The three most important things to look for when buying a home are said to be location, location, location. The reasons why you want to live in a particular location vary from person to person: close to work, close to transport, good school catchment areas, near family and friends, it’s the area I know, it’s trendy, up and coming, prices bound to go up in the next few years, handy restaurants, bars and coffee shops…you can add your own reasons why somewhere is the place you really want to live. And if you’ve got enough money you can live there. But if you’re on a budget, then you’re stuck, having to buy where the developers and housing associations offering affordable homes have their new-build properties. Or do you?
Under Conservative and Labour Government sponsored initiatives, housing associations have been offering shared ownership, a way of helping people with modest incomes onto the home ownership ladder, for over 30 years. And the homes they provide, are designated to go on helping people become home owners into the future. So, when a shared owner decides to move on, the first option that they and the housing association they’re partnering with has, is to find somebody else who can benefit from the shared ownership opportunity.
What that means is wider choice. Shared ownership properties that have been built over the whole of the past 30 years could be available to you. Different styles of properties in areas that were just starting to become popular 10, 20 and even 30 years ago but are now established, areas where you grew up and where your parents and family members live but have seen little in the way of new building for years, all of them might have shared ownership properties that you aren’t aware of, available for you.
The main reason that you don’t know about them is that housing associations have very little money to shout about these ‘one-off’ shared ownership opportunities. But they are there and it’s up to you to find out about them. In the second-hand market, furniture is often referred to as pre-owned, clothing as pre-loved and when its shared ownership, housing associations often call them resales. So contact the housing association in the areas you want to live in and ask if they have any resales going.
You’ll have to register with the housing association and your local Help to Buy Agent and you’ll have to satisfy certain income criteria – in that sense it’s no different to finding any other form of affordable home. But the right resale could open up a whole new range of options for you and maybe you’ll be talking about affordable location, affordable location, affordable location before too long.
Jeffrey Gritzman was introduced to shared ownership in the year 2000 and liked the idea so much that he launched Homefocus magazine with the aim of explaining shared ownership to first-time buyers; how it works, how to access it and how it can help people with ordinary incomes to become homeowners.
Jeffrey retired from Homefocus in 2017 but still takes every opportunity to highlight affordable ways to get onto the home ownership ladder.