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Executive chef Jeremy Beasley, 50, had been living and working abroad on and off over the past three years when he decided that it was time to settle permanently in the UK. He had sold his house after divorce and found that buying a home through shared ownership gave him a realistic alternative to renting. Keen to live close to Welwyn Garden City, he found a two-bedroom shared ownership apartment that suited him perfectly at SO Resi Times Square, a new development close to the town centre.
Jeremy comments: “I lived in a house my parents own in Welwyn Garden City for a while after my divorce and had grown very fond of the area. I spotted SO Resi Times Square online when searching for homes and it looked ideal. The instant I viewed the apartment I had a feeling that this would be my home and decided to buy there and then.”
He added: “I’d considered renting, but worked out that the monthly outgoings on a shared ownership home would be similar to the cost of renting. Buying seemed by far the best option.”
Jeremy’s two-bedroom apartment cost £345,000 and he bought a 35 per cent share for £120,750. Although he only needed to pay a five per cent deposit, he put down £40,000 funded by the sale of his previous property. Jeremy says: “My monthly mortgage payment is only £586. I also pay SO Resi around £500 per month for the share of the home I don’t own and service charges of £77. It’s a very good deal.”
Formerly a business park, SO Resi Times Square has been transformed into a thriving new neighbourhood with homes in imaginatively converted office buildings and striking new buildings.
Jeremy’s apartment is situated on the first floor of the new Dakota House and features an open plan living/dining/kitchen space which leads on to a spacious balcony. With a second bedroom and main bathroom, in addition to the en suite shower room to the main bedroom, there is plenty of room and privacy when friends and family visit.
Jeremy comments: “I was looking for a contemporary property and open plan living really appeals to me. As a chef, the kitchen is important and I’m very pleased that it’s superb quality. I’ve installed new kitchens in my previous homes and the quality was nowhere near as good. In fact, the finish of the entire apartment is fabulous.”
Jeremy drives to work and the convenient location and parking space included with his home were important factors in his choice. He says: “Travel connections are excellent. Welwyn Garden City is very close to the A1(M) which has great links to the North and I try to visit my friends there every month. Or if I want to go to London, the station is just 15 minutes’ walk away and it’s only half an hour by train to King’s Cross.”
Now that he has moved in, Jeremy is enjoying the lifestyle. He comments: “Welwyn Garden City has a really good vibe; it has plenty of amenities and there’s lots to do. I enjoy going to the gym and playing tennis and golf – and there are three local golf courses. As someone who enjoys sport and being outside, I appreciate all the open green space around the development.”
Reflecting on his purchase, Jeremy says: “This is the fourth property I’ve bought, and the process has never been so stress free; it took less than five weeks from viewing the apartment to moving in. I’d definitely recommend shared ownership to other people.”
He adds: “I’m so pleased I bought a home at SO Resi Times Square. It’s a great place to live and my life is so much calmer and more convenient now.”
Through shared ownership, you buy an initial share in a home which can be as little as 25 per cent but no more than 75 per cent. You just need a deposit of between five to ten per cent of the share you buy which is much lower than paying a deposit on the full price. You then take out a mortgage to cover the rest of your share and pay SO Resi a monthly payment on the share you do not own.