Following years of renting and a lockdown spent without access to outdoor space, Juliet Aitken, a personal assistant, had decided that 2021 was the year to move in by herself – and began looking to buy her first home in December 2020.
“My initial search started and ended fairly abruptly – I kept getting turned down due to affordability. It seemed like you either had to be making more than the average person or have a joint income, and I just wondered how are single people supposed to buy homes?”
Living and working in west London, Juliet was keen to move a bit further north to be closer to family – an area she recognises is not known for its affordability. Encouraged by a family friend, she started her property hunt again in the new year.
“I viewed two developments – one overlooked a carpark which wasn’t very nice, and the other wasn’t in the right part of London.
“When I decided to view at L&Q at Ridgeway Views, I had a feeling this was the one. It was an amazing sunny day and when I stepped out of the train station, I just knew this was it. Ayse from the L&Q sales team showed me three apartments, and when I came in the door of this one, I knew I had to have it – this one was mine!”
“I didn’t know much about Shared Ownership so, I did my research – when I turned up to the appointment Ayse couldn’t believe I had no questions. I had informed myself and made sure I understood what I was getting into to make sure it was the right decision for me.
“Shared Ownership seems to be aimed at normal people with normal incomes – it was the monthly affordability and the low deposit that just made sense.”
But with a recovering market, banks were still being overly cautious with their lending, especially to first time buyers.
“As I was trying to buy when there were still very few mortgage options, I really struggled to find a mortgage with a reasonable interest rate – all the big banks were just saying no to me and the smaller building societies had really high interest rates, it meant it didn’t make financial sense.
“After seeing what my options were and comparing, I went direct to my bank who I’ve been with for years and years – they were so helpful and helped me see that a bigger deposit (which I’d earmarked for furnishings) would make a big difference to the interest rate.”
Juliet bought 25% of a one bedroom L&Q apartment at Ridgeway Views – a brand new development set within the Mill Hill conservation area on a hilltop overlooking the fields of Totteridge Valley. Surrounded by greenery, residents enjoy 24/7 concierge, resident’s gym & parking, with one and two bedroom homes available through Shared Ownership.
Moving into her new home in early July, Juliet has already been enjoying her local area and the greenery.
“I went into Mill Hill Broadway last week for the first time and it’s a nice area with some lovely café’s. Finchley nurseries is around the corner and I have already bought some jasmine!
“It gets greener and greener as you get towards L&Q at Ridgeway Views – that’s what really struck me, it’s so green here. There are also ponds with ducks!
“It’s a complete haven and has its own community. I just had a good feeling and went with my gut and I’m so glad I did.”