I’ve talked about my shared ownership property a few times before including this post on what the heck it is which you can read here. I’ve been in my property for coming up 6 years now which is quite a long time considering the fact that I’m only 28. Despite a few snagging issues which still haven’t been sorted out I am so happy with the fact that I chose to go into a shared ownership property as it allowed me to get on the property ladder at a time when I wouldn’t have had another choice.
I made a decision to live at home during university so that I could be as debt free as possible and it also allowed to work virtually full time while I was studying in order to say money ready for graduation. After graduating I rented for a year just to see what it was like, how I worked being independent and working out things like council tax and bills before going full blown adult and getting a mortgage.
Now 6 years later I’m in a position where me and Luke have been together long enough to know we want to commit and buy a house together so I’m going to be looking to sell first thing in the new year. The idea of starting the next chapter of my life both excites and scares me but I know it’s going to be quite a tough process. Here are some of the realities of going into a shared ownership property:
Make sure you have a good relationship with your housing association
This is so important as if there’s a problem with the building this is where you’ll have to go. I bought my property brand new so there was a period of around 12-24 months for defects and during this time I had an issue with my intercom phone and eventually after they didn’t sort it I gave up and it still doesn’t work properly. I wish I hadn’t done this and kept a good relationship with them as now I wouldn’t even know who to contact if I didn’t have an issue. When you pay a monthly maintenance fee you want to make sure any issues are directed to the right people.
Your service charge will go up most years
Following on from the mention above you will be paying a monthly service fee and this covers things like buildings insurance (as you will only be responsible for contents insurance if you buy it), maintenance for communal areas like the car park, lifts, gardens etc and then security and other things which affect the building as a whole. Every single year my service charge has increased, although sometimes by just £10 or so but this all adds up. Each year you will get an overview of what the money has been used on and future projections but expect it.
It can be tough to get through to the right contact
Depending on what your issue is don’t expect to get through to the right person at the housing association first time, and if you do congrats. Generally you’ll have basic email and phone contacts but any time I have needed to contact someone I’ve been forwarded from pillar to post a little bit. When it comes to selling this is one of the things I am dreading the most.
Selling isn’t a quick process
A lot of the other people who moved in when I did have since moved out and I know from all of them that selling isn’t a quick process. Everyone I know whose sold has had a buyer within the first month but not moved out for 7-9 months after putting it up for sale. In all of these situations there was no chain with the person moving in and in a lot of them no chain with the people moving out as a lot were moving back home/ abroad etc.
It is a great way to get your first property
It might seem like there are quite a few negatives but the positives do outweigh them as for most of us buying a house is a tough process and shared ownership is the middle ground to allow you to get on the property ladder without the need for a ridiculous deposit. This is especially true if you’re buying it solo like I did, there’s no way I could have got a mortgage for anywhere outright in my area even a one bed crummy flat so this gave me an option.
Have you ever considered shared ownership?