Censeo Financial: What is affordable and sustainable when buying through Shared Ownership?

Specialist broker talks Shared Ownership mortgages and affordability

Introducing Censeo Financial

Censeo Financial are an award-winning mortgage broker specialising in Shared Ownership and affordable homeownership. Having been trading for over 16 years, we work with many housing associations, councils and developers, and have helped thousands of first time buyers get onto the property ladder.

We have access to all lenders who offer Shared Ownership mortgages and often get exclusive deals that you wouldn’t get from going to a lender direct. We understand the importance of providing a friendly and helpful service and have achieved 98% five star Google reviews in the last 12 months – we strive to offer the best service possible and to find our customers the best mortgage for their personal needs saving time and money.

Calculating affordability

In our last blog we gave you an overview of what you need to do when preparing to buy a Shared Ownership home. Buying a property can seem complicated and a huge commitment but mortgage brokers like Censeo who specialise in Shared Ownership and other affordable home purchases, have friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you every step of the way.

When you are ready to search for a property, we can help you do a quick calculation using an affordability application, like the Censeo Affordability App, this will let you know what you can afford and roughly what your monthly outgoings will be. Armed with this knowledge, you will then be able to do the exciting part – start looking through the property listings on Share to Buy to find a Shared Ownership home that fits your budget.

Stock image of a couple signing paperwork - find Shared Ownership homes on Share to Buy!

Viewing the property

Once you’ve found a property you are interested in, you will need to contact the housing provider (housing association, developer or local authority) to book an appointment to view the property or visit the sales suite and show home.

If on a viewing you like what you have seen, to reserve the property, the housing provider will require a Homes England affordability assessment to be undertaken by an approved specialist mortgage broker like Censeo. Due to the specialist nature of Shared Ownership mortgages, the mortgage broker should be suitably experienced in this area. The assessment will assess your ability to afford and sustain the mortgage, rent and service charge alongside your existing financial commitments in line with the affordable homes criteria and lenders underwriting requirements.

It will also confirm if you are eligible to buy a Shared Ownership property or not and allow us to assess your likely ability to secure a mortgage.

A couple viewing a property - Start your search for a Shared Ownership home on Share to Buy!

Decision in Principle certificate

Viewing days can be very busy, and often it’s worthwhile going to the viewing with a Censeo Decision in Principle certificate – This confirms that we have assessed your income and expenditure against the property you are interested in, you meet the Homes England affordability assessment and are likely to meet lenders requirements.  Having this done upfront gives the salesperson confidence to know you can proceed and could benefit you in securing your preferred home.

To gain a Censeo Decision in Principle certificate, just go online and visit Censeo’s easy-to-use online portal. Alternatively, complete the online enquiry form on Share to Buy and one of our team will be in touch with you.

Censeo work with many Housing Associations, Developers and Local Authorities to undertake Homes England or Greater London Authority (GLA) shared ownership affordability assessments based on the regional location of the property. This initial assessment is free of charge and is only intended to provide an initial indication of affordability. The affordability assessment will assess the maximum share you can afford and sustain based on your income, financial outgoings, and the mortgage, rent and service charge of the property you wish to buy. This must meet a maximum debt to household income ratio.

The affordability must pass on an initial share of between 25% and 75% of the full market value of the property, although on some developments you maybe able to buy a share as low as 10%. You are required to buy the maximum share that the mortgage broker, if their professional assessment of your financial situation confirms you can afford. In the case of a resale (a pre-owned Shared Ownership property) you must buy at least the share owned by the seller. You must pass the affordability assessment, with Censeo or a similar specialist broker signing off the affordability assessment based on the regional requirements of Homes England or the GLA and you will need to provide supporting documentation.

First time buyer looking through their mortgage paperwork - start your search for a Shared Ownership home on Share to Buy!

Shared Ownership Mortgages

Once offered the property you’ll have 28 days to gain a mortgage offer, so you need to arrange a mortgage quickly. The best way is through a specialist mortgage broker who specialise in Shared Ownership and affordable homeownership properties like Censeo as you need sound financial advice from a company who knows the product.  Having access to all lenders, their experience saves you time and possibly money as they know the lenders criteria. Have a look at the mortgage section of the Censeo website for more information about mortgages.

You can arrange your mortgage with the broker who carried out the assessment if you wish, or use another mortgage broker. It is advisable to use a specialist broker with experience of Shared Ownership – like Censeo – but the sale cannot be conditional on using the mortgage broker who did the initial assessment. Therefore, if Censeo did not do the initial assessment, you can still use us to do the mortgage if you have enjoyed our advice and guidance while using the Share to Buy website.

Stock image of a mortgage application - Start your search on Share to Buy today!

Share to Buy is a one stop shop for affordable homes. On our website, you can search for propertiescompare mortgages and find out all you need to know about alternative home buying schemes such as Shared Ownership and Help to Buy.