Young family buy dream home with Shared Ownership from Network Homes

Shared Ownership turned this family’s home ownership dream into a reality!

Stacy and Mark had been living in social housing for over seven years and were determined to turn their home ownership dream into a reality.

They live with their daughter at Rectory Park in Northolt – an estate which is being regenerated by housing association Network Homes. Like many first time buyers in London they were faced with “that” decision – whether to flee the capital for more affordable options.

But with their daughter already doing so well at school, and family and friends nearby, they didn’t want the disruption of moving away.

Then one night, as Stacy was returning home from work, she noticed the sales office had opened on the estate. She decided to nip in and that’s when she discovered several Shared Ownership properties had just come on the market in the new building next to them. It was the opportunity they were looking for.

When they visited the show home, they fell in love with it. “Compared to where we were before – a small two bed flat with a tiny kitchen – it just made me want it even more” Stacy says. “I was adamant I wanted better for us. For me this was the perfect option. It was affordable. It was an area I wanted to be in. And I didn’t have to uproot us. It was ideal”.

Stacy and Mark decided to put their name down and were initially offered a 57% share based on their salaries. But they were unable to afford the deposit, so Network Homes agreed to offer them a 36% share of the flat worth £127,750 (full market value £365,000).

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. They were shocked to discover their mortgage application had been rejected. They were told it was due to a black mark on Stacy’s credit history because of an old unpaid water bill. Confused, Stacy contacted the supplier and was horrified to discover it related to a previous tenant who had lived in the flat they rented over five years ago, and the debt had been wrongly applied to Stacy’s name. And to make matters worse it was for a measly £70.

The couple were determined not to give up on their dream. Stacy was putting in daily calls to the water company and after a lot of persistence they agreed to remove the debt from her name. Finally, their mortgage application was accepted.

“I just cried” Stacy said. “I was so emotional and happy. I was so excited. I thought it would never happen. I thought we would always be renting, and it wasn’t affordable. I wanted to show our daughter you can go one step more.”

Mark and Stacy say Shared Ownership has given them more security for the future than they would have renting. They know they are paying into a home of their own, plus they can buy more shares and staircase at any time, something that Mark says they would eventually like to do.

“When our daughter gets older she will have something. And we can give something back to her. She will have that security and that means so much to me,” Stacy says.

Mark agrees. “For me it’s bricks and mortar. But it’s our bricks and mortar. And for our daughter it will be in her back pocket eventually – something for her future.”

The family’s living space has doubled since getting their new flat, which they are delighted with. “When we first saw the flat it seemed so huge. We’ve got so much space now – we can actually cook a meal without having to use the cooker as a work top!” Stacy explains.

And their daughter loves the fact she gets her own bathroom because mum and dad now have an en suite. Plus, there’s enough space to ride her mini Segway inside. Even Trumpy her pet rat seems happy with the new space to run around in!

Being on the fourth floor, they like having a having a balcony which gives them some outdoor space and great views – especially on New Year’s Eve when they can see the fireworks across London and during Diwali when they can watch the light shows from nearby Southall.

What advice would they give to others in their position, who want to get on the property ladder?

“If you can afford it, do it!” Mark says.

Stacy agrees: “If it’s your only option – don’t pull back. Go for it. There may be some hurdles along the way but don’t give up. It will be one of the best things you will do.”

Share to Buy is a one stop shop for affordable homes. On our website, you can search for properties, compare mortgages and find out all you need to know about alternative home buying schemes such as Shared Ownership and Help to Buy via our FAQs and guides.