Ever since she was young, Vikki Ham has had a goal to own her own home. But the mother-of-two never imagined her dream would be achievable.
Today, she stands proudly in the kitchen of her brand new home in the Auckland suburb of Massey. After years of hard work and thanks to the assistance of HF, Vikki has a place she can call her own and a home for her two sons. Her warm sunny home is one of 11 houses built by HF in a lane in Colwill Rd, West Auckland.
Vikki, who had been living in a two-bedroom unit with her sons for 10 years, was delighted to move in to her new home in February this year. “I was battling breast cancer, working full time, bringing up my two sons on my own, and I just never thought it would be possible to be in a lovely, brand-new home like this – and best of all it’s ours.
“It was so overwhelming and empowering to have reached a life time goal. It was amazing waking up in my own home for the first time, it was like, wow is this for real? If it wasn’t for the HF, I would never have had the opportunity to own my own home. I probably would have been renting for the rest of my life.”
There is no doubt that Vikki has worked incredibly hard to achieve her goal, doing everything she could to make it a reality for her and her sons.
“My Mum died when I was 13 and my Dad when I was 18 and I pretty much raised myself after that. I had my two boys when I was young and went back to university as an adult and got a degree. I also undertook and achieved my postgraduate in 2009 and I know my parents would be proud of what I have achieved.”
Vikki heard about HF through a work colleague and only one year after making initial contact with HF she was moving in to her own home.
Vikki was able to purchase the house through HF’s Affordable Equity programme. It enabled her to purchase a share of the home at a level she could afford, with HF owning the other portion. With the guidance and support of HF, Vikki organised her own mortgage and used her KiwiSaver as a deposit. The advantage of this arrangement with HF meant Vikki was able to take on a smaller mortgage than she would normally need to purchase her home at the market value.
“The process was very straightforward. I’d never applied for a loan or mortgage before. I didn’t realise I could use my KiwiSaver as a deposit. This made things a lot easier. I didn’t have any debt, had been working in the same job for 10 years and had no credit cards, so this certainly helped with my application.
“Having my own home means I have freedom to do what I want. I can hang things up on the walls! When I was renting someone came to inspect the house every three months, and I wasn’t allowed to hang photos or anything up on the walls to make it a home.”
When Vikki lived in the rented unit, as her sons grew older, she moved into the sitting room to give her sons a bedroom each. Now she has a four-bedroom house she can’t believe how spacious it is.
“When we first moved into our brand new home, it felt so big and so warm because it was insulated. I hardly even felt winter this year as opposed to last year as the unit we were renting at the time wasn’t insulated. It took me quite a while to get used to having my own bedroom. It was just amazing!”
The HF development where Vikki lives is in a private lane just off West Coast Rd in Massey. “I love the area. I love the view and smell of the sea. I love the big kitchen. Now I cook heaps. My son especially loves the shower. He is 6’5” and his only request for the new house was that the shower head would be tall enough so he could enjoy a shower without stooping over!”
All of the families living in HF houses in Colwill Rd have made the street their own. Many of the gardens are beautifully manicured. You can tell the owners take great pride in their homes.
“There is great community spirit in the street. We all look out for each other and each other’s properties. I knew nothing about gardening and I’ve never had the need to own a lawn mower until now. It’s great to have neighbours who are there to give gardening advice and help me out. They share their ideas and gardening products.”
Once all the families had moved into the lane, the Foundation held a ‘meet your neighborhood’ BBQ event. Says Vikki, “We also got to meet some of the stakeholders from the Foundation and it was good to be able to mix and mingle and to say thank you. Each family were also gifted a wheel barrow, garden tools etc to take away with them – which I know was much appreciated by all.”
Vikki is hugely grateful to HF for all their help and support.
“My home is an extension to my kainga tuturu and it means everything to me and my sons to have somewhere they can call their own. Like their whakapapa (genealogy, it is their foundation and they feel connected. It also provides me with peace of mind that I have done my utmost best for my sons and that if anything happens – no matter what they have a home to call their own – thank you New Zealand Housing Foundation”.