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Strictly come staircasing

Strictly come staircasing

Nancy Rowe, Case study, staircasing Nancy Rowe, case study, staircasing

Nancy Rowe realised her dream of owning a greater share in her Metropolitan Shared Ownership home, through sheer determination and a savvy savings strategy that allowed her to switch her rent to mortgage ratio by staircasing.

Staircasing enables home owners who bought through Shared Ownership to increase the amount the amount of equity they own in their home. The greater the share you own in your home, the less rent you pay. If you Staircase to 100% ownership you become the outright owner of your home with no rent obligations.

Nancy recently completed the staircasing process to increase the share she owns in her property from 25% to 65%. As a result she now pays around £300 on rent and £700 on her mortgage. A self-professed Strictly Come Dancing junkie, Nancy works as Assistant Vice President in the Advertising Brand and Creative Team in Barclays UK. Her job and start on the property ladder almost began at the same time. I put it to her that it was a completely new chapter in her life, “It was!", she beams, “Despite having just started working for a bank, I had little knowledge of the property market and realised I needed to educate myself.” 

What made her decide to staircase? “I heard that the rent was going up by £20 a month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you think about it on a yearly basis it really adds up.” Nancy bought her plush, one-bedroom apartment, in the central London location of Waterloo – a mere stone’s throw from the London Eye, through Shared Ownership.
The full value of the apartment at the time was £280,000 and she bought a 25% share to take her first step into home ownership.  “Luckily I had put quite a bit away in savings from when I started working in my teens. I managed to put down a 14K deposit which worked out at 20% on the share.” She adds, “Anyone who moves to London soon realises it's very expensive and you have to be fairly street-smart about savings. I’ve just spent the whole week eagerly trying to find the cheapest internet provider.”  Curiosity begs the question of what she ended up paying. Shrugging she says, “I got it for free in the end, but I still have to pay a line rental.”

This scrupulous dedication to saving helped her reduce her mortgage. “Well, it used to be that there were certain rules on how much extra you could pay back into your mortgage. But these changed and you were suddenly allowed to put up to an extra £7000 in, at the end of the year. I thought, this is great, and put everything I could in there to get my mortgage down.” The reduction in her mortgage payments opened the doorway to buying a greater share in her property through staircasing. When asked if she intends to staircase fully to own the property outright, Nancy immediately responds, “Yes! But I might have to give it a bit of time!”

How did Nancy find out about Shared Ownership? “I knew about it through my brother, who bought a Shared Ownership property in Essex. When I finished University, I found myself commuting an hour and half to get into London. Also, after living independently during that time, I found it really difficult to re-adapt to living at home with my parents. I knew that when I moved to London, I would have to own my own place.” Nancy studied English Literature at Cambridge. “Wow!”, is my stereotypical response when she tells me where she studied.

Nancy decided that, with the astronomical house prices in London, Shared Ownership was the most viable way forward. “When I found my apartment, I was third on the list. I never thought I would get it. But in London, things change suddenly, I got the call to say ‘Am I still interested’, and of course I was!”

In her spare time, one of Nancy’s passions is dancing. “I’ve been dancing since the age of four. I recently found a studio under the arches at Waterloo. I popped in for a session and found myself confronted with all these extremely cool people, doing amazing dance moves in trendy leather jackets. I felt a bit out of place at first but got into it. Later I texted my friend, to tell him where I was, and he responded, ‘You do know that’s one of London’s top professional dance studios?’ I decided I needed to up my game, not just in the dance stakes but in the wardrobe factor!” Nancy is going back this Sunday - to see if she can improve on last week's performance!

Joining me in the interview with Nancy is Laura Rose, After Sales Manager for Metropolitan. She runs the department that, among other things, handles staircasing of Shared Ownership properties. “Meeting Nancy has been great! You work most of your time in the office, so, to actually meet a lovely person that you’ve helped realise their dream of owning more of their property is just amazing.” How did Nancy find the staircasing process through Metropolitan? “It’s been really smooth sailing. It took just under two months. Laura has personally responded to every question and request I’ve had, and the whole process encourages me to do it again. Of course, Laura doesn’t know I’m going to be bombarding her with hundreds of emails in the near future!”
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