Maintenance-Free Homeownership For Frances And Josh

Posted 27 October 2020 by Keith Osborne

A brand new Shared Ownership home at L&Q's Churchfield Quarter in Acton was perfect for a young first-time buyer couple...

While as renters they enjoyed life in an apartment in a converted Victorian mansion in West Hampstead, Frances and Josh realised that as homeowners, something brand new and without the regular need for maintenance was much more up their street.

Josh explained: “We loved our flat and it had so much character, but there were always so many odd jobs that the landlord had to do. As first-time buyers, we didn’t want to worry about leaks and old piping. We wanted an easy move into a home that was newly finished.”

Frances and Josh first viewed the apartment at L&Q’s Churchfield Quarter on bustling Acton High Street late in 2019, and the couple were immediately drawn to the village feel of the surrounding area.

Frances commented: “We had been looking at Shared Ownership, but the majority of apartments that were coming up were in east London or further out than we wanted to be. We had viewed another L&Q development, and after chatting to the sales team they helpfully suggested we looked at Churchfield Quarter as well.

“It’s very low-rise here compared to a lot of parts of west London which we really liked, and (in normal circumstances!) we can both get to work very easily – Josh can walk to Chiswick, while I just get the Overground from Acton Central. Having the The Oaks Shopping Centre so close is really convenient, too.”

Buying a 35% share of a one-bedroom apartment and moving in this April, the extensive terrace made this home stand out against all others they’d viewed.

Josh explains; “It was definitely the key selling point for us – our terrace is huge and looks onto the communal garden, which is on a podium and away from the main road, so the access we have to private outdoor space is fantastic.

“Moving during lockdown was a little worrying at first, but L&Q were great and kept us really updated with what was happening, so as soon as we were given the green light we couldn’t wait. It meant that we had so much time at home to really settle in, and being able to sit outside during the fantastic weather was amazing – we just didn’t have access to anything like this in our rental.”

With homeownership on their minds for a number of years and growing frustrated with the amount they were spending on rent each month, the couple had previously moved in with Josh’s mum to try and save for a deposit. But after discovering Shared Ownership, they knew the part-buy part-rent scheme was right for them.

Frances continued: “As first-time buyers in London, it’s the only way we could’ve bought. We were saving such a small amount each month, so getting enough for a full deposit would’ve taken years and years.

“We were the first to move into our building and there’s been a few others since then, including our direct neighbours who we get along well with. All the residents now have a Whatsapp group together – it feels so different to renting!

Shared Ownership made perfect sense to us – we could make the most out of the cash we had, and our monthly payments now go partly towards our mortgage, which we view as big savings pot.

“It’s been a great investment.”

Frances and Josh’s essential numbers:

  • Share purchased – 35% for £140,875 (full market value £402,500)
  • Deposit paid – £7,044 (5% of £140,875)
  • Monthly rent – £545
  • Monthly mortgage – £623
  • Monthly bills – £226
  • Service Charge – £250

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