictions easing, and in-person viewings resuming. 46-year-old NHS Social Prescriber, Domnita Ghita is no exception – having based her decision to purchase a studio apartment at Network Homes’, Evolution in Southall on just a video tour and a floorplan whilst the property was still being built.

Domnita works for the NHS – referring patients to non-medical services, such as local community groups and organisations – in order to help deal with their health, wellbeing, or financial issues. She begins by explaining her previous living arrangements: “Before moving here, I rented a two-bedroom flat in Crystal Palace, and was there for three years. Last year, I decided I was tired of spending so much money on rent; and, given my age, I felt it was important to get onto the property ladder sooner rather than later.”

“My rent was so expensive that saving became incredibly difficult. Thankfully, when the time came to purchase, I stayed with my sister for a little while, and she didn’t ask for any rent; meaning I could set aside a decent amount of money for a deposit.  All in all, I saved around £22,000, which was more than enough. I think this was due to the fact that the deposits are generally much smaller with Shared Ownership.”

Explaining her decision to purchase at Evolution, Domnita begins: “Living close to my sister was an important consideration for me. Southall seemed like a great choice in terms of location, as I can reach her in under 15 minutes, and my place of work in under an hour. On a sunny afternoon, I was walking through Southall Broadway and was struck by all the amazing food smells. I felt like I was on holiday! The area just seemed like a great fit; so, once I had settled on this decision, it was time to view properties, and Evolution by Network Homes immediately caught my eye.”

“I contacted the sales team, and they facilitated a smooth virtual viewing of one of the flats and the wider development. They also provided me with floorplans and room measurements for the property I was interested in so that I could gauge its size, and plan for furniture. Having received this information, I felt confident that this was the right flat for me, and I signed the contract.”

She continues: “When I finally saw the apartment, I knew I’d made the right choice. It exceeded my expectations in numerous ways. For one, it felt much larger in real life – particularly the bedroom – which is separate to the rest of the property, despite being a studio flat. It also has a huge balcony, which I look forward to dressing with outdoor furniture and plants.”

Impressed by the quality of the apartment’s fittings and fixtures, Domnita adds: “The other thing I noticed when I viewed the apartment in person was the specification. It’s superb. My friends and family visited and were absolutely blown away by the sheer quality of the property. Whilst virtual viewings are useful in the current climate, seeing a property in real life definitely allows you to appreciate the finer details.”

Delving into why she used the Shared Ownership scheme, Domnita explains: “I looked into a few home-buying schemes, but Shared Ownership seemed like the best choice. The chance to begin my home-ownership journey with a deposit of just £22,000 was a huge pull for me a solo buyer; and in terms of rent, I pay considerably less now than I did when I lived in Crystal Palace. I pay just £470 in rent, and £170 for my mortgage, which is very manageable. I’d definitely recommend the scheme to people who are buying alone but can’t afford to pay outright.”

Evolution offers buyers a chance to own a stylish Shared Ownership apartment in Southall; where they can purchase a share of between 25 and 75%, and pay rent on the remaining share. Additional shares can be purchased as when they can afford to do so – right up to 100%. A service charge is also payable to cover the cost of communal maintenance.

Buyers can choose from a range of homes, from studios through to duplexes, along with a selection of one and three-bed wheelchair accessible apartments. Residents living in apartments have access to a private podium level courtyard garden and communal space.

Southall boasts a range of local amenities, including colourful food and clothing markets in the heart of the town, and diverse shopping facilities at The Broadway shopping centre. Located just minutes from the Grand Union Canal, residents at Evolution can take advantage of the tow-path walks, parkland and green spaces that surround the fringes of Southall. Residents are situated just minutes from the M4, A4, and M25, and Southall station is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the development, taking travellers directly to London Paddington in around 18 minutes. Prices start from £65,000 for a 25% share of a one-bedroom studio apartment.

For more information, please visit  or call sales agents Savills on 020 7704 5618.