First-time buyers are encouraged to consider a discount program to help them access the property ladder.
Also aimed at people on low to middle incomes, the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme allows people to buy a house without having to finance the full cost of it and is available in Scotland to those buying their first property and people part of a priority access group.
This includes first-time home buyers, as well as buyers aged 60 and over, people living in council or housing association housing, people with disabilities, members of the armed forces and those who have left the services over the past two years.
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Bereaved partners of those who have died in service in the last two years can also benefit from the scheme, reports the Daily Record, which allows people to buy a share of a house – usually between 60% and 90% cent – the Scottish government then buying the remaining share.
The Scottish Government will, however, receive a share of the money when a house purchased using the scheme is sold at a later date.
Open Market Shared Equity Program Priority Access Groups
The program is available across Scotland for these priority access groups:
- People aged 60 and over
- First time buyers
- Social tenants – people who rent from the town hall or a housing association
- People with Disabilities
- Members of the armed forces
- Veterans who have left the armed forces in the last two years
- Widows, widowers and other partners of military personnel up to two years after their partner lost their life in service
Maximum price thresholds
You cannot buy a house for more than a certain “high threshold” price.
There are different threshold prices across Scotland. So before you apply to buy under the scheme, make sure the house doesn’t exceed the threshold price for that area – full details can be found here.
How to register
If you wish to apply for the programme, you must first read this information sheet.
If you are eligible for the scheme, contact the Link Homes Administrative Agent – full details on the mygov.scot website here.
There are currently 13 lenders offering mortgages for the Open Market Shared Equity program:
- Bank of Scotland
- Capital Credit Union
- Glasgow Credit Union
- Lloyds Bank
- At national scale
- Scottish Building Society
- Scotwest Credit Union
If your application is approved, you will receive a ‘passport letter’ stating that you can now seek accommodation under the scheme. The “passport letter” will tell you the maximum price you can pay for a house. It will also tell you what your next steps should be.
Once you have found a home you like, you will be asked to provide a copy of the appraisal. This will usually be provided in the Home Report, which the seller of the home will give to you.
When you’re ready to buy, you’ll need a lawyer to act on your behalf and help you buy the house. The Scottish Government has its own solicitor who will deal with work involving its share of capital.
You will then have to pay your share of the price of the house in the usual way, plus any other costs, such as court fees, registration fees and any stamp duty.
You can find more details about the program, including what happens after you buy a home, on mygov.scot here.
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