Self-employment no barrier to shared ownership for Olivia and Thomas thanks to the support of Network Living

On Valentine’s Day earlier this year, Olivia Tinker (24), a visual merchandiser for H&M, and Thomas Odlum (26), a self-employed plumber, went to visit a two-bedroom, shared ownership apartment at Network Living’s Warehouse development in Streatham. They loved it so much that they put down a holding fee the very same day.

It should have been an exciting start to a new life together for the couple. But initial feelings of excitement soon turned to despair when Thomas discovered that he would have to raise a larger deposit due to the fact that he was self-employed.

“We thought we were ready to move,” explains Thomas, “so it came as a real shock to find out that the mortgage company required us to put down a minimum 20% deposit purely because I am self-employed.”

Despite 4.5 million people choosing to work independently in the UK, mortgage lenders remain cautious about self-employment.

“Luckily for us, Network Living was really supportive,” says Thomas. “They held the apartment to give us time to meet with financial advisors. In the end, it also became apparent that, in addition to needing a larger deposit, the mortgage lenders were not going to give us a mortgage for the amount we needed either – so Network Living lowered the minimum share from 50% to 40% which, combined with some financial help from our parents, helped us overcome both hurdles.”

The couple’s determination and perseverance paid dividends and they moved into their new home in April.

Olivia and Thomas purchased a 40% share (£200,000) of the two-bedroom apartment worth £500,000 with a 20% deposit of £40,000.

“We’re so happy here,” says Olivia. “Our apartment has a balcony, which overlooks an internal courtyard, as well as a roof terrace with views towards The Shard and Wembley Stadium”

All the homes have now sold at Warehouse, but to view a selection of developments with homes for sale through shared ownership visit:

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