Laura Jenvey, 34, and her husband Maciej, 39, had always rented their home but were increasingly concerned about the insecurity of renting; the crunch came when their landlord decided to sell up. They'd almost given up hope of ever owning a property of their own when Laura discovered Shared Ownership and found they could afford their ideal home: a resale two-bedroom apartment in Redhill from So Resi by Thames Valley Housing.
Laura, a special needs assistant, had taken on a second evening office cleaning job in an attempt to save a deposit for their own home; she came across Shared Ownership by accident, explaining: "I was window shopping for homes online, with no realistic hope of finding anything we could afford, and was shocked to find amazing properties at incredibly reasonable prices." Full of new-found optimism, Laura and Maciej, who works in home to school transport, started the search for a new family home large enough for them and Laura's children Marek, 9, and Tomasz, 8. A ten-year-old two-bedroom apartment in Tylehurst Drive, available to buy through Shared Ownership, was the perfect solution.
Laura says: "We absolutely fell in love with the apartment and filed an application straight away. It was time to take action. We've lived in several rented properties over the years and experienced all kinds of issues. The unreliability of renting really shook me, I was tired of depending on someone else for my family's living situation."
Following their successful application, Laura and Maciej purchased a 35% share of the apartment for £91,000 (full market price £260,000) and although the usual deposit required is only 5%, they put down a deposit of £46,000, with help from Laura's mother. Laura says: "Each month we pay £199 towards our mortgage and £445 on the share of our home owned by Thames Valley Housing, meaning our total monthly outgoings amount to £644 compared to £1,200 when we were renting – it's a huge difference."
The family moved into their new home in March 2017. Laura says: "On the day we moved in, I walked around and couldn't stop beaming. Although it's not brand new, we couldn't be happier with the condition of our new home. You'd never know it's a resale property, it's finished to such a high quality."
Laura notes: "Our location makes day-to-day living a lot easier too, it takes me five minutes to walk to work, and the kids' school is also only a few minutes away."
Laura believes the move has changed the lives of her family. She says: "I don't think we realised how much our living situation was weighing on our minds and wellbeing until we moved in to our new home. When renting, we never unpacked properly because we were always worried we'd be told we might have to move again. Now we feel secure."
Now a happy homeowner, Laura reflects: "Not enough people know about Shared Ownership or that it can be used to buy resale as well as new homes. It's a brilliant way of getting onto the property ladder for those priced out of the open market." But the best thing about their new home? "The peace of mind of owning our own home. We know that with each monthly payment we are paying towards a home that we can call our own. Plus, now we can hang pictures on the wall!"
So Resi by Thames Valley Housing offers shared ownership on a selection of resale and new homes across London and the South East. For more information about how So Resi makes it possible to buy your new home, please visit www.soresi.co.uk or call 0208 607 0550.