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After renting for 17 years, Florence Davisseau (44) longed for space and privacy in a home of her own. Long working hours as a nanny for a family in Kew Gardens meant she needed to live close to her work, but high property prices in the area made it impossible for her to buy a home outright.
Florence had been looking for a suitable home for three years when she came across the new shared ownership apartments at SO Resi Twickenham. The opportunity to buy a share of a home she could call her own, combined with the modern design of the development and its great location just a few miles from her work, provided the ideal solution and Florence had no hesitation in buying a one-bedroom apartment.
Shared ownership allows you to buy a share of your home, typically between 25 per cent and 75 per cent, and to buy more shares in future if you wish. The deposit and monthly mortgage are smaller than they would be if you bought your home outright because they are based on the size of the share purchased rather than the full value of the property.
She says: “I’ve lived in Kew for 23 years and love it here, so I didn’t want to move far away. I looked at flats in Brentford and Mortlake before putting my name down for a home at SO Resi Twickenham; although the apartment building wasn’t finished, I loved the look of the plans and I’ve always had a good feeling about Twickenham, so I knew I’d be very happy here.”
Florence bought a 30 per cent share in her apartment for £126,000 (full price £420,000) and although she only needed a ten per cent deposit, she put down £64,000 from the savings she’d built up over the years, and took out a mortgage of £62,000. Her monthly outgoings are around £267 for the mortgage and a payment of £618 to SO Resi on the share she doesn’t own, which includes service charges.
Keen to buy more shares in her apartment, Florence has signed up for SO Resi’s Shared Ownership PLUS scheme, which allows her to buy an extra one per cent share of her apartment annually for 15 years; the price is pre-arranged, which saves the cost of the valuation, survey and solicitors fees every year.
She comments: “I think it’s a great scheme because it’s easy and saves money and hassle. There’s also still the option to buy further larger shares whenever I want too, so there’s a lot of flexibility.”
SO Resi Twickenham is the imaginative restoration of a 1960s’ building in the heart of the town into a superb development of one and two-bedroom apartments. The homes are filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows and there are lovely views over the landscaped grounds. There is also a roof terrace where residents can relax and meet neighbours.
Florence says: “My apartment is amazing, I love it. Before, I was sharing with people and I was used to doors banging and waiting for the bathroom. I used to spend most of my time in the bedroom but now I have a great open-plan living space, where I can relax and watch TV. My bedroom is now a sanctuary, just for sleeping. Buying a home has transformed my life.”
Florence plays tennis up to four times a week in Kew and enjoys walking along the river or in nearby Kew Gardens and Richmond Park.
She describes the transport links from her home as ‘brilliant’ and explains: “Twickenham station is less than five minutes’ walk away and it only takes 20 minutes to Waterloo. I cycle to work, but there’s a fantastic choice of buses close to my home too, for when I want to travel into other areas of London.”
Reflecting on her purchase, Florence says: “If you don’t have a lot of money and can’t afford to buy outright where you want to live, I’d definitely recommend Shared Ownership.”