At the age of 19, Hannah from Newcastle-under-Lyme was keen to move out of her parent's house and into somewhere of her own. She had considered the conventional options available, but they just didn’t feel right for her.
“Living with my parents was great for saving money, but I got to the age where I was desperate for my independence. My friends who had already moved out were mostly renting properties, and some of them were house-sharing, but for me renting didn’t make sense – it felt as if I would be throwing money away to pay off somebody else’s mortgage. I looked into buying but it seemed like a pipe-dream. I thought it would be years before I could afford the deposit for even the smallest flat.”
After months of searching for a home, Hannah had all but resigned to the fact that she would have to bite the bullet and rent. She was weighing up renting as an individual versus renting with mates when a friend asked if she had looked into shared ownership.
“I had never heard of shared ownership to be honest, and at first I thought they were suggesting I go halves on buying a house with a friend, which sounded way too risky. But once she started explaining what shared ownership actually was, I began to get excited about what it could mean for me.”
Hannah got in touch with Cerris Homes and asked if they could expand on the limited knowledge she had on the subject.
“I only went in to talk to somebody and ensure I understood it properly, but by the time I left I had already arranged a viewing and had my heart set on buying a home. It was a no-brainer for me. You are only purchasing part of the property, so you need a much smaller mortgage deposit than you ordinarily would, and the monthly payments work out cheaper than renting.”
Before she knew it, Hannah had found the perfect home and was packing her belongings up in boxes to move in.
“I couldn’t believe my luck. Here I was, at 19 years old, and I was moving into my own house. The process was so straightforward and easy that the time had flown by. It wasn’t complicated in the slightest and I had one point of contact throughout, who kept me updated the whole time. I didn’t feel stressed or worried, because they always put me at ease with any questions or concerns I raised.”
So, what was Hannah’s new home like…
“Amazing! It’s a two-bed end-terrace house with a decent garden and it was brand new. A blank canvas ready for me to put my stamp on it. Even in its unfurnished state, it was nicer than the houses and flats my friends were paying through the nose to rent! They had to put up with dated wallpaper and patchy carpets, but I was free to decorate and furnish to my heart’s content. I was over the moon… and no doubt insufferable to be around for a good few months – it was all I talked about!”
Now 22 years old, Hannah is well and truly settled into her home. She has even been giving advice to some of her friends and colleagues who are also looking to get on the property ladder.
“I’ve recommended shared ownership to a couple of friends, and one of them is actually in talks with Cerris Homes at the moment. I’d advise anyone thinking of moving out to look at all the options available. Don’t assume you have to rent because it’s what everyone else is doing – you can get on the housing ladder with a really small deposit and it means you will own the property so it will benefit you in the long run.”
Hannah is currently very content with her living situation, but she does have bigger plans for the future.
“I own 50% of the house at the moment. I’m looking to staircase eventually, which means that I’ll own a larger share of the property. I can remortgage to cover this. In a shared ownership property your payments are split between mortgage and rent, so obviously as I start to own more and more of the home, I pay less and less rent. One thing that really impressed me was the ongoing support from Cerris Homes – it doesn’t end when they hand over your keys. They have recently given me advice on how staircasing works, so it’s something I feel I could easily arrange and I’ll be looking into it soon.”