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Monday, May 20, 2024

Extensive Guide to Buying a Shared Ownership Property

Shared ownership new builds are a great way to take your dream of homeownership to the next level. This step-by-step guide will walk you through every step of the shared ownership new build process so you can make the right decision for yourself and your family.

Shared Ownership: An Overview

Shared ownership is a type of homeownership that lets you buy a piece of property (usually between 25% and 75%) and rent out the rest. It’s a great way to get into homeownership, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Shared ownership new builds are often offered by housing associations and developers, providing a chance to own a brand-new property.

Assessing Your Eligibility

Before diving into the shared ownership process, you need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. This usually includes:

Having a combined household income within the specified range.
Being a first-time buyer or a former homeowner who cannot afford to buy a home.
Not owning any other property at the time of purchasing a shared ownership home.

Budgeting and Mortgage Pre-Approval

Determine your budget and secure a mortgage agreement in principle. This pre-approval will give you a clear idea of how much you can afford and help you focus your search for shared ownership on new builds.

Exploring Available Properties:

With your budget in mind, start your search for shared ownership properties. Websites and property portals often list these opportunities. When you find a property that piques your interest, get in touch with the housing association or developer to express your interest. When exploring available shared ownership properties, consider factors like location, size, and amenities. Additionally, pay attention to the share percentage being offered. A higher share percentage means you own a larger portion of the property and pay less rent. Evaluate your priorities and choose a property that aligns with your preferences and budget.

Financial Assessment:

Your chosen housing association or developer will conduct a financial assessment to ensure that you can afford the shared ownership property. This assessment also helps determine the maximum share you can purchase. They will also guide you through the mortgage application process.

Reserving Your Property:

Once your financial assessment is complete, and your mortgage is approved, you can reserve your chosen shared ownership property. You may be asked to pay a reservation fee during this process. In general, the reservation fee that you would have to pay in order to reserve your property is not refundable. It is advisable to clarify the amount and terms of this fee with the housing association or developer before proceeding.

Legal Process:

Now, it’s time for the legalities. A solicitor plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and legally sound transaction. A solicitor will handle the conveyancing process, ensuring all legal requirements are met. This includes the preparation of contracts, property searches, and other essential paperwork. They will also address your legal queries or concerns if any during this process.

Shared Ownership Lease:

Your solicitor will also review the shared ownership lease. This document outlines your rights and responsibilities as a shared owner and specifies the terms of your agreement. Information on ground rent, service fees, and what happens if the property is sold are also included. Make sure to understand the lease thoroughly before signing.

Completing the Purchase:

With all legal matters resolved, you are ready to complete the purchase. When completing the purchase, your solicitor will facilitate the transfer of funds, and you will pay the deposit for your shared ownership property and the housing association or developer will provide the keys to your new shared ownership home. It’s a significant milestone and you can now begin the journey of homeownership.

Ongoing Costs:

It’s essential to be aware of the ongoing costs associated with shared ownership. These typically include:

Mortgage repayments
Rent on the remaining share
Service charges
Ground rent (if applicable)

Staircasing:

As your financial situation improves, you can increase your ownership share through a process called “staircasing.” This allows you to buy additional shares in your property until you eventually own it outright.

Selling Your Shared Ownership Property:

Should you decide to move or sell your shared ownership property, you can do so at any time. The housing association or developer usually has the right of first refusal, meaning they have the option to find a buyer on your behalf.

Final Thoughts:

Buying a shared ownership property can be a fantastic way to get a foothold on the property ladder, especially with shared ownership new builds offering modern, energy-efficient homes. However, it’s essential to understand the process thoroughly and seek professional advice when needed. With careful planning and preparation, shared ownership can be your path to homeownership.

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