How shared ownership helped one married couple buy a home

In Market Harborough, a market town nestled within the Harborough district of Leicestershire, lies a stunning development of new-build affordable homes.

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Various interruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, meant the development’s new and excited residents Kieran and Abbie Shields-Merry were not able to move in until August 2020.

With people all across the country spending more time home, having your own space has never felt more important. This, along with the couple’s desire to have their foot on the property ladder is what attracted the pair to explore shared ownership options.

Before moving into their two-bedroom semi-detached house the couple lived with Abbie’s parents. Doing this enabled them to save for their wedding and one year on from getting married, secure the deposit they needed to buy their first home.

Having never bought a home before, the two were keen to settle and put down roots as soon as possible. Before considering shared ownership, Kieran and Abbie had discussed saving for a mortgage through the Help to Buy scheme but they quickly realised that this would mean spending longer to save a deposit.

After talking it through with their close friends they agreed that shared ownership would be a good option for them as it would allow them to save a deposit much quicker and wouldn’t need to compromise on the type of house they wanted.

“We thought the process for buying a home through shared ownership would be extremely complicated,” said Abbie.

“However, we couldn’t have been more wrong and it was down to one of our friends buying a shared ownership property, with Stonewater too and them explaining how easy it was that really sold it to us. We also spoke with Stonewater who were incredibly helpful throughout the whole process.”

Location was a key element for the couple to enable Kieran, who works for the Civil Service to easily commute. The size and space within the property was also another important factor as the couple spend much of their time working from home.

“Market Harborough is such a beautiful area and when we saw this new development just a ten minute drive from the main train station, we knew it was the perfect home for us,” continued Abbie.

“Our only worry was that despite it being in an ideal location, we were living in Braunstone at the time and figured that with no local connection it wouldn’t be viable.

“Then the pandemic happened and I honestly thought we were never going to be able to move in. I’m so glad we didn’t give up hope!”

Although the couple began their house buying process before COVID-19, having completed just weeks after the lockdown restrictions were lifted, the experience has made both Abbie and Kieran appreciate the opportunity given to them by shared ownership during this difficult time.

Kieran especially remembers the sense of relief he felt the day they were able to collect their keys. He said, “knowing we were secure and moving into our own home, especially with everything that is going on at the moment just allowed me to relax.

“We’ve been really fortunate with our living situation and whilst we did a lot of research on shared ownership, having someone we know go through the experience who was able to explain how the process and the advantages of shared ownership was invaluable.”

“I’d encourage anyone in the position to buy a home through shared ownership to seize the opportunity; for us it’s allowed us to feel safe and call ourselves homeowners sooner than planned. We couldn’t be happier with our first home and because it is affordable, we have the option to either save and purchase more shares or save for a bigger deposit for our next home.”