Does shared ownership mean sharing with other people?
No - unless you choose to, it means you purchase a share in a property and the landlord (in this case RMBC) has the remainder, this is the part you pay rent on.
How much of the property can I buy?
You can buy between 25% - 75% of the property initially and pay rent on the rest. The rent isn’t like normal rent and is capped at 2.75% of the unowned share, paid monthly. This means you will end up having equity in a property, which could be a better option than private renting.
What property types do you offer?
We have houses and flats offered through shared ownership. We also have flats offered through Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) which are for people aged 55 and over. So we have a variety of options depending on what you want.
Can I ever buy all the property?
In most cases yes you can purchase 100% of the freehold for houses and 100% of the lease for flats. Buying more shares in your property is called staircasing. For Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) its is capped at 75%, but at this point no rent is applicable. As you increase your share, through staircasing your rent decreases. For example, if you staircase from 25% ownership to 50%, you would only pay rent on the other 50% unowned share. With many new developments there may be some estate service charges depending on the site, even after staircasing to 100% ownership.
Can I redecorate once I move in, can I make changes I want to?
Yes, this is your property. In your lease it does advise you to contact us before making any large changes, for example a new kitchen or anything structural, just to make sure you do not invalidate any building warranties. All our properties come with a 12-month defect period.
Are all shared ownership properties you have new build properties?
Currently yes, all our shared ownership are new build properties.
What else apart from my share will I need?
Like any property sale you will need a solicitor to deal with the legal side, a deposit and possibly a mortgage advisor if you need one.
Do I have to pay ground rent, I’ve heard about double ground rent previously?
There is no ground rent payable on any of any shared ownership leases.
Does the rent include repairs?
No, you are responsible for the full costs of keeping your property in a good state of repair. As our are all new builds they do all come with defects periods and warranties. You will also be responsible for things like council tax, utility bills etc, as you would any other property.
What are service charges?
Service charges include things such as the below, but vary depending on the property type and development;
- Management fees – the cost of RMBC running the service
- Building insurance – we have to arrange this for you until you staircase out
- Estate costs – ground maintenance on any shared communal areas
- Communal cleaning – on any internal shared communal areas in blocks of flats
- Sinking funds – essentially a savings pot for things such as a roof repair, which will come further down the line, for example on a block of flats
When do I pay my service charges?
Every month you will have a single direct debit payment for the rent and service charges.
Is the Older persons shared ownership for people who already have a property?
Yes, you can downsize into one of our properties, its not just for first time buyers, or those unable to buy on the open market. They are a great option if you are in a property that doesn’t suit your needs anymore, and want to release some equity, or if you want a property with lift access for example.
What properties do you have for OPSO?
Currently we have 15 2-bed flats under OPSO (although some have been reserved already). These are in Maltby, have a lift to each floor and have an off-road parking space. WH Browns are working with us on this site, so please contact them for more information.
What does the application process involve?
The first step we advise people to complete is the Help to Buy form online to see if they are eligible. Then our sales and marketing partners will in touch and can arrange viewings and will carry out the financial checks, these vary depending on if you are using a mortgage or cash lump sum. They also can signpost you to mortgage advisors and solicitors, or you may choose you own. Then RMBC will ‘ok’ your application to say you can proceed, once we have checked we have all the documents we need to meet our obligations set out by Homes England. Then you will make the £250 reservation fee and instruct your solicitors to carry out the legal process for you, RMBC will instruct theirs too. Once a date is agreed sale completion will take place and the sales partner will meet you on site for the handover.
What criteria do I need to meet?
The initial criteria set out in the Homes England application for ‘normal’ shared ownership (not OPSO) is as follows; your household income must be below £80,000 per year, you have a regular income (salary, pension, disability allowance), you do not own a home or if you do own a home (either outright or through shared ownership) you will have sold this property before purchasing a shared ownership property. Our sales partners will then work with you to see what percentage share you can afford. The criteria for OPSO is slightly different as it allows for more savings etc, as this tends to attract people closer to retiring and downsizing.
Can I sell the property in the future?
Yes of course. Homes England set out a process, where we have to check to see if we have anyone on our waiting list for your property. If we do, we will contact them first to see if they are still able to buy and then progress the sale. If nobody is on our waiting list, you are free to sell on the open market with an estate agent like you would a normal property. It must be sold to someone who meets the shared ownership criteria.
How do you work out the value of the property when someone is wanting to sell?
The value is always worked out by a RICS surveyor and is based on the current market value. For example, you may purchase 25% of a £100,000 property for £25,000, however when you come to sell this could be worth £125,000 if the housing market increases. This means your share of 25% is now £31,250.