The story of how a young family bought their first family home through HomeBuy Direct, moving from Muswell Hill to a new family home in east London.
Noel and Nevena Upjohn had been living in their rented accommodation for years, paying rent for a two bedroom flat in Muswell Hill, north London. Like most young families, the Upjohns had hopes of getting on to the property ladder and getting settled - within the last six years they had moved a number of times and with the arrival of their daughter Alexa, their desire to buy their own home had become stronger than ever.
“Over the last six years we’ve rented, stayed with friends and done flat shares. We really wanted our own place.”
Friends told Nevena about Homebuy Direct (HBD), which prompted her to research her options further with her local authority and by using www.housingoptions.co.uk, part of the HomeBuy Agency service delivered by Metropolitan Home Ownership (MHO) in East, North and West London, which helps priced out Londoners find affordable homes to own and rent.
For Nevena, the availability and possibility of getting help to buy a suitable home that her young family could afford seemed too good to be true:
“I didn’t know about HomeBuy Direct, I was told about it by friends, then I did a lot of research on the various products and on which one was right for us.”
As soon as Noel and Nevena got the ball rolling on buying their first home, things happened quickly. From reserving their new home in late November 2010 to exchanging contracts in February 2010, Nevena explains:
“The MHO staff we really good. They moved things through really fast. We had a really good mortgage deal which was about to expire; MHO did all the paper work needed to help us buy our new home within ten days!”
The Upjohns had found a new, three bedroom home in Persimmon's Evolution development Dagenham, Essex and completed their move on the 24th of June.
HomeBuy Direct offers people who can’t afford to buy a home of their own outright the opportunity to buy a new home affordably through a shared equity arrangement. The home buyer raises a mortgage for 70% or more of the full market value of the home, with the government and developer contributing an equity loan for the remainder, the equity loan is free for the first five years.
MHO supports developers who provide HomeBuy Direct by managing the customer journey in relation to the publicly funded element of the offer – from raising awareness of the scheme to initial customer application and eligibility assessment to after-sales services.
Through HomeBuy Direct, the Upjohn's bought a £230,000 home with a contribution of £68,500 (representing just less than 30% of equity assistance). Nevena was pleased with the good value offered by the scheme:
“The property was valued at £250k, but when the bank valued it they said it was £230k; naturally we were delighted, plus there was no stamp duty to pay, which was an added bonus. Right now our mortgage is £920 per month which is only £120 more a month than we paid when rented. In the grand scheme of things, an extra £120 for your own place, an extra room, garage and garden makes it seem minimal.”
Extra space for a minimal extra outlay wasn’t the only reason that the family swapped Muswell Hill for East London, as Nevena explains.
“Part of the reason we chose Dagenham was a mix of availability and choice. There were only a few schemes we liked and Persimmon's Evolution development has a tube station nearby.”
Although still settling in, the Upjohns are happy in their new home, and are proud owners.
“It does feel good to finally have our own property; like we’ve ticked one of those boxes of life achievements. Our home is ours; we have a garage and a garden, and our daughter has her own space to play in. We’ve been here for two months and it’s been great. For me, part of the joy of having our own place is to not have to worry about moving again. We’ve moved four to five times now and when you have a child it can be difficult.”
Nevena also has some words of wisdom to pass on to anyone considering buying a home through a government-backed HomeBuy option:
“I would say that HomeBuy is a really good means for first-time buyers to get on the ladder. However, I would say that anyone choosing the schemes needs to push and keep on the ball – it doesn’t happen by itself. However, I’d whole-heartedly recommend HomeBuy to any first-time buyers. There are lots of products to suit people’s needs and future plans. For us, the one we chose made sense as we see this place as our home and don’t plan to move anytime in the near future.”