Meet our homeowners: Kay from Esprit in Poole

Kay, 78, moved to Esprit in April 2021 with her red point Siamese cat, Bailey, from an alternative retirement living provider in Southampton. She purchased her one-bedroom apartment through the Platinum Skies shared ownership scheme.

Why did you move to Poole?

‘The reason I moved here is because at the time I didn’t think that I could afford a place like this. Just out of curiosity I came here and had a look, and that was it. It was love at first sight because of the kitchen and all of the equipment. I made it my point in life to make sure that I got this particular flat. It was really tough going but we got there eventually. I couldn’t have done it without the help of other people, like the sales and conveyancing teams, so if they hadn’t have helped me, I’d have just given up. It’s very difficult to leave your friends and do things when you’re on your own but they made it really easy for me to actually move. I wasn’t on my own, though I am on my own, if you know what I mean.’

What is it like to live at Esprit?

‘I think there’s two things here. I am a loner. I always have been. I’m a very independent person. It’s the way I was brought up. I will travel the world on my own and think nothing of it and I have done that. But there’s people that like company so you have got both sides of the coin here. When I moved in, I said to the manager ‘I will tell you now. I’m a loner. I like to be left alone.’ That was fine. I’ve had no bother since. Whereas, where I lived before, I didn’t get that.

‘It’s like being free here. I feel as though I’ve been sentenced to a life imprisonment and they’ve just realised I wasn’t guilty and they’ve let me out. That’s how I feel. I’m so relaxed and laidback. It’s not just me but the cat as well. I mean he’s like a different cat. I have never seen him so chilled out, if a cat can get chilled out. He was always on tenterhooks waiting for something to happen but here he just flops out and that’s it. This is his forever home.’

What advice would you give to someone considering moving to Poole?

‘There is the security of not having to do everything yourself as everything is arranged for you. Even when you move in, your electric is switched on and things like that so you don’t have any of that hassle. They actually move you and if I wasn’t capable of unpacking all my stuff, they would have done all that for me too.

‘It’s just the fact that you are not alone and you can do it. I’m 78 and it doesn’t make any difference to me. I just packed up and moved here. I wanted a change because I’m Southampton born and bred and I wanted a different outlook on life. My family was brought up in Southampton, I was married in Southampton, so it was time I moved.

‘I know it’s a bit late in life at 78, but I just felt that I wanted to get out and see and do things. When I saw this place, that was it, especially with all of the windows.’

Meet our homeowners: Esprit in Poole
Kay with her cat Bailey, enjoying their new Platinum Skies home.

Had you heard of Shared Ownership (OPSO) before?

‘It wasn’t shared ownership where I lived before and if it hadn’t been shared ownership at Esprit, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this place. It’s absolutely brilliant. I still feel as though I own it. I don’t feel as though I only own half of it. There’s mark on you to say that you’re not the owner, so that is really nice.

‘I owned the other place where I was before, but I didn’t feel as though I owned it. It’s very difficult to explain but because I didn’t have a choice over what I did.

‘I can’t explain to people how I feel living here. I absolutely love it. If I stay here until the day I die, which is what I intend to do. Let me put it this way – The only way they are getting rid of me is in a box. I’m not going any other way!

‘When you get to a certain age, people think that you’re incapable and you get classed like ‘Ooh, she’s an old age pensioner. She’s got no mind of her own. She can’t make up her mind.’ But you can and you can here. This is what I like about it. I really do. I can’t express it enough how much I like it here.’

What does the shared ownership scheme offer you in terms of financial freedom?

‘It doesn’t matter what hurdle I came to, the team were always there to find a solution for me, but without being pushy. The choice was always mine. But the incentives of moving you – I didn’t have to pay for that. The solicitors – I didn’t pay for that. I literally just paid for my half of the property and that was it. The rest was paid for by Platinum Skies, which gave me the incentive to move even more.

‘When I say I couldn’t afford to move without Platinum Skies, I couldn’t have done it. I just wouldn’t have had enough money to do it. But you can do it. If you think you haven’t got enough money, they can make it happen because you can work together on it and it does solve the problem. For people that think that they can’t afford that, or think they’ve only got half the money to put down, you can because it doesn’t have to be half, so it is really easy.

