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What I Own: Lauren, who bought her £290,000 Bedfordshire house through shared ownership


Lauren’s humble abode in Sandy (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

For this week’s What I Own, we speak to Lauren, who ventured down the shared ownership avenue with her property.

Lauren lives in Bedfordshire with her boyfriend and two adorable dogs, Teddy and Reg. 

She also runs an Instagram account, @mulberryreachhome, where she regularly speaks about her shared ownership journey. 

This is what Lauren had to say about her home-buying experience…

Tell us about yourself

My name is Lauren, I am a 28-year-old social media manager, based in Bedfordshire but working in central London.

The couple live with their two dogs (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

What do you think of the area?

My property is located in Potton, Sandy. I personally love it. It’s a quiet, small town and everyone on our development is lovely. Makes a change from living in London.

When did you move in?

I moved during the pandemic, just as we were coming out of lockdown. I got the keys in July 2020.

Hey handsome (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

How much does your property cost?

Full price, my property costs £290,000. I chose to go down the shared ownership route so I own 40% of this property, which makes my share worth £116,000.

How much was your deposit?

My deposit was 5% of my share, so £5,800.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

With shared ownership, you have a mortgage on your share and pay rent on the rest. So the total cost of living here is around £800 for mortgage, rent and service charge. Bills are around £350 per month which includes council tax, gas, electricity, water and internet.

How did you save up for your deposit?

I had been building savings for the holidays I had upcoming but, due to the pandemic, three of the holidays got cancelled so I also used that money.

Lovely hallway features (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

The process for me feels easy now as I had the most incredible broker, but when I look back extremely stressful.

I purchased on my own, so it was my responsibility due to my salary if it didn’t go through. I think it’s also the questions that you get asked – it feels like an inquisition.

How did you find the shared ownership route? And what did you take away from it?

My mum mentioned it to me a few years back as I had never heard of it before. As a result, almost two years ago I had reserved a flat on the scheme in central London but decided against it as I ultimately wanted to find a house instead of a flat.

I then took a few months doing some more research and speaking to people to get an understanding of where I stood with my current salary. I realised that I would have had to be saving for a lot longer or stop doing a job I love (and also probably not throwing money at London rent) in order to either use Help To Buy or buy outright due to the house prices.

I decided it would be the best route for me to get on the ladder and to build some equity.

Where did you live before this?

I was renting a room in a three-bedroom top floor flat in Muswell Hill, living with two friends.

Just before the first lockdown, I moved in with my boyfriend in Welwyn Garden City as I didn’t want to be locked down without a garden but continued to pay rent on my flat until September 2020.

A pretty windowsill (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

What made you want to buy rather than renting?

I was looking for a while but knew a London property was out of my range due to me buying solo and how extremely expensive London house prices are.

The pandemic really encouraged me to look outside due to working from home and how that would potentially look post-Covid. Now I am around 35 minutes on the train to Kings Cross.

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

My partner was driving home from work one day and called me to tell me to look in this area as it was one I had not considered before. I saw it on the Share To Buy website and absolutely fell in love.

It was the perfect size for me, I loved that it was a small development – I saw they were doing a viewing day on the Friday and I was the first to come and look. I didn’t even pull out of the drive before sending my reservation request.

How have you made the property feel like home?

I just recently started painting to move away from the white new build walls that can often feel a bit cold. Adding photos of my family and lots and lots of blankets helps to create a cosy vibe.

Some travel prints (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

For now, I do. It’s only a two-bed but I don’t need that much room (yet), although with two dogs – it can sometimes feel a bit crowded in here.

Do you have plans to change the property?

Not really anything big other than a bit more painting and changing up some of the decor.

I love the layout, as we are open plan it feels super open. I guess next is doing up the garden so when I can have visitors they have somewhere nice to sit and (hopefully) enjoy the sunshine.

A sweet little nook (Picture: Lauren Rooney)

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

Typical new build stuff really. I didn’t have hot water when I moved in, so had to have someone come and sort the pipes out, cracking up the staircase and around other areas. I am coming up to my one year snagging, so I am hoping this will be addressed when I get to that point.

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

To look at other options and to not always dismiss a scheme because someone has told you “it’s a bad scheme.”

I personally feel like everyone’s situation is so different so I would encourage you to do your research and find out what works best for you. Also to trust the process, people aren’t wrong when they say it’s the most stressful thing you’ll ever go through but it will be so worth it in the end.

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?

I think the plan would be to stay here three to five years, hopefully build up some equity (and savings) and then use that money to buy a bigger home with my boyfriend.

Shall we take a look around?

A great place to relax (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
The sleek kitchen (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
Swanky appliances (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
The dining spot (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
A lovely bathroom (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
More prints around the house (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
The master suite (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
The second bedroom (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
Even fits a bike (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
A pop of colour (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
Very fresh (Picture: Lauren Rooney)
Practical lawn and patio (Picture: Lauren Rooney)



How to get involved in What I Own:

What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email lizzie.thomson@metro.co.uk. You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important. 

If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email whatirent@metro.co.uk.


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