Shared ownership is a good way of getting on the road to owning your own home and you can do it through a local housing association. The housing association buys the property outright then you buy a share of a property off them (with a mortgage) and you pay a small rent on the rest. You can then go on to buy further shares, and eventually own the property outright later on.
There are usually long waiting lists for these schemes and they usually operate on a kind of points system where the longer you've been on the list the more points you have. You also get extra points in some areas if you're a 'key worker' or if you have children or currently live in a home that is obviously bad for your health.
To find out about buying a home in stages from a housing association contact the Housing Corporation office covering your area. They'll send you a list of registered social landlords (RSLs) operating these schemes in your neighbourhood.
Ex-council properties (Right to Buy schemes)
If you are lucky enough to get a council property you may have the right to buy it although you do have to be careful. Some council properties - particularly those in large, poorly-maintained blocks, may be very difficult to re-sell and won't hold their value. People who have been living in the property for a long time (at least 15 years tenancy) may be eligible for substantial discounts of up to 70% of the value so it may prove worthwhile. You might find it hard getting a mortgage on certain properties, so be warned.
The Starter Home Initiative
If you are a key worker, like a nurse, police officer or teacher, you could get on the Starter Home Initiative. The program was created to help people doing 'key' jobs, like people in healthcare and education, to buy homes in expensive areas, and has been very useful for those who qualified for help. There are various ways in which this scheme helps key workers. Have a look at the Government website where you can find a fact sheet on the scheme and contact details for your area/
Getting a mortgage for a run down place will be difficult so be ready to pay cash for it upfront.
For other properties you need to have at least a 10% deposit ready to put down on auction day. The rest has to be paid within 28 days so you will be best off having a mortgage sorted out beforehand.
You should get the property inspected before you bid on it, which could set you back a bit.
You could end up with a complete lemon.Buying with a lover or friend
Two wages are better than one, especially if you're looking to get a fairly large mortgage, but as the old saying goes, money matters with a friend or lover always leads to problems. You need to know you can stand living with them day in, day out, but even if they're wonderful, you should get things ironed out by a legal expert to protect you both. Several lenders now offer mortgages for pairs or groups of friends to buy a property together, but make sure that you have water-tight contracts between you about how the property would be divided up if one or all of you wants to sell some time down the line.
Over 25,000 people build their own home each year. It may seem a bit extreme, especially if you have little experience in this field, but you don't have to be a builder yourself, just be willing to look for land, bring in an architect and have the patience to project-manage the works while the house is being built (probably 12-18 months).
There are more and more mortgages on the market for self-build schemes and many will lend up to 95% of the cost of doing the building. A well-run self build project should see the final value of the home increase by 20-30% on the actual building and land costs once it is finished. So, if you're prepared to wait and do the work, you can make some sensible money on it.
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