Many first-time buyers believe they will never be able to buy a home of their own. With all the adverse news surrounding the property market it’s no wonder people get dismayed. But, there is a very affordable option available through shared ownership. Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer magazine, explains how it works.
Shared ownership is an excellent option for first-time buyers who do not have a large deposit. The scheme enables buyers to purchase a share of the property, which is usually between 25% and 75%. The owners then pays a subsided rent on the remaining share. This reduces the amount needed for the deposit and also the mortgage.
There is an option to buy more shares over time and ‘staircase’ to full ownership. As you buy more shares the subsidised rent reduces and finishes when you eventually fully own the property.
Shared ownership is available to first-time buyers and previous homeowners that have sold but cannot afford to buy their next property outright.
· You don’t have to be a key worker or in social housing to be eligible.
· If you earn or have a household income between £20,000 and £60,000 you could be eligible.
· You can buy alone or with another person as long as your joint incomes don’t exceed the maximum earnings bracket.
Are there any restrictions on who can apply? · Each applicant is assessed individually, but there are eligibility criteria.
· Generally, applicants must live and work within the area they want to buy in.
· You must be a first-time buyer and be buying as an owner-occupier (not buy-to-let).
· If you already own a property, a sale must have been agreed before you can qualify for shared ownership.
· If you don’t meet the criteria there are other options available and it is advisable to contact your local Help to Buy agent (www.helptobuyese.org.uk, 03333 214044) who will assess your housing needs and advise what to do next.
What sorts of homes are available through shared ownership? Shared ownership homes do not compromise on quality or location. There is a big choice of properties available including apartments, houses, maisonettes and family homes in all parts of the country as well as in central London.
What rights and responsibilities do you have? As the leaseholder, you have the same rights and responsibilities as most homeowners. This usually means you are responsible for repairs inside the property while the managing agent takes care of external and communal areas and the outdoor space. To cover the costs of any outside work that might be necessary, there is a monthly service charge.
To find out everything you could want to know about buying a home then visit the WhatHouse? website at www.whathouseshow.co.uk
One to look out for:
Haweswater Place, Crawley This one bedroom, ground floor apartment is just three miles from Crawley’s town centre and enjoys peaceful surroundings. The apartment sits within a popular development and is available for resale on a shared ownership basis.
The contemporary apartment is finished to a high spec and has a smart, fully fitted kitchen and open-plan living/dining area, with doors opening to the communal gardens. Three Bridges station, with fast services to London and Brighton, is 1.5 miles away, which makes the apartment perfectly located for getting about. It is priced at £90,750, which is based on a 55% share of the full market value of £165,000. www.affinitysutton.com