Joseph Au and Roxanne Macherzynska have very busy careers, so they were keen to find a convenient base in London that would suit their hectic schedules. Although Joe had saved up a large deposit, it still wasn’t enough to buy a property on the open market but, after discovering shared ownership, they found the home of their dreams.
Joe, 33, is a automation engineer and has a very busy job flying all over the world, and Roxanne, 28, is a visual merchandiser and her job is very demanding – so living in London was a definite must for them.
Joe managed to save up a large deposit, but it still wasn’t enough to buy an apartment in central London on the open market. He wanted to invest his savings in something safe, and not keep paying rent to a landlord.
Joe said, “Roxanne and I soon realised that shared ownership was the only way forward if we wanted to stay in central London. We registered on the Share to Buy website, then took our time looking at different developments provided by different Housing Associations. After a while, it became apparent that L&Q were coming out really well as regards build quality and maintenance of their new developments. We found Bourne Place on the L&Q website and went to have a look.
“We really liked the space in the apartments and put our reservation fee down. Although I work in Brent, we were in private rented accommodation, so this put us a little lower down the list of criteria that L&Q use to allocate their shared ownership apartments – which was a bit of a nail-biting time. In the end, someone pulled out of a purchase and we were offered this apartment. We bought a 30% share for £87,000 with a full market value of £290,000. We were keen to live in a newbuild apartment, after renting various old run down places, and, once we were told that we could go ahead with the purchase, everything moved at a rapid pace.
“L&Q arranged an interview with an independent financial adviser; this is quite an in-depth meeting and is very useful as it covers all areas of expenditure in your life. When you come out, you really know what you can afford to pay for your mortgage, rent and service charge. The adviser also gave us the name of a good solicitor to handle the legal work.”
They moved, six weeks after putting down their reservation fee, on a lovely summer’s day, and then went to the nearby park to celebrate.
Joe added, “Roxanne was a bit dubious about moving from her beloved Kentish Town to this area, but it has worked out really well. There are loads of great shops and restaurants nearby and they are much cheaper than in the Kentish Town/Camden area, which is where we used to go. You can get buses to anywhere from just down the road and Queens Park, Kilburn Park, and Maida Vale stations are within easy reach as well.
“Roxanne can get to central London easily for work and I can cycle to the office – when I’m not getting on a plane at Heathrow! Neither of us owns a car, as it would just sit there rusting from lack of use. What attracted us about the apartment were the decent-sized rooms and the light from the big windows. We actually managed to fit a king-size bed in our bedroom as it is a proper size, rather than a matchbox like some that we viewed. Even the balcony has extra glazing that keeps it dry and warm in winter and can be folded back when the weather gets warmer. It means we can store our bikes in a safe, dry place. We have under-floor heating and a heat exchange system as well, which is very efficient and should keep our utility bills down.
“What is even better, is that we are paying the same for our mortgage, rent and service charge as we were for renting our slightly dilapidated flat. It works out at about £1000 a month for everything, excluding energy bills which is perfectly affordable.
“Every time I get off a plane, I don’t have to worry that there will be letter waiting for me from the landlord, asking us to leave because they want to sell the flat. It is really good having the security of a place of our own in a nice area – thanks L&Q!”