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WHAT IS SHARED OWNERSHIP AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme where you buy between a quarter and three-quarters of your home and then rent the part you don’t own at a reduced rate.

Essentially, it’s a great alternative to renting and a way of taking the steps to own your first home without the need for a hefty deposit upfront.

People often get confused about shared ownership and see it as a complex process. It really isn’t. To help you, we’ve created this handy guide which includes a simple step-by-step process on how to get you on your way to applying for your first property through shared ownership.

Am I eligible for shared ownership?

Your annual household income must be no more than £80,000.

You cannot be a current home owner (or be named on the deeds of another property) however consideration is given to buyers who are starting again, following a break up for example.

You must not have any outstanding credit issues (i.e. unsatisfied defaults or county court judgments).

You should be unable to purchase a home suitable for your needs without assistance.

What are the main benefits of shared ownership?

Get onto the property ladder much quicker

Shared ownership is a great way for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder. It is a less risky way to purchase your first home as you part-rent, part-buy your property and then when you’re in a more comfortable position, you have the option to buy a bigger share of your house.

It’s a win-win. You’re eased onto the property ladder without requiring a large deposit upfront and at the same time, you’re not seeing all of your money go into renting because you already own part of the property.

Affordability

There is some upfront cost but nowhere near as much as if you were buying a home outright. The great thing about shared ownership is that your monthly housing costs will be lower than if you were to buy the same home outright or rent it privately.

Own your own home

This is the ultimate benefit. With shared ownership, you can increase your share in the property over time but only at the point you can afford to. However, you won’t be able to buy more shares until you’ve built up further savings.

Help to buy vs. shared ownership?

This is a hot topic and a question that many people ask when it comes to shared ownership.

Fundamentally, although both schemes are government-backed, they are totally different. Here’s how they differ:

With shared ownership, you only own a part of the property and have the option to purchase more (staircasing) gradually. However, there is no obligation to own the home outright. If you’d prefer to continue part-renting and only own a proportion of the property then that’s absolutely fine.

With Shared Equity (the Help to Buy Scheme), you own all of the property from the start but have to repay the Shared Equity loan over time. Or, if you decide to move house before paying off the loan, you repay a proportion of its value when you sell it – equivalent to the proportion of government equity you took to buy it.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference between the two is you get to choose the type of home (although it must be a new build) when using the help to buy scheme. With shared ownership, the home is fit-for-purpose and you don’t have the option to choose your home style. For example, shared ownership homes are allocated based on your circumstances, if you are a family of three then you would be considered for a three-bedroom property but if you are a couple, a two-bed property will be more relevant.

Both are extremely helpful schemes, particularly for first-time buyers but you should consider carefully what your long-term goals are before making any decisions either way. One thing is for sure though, there are lots of extras and benefits to moving into a new build property. With shared ownership, there are many new homes that come fully carpeted, with white goods, turf to the garden, toilet and towel holders – these are costly elements if you were to go it alone so it’s always worth bearing this in mind.

How do I apply for the shared ownership scheme?

Your local authority or housing association can let you know whether the scheme is available in your area and if you’re eligible to apply. We work closely with housing associations and local authorities across Nottinghamshire and can help you with this.

Our handy guide also answers some of the most common questions around the shared ownership scheme as well as useful myth busters. However, this is just a starting point and our advisers would be more than happy to guide you through the process.

Call us on 0115 981 1888 to discuss your options or fill out a contact form and one of our friendly team will get back to you.