First time buyer James staircases his way to home ownership

James, in his early 40s, was a first-time buyer from the High Peak. He works as a supervisor at a cheese factory and bought a two bedroomed flat in Burbage in Buxton with Plumlife on Shared Ownership.

James said: “I’d been renting in Buxton for a few years and was keen to get onto the property ladder. I was sick of renting and having nothing to show for it. I wanted to own my own home. My parents were also keen for me to buy my own pad and kindly agreed to help with a deposit.

“I began, like most house hunters, by browsing in estate agents’ windows. I knew I wanted to stay in Buxton and buy a flat not a house. Buxton is the perfect location, it’s a pretty country town and is close to Sheffield, Derby and Manchester.
“I spotted my dream flat and noticed it was a Shared Ownership property. I knew this was a part buy, part rent scheme and thought it could work for me.

“I booked a viewing and from the off loved the location and the fact the flat was just ten years old. I have fabulous views, lovely neighbours and there’s plenty of wildlife – ducks come up to my sitting room window every morning! It’s also really close to work, which is so handy.

“My Plumlife sales advisor was very helpful and always kept me up to date with developments. She advised me I could ‘staircase’ my flat and sent me some literature about it. ‘The Staircasing’ process means if you already own a shared ownership property you can purchase further shares and eventually own your home outright. For most customers, staircasing is likely to involve a new, larger mortgage. Once it was explained this option seemed like a good route to eventually becoming a homeowner.
“In order to buy my flat, originally I needed a £5,000 deposit. This enabled me to buy 25 per cent of the property. To cover the 75 per cent I hadn’t bought I paid about £270 rent and a service charge of £79.49 every month. Four years later, after saving a further £10,000, I have been able to staircase my property so that I now rent 25 per cent and own 75 per cent. My new rent is just £86.73 a month. One day soon I hope to staircase the remaining 25 per cent.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be a home owner but through shared ownership and staircasing I’ve been able to buy a lovely flat in a picturesque location. I’d always recommend shared ownership, it’s a great way to pay into a property you can one day own.”
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