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A guide to buying shared ownership property

Goodfellows can help you buy a property with the Shared Ownership buying process – whether it is part of a new build scheme or indeed a pre-owned home.

Shared Ownership is a government-funded scheme designed to help people get on the property ladder.  It enables the buyer to purchase a share (usually between 25% and 75%) of the property, and pay the Housing Association rent on the remainder, at a level below the market value.  Our advisors can help work out what the buyer can afford so they are not overstretched financially.  Properties are available from 1 bedroom flats to 4 bedroom houses.  There are also a number of resales each year, homes which are owned through the shared ownership scheme, and are then being sold so their owners can move on to full ownership.

Goodfellows have a long standing relationship with many Housing Associations that provide affordable homes throughout London and the South East.

Do you qualify?

Do you qualify? If you satisfy the following criteria, you will generally be able to purchase a shared ownership home, subject to status.

  • You should always check the eligibility required with the housing association selling the property, as they may have specific criteria.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Outside of London, your annual household income must be less than £80,000.
  • In London your annual household income must be less than £90,000.
  • You should generally be a first time buyer, i.e. you don’t already own a home. If you do already own, you must be in the process of selling it.
  • You should not be able to afford to buy a home suitable for your housing needs on the open market.
  • You must show you are not in mortgage or rent arrears.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have a good credit history (no bad debts or County Court Judgements) and can afford the regular payments and costs involved in buying a home.
  • You should have savings or to be able to easily access at least £4,000 to cover the costs of buying a home. This is a guideline figure – the actual amount you need will depend on the Help to Buy option you choose.
  • In most cases you will also need to have enough savings or be able to easily access a minimum 5-10% of the equity share you are buying, as a deposit.

There are 7 steps to buying a shared ownership property

STEP 1 – Completion of the Shared Ownership Housing Application Form

  • You will be provided with an application form to fill out and return along with copies of the following documents prior to being invited to view the property.
  • A reservation deposit cheque (usually for £500.00 payable to the Housing Association) may be requested depending upon the individual development.
  • Latest 3 months bank statements.
  • Latest 3 months payslips.
  • Confirmation of deposit funds available (a bank statement may be provided as proof).
  • Proof of address i.e. mobile phone / utility bill / council tax bill.
  • Proof of ID – i.e. copy of passport or driving licence.

STEP 2 – Financial Qualification carried out by Embrace Mortgage Services

  • It is our responsibility to make sure that you are comfortable knowing the costs of your mortgage, monthly rent payable to the housing association and that after all this you are still able to live comfortably and pay other bills.
  • At the time of qualification the broker is able to search and recommend a number of mortgage options available to you.  You are under no obligation to use this service, though many clients find that it simplifies their buying process.
  • The advisor will fill out an affordability calculator for us by the agent & housing association and by attending this interview, you agree that sensitive financial information may be shared with the housing association.

STEP 3 – Viewing and Reserving a Property

  • Following your viewing; if you wish to go ahead with a purchase, you move to the next stage which is reservation.
  • If applicable, the reservation fee may now be requested and cashed once you confirm that you wish to proceed.
  • You should at this stage provide any supporting evidence that may support your application to be considered a priority over others, i.e. any dependents, disabled needs or currently living / working locally.

STEP 4 – Confirm your Solicitor & Mortgage Arrangements

  • Using Goodfellows Conveyancing keeps everything under one roof and makes it easier to obtain updates and share information.
  • If using an alternative solicitor, full contact details must be provided along with confirmation in writing from yourself and the solicitor, that they may discuss all elements of the transaction with our team.
  • Many solicitors are not on lender solicitor panels, so please do check with them before paying any fees upfront.
  • Contracts must be exchanged within 28 days from receipt of papers, it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that searches are applied for and pre-contract enquiries are raised immediately upon receipt of a buyers package from the Housing Association Solicitor.
  • We will keep in close contact with you to ensure that enquiries are raised and answered fully leading towards the solicitor being able to report to you on title and with contract for signature.

STEP 5 – Your Mortgage Arrangements

  • You are advised that if you fail to keep up repayments on your mortgage, you may lose your home.
  • An Embrace Mortgage Services broker will meet with you in order to submit the application to the lender on your behalf.
  • At this stage, if applicable you may be required to pay application, valuation and broker fees.
  • The mortgage lender will at this point submit your case for underwriting in order for pre-valuation approval.
  • Once underwritten it is likely that the valuation survey will be carried out on behalf of the lender.   You may not attend this appointment.
  • Once the property is assessed and the valuation has been approved, the formal ‘mortgage offer’ will be issued to buyer and solicitor.   You solicitor must immediately submit the mortgage offer to the housing association’s solicitor for approval.

STEP 6 – Transferring deposit and signing contracts:

  • This last but vital step brings you closer to owning your new home.  Goodfellows Conveyancing will contact you and ask that you sign and return your Contract and Mortgage Deed by post.  We are here to assist if you need guidance.
  • Your deposit transfer is vital and should be made by electronic Transfer or BACS to the Goodfellows Conveyancing client account once you receive your contracts for signature. Failing to make these arrangements or issuing a personal cheque may significantly delay your purchase and the exchange of contracts from taking place.
  • Once Goodfellows Conveyancing have EXCHANGED CONTRACTS on your purchase, you are then likely be given a fixed completion date. On occasion, if the property is not quite ready to move into a “long-stop” date (usually a maximum of 6 months) with a 10 day notice period to complete will be agreed between solicitors.

STEP 7 – Opening the door to your new home

  • You have reached the day of completion, when today your new home is all yours and you will receive the keys.
  • Goodfellows Conveyancing will transfer the remainder of the mortgage monies to the Housing Association or owner’s solicitor. Once this has taken place you will become the legal co-owner with the Housing Association.
  • Goodfellows will meet you at the property (once legal completion has taken place and we receive instructions from our clients to do so) and present you with a handover pack (if the property is a new build) which contains a manual detailing all of the information relating to the building and the day to day upkeep of your home. We will also show you where the utility meters are and important items that may be needed in an emergency.
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Speak to the shared ownership team.

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