Your guide to the Vale of White Horse District Council Open Market Equity Loan Scheme

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1 Your guide to the Vale of White Horse District Council Open Market Equity Loan Scheme Making your aspiration of homeownership a reality Your Home, Your Choice For eligible people living or working in the Vale of White Horse District Council area Delivered in partnership with Catalyst Housing Making homeownership more affordable

2 What is the Vale of White Horse District Council Open Market Equity Loan Scheme? The Vale of White Horse District Council Open Market Equity Loan Scheme is an initiative that gives aspiring homeowners, currently priced out of the housing market, a route to purchasing a home of their own. This scheme is delivered by Catalyst Housing and is funded through a partnership with the Vale of White Horse District Council. Boosting your affordability Equity loan schemes traditionally offer low-interest loans that boost your affordability by topping up your maximum mortgage capability. Thus equity loan schemes allow you to purchase a property that you would normally be unable to afford. Your Home, Your Choice Open Market means that you can buy a property of your own choice i.e. via an estate agent, property website etc. As a result, unlike some similar schemes, you are not restricted to choosing a property within a specified new build development. However, any selected property must not be tied to another government backed affordable homeownership scheme e.g. part-buy/part-rent. Catalyst Housing Catalyst Housing is a not-for-profit housing association. We deliver a comprehensive range of affordable homeownership schemes and initiatives across London and the South East of England. Additionally, Catalyst is the government appointed HomeBuy agent for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes), Oxfordshire and Surrey, where we deliver a registration-based one-stopshop solution for people looking to get on to the property ladder but are unable to progress due to their current circumstances and limitations of the financial sector. Catalyst also has extensive experience of working with local authorities and public sector employers in delivering bespoke affordable solutions. 2

3 Who is eligible? Social tenants Existing Vale of White Horse District Council or housing association tenants, where the existing property will be offered to the local authority for nomination. Living in the District Aspiring homeowners who live in the Vale of White Horse District Council area but cannot afford to buy a home on the open market to meet their current requirements. Employed in the District Those who are employed in the district, but do not necessarily live in the area. Key Workers Those currently working in a designated key worker role as defined by the Vale of White Horse District Council. These roles include a number of relevant positions within a variety of public service organisations. Changing Circumstances Those experiencing a major change in circumstances, for example, disability or a prolonged illness, an increase in family size or divorce / separation. Additional Considerations Total household income must not exceed 60,000 per annum. You must have sufficient savings to cover purchasing costs (approx. 3,500) and are likely to need a 5% deposit (current mortgage lending criteria will apply). You must be unable to purchase a property suitable for your needs without assistance. You must be eligible to be accepted on the Vale of White Horse Housing Register. Your name must not be on the deeds of another property whether in the UK or abroad. How much support can I get? Depending on your household income and circumstances you could receive a loan of between 15% and 50% of the value of a property. The maximum loan available is 50,000 (dependent on your individual assessment). For example: Property Price 180,000 Loan 50,000 Mortgage 117,000* Deposit 13,000* Monthly Mortgage Payment * Monthly Interest Payment Total Costs (Monthly) In order to obtain a mortgage, purchasers will likely need to be able to raise a deposit of at least 5% of the property share they are proposing to purchase. Please note, lending policy from financial institutions is subject to change. Before applicants are allowed to proceed, a satisfactory affordability assessment must be obtained from the approved scheme Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) to determine your eligibility for the scheme. * Note: Mortgage rates may vary, please check with the approved scheme IFA. The mortgage figures are for illustrative purposes only. Deposit requirements may vary. 3

4 Is there a charge for the equity loan? The equity loan is subject to a 1.75% interest only charge. The amount charged will increase annually by an amount equivalent to the Retail Price Index* (RPI) plus an additional 0.5%. This increase is illustrated as below: Property Value 180, Mortgage 117, Deposit 13, Equity Loan 50, Yr 1 Interest Charge Monthly payments Yr 1 Interest Charge Assumed RPI (3%) plus 0.5% 4.36 Yr 2 Interest Charge Monthly Payment Increase pcm 2.55 Total increase for the year Yr 2 Interest Charge Assumed RPI (3%) plus 0.5% 4.53 Yr 3 Interest Charge Monthly Payment Increase pcm 2.64 Total increase for year *RPI may vary and increase figures are subject to rounding Note: You are requested to ensure that you DO NOT make any financial commitments until your identified property purchase has been fully approved by both Catalyst Housing and Vale of White Horse District Council. It is important to remember that a firm offer of funding will only be made when a satisfactory financial affordability assessment has been conducted by a qualified Independent Financial Advisor (IFA), appropriate references have been received and a property has been approved for purchase. Applications will be processed on a first come/first serve basis as there is limited support. Terms & Conditions apply and are subject to change. 4

