Censeo Financial: Buying your Shared Ownership home

Specialist mortgage broker give their top tips for successfully securing your home in 2022

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.

Buying your first home

Buying your first home can be a massive step, and too often involves stress and uncertainty. However, with proper planning and the right advice, it should be reasonably pain free. So, here are some handy tips to help you get on the housing ladder.

Sort your finances

Work out exactly what you can afford and what your likely outgoings will be. We’ve developed a simple online financial assessment which will give you a result in under 24 hours – you can find out more here.

Making use of this will save you time down the line, because if you pass, you will receive a Decision in Principle certificate confirming the property is affordable and sustainable to you in accordance with the Shared Ownership guidelines. This can be shared with the organisation looking to sell you a home to give them confidence you can proceed and meet the criteria to buy a Shared Ownership home.

Get proper financial advice

Buying a Shared Ownership property is different from buying somewhere outright. Therefore, we always recommend that you seek help from a professional mortgage adviser firm such as Censeo Financial, which specialises in Shared Ownership and affordable homeownership purchase options. They know the lenders who offer Shared Ownership mortgages and how to accurately package them to the lender preventing delays, inaccurate mortgage offers, and it could well save you time and money in the long run.

Censeo has a team of full-time professional advisers with an in-depth knowledge of Shared Ownership. We also have strong relationships with all the lenders operating in this sector – we even have our own exclusive deals. Plus, we have a long track record of working with all the leading housing associations and developers in the affordable housing sector.

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

Appoint a decent solicitor

Solicitors play a significant role in the whole process of buying a property. From making sure you have everything necessary to help you buy your home quickly, to checking the lease and speaking to both your mortgage broker and the solicitors acting for the housing association or developer.

In addition, they will also carry out searches, as well as ensuring the developer has all the correct legal documentation for the scheme it is selling.

Ultimately, your solicitor will need to check that all the paperwork and your mortgage are in place to allow you to purchase your new home. A lot of time will be spent liaising with all the different parties – that is why it is so important to choose a good, efficient lawyer with knowledge of Shared Ownership.

Censeo and Share to Buy have a panel of law firms that we work with. You are under no obligation to select one of these conveyancing lawyers, but they do all have significant experience in this sector which should speed up the sales process.

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

Be patient

From reserving your property to completing usually takes around six weeks but can take anything up to 12 weeks or even longer, it depends if you are buying off-plan, a completed new build home or a resale home. Most businesses are facing challenges on obtaining materials or staff shortages. The impact of COVID-19 is resulting is staff shortages, as a result lenders processing times are increasing, and lenders valuers are taking longer to visit the property and development you wish to buy. This means mortgage offers are taking longer to be issued. Solicitors have the same issue and often must wait longer for responses to enquiries they raise to person selling your home.

When you reserved your property, you may have only seen a show home and reserved off-plan, in these cases you may have to wait for the home to be completed which with shortages on building materials and staff could impact the anticipated completion date of your home. If you are buying a resale home, you may have to negotiate the completion day with the seller, and they equally may have to do the same with the seller of the home they wish to move to – this is known as the chain as all those buying and selling need to agrees dates to move that allow everyone to move.

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Be prepared

Work backwards from your expected completion day. Think about sorting out your change of address, do your homework on the best utility and insurance companies to use and of course book the removal van! You must work closely with your solicitor before doing this.

Plan for the future

Buying your first home isn’t the end of the process though, as at the end of two years (or five years, depending on the mortgage you took out) you’ll have the option of either re-mortgaging or staircasing (where you can decide to buy a larger share in your home). With both scenarios, it is a good idea to seek advice from a qualified mortgage advisor. Censeo offer regular mortgage reviews over a two or five year period, personal circumstances can change, so it’s important that you undertake regular reviews of your mortgage and protection requirements to ensure they meet your current needs.

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.