We’ve lived in our first family home for around 6 months now and believe it or not, Jax has moved 4 times in his short life, so you could say he’s a pro at taking in new surroundings.
We were living with my mum and I was aimlessly scrolling through the Help To Buy Website. when I saw a glimpse of a new build house round the corner from my mums that just stopped me in my tracks. I randomly submitted my details on the website and to be quite honest, I really didn’t think anything would come from it; a few days later I got a phone call.
I was actually told that the house I was enquiring about was under offer and that the website should have reflected that, the lady I spoke to said she was sorry and although I was gutted it was already gone, I wasn’t surprised though as I knew getting on the property ladder was a vicious game, especially for first time buyers like myself who actually didn’t have the first idea on buying a house.
Around 20 minutes later, my phone rang again. “Hi Jodie, the buyers have actually just dropped out, are you interested in coming to have a look at the property?” I think my heart skipped a beat. I booked us in to go and have a viewing and the rest, they say, is history… or not quite.
We started the ball rolling with the application for our Shared Ownership home pretty much straight away, we had savings, and had to prove it, we’d never been home owners, and had to prove that too. The application is actually quite straight forward, there are credit checks involved, and also a financial assessment to see what percentage you’d be able to afford. Another thing to consider is that your household must earn £80,000 a year or less outside London, or £90,000 a year or less inside of London. You can find more info about the criteria for Shared Ownership here.
One thing that I quickly realised with the Shared Ownership scheme, is that you do normally need savings, the website listed what
our minimum deposit required would be, but if you have more than that, you can opt for a larger deposit which in turn will reduce the amount you borrow for your mortgage.
A massive deal that made our process A LOT easier was using a mortgage broker. We used my cousin’s husband, Aston Carter, who was working for Charles Derby Mortgage Bureau at the time. He has since gone self-employed as a Broker, and I cant recommend him enough. As a mortgage broker, he can see the whole market of lenders available to you, (which is something that banks or building societies can’t see when offering you options). We pretty much discussed everything with Aston via email and whatsapp; he made the whole process so easy for us, and explained everything we didn’t quite understand.
So while I was adding fluffy cushions and candles to my IKEA basket, in the background, the Shared Ownership Team were liaising with Aston (and ourselves), to agree the shared ownership percentage, along with getting our mortgage application submitted. We decided to take our mortgage out with Santander, and we managed to secure a 50% share of our property, although 25% and 75% options were available.
Once our mortgage application was submitted, it took a couple of days for the good news to reach me… it was complete. There was various boring surveys, snagging lists, and solicitors to pay after that but eventually we moved into our first home in March 2019.
Looking back I still can’t actually believe we have our own home. I never thought we’d be able to afford it in today’s climate. I think Shared Ownership is a brilliant option for young families, who are first time buyers and I’d definitely tell anyone who wants to make that step, to look into your eligibility and make the move. I’m in no way shape or form a professional at buying houses, but nevertheless I’ve noted down some of my top bits of advice that I’ve taken from our experience.
For me, mortgage deals are a complete minefield. There is SO much to consider and if you’ve never done any of it before, the fees, term lengths and rates are a lot to get your head around.
Broker’s help by explaining what you will be paying monthly, depending on what suits you. They will also be able to show you the best interest rates at that time and as they have their ears to the ground and also keep track of how things are moving market wise.
If you're interested, you can find our mortgage broker Aston Carter's details here, of if you'd like to contact him directly, Aston's number is 07397 195 068.
Once you've saved for your deposit payment and budgeted for monthly mortgage payments, its easy to forget about the actual MOVING cost.
This includes moving van hire, the cost of boxes, and for us, (who were using a self-storage unit for our belongings while living with parents) we had to pay an admin charge to close down our unit once we’d moved our belongings out and into our new home.
If possible try to set aside an emergency bit of money for the moving day, even if you end up using it for a takeaway once you’re all moved in and have no food in the house, or of course you could use it for a cheeky bottle of prosecco to celebrate!
Try to relax
Easier said than done but this is the most important time of your life, and probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Try to keep a clear head and an open mind about the whole process.
For example I had no preference who I wanted a mortgage with, but my partner loved the idea of Natwest. Its easy to argue or stress out about a variety of different things, even down to the positioning of furniture once you’ve moved in, chuck into the mix a toddler running around demanding all of your attention, you can see how easily you could blow a fuse.
It’s a huge step for your family, and a really exciting time, try to relax and embrace the new start/chaos.