General FAQs

Buying off-plan means purchasing a property before it's completed. Essentially, buyers commit to purchasing a property based on the developer's floor plans and specification, rather than a physical, ready-to-move-in home. This may be because the property is in the early stages of development or merely a concept on paper. Often, this allows buyers to receive a lower price than when the property is finished.

Now for the fun part. To book a viewing of one of our properties, visit the property listing and click the "Book a Viewing" button. Select a date and an available time slot, fill in some details, and confirm your booking. If no available appointments are shown, please register your interest and look out for an email inviting you to the next available opportunity to view. Please note, if there are no available viewing slots, it may be that the home is currently only available off-plan. For clarification or any further assistance, you can call us on 0300 555 2171 or email us: sales@southernhousing.org.uk

For any assistance or further information you may require, please feel free to reach out to our friendly sales team by calling us on 0300 555 2171, or drop us an email: sales@southernhousing.org.uk.

We do not provide financial advice ourselves, but we recommend that you speak with reputable financial advisors who can help you with mortgage and financial planning. We’re proud to work with a panel of financial advisors who specialise in Shared Ownership advice, a member of our sales team will be glad to point you in the right direction.

You're responsible for the servicing and maintenance of the boiler after completion, under the terms of a self-repairing lease. The boiler will have an in-date service certificate upon completion so you know it’s good to go from day one.

Not straight away, only once you've submitted the appliance guarantee warranties with the product manufacturer(s) – so add that to the to-do-list. Integrated appliances or white goods are gifted with the home and will not be repaired or maintained by Southern Housing.

Yes, you're responsible for setting up your own utility accounts from the day you move in. You can find the supplier details in your Home Owners Manual, and we'll provide you with meter readings on the day you collect your keys. Any bills up to your completion date will be paid by Southern Housing, after this date you are responsible for your own bills.

Sure does! But make sure to check the date for your property if the defects liability period has passed repairs will not be covered. You'll find the expiry date in your Home Owners Manual, and on your completion handover form. Our new homes have a 12 month defects liability period, from the date Southern Housing takes handover from the building contractor. Depending on when you move into your home you may have full, partial, or none of the defects period on your property.

We’ve taken care of it. The home you're buying will have been through a snagging and de-snagging procedure before you move in. Snagging is conducted by the Southern Housing development team and building contractor prior to handover. As you're buying the property from Southern Housing and not the builder directly, you'll be unable to conduct your own snagging inspection.

Upon completion, you'll be required to pay one full month advance rent and service charge payment, your solicitor will collect this from you on the day you complete your purchase. In some cases, you may pay the remainder of the month plus a full month rent and service charge, this will be confirmed to you by your solicitor when you set your completion date.

Your rent will increase annually from 1 April, this increase will be outlined in your lease. If you complete your purchase on or before 30 September, your rent will increase the following April, however if your completion is after 30 September it won't increase until April the year after. For example, if you complete on 1 August 2023 your rent increase will be 1 April 2024, whereas if you complete on 1 October 2023, your rent won't increase until 1 April 2025. When you purchase a new home, the service charge is estimated for the first year, this is because no one’s lived in the property to have any accounts or costs to base the service charge budget on. From year 2 the service charge will be set in line with expenditure plus the administration charge which will increase in line with the terms of your lease. Ask your solicitor for more details on the service charge breakdown budget.

You'll receive a welcome letter from the Leasehold Team shortly after you complete your purchase, providing you with key contacts. Once your "My Account" has been setup on the Southern Housing resident portal, you can use this to check your rent/service charge payments, report issues, and make enquiries.

No, Help to Buy was a separate government scheme that has now ended. However, Shared Ownership is an affordable homeownership government scheme that is similarly designed to help first-time buyers and those with low incomes to get onto the property ladder.

Shared Ownership FAQs

Shared Ownership is a government-backed home ownership scheme designed to help people to buy a home who may otherwise not be able to due to income and affordability. It allows you to buy a share of a property between 25% - 75%, paying a mortgage on the share you own, and paying a subsidised rent on the remaining share. It's an affordable way to get on the property ladder with lower upfront costs.

The process of buying a Shared Ownership home isn’t drastically different from buying any other new build home, and it can be relatively straightforward. The process involves: • Finding your dream home, and making a reservation. Having a financial assessment to determine your eligibility and decide what percentage of the property can afford to buy. • Securing a mortgage for the share of the property you are purchasing. • Appointing a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of your purchase. • Signing and exchanging contracts. • Paying the agreed down payment. • And, the most exciting part, collecting the keys to your new home!

Firstly, you may want to check your eligibility with a financial advisor and then, if eligible, you’ll be in a good position to reach out to our team who’ll be able to help you with the next stages of your journey. You can apply for Shared Ownership through our website by completing an application form or speaking to our dedicated sales team by phone on 0300 555 2171 or by email, at sales@southernhousing.org.uk.

