Sarah, Darren and Sarah’s 13-year-old son Harry had been renting privately in Chelmsford for years, but kept finding themselves looking for a new place to live when landlords decided to sell. Sarah was finding it really difficult to feel settled, and constantly worried about finding her next property.

Sarah explains: “I’ve always privately rented, and I think once you’re on the ‘renting boat’ it’s really hard to get off it. I never thought I’d be able to afford to buy a house, so renting always felt like the only option. I used to look at friends my age who had their own place and feel like they were all sorted, and we weren’t in the same position.”

“Unfortunately, over the years we’ve had a few landlords kick us out – either they were selling the place or wanted the property back for whatever reason. In every new place we lived in I was always expecting a call saying, ‘you need to leave’. It was really horrible and unsettling.”

“Our last home was a small 3-bedroom house – we were there for five years, and I thought we would be there forever, but once again the landlord decided to sell and asked us to leave. I was really upset. Finding a home is difficult enough anyway, but we also have a rabbit and a cat, and not many rentals allow pets, so our options were limited – it was a nightmare.”

Sarah and Darren have recently purchased a 35% share of a 2-bedroom semi-detached house at The Arbour, through L&Q.

Sarah had heard about Shared Ownership years before but didn’t know much about it and assumed she wouldn’t qualify. It wasn’t until her sister suggested she researched the scheme that she realised it might be an option for her family.

“My sister has been an absolute superstar. She did some research for me and said, ‘have you looked at Shared Ownership at The Arbour?’. I roughly knew the area and thought that house prices over there were so out of our budget we’d have absolutely no chance. Nonetheless, my sister phoned up the L&Q sales team for me and spoke to a lovely lady who gave her all the information, which she then passed onto me.”

“It was like some sort of miracle unfolding. I kept thinking we wouldn’t be eligible, but we progressed through each stage of the application and all of our financials were approved – I couldn’t believe it. At Easter, all three of us went to view the show home, and it was incredible. The property was brand-new, the rooms were so large, and the location was perfect. We put an offer in straight away.”

Speaking about the L&Q sales team, Sarah explains how the team went above and beyond to ensure her family were supported in their transition from their rental home to their house at The Arbour.

She says: “The L&Q sales team were fantastic throughout the entire process. The timelines were a bit tight between our rental contract ending and the house being ready for move in at The Arbour, but the team kept in regular contact and did absolutely everything they could to make sure the house was ready.”

Now happily moved into their new home, Sarah explains what she loves about the new house and the surrounding development. She says: “I cannot find a fault. The house is so lovely, and the area is amazing. It feels incredibly safe here – there are loads of footpaths and cycle paths, so Harry can now cycle to school in the morning, and I’m not concerned about it at all.”

“We’ve got a supermarket, a community centre and lovely green grass everywhere. The Beaulieu Train Station is on the horizon, which will be great when Harry is a bit older and wants to visit his dad in London, and we get a year’s free bus pass into Chelmsford, which we’ve been using to go to the cinema on weekends.”

“We’ve also met our neighbours and they seem nice – they’re even organising a pizza and wine night that I’m going to join! It’s just a really lovely place.”

Looking to the future, Sarah knows she will be at The Arbour long-term – no longer needing to move house every few years.

She concludes: “The luxury of Shared Ownership is that no-one can ask us to leave anymore. I’ve been on the edge for years expecting that call, but now I finally feel settled knowing that this house is mine. I feel so much more positive these days.”

“We would love to ultimately buy more shares in our home. One day if our jobs or our salaries change then we will hopefully be able to do that. It’s exciting.”