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What I Own: We got on to the property ladder in Berkshire for £4,000

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This week, we’re in Bracknell (Picture: Joe Newman)

Welcome back to What I Rent – Metro’s tenant diary series that explores what renting is like in the UK and further afield.

Last week, we visited co-workers Niamh Finn and Abbie Morris at their two-bedroom flat in Harlesden, North West London. The pair met whilst working for a removal company, and decided to move in together for a fresh start away from family.

This week, we’re in Bracknell, Berkshire, taking a peek at Louise Edwards and partner Adam Spicer’s two-bedroom property. They chose the shared ownership route, and with a deposit of just £4,000, became homeowners.

Here’s what they had to say about their property journey…

Tell us about yourself!

I’m Louise Edwards (31), my partner is Adam Spicer (33), and we’re based in Bracknell. I’m an Import Clerk and Adam is a Funeral Operative.

Whereabouts is your property? What do you think of the area?

Our property is in Bracknell, a town in Berkshire. The development is a stone’s throw away from the train station and town centre. It’s a lovely area for us with everything local to our property and plenty to do.

There’s room for a furry friend, too! (Picture: Joe Newman)

When did you move in?

Just before Christmas 2023.

How much does your property cost?

£80,000 (full market value: £320,000).

How much was your deposit?

£4,000.

What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?

Our mortgage, rent and service charge comes to approximately £1,325 and our other bills are around £675 per month, so around £2,000 per month in total.

How did you save up for your deposit?

We saved up by living with my family and opting not to rent.

Adam’s regular overtime earnings couldn’t be included in the mortgage calculations, but with shared ownership, we realised that his extra income would be the key to helping us buy more shares in our home in the long term.

What made you want to buy rather than rent?

We wanted to buy so that the money we are paying goes towards something we have ownership of, rather than paying for a property we would never own through renting. 

What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?

When we initially went to the bank back in 2020 to find out how much we could borrow, they calculated that with our budget, we’d need to build a five per cent deposit of £20,000. It’s a lot of money but achievable with a bit of hard work.

Then the mortgage rates started to go up, products were getting pulled, and in 2022 when we were finally ready to buy, the bank said we’d need a minimum 10 per cent deposit – £40,000.

The kitchen and living room is open plan (Picture: Joe Newman)

To have the rug pulled from under us like that was devastating. We thought we had no hope of keeping up financially because the goalposts kept changing.

My mum bought her house using shared ownership 31 years ago. We didn’t know very much about the scheme, so we were a bit anxious initially, but the more research we did, the more we felt like it would be a good fit for us, especially as we could staircase to full ownership eventually.

Can you share details on your mortgage (rate/term)?

Our mortgage term is 34 years, with a fixed rate for five years.

How did you find this property? What made you choose it?

We found the property through Rightmove when looking in the Bracknell area. We knew we wanted to stay in this area but the search obviously hinged on what was affordable for us.

We enquired at the beginning of April and reserved our property at the end of April, exchanging contracts in June. 

The pair found their property on Rightmove (Picture: Joe Newman)

How have you made the property feel like home?

We made it feel like home by adding our own furniture and our own stamp on the property with decor. We have kept the décor fairly neutral by adding hints of navy, grey and silver. We wanted to keep it as light and airy as possible. 

What’s your favourite room and why?

Our favourite room is definitely the living room. It is decorated to our taste and is the focal point of the house, being the social hub and the place we spend the most time.  

Do you feel like you have enough space?

There is plenty of space for the two of us. The second bedroom makes such a difference and is currently being used as a guest room/spare room, with a double bed for visitors.

Spot the elephant! (Picture: Joe Newman)

Do you have plans to change the property?

We don’t have any plans to change the property yet.

Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?

None!

What do you want people to know about buying a home?

Our suggestion for anybody looking to get onto the property ladder would be to look into shared ownership. Our bills are less than renting and we own a share of the property.

It is a great start for anybody when looking into owning a home. Always look into extra benefits – for example, we have been offered Share Plus where we are offered an extra 1% share every year with no fees.

What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long-term?

We’re going to start saving to buy additional shares over the next few years.

This isn’t a starter home for us – we plan to stay for the next 10 to 20 years, so for us, it makes sense financially to try to own as much of our home as possible.

Shall we take a look around?

The kitchen is the heart of the home (Picture: Joe Newman)
We sense a cream theme (Picture: Joe Newman)
What’s the time? (Picture: Joe Newman)
A big comfy sofa is essential (Picture: Joe Newman)
Spot the cat! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Peep the giraffe decoration (Picture: Joe Newman)
Oh hi! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Meet the resident tortoise (Picture: Joe Newman)
Orchids galore (Picture: Joe Newman)
There’s plenty of shoe storage (Picture: Joe Newman)
We have ourselves a football fan (Picture: Joe Newman)
Spot the Fulham fan (Picture: Joe Newman)
Giraffe number three (Picture: Joe Newman)
Another giraffe! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Look at all that storage space! (Picture: Joe Newman)
We love a fluffy carpet (Picture: Joe Newman)
Lovely jubbly! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Here’s Louise with her pet tortoise! (Picture: Joe Newman)
This looks cosy! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Squeaky clean! (Picture: Joe Newman)
A bath fixes everything (Picture: Joe Newman)
It’s The Cottagers again! (Picture: Joe Newman)
Here’s a personal touch (Picture: Joe Newman)
You’re never too old for a teddy bear (Picture: Joe Newman)
That’s one lucky cat (Picture: Joe Newman)



How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email [email protected]. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).


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