How shared ownership could be a great alternative to renting

Fabiola Mendes

Fabiola Mendes went down the shared ownership route with her partner (Picture: Supplied)

Shared ownership has given this pharmacy technician a new start in a spacious home.

After 12 years living in Clapham, Fabiola Mendes had had enough of renting and, together with her partner Marcos, was determined to make a fresh start. ‘The place was falling apart. The landlord didn’t want to fix anything – but didn’t want us to fix it either,’ says Fabiola, 42, who works as a hospital pharmacy technician.

‘In the middle of last winter we were stuck with no heating or hot water for a whole week and realised that we couldn’t put up with it anymore. I wanted to find an affordable place to live with good transport connections into central London.’

The couple looked into their options and quickly discovered that shared ownership provided a realistic alternative to renting.

‘It was impossible for us to buy without shared ownership – we didn’t earn enough to get a mortgage that size and we couldn’t save up that kind of deposit,’ explains Fabiola. To qualify for shared ownership, household income must be no more than £90,000 (£80,000 outside London).

This scheme enables people who are unable to buy outright to purchase a share in a property while paying rent on the rest. Deposits are usually five or 10 per cent of the share purchased, so far lower than standard.

Fabiola and Marcos started looking for suitable developments in their local neighbourhood but widened their search when they couldn’t find anything suitable. Although Ealing wasn’t initially on their radar, when they spotted SO Resi Ealing in West Ealing they decided to booking a viewing.

‘When we saw what a great area it was, with lots of shopping and public transport, we made a decision to buy there straight away,’ says Fabiola. ‘Everything we need is within walking distance. We had gone along to look at a one-bedroom apartment, which was all we thought we could afford, but an incentive running at the time boosted our deposit so we were able to buy a larger one.’

Their £14,000 deposit was topped up by a further £7,000, enabling them to buy a 25 per cent share in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom fourth floor home. This means that their son Caua, a university student, has his own room when he comes back during the holidays.

There are other things she loves about her new home, too.

‘Our balcony is massive – you could fit a sofa on there – and there’s a rooftop garden. But the best thing about it is the silence. You can’t hear the neighbours at all, even if they are playing music. It is so lovely and quiet here.’

Do the maths

(for a two-bed flat)

Full market price: £545,000

25% share: £136,250

Minimum 5% deposit: £6,813

Mortgage: Approx 738pcm

Rent: £511pcm

Service charge: £147pcm

Monthly spend: Approx £1,396

MORE : How shared ownership could get you on the property ladder with a small deposit

MORE : What to expect when buying a property: Make sure to do your homework

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