Success Stories: Maureen

Shared Ownership acted as stepping stone for young family who now owns outright

After getting married when she was 17, Maureen wanted a place that she and her husband could call their own, but with both on minimum wage, purchasing a property seemed a long way off.

Maureen says: “I got married very young, when I was just 17, and we were desperate to have a place of our own. I was an apprentice dental nurse and my husband was a security guard – we were both earning minimum wage and living in my parents’ box room – so when went to the bank to ask about getting a mortgage, they wouldn’t give us one unless we had a 10% deposit. At that point, we were only saving a couple of hundred pounds a month, getting enough money for a 10% deposit on the open market would’ve taken forever.”

Two years later, Maureen, aged 19, had almost given up hope of buying a property when a colleague asked if she’d considered alternative home ownership schemes and suggested the couple looked on the Share to Buy website.

She says: “It was around then that a friend at work, who was living nearer to London, mentioned Shared Ownership to me. She’d just signed up on the Share to Buy website and said I should register too. I thought that Shared Ownership was mainly in London and I didn’t think they’d have anything in Colchester, but thought I’d have a look anyway.”

“I didn’t know much about Shared Ownership so the Share to Buy website was really helpful, giving me all the information that I needed about the scheme. It turned out that there were a few properties in my area, so I registered for all of them! I didn’t think we’d be in with a chance of getting any of them because we were so young, but pretty quickly Chelmer Housing Partnership (CHP) called us and invited us to a viewing.”

In April 2014, Maureen and her husband purchased a 40% share of the two bedroom house for £67,000 (full market value £167,500). She explains:

“The property was a lovely two bedroom mid-terrace house, with a garden and a shed and two parking spaces – I couldn’t believe we could afford it! It was also right by my old school and less than five miles from my parents’ house, so I knew the area really well.”

Maureen and her family - Shared Ownership buyers in Colchester, Essex

“CHP did everything for us – it was so easy! The financial assessment was just an hour long; our advisor was really helpful and went through the whole process with us, telling us all about Shared Ownership and staircasing and what to do when you want to sell.”

Maureen and her husband moved out of Maureen’s parents’ house a couple of months later and into their new home. After a couple of years in the property and having their son, Joey, Maureen’s situation changed.

“My husband and I split up after a couple of years. We both found new partners, and my ex-husband was happy to move out and sell his share to my new partner, Dan. CHP helped Dan buy out my ex-husband’s share in the property; they made the process very straightforward and it was all sorted within a couple of months.”

By early 2019, Maureen had two children, and her and Dan decided they needed more space. They got in touch with CHP and began the resales process.

“My youngest was getting to a year old, and we just needed more space for the four of us, so we contacted CHP and told them we wanted to sell. CHP arranged a valuation of the property, and our share was valued at £86,000 – £19,000 more than we’d originally paid. I couldn’t believe it – I didn’t think that the value of new builds went up! We hadn’t even done any work to the property; we’d just sat on it for five years, it was amazing.”

Using the equity from their Shared Ownership home, Maureen and Dan were able to take the next step on the property ladder and purchase outright – something that they’d always wanted to do.

Maureen concludes: “CHP sold our house to another young couple, and we were able to use the extra £13,000 from our Shared Ownership sale to purchase a three bedroom house on the open market. We now own outright; a lovely property with a garage and a garden that backs onto a massive field. We definitely couldn’t have done it without Shared Ownership.”

Maureen and Dan celebrate their new home - Shared Ownership buyers in Colchester, Essex

Share to Buy is a one stop shop for first time buyers looking to get a foot on the property ladder. Start planning your future today and check out our available properties, or visit our helpful FAQs and guides to find out more about Shared Ownership. You can also hear from more buyers via our Shared Ownership Success Stories and Help to Buy Success Stories!