Shared Ownership: Could it help you?
Do you dream of owning a home but feel like it’s financially out of reach? Shared Ownership could be the solution. The government-backed initiative enables eligible house hunters an opportunity to part buy and part rent a property.
Jeanette Grady (below), sales and new business manager at Riverside Home Ownership, which has forthcoming Shared Ownership developments in the Liverpool City Region’s Lee Park and Runcorn areas, tells you all you need to know about the scheme.
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You can buy a share of just 25% of a property.
If you want to buy a home but can’t afford the full amount, Shared Ownership would enable you to start by purchasing a share, usually between 25% and 75%.
You would then pay rent on the remainder, which is owned by a housing association such as Riverside Home Ownership.
To get the ball rolling, you must apply through Help to Buy North West, which will check you meet the eligibility criteria, and then you can look for your ideal property.
Lots of buyers are eligible for Shared Ownership.
If you have a household income of £80,000 a year or less you could be eligible to buy a property through the scheme.
First-time buyers, house hunters who used to own a home but can’t afford to buy one now, and existing shared owners looking to move could purchase a brand new property from a participating housing association like Riverside Home Ownership.
You could one day own your Shared Ownership property outright.
Buying a share of a home doesn’t mean that the property can never fully be yours – it just helps you take your first steps on the property ladder sooner in a more affordable way.
You can increase your stake in your home over time by adding to the percentage you own when it’s financially convenient, and eventually own 100%. This process is called staircasing.
The more of the property you own, the less you pay in rent.
Specialist experts can speed up the process.
When buying a Shared Ownership property it’s important to remember that you’re entering into a leasehold agreement, and enlisting experts who are knowledgeable in this area can make the buying process smoother.
For instance, you should ideally seek the advice of a solicitor with experience in this field. If they’re not familiar with Shared Ownership, they may raise a lot of extra enquiries which can prolong the process and lead to a bigger bill for their additional time.
Shared Ownership can save you money.
You’ll need a mortgage for the share of the property you are buying, and will also have the monthly rent to pay on the remainder. A monthly service charge is also added for building insurance, maintenance and any communal areas.
Surprisingly though, this doesn’t make Shared Ownership more expensive than buying in full or renting.
The rent element of Shared Ownership is reduced so the combined monthly costs are usually still, on average, 20% less than buying the same property outright. It often works out cheaper than renting it too.
You can make your Shared Ownership home your own.
Shared Ownership providers like Riverside Home Ownership offer a range of homes through the scheme, whether you’re looking for bungalows, apartments or family homes.
Once you’ve moved in you are free to decorate and undertake general home improvements, putting your own stamp on the property.
The housing association which owns a portion of the property will need to be contacted if you’re looking to carry out major works.
Selling can still be straightforward.
If you want to sell your Shared Ownership property in the future, the process isn’t any more complicated than selling an average property.
The difference is that instead of selling your entire home you’re simply selling your share, and the buyer becomes the replacement owner. They will also need to be eligible for Shared Ownership.
The housing association will retain the share it already had, and will require rent payments from your replacement.
For more information and to keep up to date on new developments, visit www.riversidehomeownership.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 0345 112 8800.