Uta’s inspiring journey from a one-bedroom rental apartment to her dream three-bedroom home at St James Square demonstrates that with Shared Ownership, location and space need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of homeownership.
Uta Boellinger (38-years-old) and her son Pablo (18-years-old) moved from their rented one-bedroom apartment in Portslade, Hove, to a brand-new, three-bedroom home, in June 2023. With a combination of hard work, sacrifice, careful planning and steely determination, Uta saved up a deposit of £20,000 and bought a 45% share of the home at St James Square, near Brighton.
“I had two jobs, worked 60-hour weeks and didn’t have my own bedroom for eight years to achieve this dream. The day we got the keys and I walked into my own home for the very first-time, I literally cried.”
When Pablo was younger, Uta worked for American Express in Brighton and began saving, with the aim to eventually buy a home of their own. Once her son was older, she took on the challenge of studying for a new career and achieved one of her life goals; to become a qualified nutritionist. Uta now runs her own successful nutrition clinic, alongside her full-time job at a London based travel and concierge company. She explains: “I passed my diploma before lockdown and immediately set-up my own business, Cannelle Nutrition, at the beginning of the pandemic. After a year-and-a-half of being self-employed, I started to support my income with a full-time job. As well as boosting my savings, I knew that if I wanted to apply for a mortgage, I’d need this security. So, I now work evenings and weekends running my own business, so I can juggle both roles.”
Unsurprisingly, whilst living in a one-bedroom home with Pablo wasn’t too hard when he was younger, as he grew, the set-up became more and more uncomfortable. Uta adds: “As children grow, they need their own space. The living room was also my bedroom and then in lockdown it suddenly became my office too. This was very stressful. I felt like I couldn’t switch off and it wasn’t sustainable.”
Consequently, Uta looked into renting a bigger place. However, the prices in the Brighton/Hove area were unaffordable so she began to research the possibility of buying and it quickly became clear that shared ownership was the answer. The low deposit buying scheme meant that she could afford the space she desperately needed in her number one location; Hove. Uta comments: “I actively looked for a property for about a year and at the start of my search I realised I could afford a house versus an apartment, if we relocated to an area just of Brighton and Hove. There were even a couple or properties I could have afforded to buy outright. But as my search progressed, it highlighted what was important to me.”
“I realised that I didn’t want to compromise on location and staying in Hove, near the beach, was a priority. Buying with shared ownership meant that we could achieve these goals.”
Uta’s spacious south-facing apartment has sea views from the living/kitchen/dining room and the primary bedroom and is a five-minute walk from Hove Lagoon and the beach. Going from a one-bedroom home to a three-bedroom home has completely changed everything for Uta and Pablo. Uta has a large desk in her office, with space for both work laptops, and Pablo especially is making good use of the kitchen space. Uta explaind how her new house has impacted her life:
“I’m more productive now I’m not having to constantly put everything away and get it all out again three times a day. Pablo’s really enjoying the kitchen too. It’s much bigger than our old kitchen and he’s actually started baking. Also, having a neutral living area means he’s not in his bedroom all the time anymore. It’s the simple things – it’s so nice to come home from work and find him on the sofa watching TV with a cake in the oven!”
Uta spends her weekends making the most of the prime location. She explains: “I’m very active. I like to cycle to Brighton along the sea front and my gym is a ten-minute walk away. There’s a bus stop just outside the development, which Pablo uses to commute to work in Brighton. Portslade station is ten-minutes away, so travelling further afield into London or to Gatwick is easy too”
Comparing all her monthly outgoings, Uta pays £400 more a month to own her three-bedroom apartment than she did renting the small one-bedroom home they were living in previously. Furthermore, she’s confident that during the winter months, this will balance out. Uta explains: “The build quality here is really impressive and I know the insulation is excellent. When we had really cold spell last winter and energy prices rose simultaneously, I was paying up to £400 a month to heat our rented apartment, because the insulation was so inefficient. That’s when I realised, I could really afford the step up. Once I’d discovered renting a bigger home was going to feel more like an impossible leap and given that location is a priority, it became clear that shared ownership was the best route for me.”
Uta explains her positive experience with Hyde New Homes:
“Hyde New Homes has a fantastic team and everyone I dealt with during my buying process was very supportive. They understood what I was looking for and went the extra mile to help me get there. It’s such a relief to have invested in my own home and I plan to staircase when I can and eventually own 100% of the apartment.”
St James Square offers 1 and 2 bedroom shared ownership apartments in a prime waterfront location in Portslade, Brighton. These ready-to-move-in apartments come with quality specifications and integrated appliances, making life more convenient. Nearby, you’ll find excellent transport links, schools and the vibrant scenes of Brighton and Hove.
Homes at St James Square start from £82,500 for a 30% share of a home with a full market value of £275,00.