Poplar HARCA: Shared Ownership gave Lucy the opportunity to own her first home

Lucy Hutchings, a Head of Operations originally from Buckinghamshire, recently moved into one of Poplar HARCA’s Shared Ownership properties in Duesbury House.

We spoke to her about why she chose Shared Ownership, what she loves about her new home and the positive impact it’s had on her lifestyle.

What did you know about Shared Ownership before you bought your home?

One of my close friends used Shared Ownership to buy a home just down the road from here. She’d been able to buy without a massive deposit and savings behind her which was the situation I was in. Shared Ownership felt like a way to buy a place without a massive deposit and outlays, and being able to get a smaller mortgage, which is what I can afford. It took about a year and a half, from looking into it and moving in. I set up a life-time ISA. That was really helpful because you get the money topped up within the ISA. It really helped me boost the money I had for the deposit. I thought it’s a good time to buy now – it feels like a better market than it might be in a few years’ time.

I’ve bought it on my own. A lot of my friends were buying properties with their partners, or had help from their parents, and I felt I never really had enough to buy a home on my own. I must admit I really like going on holiday so I didn’t really save money! So I left it. It felt so unaffordable and I thought ‘I don’t want to buy. It’s pointless’, and I could never possibly save up enough to buy my home. I don’t want to sacrifice my lifestyle. And then I heard about the Shared Ownership scheme and I thought ‘it’s about time I was a bit more mature about my money and investments’ instead of spending my money on rent which isn’t really going anywhere.

What impact has having your new home had on your lifestyle?

This is a better location as I’m so near tube lines. It’s easier for me to get to work. And all the furniture is mine! It’s such a luxury to be able to buy a corner sofa. I’ve been renting for 12 years and that’s fine but it’s not yours. I really enjoyed being able to set up my home from the start. I didn’t have to buy white goods because they’re all pre-fitted. And now I have a dishwasher! I didn’t realise how lovely it is to have one!

What’s your favourite thing about your new home?

Apart from the dishwasher, it’s the space. Nice high ceilings, the balcony set up and the light it brings in. I now have separate rooms too!

Have you got to know any of your neighbours?

My block has its own WhatsApp group, so you have a readymade access into who everyone is and their names. I’ve bumped into a few neighbours here and there and we’re arranging a get together in October. I didn’t know a single one of my neighbours in my last place! There’s a leisure centre and a school nearby which I really like because it feels family orientated.

What was your experience of buying through Poplar HARCA?

Having Ashton as a contact at Poplar HARCA was so useful because she was impartial and could advise me on every stage of the Shared Ownership process. With solicitors, there can often be no sense of care, so Ashton’s support filled that gap.

Have you got any tips for someone who is considering buying a Shared Ownership property?

My advice to other first time buyers would be don’t be afraid to chase your solicitors and be on their tail. It can be tiresome but you will get things done. From registering for this property and actually moving in, it took me two months. You can do it too!

Poplar HARCA is an award winning Housing and Regeneration Community Association in East London.To find out more, check out their developer page or search for homes by Poplar HARCA here.