Putting down roots with Help to Buy - Joanna's story

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Joanna, 26, discovered that she was able to buy a property much sooner than she thought with the assistance of Help to Buy.

The ex-make-up artist turned solicitor has lived and worked in Manchester for the past couple of years and always knew she wanted to buy a place of her own in the area. So when construction restarted at Potato Wharf, a development of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in the Castlefield area of Manchester, Joanna saw her opportunity and took it.

She explains, “I’d walked past the development for years as construction actually started back in 2007, but then the recession hit and everything came to a halt! So when construction restarted I knew I wanted to buy one of the apartments as not many new-builds go up in this area, and I knew in order to get a Help to Buy equity loan the property had to be new, so it was really good timing.”

Through the Help to Buy scheme, you only need to raise a 5% deposit and can access the support of up to 20% in the form of an equity loan from the Government. There's nothing to pay on the loan for five years and, best of all, the loan is interest free for that time.

Like a lot of people Joanna found the large deposits needed for a conventional mortgage a barrier to owning her own home. But she found the 5% deposit needed for a Help to Buy equity loan much more achievable.

“I saved intensively for about 18 months,” she says, “I knew that a 5% deposit was achievable, but it was tough to save whilst still renting privately. My parents live about 2 hours away from me so moving home wasn’t even an option. But it paid off in the end, and now I’m paying much less than when I was renting which is great.”

Joanna also couldn’t believe how easy the Help to Buy process was, saying, “The whole process was really straight forward and really quick, I thought it was brilliant. The scheme is such a good idea, so good that I think some people think it’s almost too good to be true! But they shouldn’t be scared as it’s not restrictive at all; I was accepted really quickly and found it all very easy.”

Joanna is now settled in her new home after moving in at the end of March this year.

“It’s such a feeling of pride knowing that these are my bricks and mortar,” she says, “I love that its mine and that I’m putting down roots. So many of my friends are saving and I tell them all the time to keep going because with Help to Buy you’re not that far off, it really is achievable.”

If Joanna’s story has inspired you to find out more about Help to Buy you can call us on 0300 790 0570 or email info@helptobuynw.org.uk.