Most Shared Ownership homes are purchased with a mortgage. However, it is possible for cash buyers to buy a portion up to 75% of a Shared Ownership home without a mortgage. They would still have to make rental payments on the remaining portion they don’t own.

Shared Ownership isn’t exclusive to first-time buyers, but it is suited to those looking to get on the property ladder who may not be able to buy a home otherwise. Those who already own a home, however, must have sold already, or be in the process of selling their home.

There’s typically no strict age limit for Shared Ownership, but you must be at least 18 years old. There’s also a separate Shared Ownership Scheme for those aged 55+.

Only properties that are built specifically for the purpose of Shared Ownership may be bought under the scheme. Shared Ownership properties are typically new builds but can also be resales. Check our properties page or available properties.

Check out the properties page on our website to view our current Shared Ownership listings or visit property portals such as Zoopla or Share To Buy (a specialist Shared Ownership Portal). You can also sign up for property alerts or speak to an estate agent to stay informed about new opportunities under the scheme.

While we specialise in new build homes, Shared Ownership can apply to both new build and resale properties that were bought as part of the scheme and the owner wishes to sell on. It depends on what’s available in your desired location.

Your monthly payments will include your mortgage repayment for the share you purchase via a mortgage provider of your choice, and the rental payment on the remaining share, which you pay to us. Homes are sold on a leasehold basis. When your lease is first issued, your rental sum is generally calculated at 3% of the share you pay rent on. For example, on a £200,000 home that you own 50% of and pay rent on the other 50%, you would expect to pay £3000 per year (3% of £100,000), which works out at £250 in monthly rent.

While the minimum share you can officially buy is 10%, most providers typically start from 25% of the property's value. It can vary by development, so it’s worth checking in with your provider.

As a Shared Owner, you’re responsible for maintaining and repairing your home, just like any other homeowner and regardless of what share you own. However, it’s always worth checking your building warranty: some costs may be covered and some things may benefit from an initial repair period.

The good news is, that Shared Ownership can work out cheaper than private renting. The rental cost of a Shared Ownership property is subsidised by the Government and there are restrictions on rent rises. It also allows you to build equity in your home, holding part of it as an asset while paying subsidised rent on the remaining share, which is typically more cost-effective in the long term.

Feel free to start researching this season’s colour schemes: you can decorate and make improvements to your Shared Ownership home as you desire. However, your Shared Ownership lease will have details about major alterations to the property, e.g. new flooring, structural changes, which you may need to get permission for before work commences.

Yes, but you need permission to make significant alterations to your home, with structural changes typically not allowed. Our friendly team will be able to advise on any specific alterations which you may have in mind.

Don’t panic! Shared Ownership doesn’t mean shared living. Shared Ownership properties can be purchased individually or with a partner or family member. It's a flexible option that often helps single buyers to get on the property ladder.

Some furry friends are allowed in certain Shared Ownership properties, but it's essential to check with us and review your lease for any specific restrictions.

Leasehold ownership is a long tenancy. Shared Ownership properties are typically leasehold because of the rented part of the property, giving you the right to occupy the home for a longer period, or for the ‘term’ of the lease. As part of the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme, it is expected that lease terms will be extended to 999 years as standard. Your lease will outline your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner.

A resale property is a Shared Ownership home that is being sold by the current owner. You can purchase their share and take over their lease.

Staircasing is the process of purchasing additional shares in your Shared Ownership property, helping you increase your ownership percentage over time. For example, if you started by holding 25% of your home’s lease, you could buy another 25% share, which would mean you hold a 50% share. Dependent on the terms of your lease, you can even build up to 100% ownership of your home.

You can sell your Shared Ownership home at any time, and we’re here to help you do so. We have a unique database of people who are looking for a Shared Ownership home, and under the terms of your lease, you will have a nomination period of 8 weeks in which we can assist you to find another Shared Ownership buyer for your property. We have a great track record of finding buyers within the set nomination period, but if we’re unsuccessful, you’re allowed to sell your Shared Ownership home on the open property market at a 100% share.

In most cases, subletting in a Shared Ownership home isn’t allowed. It could be a condition of your mortgage as your Shared Ownership home is designed to be your primary residence. Under some exceptional circumstances, you may be able to sublet for a specified period, in which case you’ll be required to obtain written permission first. Renting individual rooms (taking a lodger) can be agreed but be sure to check your lease agreement before doing so.

You usually need to pay a monthly service charge when you buy a Shared Ownership home. A service charge covers the cost of keeping those shared areas and facilities in your development looking beautiful, such as, communal gardens, lifts and other communal spaces. You’ll be able to find more information around the specifics of your service charge within your lease agreement.

