CASE STUDY - Debbie Omoyinmi

CSO Debbie steps on the property ladder with New Build HomeBuy at Watney Plaza

Debbie Omoyinmi was desperate to get on the property ladder, but felt so far removed from the open market that she saw shared ownership as her "only option".

"Buying my own place through the New Build HomeBuy scheme seemed like my only option," she says. "I live alone and without a partner's additional salary I wouldn't be able to afford anything on the open market."

Debbie, a 25-year-old police community support officer, was living in one room at her parents' house in Custom House, Newham, but felt it was time to buy her own home. "I was concerned I would be living with my parents for another ten years," she says. "I thought: 'the quicker I get onto the property ladder, the quicker I can pay off my mortgage'."

She heard about the shared ownership concept (now known as New Build HomeBuy) after reading about it at work. "I felt great when I realised it was possible because there was no other way for me to own a property and I didn't want to waste money on rent," she says.

Debbie searched the internet for key worker schemes and found Housing Options, which registers first time buyers' interest and gives free details and advice on hundreds of low cost home ownership homes available in London.

"Housing Options is very easy to use. I registered last August, quickly received literature on various developments and only four months later I had bought my own home," says Debbie.

She chose to buy a 35% share of a two-bedroom apartment at Explorers Court, a newly built development in Virginia Quay, marketed and run by One Housing Group.

Debbie chose Explorers Court ahead of other developments because she really wanted to live in the Docklands area. "I can jump on a train and seven minutes later I'm in Canary Wharf," she says. "It has lots of bars, restaurants and shopping, and it's only two minutes from the Thames."

Debbie knew she wanted a home with two bedrooms, so she jumped at the chance to buy the last one available - even though it was the showhome.

"It's funny to think that lots of people had already walked through my home before I'd moved in, but, once everything was moved out and my furniture moved in, it became my home and I never think of it as a showhome," she says.

"Because I bought the showhome I knew exactly what I was getting. It's great and I love walking through the front door. The bedrooms are next to each other and the kitchen and living room are in one large space. It's nicely situated on the fourth floor with patio doors leading to a Juliet balcony."

She says One Housing Group was very efficient and easy to deal with. "Buying my first home was very intimidating, but a One Housing saleswoman eased all that by helpfully talking me through the details step by step."

Debbie says: "Buying this place has really helped me. Hopefully, in time, I can staircase up and make use of the increased equity share to find a larger place. But for now, the best thing about living in my own place is that it belongs to me and I can do my own thing."

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