A guide to shared ownership: nine tips first-time buyers need to know when finding a home using this government scheme

Here’s how to be a smart buyer of a shared ownership home.

Consider renting in the area you want to live in

There are more buyers than homes for first-time buyers and most schemes prioritise those who already live or work in the local area.

So if you know where you’d like to buy your first home — and its not where you currently live — then you need to consider a move in order to make sure you are first in the queue.

Be prepared

You will also need to be prepared to secure a property quickly.

Have a solicitor on speed dial and get a mortgage agreement in principle.

Check your credit rating and if it’s bad news get it sorted or you’ll never get on to the ladder.

Research up-and-coming areas

The majority of shared-ownership homes are in regeneration zones where loads of new homes are going up — think places such as Canning Town, Stratford and Southall.

But don’t rule out smart ones

Shared ownership is harder to come by in smart areas. However, this autumn shared homes at The Dumont, by St James, in a prime spot on the Albert Embankment are expected to go on sale with the Clarion Housing Group (clarionhg.com), while Southern Housing Group (shgroup.org.uk) will be selling some flats on Vanston Place, Fulham. You will have to move quickly.

Look online

To find a shared home see the Mayor’s website london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/homes-londoners/search or get more information about the process during Shared Ownership Week 2019 (September 19-25, visit sharedownershipweek.co.uk)

How big is the development?

A warning note to anyone considering buying property — shared or otherwise — in an area where thousands of new flats are being built is that when you do come to sell, you are going to find yourself with lots of competition.

Buy near transport links and outside space

When it comes to selecting a property, Graham Phillips, marketing manager at Guinness Homes, says the number-one issue is transport.

Buy near a station and it will help with the resale. And outside space and even a view is important.

Phillips says that communal or roof gardens are also popular with buyers.

Broadband access is also a must. 

Size matters

Most shared-ownership flats tend to be a similar size but look for well-designed spaces with plenty of storage. 

If you can, stretch to an extra bedroom. Prices aren’t rising fast and moving is expensive and you can have a lodger to help with overheads.

Look out for the service charge

Service charge can be a nightmare. The bigger the development, the higher it is likely to be. 

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