As a Shared Owner, you’re responsible for paying your mortgage repayments, rent, service charge and insurance. It’s also your responsibility to keep the property in good repair. You’ll need to seek permission before carrying out any structural changes. And to allow us reasonable access to the property if given advance notice, we’ll always give a clear explanation why we want access, so we won’t be dropping by unannounced – we’ll leave that to your family members. It’s also expected that you will not be involved in any anti-social behaviour at the property and that you’ll give us notice if you intend to sell your share in the house.

Without a property chain to slow down the process, buying a home with Shared Ownership is typically much quicker than buying on the open market. An average timeframe can range from one to three months from the initial application to completion, while buying a home outright takes on average six months to complete. The time can vary depending on several factors.

While not legally required, it’s highly recommended that a survey is conducted on any new build property before purchase. This can help identify any potential issues that may have been missed or caused during the building process, such as cosmetic issues with paint, or misaligned fixtures like handles and hinges. Any issues found during a survey tend to be minor, but they’re also an opportunity to reveal more serious concerns, like structural problems. It’s important that any issues are fixed before you move in so that you can relax into your dream new home.

As a Shared Owner, you’re responsible for maintaining and repairing your home, just like any other homeowner regardless of what share you own. However, it’s always worth checking your building warranty: some costs may be covered and some things may benefit from an initial repair period.

London Living Rent FAQs

London Living Rent is an affordable housing scheme in London aimed at providing low and middle-income residents with access to high-quality, affordable rental homes. It offers a rent structure designed to be more affordable than market rents while still providing comfortable and well-maintained accommodation.

Eligibility criteria for London Living Rent can vary, but generally, you must be a London resident with a household income within specific limits. Eligibility requirements may also consider factors such as your current housing situation and the size of your household. Detailed eligibility requirements are typically available on the official website of the housing authority or organization offering London Living Rent properties.

London Living Rent tenancies are typically for a minimum of three years. However, the exact duration of your tenancy can vary depending on the specific development or property. It's important to review the terms of your tenancy agreement to understand the length of your rental commitment.

Your monthly rent under the London Living Rent scheme is typically based on your household income and the market rent value of the property. The aim is to set the rent at an affordable level, usually around one-third of your household income. This ensures the rent remains affordable for eligible residents.

If you choose not to buy the home within the 10-year period, the specific terms of your tenancy agreement will dictate what happens next. It's possible that you may continue renting the property at a London Living Rent rate. Alternatively, you may be required to move out, and the property may be made available to another eligible applicant. The exact terms can vary, so it's essential to carefully review your tenancy agreement to understand your options and obligations.

Open Market Sale FAQs

Open Market Sale is the traditional way of buying a property. Purchasing the entire property without any Shared Ownership or rental agreements. Whether you buy it outright or with a mortgage, you become the sole owner of the property (or co-owners if you buy it with someone else). There are no restrictions on how you use it.

The process of buying a new home typically involves: property search, mortgage application if you require financing, placing and negotiating an offer with the seller, appointing a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of the transaction, arranging a property survey, exchanging/signing sales contracts, and finally, on the agreed-upon completion date, you take possession of the property woohoo! With new build properties things can often move quickly, and you could be settled into your new home within eight weeks of your initial enquiry.

The deposit required for a property in the UK typically ranges from 5% to 20% of the property's purchase price. The exact amount depends on various factors, including your lender's policies and your financial situation.

A mortgage is a loan used to purchase a property. You borrow money from a lender to buy the home and then make regular mortgage payments, which include both the repayment of the loan principal as well as interest. The interest is the cost of borrowing money. Mortgages are usually repaid over a period of 15 to 30 years, depending on various factors.

Service charges for Open Market Sale properties vary depending on the development and what services are provided. Details are available on our individual property listings or provided by property management companies.

Your typical outgoings as a homeowner will include mortgage repayments (unless you purchased your home outright), any applicable service charges, property taxes such as council tax, home insurance, and utility bills including electricity, gas, water, Wi-Fi etc. We expect there will be a few new home décor items thrown into the mix as well!

A leasehold property means you have a long-standing lease agreement with a freeholder (landlord) for a specified period, often several decades. This agreement outlines your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner. Leaseholders typically pay ground rent and may also be subject to service charges.

The average time it takes to complete your Open Market Sale purchase will vary, but it can be as little as eight weeks. If the purchase involves a ‘property chain’ (when several buyers and sellers are all connected and dependent on one another for their home purchase to go through) the timeframe could be considerably longer

It’s advisable to have a property survey done, especially for older properties or properties with unique features. A survey helps assess the property's condition and can uncover potential issues that may affect your decision to purchase or negotiate the price.