Real People, Real Lives

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  • 30 Sep 2020

Nicole Seabrook is just one of our new shared owners to move into the recently completed Willow Grove development in Bedfordshire.

The development consists of a number of new homes, most of which are for private sale.

Nicole, who moved from a two bed, privately rented flat, moved in on 5 June. She has purchased one of our three bedroom houses.

Nicole isn’t a first time buyer but, having come from private rented accommodation, she doubted she would be in a position to own her own home again until retirement.

Nicole is delighted with her new home. She likes the balance of the small and large homes on the estate, some of which are apartments. She also likes that you can’t really differentiate between shared ownership and private homes, and that the development is set out really well and is spacious in comparison to other developments she viewed.

Nicole also loves the backdrop. She loves her trees and hillside views and, having been confined to a flat during lockdown without a garden, she feels very fortunate to have found what she feels is such a lovely home. She is very grateful to Homemade for the opportunity to own her own home again.

Nicole sadly lost her father in January 2020. One of the things she finds most comforting is the thought that he would have loved her new home and been very proud of her. Her mum told her his fear for his daughter was that she would spend the rest of her life trapped in private renting.

“I’m 57” Nicole tells us “I couldn’t see how I would get onto the housing ladder again after my divorce six years ago. I really thought I would have to live in rented accommodation for the remainder of my working life, relying on my private pension to get me out of the rental trap.  Then a friend mentioned shared ownership. I had never thought of this option as I previously owned my own home but sadly lost it following my divorce. I instantly looked into it and found the new development at Willow Grove advertised online. After reviewing my long-term finances, I took out a 10 year mortgage and purchased a 40% share. It is costing me a couple of hundred pounds more a month but that’s because I only have a 10 year mortgage but it is worth every penny so I can have a home I can call my own. My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are now able to spend time with me in the garden which is the best thing ever. I keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real!  After six years in rented accommodation I now have a lovely home, a garden and I can enjoy things again that I haven’t been able to do.”

I will definitely be telling everyone I know about home ownership, I don’t think many people really know about it.”

Nicole tells us this has given her a second chance in life. “It’s fantastic for someone of my age and situation. My home is perfect and it’s my home for life, nobody can take this home away from me, I feel so safe and secure now. I won’t be leaving it unless I’m in a coffin.  Anyone who lives in shared ownership needs to put the word out there for others, people could be owning part of a lovely home. There is an alternative to private renting.”

 “I can’t thank you enough, you’ve turned my life around, and I’ll definitely be telling everyone I know about shared ownership.”