myOwnHome, a Stonewater employee benefit scheme launched in October 2020 has now helped over 30 employees to buy their own home. Tim Buss, the latest to get a foot on the property ladder, couldn’t be happier with his new home.
Tim started working with Stonewater on a supported housing relief team in September 2019, filling in when people were off. Then he got offered a full-time job; I was incredibly pleased to get the job and have more stability.
“When I joined Stonewater, I’d not long returned from Spain, where I moved out to live. Things didn’t work out, so I ended up living back with my parents. I work from home a couple of days a week, and trying to work with my dad doing the hoovering outside the door wasn’t ideal!
“It was when I was talking about wanting to get a place of my own that some colleagues told me about the myOwnHome scheme. I hadn’t heard about it before, and when they told me about it, I assumed it would only be available to help people buy a Stonewater new-build, and that would mean there would be a long wait.
“Once I did some research and found out that my employer would help me buy any home available, I started to get excited. I still thought it was too good to be true, but I submitted my application in and crossed my fingers. Coincidentally, at around the same time, my dad saw a property come onto the market that he thought might suit me (maybe he wanted to do the hoovering in peace!), and things started to move really quickly then.
“I applied to the myOwnHome scheme on a Thursday, had it approved on Friday, viewed the property my dad found on Saturday, put an offer in on Monday and had it accepted on Tuesday. Talking about it now, I can hardly believe it.
“It’s a great scheme and I feel very lucky. I’m now in a three-bedroom home that I couldn’t have dreamt of owning otherwise. I’m buying 55% and Stonewater will own 45%. My rent payments are affordable, and I can buy a bigger share or pay it off completely in the future if I can afford to. The repayments are reasonable too, which I’m feeling very grateful for, with energy and food bills going up so much right now.
I moved in towards the end of last year and couldn’t be happier. I have a front and back garden, can walk into Highworth in ten minutes and have an easy commute to the office in Abingdon when I need to work from there. The three bedrooms mean I’ve got a room that’s a dedicated, quiet office and a spare room for people to stay over to.
I think my friends and family were shocked when they saw the house I’d managed to get through the scheme. There aren’t many employers that help you get a home of your own, but I think a happy workforce is a hard-working and loyal one. I feel like I never want to leave Stonewater now – although there would be no repercussions with the house if I did, which is good to know.
I was in a very depressing situation after things didn’t work out in Spain, and the myOwnHome scheme has helped me to feel like I’m back on track again and not relying on anyone else. It’s incredible.