Welcome back to What I Own – Metro.co.uk’s weekly homeowner series which takes you inside the properties people have bought.
This week we are chatting to Ross, from Northamptonshire, who is a relatively new homeowner – completing last year.
He talks to us about mortgages, shared ownership, decorating and more.
This is what he had to say about getting on the property ladder.
Tell us about yourself Ross.
I’m 31 years old and I am a secondary school teacher, working in Peterborough. My friends and family mean the world to me, so it was essential to get on the property ladder as soon as possible for me, so that I had the space to entertain.
Where is your property?
My house is in Oundle, a small market town about 15 miles from Peterborough, and the same distance going the other way to Corby in Northamptonshire. I have lived in and around Oundle practically my whole life – this little town is so special as it has some fantastic restaurants, pubs and very friendly locals.
You know you’re in the countryside when you complain about a red kite making as much noise as your neighbour.
When did you move in?
I was able to get moved in during the end of the first lockdown – May 2020 is when I collected the keys.
How much does your property cost?
My property was on the market for a total of £210,000, but the property was purchased as a shared ownership agreement with Cross Keys Homes. The mortgage amount was £126,000, as a 60% stake in the property.
How much was your deposit?
The deposit was £12,600, meaning that the mortgage amount for me is £113,400.
What is the monthly cost of living here now – both mortgage and bills?
My mortgage costs are £522 each month, and I have to pay rent charges to Cross Keys Homes which is £250 per month. On top of this, the utilities cost around £100 each month (gas, electric, water, Sky and internet).
How did you save up for your deposit?
I was in a very fortunate position to have such wonderful, supportive parents who were able to gift me the deposit. I took care of the legal costs and paid the solicitor’s bill. The process was quite quick – I placed my offer on January 2 and I moved in on May 29.
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you?
I was researching mortgages in principle through the larger high street banks, but unfortunately the offerings were just too low for the mortgage that this house needed. I decided to go through a broker, and Metro Finance found me the deal I was able to sign with my mortgage provider.
Their costs were £399, which did seem steep to me, but in the end they were able to negotiate a deal on my behalf so that I could purchase my house.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
I had done practically everything – university halls, living with parents, house sharing and even lived in a cramped studio flat in Auckland, New Zealand. I would say that a goal was to always get on the property ladder, and I only rented when I had to.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
I was very eager to get on the property ladder, like I said. For my situation, I don’t think that renting a house of the current size I am in, in this location, would have been much cheaper. I like the fact that also my credit score is more secure, through paying off a mortgage each month.
How did you find this property?
I had gone through Rightmove and it was listed on Christmas Eve. We got to view it on January 2 and, despite the freezing cold, I fell in love with it. I knew that I wanted to settle in Oundle, as my family had done previously.
The house is very quiet, with views over trees and forests which are protected, meaning they will never be built over. Being in the middle of a row of three houses is great also, as this means you can steal the heat from next door during winter – the house is very warm.
How have you made the property feel like home?
I have filled it with people. I love having visitors round, and we share many a bottle of wine or fizz on the sofa. Other than that, I am a huge addict to reed diffusers and candles – it’s expensive to make sure that your house is always smelling nice.
What’s the inspiration for your interior decor style?
I knew this question was going to be asked. Funnily enough, I asked my family how they’d describe it, and they all laughed in my face and didn’t answer!
I was very fortunate in that many friends of ours were throwing out old furniture as everyone tackled house renovations to pass the time during lockdown one.
Despite the variety of sources of furniture from family and friends alike (and only two pieces from IKEA), I hope you’ll agree that it all seems to match fairly well.
What’s your favourite room and why?
The living room, definitely. It’s where the alcohol cabinet is, as well as the sound system and TV. I like the colours in here, and feel the teal goes well with black. It’s where I spend the majority of the time – I’m not the best cook and I’m in and out the kitchen as quick as I can.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
For me, yes. As one person, it feels like there is space to spare. I’ve managed to get 10 comfortably around the living room coffee table, so it can be done.
Do you have plans to change the property?
I’d really like to get the garden sorted with some flower beds and trees put in. I did spend money on a nice garden sofa which I enjoy sitting on in the warmer weather, but the garden is just lawn at the moment.
Other than that, I’d like to get a new dining table to go at the back of the living room.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
No – none. It’s been very easy this first year living here. The roof is still on and it’s in a tidy condition. I’d say the thing that has stressed me the most is trying to get rid of the weeds in the garden.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
There is so much information out there, and people are more than happy to support you. I found there is quite a lot of confusing mortgage-related terms.
When speaking to the mortgage provider, solicitor or broker, (if you use one) ask as many questions as you wish. I’m sure I’ve asked many stupid questions while going through the process. And don’t sign until you’re sure you understand what you are signing for.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing?
I am very happy here, as it has only been one year. Yes, I am in no hurry to move again as I feel I have all the space I need, and also it’s far too stressful to actually move house – mess, trying to find a van, boxes, recycling etc.
It’ll be a while before I do this process again.
Shall we take a look around?
Do you want to feature 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 [email protected]
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 [email protected]
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