Given the sky-high cost of buying a home outright, it’s no surprise that many aspiring home-buyers are looking to Shared Ownership as a knight in shining armour. Giving you the option to buy a smaller share on your home, while paying rent on the remainder, Shared Ownership stands out as one of the most affordable routes to the housing ladder. 

But while many first-time buyers want to take advantage of Shared Ownership, not everyone knows how to go about it. Check out our guide to fill in the blanks:

Check if you are eligible 

There’s no use getting excited about Shared Ownership until you find out if you are eligible. As the scheme is geared towards first-time buyers, you have to make sure you don’t currently own a home or are currently in the process of selling one! Here are some of the main requirements for buying through Shared Ownership:

  • You have to be at least 18 years old.
  • If you live in London, your annual salary should be less than £90,000.
  • You should not be able to afford to buy a home on the open market.
  • You need to be able to have proof of a good credit history, and the ability to afford the costs of buying a home.

If you tick every box for a Shared Ownership application, you can start putting together your application!

Assess your finances

Shared Ownership might offer a more affordable route to the housing ladder, but you’ll still need to make sure your finances are in a good place before proceeding. As well as saving enough for a deposit, you’ll need to work out if you are able to repay your Shared Ownership mortgage. For this, the help of a financial adviser is invaluable. They can help you calculate how much you’ll have to pay in mortgage repayments and rent and carry out the necessary affordability checks.

Apply for your mortgage

If your affordability checks out, you should be all set to send off your mortgage application. Your mortgage lender will consider your salary, credit history and the deposit you’ve put down to work out how much to lend you. This will let you know what price ballpark your home needs to fall into, making your property search more purposeful.

Reserve your property

Once you are in a good position to buy a Shared Ownership home, you can start scouting the market for your perfect property. Square Roots have developments launching this year in Kingston, Lewisham and Hendon. Start by registering your interest in the homes that catch your eye, and head out for as many viewings as you can. When you find a home you love, you’ll usually be asked to pay a small deposit to reserve it. As Shared Ownership homes are usually new-build properties with the latest fixtures and appliances, you’ll be able to find your dream home in no time at all.

Get the help of a solicitor

Whether you are buying a home on the open market, or using Shared Ownership, you’ll need a solicitor to guide you through the process. As a first-time buyer, you are unlikely to know all of the ins and outs of the home-buying process. This is where your solicitor comes in. Acting as the middleman between you, your mortgage lender and housing provider, they can walk you through a sometimes difficult home-buying process. If you ever have a question about anything home-related, your solicitor should have the answer. 

Complete the purchase

Now comes the technical part. After you’ve reserved your property, it’s time to exchange the key contracts. In exchange for your deposit, you’ll receive a detailed document outlining all of the terms of your lease. You’ll get a breakdown of how much you'll need to pay in mortgage repayments and rent and find out everything that’s included in the sale. 

Happy with everything? Now you can sign the document and return it to the seller. If you have a good solicitor, you should be able to sit back, relax and await the - hopefully - good news. Now might also be a good time to start preparing for your move, whether you need to hire a removal service or stock up on new home essentials.

If you can, buy more shares!

Shared Ownership isn’t the end of your home-buying journey - it’s only the beginning! Depending on your circumstances, you now have the option to own more of your property through ‘staircasing’. But what exactly is staircasing? Staircasing is a process where you buy more shares in your property over time, which reduces the amount of rent you have to pay. Still not quite sure? You can find out more about staircasing using our guide! 

Looking to take advantage of Shared Ownership? Square Roots gives you access to a range of high-quality Shared Ownership homes, helping you put your roots down in an area you love. With developments all over London, find your future home today.

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