Dana standing outside her house

Dana, George and daughter Erika (15) were living in a three-bedroomed private rented house in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, but were keen to have a home of their own. They knew shared ownership could be their answer. 

Romania-born Dana says: “The only way we’d be able to afford our own home was to go down the shared ownership route. We had actually paid a deposit on another house in nearby Thorn, but the builders kept asking for more money, so we pulled out. 

“Then we looked at houses in Bidwell and almost applied for one, but the shares started at 50%, which we knew we couldn’t afford.  

“Every Sunday we would keep looking for our dream home. Then we saw these houses being built at Ashwood Green and called Grand Union. 

“I could see the plans online, and I could see the development from the road, so I was very excited. Every weekend we would come to see what progress had been made.  

“The New Home Officer I was dealing with at Grand Union was called Geraldine. At the end of November 2023, I asked her if there was any news on the development. Geraldine said it was a huge coincidence, but the houses were being released for sale that very afternoon. 

“We sent off our application for this three-bedroomed house and waited for all the checks to be done. 

“Geraldine was brilliant, and so lovely. She had so much patience with me, answering all the questions that I asked of her. 

“We couldn’t quite believe it when we heard we’d got the house! 

Dana in her kitchen

“It’s lovely here, and so nice and peaceful too, and we’re really happy. It feels like we’re living in a hotel, like we’re on holiday all the time.” 

Dana said that moving in was the only irritating part of the move, thanks to the good old British weather.  

“The day we moved in, the weather was just the worst. It was so cold and the rain was constant. We didn’t finish moving everything in until 2am! We were so tired. 

“But now we can enjoy our home, and we imagine we’ll stay here for a long time, so that Erika can have a good education and do something with her life. Erika’s ambition is to go to Cambridge University. She’d really love to work in construction – one of her hobbies is building large Lego sets, but she also enjoys putting furniture together. Having built her own bedroom units, she thinks her bedroom is the most beautiful room she’s ever had. 

“Now we’ve settled in, I can spend time relaxing in my home, reading, spending time with my family, writing up recipes passed down from my mother and grandmother, and planning our travels.” 

With a huge smile, Dana says: “We all love our house so much, it’s a dream come true!” 

Dana sitting on her sofa