‘It is a lot easier than I thought. I was married for 57 years and this is the first time I’ve had to do something on my own. I was a bit apprehensive about having to pack up and getting it all sorted out. I had my daughter to help me when I moved in to unpack things, but everything else I had to do myself with the solicitors and things. You can do it.’

Did your daughter get involved with the purchase at all?

‘She did get on quite well with all of that. She knew Karina and Larry and the solicitor. Obviously she was checking on my welfare and making sure it wasn’t getting too much for me.

‘Believe it or not I was in a seven-person chain so it did drag on a bit because the people at the bottom of the chain were a buy-to-let, so it actually took me 11 or 12 months to move. But all of that time I had the support of the conveyancing team like Larry. That’s why I know him by his first name. He’s like a friend to me. I’ve got his email address and I email him. He calls me one of the heavenly twins because we were both born in June. It’s really nice because you keep that close friendship with them. There’s no reason why they’ve got to come in and see me now but they still come in and make sure I’m alright. I think that’s nice as well because I haven’t got anybody standing on my doorstep the whole time to check up on me.

‘Where I lived before they used to phone me to see if I was okay. I’d said ‘Yes, I’m fine. If I wasn’t, somebody would’ve phoned you.’ I also had a 24-hour careline where all I had to do was push a button. But without fail, every day they used to ring me. I don’t like that. It makes me feel as though I’m past my ‘use-by date’ and I’m not. I’ve got lots of years to go yet.’

Kay is a homeowner at Platinum Skies in Poole town centre
Kay in her new Platinum Skies apartment

Would you recommend Platinum Skies to your friends?

‘Oh god yes. I really would recommend it. In fact, where I lived before, a few of them have already come down and had a look. When I went back and told them what it was like, I actually took photographs back and showed them, so they’ve all been down here now and had a look.’

Is there anything about Esprit that surprised you?

‘When I first came here to have a look the thing that surprised me most was the modern kitchens. It was my lifelong dream to have NEFF equipment in my kitchen. My sister has got it in her kitchen and I had to have it in my kitchen and I’ve got it. They went out of their way to make sure that I had exactly what I wanted.

‘The other thing is that when I said to them that I wanted to be left alone, I am left alone. In fact the manager and I contact each other by email because she knows I don’t want people ringing my door all the time. I had enough of that. I lived with 12 years of that and I loved the solitude here. When you get to my stage of life, you want to quiet down, just enjoy your own company, and that’s what I do. It’s just me and my cat.’

Did you use the home exchange service?

‘I had the option of both. I actually put my property on the market and it sold almost straight away. I sat down with Larry and we talked it through as to which would be the best option, an exchange or  a sale, and we put it through as a sale rather than an exchange, but I did get the choice of both options. They went through both options with me and I knew if I hadn’t sold the place, I could’ve just exchanged it. In fact, I actually moved in here early because my chain wasn’t complete but they knew how much I wanted to get down here, so they let me move in here before I should’ve, I suppose.’

Kays cat is welcome at Platinum Skies
Kay’s cat Bailey is feeling at home

How important was it to be able to bring your pet?

‘It meant everything to me. There is no way that I would’ve here without him. Bailey has been through some rough times with me and there was no way I was going to leave him. In fact the first time I met Larry, I said ‘I’ll tell you now. I’ve got a cat and I won’t leave him. If the cat can’t come, I’m not coming.’ He’s made himself more at home than I have now.’

Come and experience Esprit in Poole for yourself

Prices at Chapters start from £105,000 for an apartment, based on the buyer paying 50% of the property’s full market value. The homes at Esprit are made affordable as part of a government-backed shared ownership scheme delivered in partnership with Homes England. Commonly known as part-buy, part-rent, shared-ownership homes enable people to move and potentially downsize from their existing home which may no longer be suitable for their needs while freeing up money from the sale of the property to use on other life events.

To reserve an appointment at Esprit, call the team on 0808 253 0177.