An Armed Forces veteran has given shared ownership the thumbs up after moving into his new home in Alsager.
Alan Clarke joined the army in 1969 and served his country for over 25 years, working as a mechanic and eventually became a Sergeant with the Royal Engineers.
“I loved my time in the army and I was lucky to see a lot of the world,” said Alan.
“I was based in Germany for a while and when I reached the rank of Sergeant I was put in charge of the plant workshops in Nairobi, Kenya. I did that for a couple of years before becoming a Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant and was immediately deployed to the Gulf War in the Middle East. The army was a good fit for me and it has given me a lot over the years.”
Since leaving the military, Alan has done everything including teaching, working as a project manager for Boots & working for the UK Government carrying out MOTs on buses and HGV vehicles, before enjoying a well-earned retirement.
Originally from Crewe, Alan was visiting his sister in Alsager at the time when he decided to give shared ownership a try.
Alan said: “I was living in York at the time but had recently split with my partner. I came over and decided to take a look at the rental market here. I spoke to one of the estate agents and he asked if I had ever considered buying? I said there was no way I could afford it!
“But he talked about shared ownership and some of the properties that were available with Weaver Vale Housing Trust. It’s not something I had heard about before but we sat down and worked through the figures. An hour later I walked out thinking ‘I’m going to buy a house!’
Shared Ownership is an affordable way to buy a home for many people as it means they require a smaller mortgage and deposit. People can buy a ‘share’ between 25% and 75% of the full market value of a property and pay rent on the remaining share.
Alan added: “I fitted the criteria and I had enough funds to put down a deposit. I came out of the army with a good pension so shared ownership was a very attractive proposition. I own 40% of this house and I pay rent on the rest.
“Weaver Vale have been fantastic – I can’t praise them enough. Everything has been straightforward. They looked after me the whole way through. They kept me informed and were very clear about how everything works with regards to paying your mortgage and rent.”
And Alan has encouraged other prospective home owners to consider giving shared ownership a try.
He said: “I can only speak from my perspective – but this was a great option for someone of my age and with the funds I have. I also think it’s great for younger couples as well – shared ownership means you can get a new, good quality home without a huge deposit. As long as you can afford the rent and mortgage, it’s a great way to get on the property ladder.
“I really like the house and area. My sister only lives around the corner and I’m just a stones throw away from where I was born. I’m big into my fishing as well and there’s a great spot not far from here that I’m looking forward to trying out!”