When first-time buyers Krishan and Dharani first started saving for a deposit, they had no idea it would take five years and several mortgage rejections before they could finally afford a home.
The couple had been living in Luton with their five-year-old son, Mounesh, since 2017, in a rented two-bedroom house. They loved their neighbourhood and made a life there, with friends nearby and Mounesh’s school just a few minutes’ walk away. Like many first-time buyers they struggled to put aside enough for a deposit, and it took four years of saving before they could start looking for a home.
In December 2021 they started the search for a mortgage – thrilled at the thought of finally owning a home of their own.
Confronting the reality
But as is common with median income households, the couple were struggling to get the mortgage amount they needed from a bank. Krishan was working as a production operator at a vinyl record factory as well as a sales assistant role, but it wasn’t enough for some high-street lenders.
“With my salary and the expenses of a family, we didn’t have many mortgage options. We were rejected by Barclays – and when I called to ask why, they wouldn’t tell me. They said they don’t have to explain the reasons for rejecting us. It was so difficult,” says Krishan.
“We had a mortgage adviser but he wasn’t much help, he rarely answered the phone and when we got rejected by the bank he didn’t offer any alternatives.”
“I thought, “we are never going to buy a house now”. I felt very low, and very stressed.”
“Then I saw StrideUp online. At first, I wasn’t sure so I read through the reviews and testimonials and decided a shared ownership mortgage could be a good option for us.
“I called the advice line and spoke to Sarah. When I spoke to Sarah it was very different to speaking with the bank or even the mortgage adviser – she was kind, patient and friendly from the moment she picked up the phone.
“Sarah explained how StrideUp works and talked me through everything. She took my employment information over the phone and filled in the application for us, then kept us informed on how it was progressing. She even called us at home to ask if we needed any help.”
With StrideUp’s shared ownership mortgage, Krishan and Dharani were able to get a higher amount than offered by banks. They were quickly approved for a Decision in Principle , and now armed with a bigger budget, they started looking for a house.
They quickly found a two-bedroom semi-detached house with a garden only ten minutes’ walk from their previous home. It was ideal. The family had put roots down in their local area and staying there meant that they remained close to their support network and Mounesh would not need to move school. They put in an offer of £270,000 and were delighted when their offer was accepted.
StrideUp’s application portal allowed the family to track the progress of their mortgage online through the advice stage, onto property valuation and eventually the offer being issued and deal completion. They also received personal support at a level they hadn’t experienced when speaking to high-street banks.
“While we were buying the house, Sarah contacted the solicitors and made sure everything went smoothly,” explains Krishan.
“When we exchanged contracts, we had a very stressful visit from the estate agent and again Sarah spoke to them and sorted everything. She was always there on the end of the phone.”
Within six months, the family moved into their brand-new home.
From bid to completion in six months
“Without StrideUp I don’t think we wouldn have been able to buy anywhere,” says Krishan. “We would have been stuck renting for several more years, finding it hard to save – and I am sure we would have had to move away from our neighbourhood. That would have been hard on Mounesh, to move schools and lose his friends.”
“Thanks to StrideUp, we now own a lovely two-bedroom semi-detached house with a garden in the location we wanted. We are amazed at how quickly everything was done!
“I would definitely recommend StrideUp to family and friends, it has been the best experience.”
“Now we feel happy – and secure”
Today, Krishan, Dharani and Mounesh are settling into their new home – but the upheaval has been minimal.
“We love this area as it’s very safe, quiet and family-oriented,” says Dharani. “It was such a relief to find a new home so close to our friends, to Mounesh’s school, to our life here in this neighbourhood.”
“Owning a house makes us feel so happy, and as a family we feel more secure. Financially also we are more secure, we are no longer feeling the strain of paying rent while saving for a deposit.”
This summer the family hope to visit family in India for the first time in three years – a visit which will be made even easier by the proximity of Luton airport to their new home.
We love to hear success stories like Krishan and Dharani’s! Are you a first-time buyer facing limited mortgage options? Schedule a call with one of our friendly advisors to discuss how StrideUp could help you find your dream home.