Calling all tenants....
Would you like to own your own home but think you can't afford it?
There are a number of Government schemes available to help first time buyers onto the property ladder... And did you know that as an existing tenant of a social landlord you are a priority for all of these schemes?
To find out more information, including details of properties in your area, go to our website at www.southwesthomes.org.uk, or speak to one of our customer service advisors on 0300 100 0021. We look forward to hearing from you.
If you are interested in more information or what properties we currently have available please check the menus on the left hand side, alternatively please contact the Home Ownership Team on 0800 316 0897 or check the websites.
Buying more shares
Buying more shares in your home is called 'staircasing'.
Can I buy more shares?
Your lease will explain how many more shares you can buy and how many you can own altogether. Most leases allow you to buy 100% of the property, but some restrict the amount you can own. Your lease will also make clear when you can buy more shares. You can usually buy them in up to three stages. You may be able to buy more shares as soon as you have bought a property or you may have to wait until you have lived there at least 12 months. Your lease will explain, but please contact us for more information.
What are the benefits of staircasing?
If you staircase to 100% ownership you will no longer pay a monthly rent, but if you pay service charges these will continue. If you staircase to less than 100%, your rent will go down in proportion to the share you buy and you will pay less rent each time you buy more shares. You can view a worked example by clicking on the link to the right.
Paying for more shares?
Before you apply to buy more shares you should check with a mortgage lender whether you will be able to get a mortgage to cover the cost of the extra shares you wish to buy. We can recommend an independent financial advisor if you want.
Please note that if you are buying less than 100% of the property we must approve any new mortgage you take out on it.
How much do I pay for the shares?
We get your property valued by a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. We cannot accept valuations from estate agents. You will have to pay for the valuation.
Please let us know of any structural alterations or improvements you have made to the property. Even if your improvements have raised its value, we don't benefit by charging you a higher price for the shares - provided you got our written permission to make the improvements.
On receiving the valuation we will write to you confirming the value of the property and the cost of the extra shares. If you decide to go ahead, you must then instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. We will also instruct our solicitor. We will each be responsible for paying our own solicitor's costs. You may also have to pay an administration fee to us if your lease says so.
What can I do if I do not agree with valuation?
We instruct independent valuers, who do not have any financial interest in the purchase, of extra shares in a property. If you do not agree with the valuation please do contact us. We can ask the valuer to provide extra information about how they arrived at the valuation figure if needed.
You may instruct a second independent valuation if you still do not agree with the figure arrived at. This must be an independent market valuation carried out by an RICS valuer. Where there is a significant difference in the 2 valuations provided, we will contact both valuers to request extra information before confirming the valuation figure to be applied.
How long does the process take?
You have three months from the date of the valuation to buy the extra shares. A new valuation will be needed if you have not completed the purchase of these shares in this time.
What happens when the purchase is complete?
If you are buying a house, then once you have bought all the remaining shares in your property, the freehold will usually be transferred directly to you on completion. If you are buying an apartment, you will keep the leasehold interest in it.