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Tears of joy for first-time buyer Inga

A SMALL tear wells up in Inga Lapina's eye as she recalls the day she moved into her cosy new shared ownership home. "It was only five days before Christmas. I had the keys, went inside and cried with tears of joy," recalls the 43-year-old first-time buyer.

"The carpets were down and I had my belongings but no furniture set up so I slept on the floor that night − just until I could sort out the furniture. That didn't bother me. This was my home at last and I felt happy, really happy."

The big day − December 20, 2014 − was an emotional climax to seven years of living in shared rented housing after moving to Coventry from Latvia and a frustrating hunt to find an affordable home of her own.

As soon as she walked into the two-bed Bromford house at Holmwood, off Lythalls Lane, Inga knew that her search was over − and that she could afford to make her homebuying dream come true thanks to shared ownership's unique part-buy, part-rent formula.

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In fact, she was able to buy just under 60% of the two-bed house − and Inga is quick to point out that her monthly outgoings now are around £100 less than when she was renting from a private landlord.

A quick calculation proves it.

Her monthly mortgage costs are £310, the low rent is £180, and her other bills add up to around £200. Total cost with shared ownership: £700.

Total cost of private renting − including utility bills: £800.

"My friends can hardly believe it when I tell them," says Inga, a quality inspector at the nearby Unipart factory, "especially once they've been here and seen what a great home this is. Sometimes I can't believe it myself!

"My brother wasn't sure about shared ownership when I first considered it but now, having seen the house and how affordable it is, he wants a home like this too! I think a lot of people don't know about shared ownership or don't really understand how it works.

"My advice to them? Talk to an expert and take a look at a new shared ownership home like mine. They're built to a really high standard − the same as the other houses built on this estate by the private developer − and they come with all the mod cons you need like a really well-equipped kitchen and bathroom.

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"Then compare one of these warm, modern homes with a typical house being rented out by a private landlord. In my experience, they're cold, you have little or no privacy if you're sharing, and the rent is always going up.

"Shared ownership offers first-time buyers like me a real alternative that I can really afford. I would definitely recommend it if you can save enough for a deposit or borrow it from family or friends.

"Saving was difficult for me while I was paying out so much each month to rent a home for me and my son, who's now left home, but I managed to put something away − and my brother helped by giving me some money towards the deposit."

Three months after seeing her dream come true, life is good and getting better for Inga and her furry "housemate", tabby cat Mincy. "We're both really happy living here," smiles Inga, pictured below with her feline friend.

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"Mincy appeared one day in the garden where I used to live, kept coming back and decided to stay. She has been with me ever since. I say she chose me − and she seems very happy with my new choice of home.

"I now have a lovely house that's ten minutes from my work and I have friends and family members nearby. I'm slowly making the house a home and, now that spring is here, I'm looking forward to making a start on the garden.

"I work hard and having my own place to come home to makes it all feel worthwhile. Looking to the future, I would like to increase the share I own when I can afford to because it's a good long-term investment."

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Bromford Homes Head of Sales Alan Bradley says: "Inga's story is a touching example of how shared ownership can make the property dream come true for people who want a high-quality home they can make their own, close to their jobs and the people they know.

"Inga is clearly delighted with her house and with shared ownership − just like so many other first-time buyers across Coventry & Warwickshire and the rest of central England − and we wish her all the best for the future.

"This is just one of about 130 shared ownership success stories in the last 12 months − including our sell-out success at Butterfield Gardens, Rugby.

"Each story represents a dream come true, an exciting new chapter in their lives for people who would otherwise be forced to rent from a private landlord or stay living with their family."

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We've got just one shared ownership home left at Holmwood − 10 minutes drive from Coventry city centre − and it could be yours for as little as £56,250 and a minimum deposit of just £2,813*.

There are more shared ownership homes on sale at nearby Oaklands, Rugby, as well as other Warwickshire developments such as The Pastures in Alcester, Hayfield Lawns in Welford-on-Avon and Warwick's Beaumont Meadow.

To find out more about shared ownership and our developments across central England, call 0845 60 10 878 or register for updates. You can also keep in touch by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

* £56,250 buys a typical 45% share of a two-bed Edgwick with a full market value of £125,000 and a minimum deposit of just £2,813 assumes a 95% mortgage on the share you buy. Low rent is payable on the remaining share.

19 March 2015