When they decided to move in together after just a few months as a couple, Charles Barker and Hannah Pennell looked at only one home before making an offer.
Clearly a couple who make their minds up quickly, Charles and Hannah were not only looking for an affordable home that provided enough space for them and Hannah’s daughter Layla, but a scheme that offered ease and clarity throughout the process. They found the Foresta development in Horley, Surrey, on Thames Valley Housing’s website and, after checking out the location, they registered their interest in buying a Shared Ownership home.
“We chose our home the first time we drove past the development, when it was still a construction site. The house is semi-detached and has a south-facing garden which we really like. We had our heart set on it from the beginning,” says Charles. “After an initial interview to make sure we fit the criteria for Shared Ownership, the process progressed very naturally and easily from there.”
Charles and Hannah bought a 50% share of the two-bedroom house through the scheme at just over £160,000. They paid a 15% deposit of just over £24,000, and their monthly mortgage payments are about £450, and rent payments approximately £370. The couple received some money as a gift from family to help with costs, and Charles had been able to save money by living at home with his family in Redhill while Hannah and Layla lived in a rented flat in nearby Horley.
“The customer service team at Thames Valley Housing were brilliant. They put us at ease and were very helpful throughout the whole process, from the first meeting to the moment we were handed the keys. We were really happy with how they dealt with everything. It was smooth sailing from start to finish!” said Charles. “Moving into a brand new house, we expected a few hiccups as the dust settled, but haven’t experienced any issues at all.”
Despite their speedy decision making, choosing the right home was very important for the couple.
“We needed a home in the right location with the right level of space for the three of us,” continues Charles. “Layla loves her new home, especially the garden which she and Hannah didn’t have in their previous flat. The development is a quiet and safe cul-de-sac, and Layla can ride her bike with the other children and enjoy being outdoors.”
Charles has also experienced a positive lifestyle change. “My lifestyle has definitely changed, having moved from the family home to one I partly own. I feel more independent, freer and very settled,” he says.
Foresta is now all sold, however, Thames Valley Housing offers Shared Ownership on a selection of homes across London and the South East. For more information please visit www.tvhsales.co.uk or call 0208 607 0550.