5 How does the scheme work? Step 1 Register with Catalyst Housing by completing the required application forms. In doing so, you will also go on the Vale of White Horse District Council Housing Register. Step 2 Receive written notification from Catalyst Housing of support available. Once you have formally submitted your application forms, Catalyst Housing will contact you within eight working days outlining the range of support that you could be eligible for. Note: If you are not eligible for the scheme you may still be able to benefit from the other affordable home ownership options available. For more information, visit: Step 3 Speak to an Independent Financial Advisor. You are then required to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor appointed for this scheme to obtain a provisional mortgage calculation. Your IFA will provide Catalyst Housing with your financial assessment once you have found a property. Step 4 Start looking for your desired home. At this stage there is no obligation for you to proceed. You will be given a Property Information Form (PIF) by Catalyst Housing. With this in hand, you will be able to start looking for your desired home through all the normal routes; i.e. estate agents, press advertisements and the Internet. Step 5 Property found? Once you have found your property, submit your Property Information Form (PIF) to the Financial Advisor. This will then be given to Catalyst Housing along with the relevant financial assessments and documents. Additionally, a copy of the property particulars should be provided by the selling estate agent. Step 6 Catalyst Housing assess the proposed property. Catalyst Housing s Equity Loans Team will then assess the suitability of the proposed property and obtain any final approvals, for example from Vale of White Horse District Council and your employer if required. Step 7 Green light to proceed, instruct solicitors, survey and submit mortgage application. You will then be given conditional consent to purchase the property using assistance from the Vale of White Horse District Council Open Market Equity Loan Scheme. At this point you should contact your IFA to submit a full mortgage application. Should you wish, we can provide a list of solicitors that you may want to choose from to represent you in the purchase. Step 8 Catalyst Housing set an exchange date deadline. The remainder of the property purchase will proceed in the normal way. Your solicitor will conduct all the relevant searches required. He/she will also seek confirmation with your mortgage provider and the Catalyst Housing s Equity Loans team that all the relevant funds have been approved. In co-ordination with your IFA and solicitor they will need to send us a copy of your mortgage offer and a Homebuyers survey for approval before exchange can be authorised. Once Catalyst Housing has provided your solicitor with formal authority to exchange, the exchange can take place. Completion will be at least 10 working days after exchange and is conditional on your direct debit mandate being received, as well as signing the Equity Loan Agreement. Step 9 Enjoy your new home! 5

6 What type of property can I buy through the scheme? Property Eligibility The home selected for purchase must meet the following criteria: 1. The size of the home must be suitable for the applicant s current housing needs and can be one bedroom in excess of your current need. 2. The home selected must be located in the Vale of White Horse District Council area. 3. The home selected has a wholly residential use. A home where the planning use is part commercial is not eligible. 4. The home selected must be bought with vacant possession and (a) be immediately habitable OR (b) be a new home under construction, provided the purchase price is fixed AND is available freehold or have a lease length of at least 99 years as well as meeting the lender s requirements AND (c) not benefit from other public subsidy AND (d) any property selected must be able to exchange and complete this financial year. 5. The home is acceptable to Catalyst Housing and for mortgage lending purposes; it has good and marketable title, and is in a reasonable state of repair as evidenced by a Homebuyer s Survey and Valuation (HSV) or equivalent. (a building survey is not required). A HSV is required for all properties other than new properties that have not been previously occupied; the Applicant is responsible for the cost of the survey. 6. A new property must have a National House Building Council (NHBC) guarantee or a similar warranty, agreed by Catalyst Housing, by a reputable insurance company. 7. Open market leasehold properties must provide a leasehold interest of more than 70 years remaining as well as meet the Eligible Applicant s Lending Institution s requirements. 8. The Eligible Applicant s Lending Institution places no retention, or a retention of up to 5,000 on the mortgage offer. 9. The following types of property can be purchased, subject to the ADDITIONAL conditions outlined below: 9.1. a home the applicant is currently renting from a private landlord, provided it is self-contained AND the landlord is not resident a property owned or part-owned by a family member (excluding spouse/partner) or business associate, provided that an independent valuation is obtained from a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) agreed by Catalyst Housing an estranged spouse or partner s share in a formerly shared home can be bought out following a relationship breakdown where the disposal is required/supported by: (a) court order (b) legal settlement after a court order (c) order sanctioned by a court (e.g. a consent order) (d) formal written separation agreement signed by both parties, such an agreement can be legally enforced or varied by reference to a court. Subject to change 6

7 (e) a second property can be purchased even though the applicant has an on-going interest in a marital home but only in circumstances where the property cannot be sold, because the estranged spouse/partner is allowed by the court to remain there whilst bringing up dependent children; AND provided that an independent valuation (based on market value with vacant possession) is obtained from a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) agreed by Catalyst Housing Catalyst Housing may reject a home it considers is in poor condition, based on the information provided in the HSV. Where the vendor has agreed to carry out works before completion, Catalyst Housing may approve the home on condition that the applicant provides evidence that the works have been completed to a satisfactory standard, and are acceptable to the applicant s conventional mortgage lender. Excluded Property The following types of property cannot be purchased: 1. A commercial property. 2. A home on sale at auction. 3. A mobile home (including fixed homes covered by the Mobile Homes Act 1983) a caravan and a houseboat. 4. A home offered at a discount or on shared ownership terms by a housing association or local authority or other public body. This includes properties sold with a discount funded through a Section 106 Agreement, except where the property has been privately funded and no other public subsidy has been used or the parties agree otherwise 5. A plot of land on which to build. 6. A home which is to be built by the applicant or a self build group. 7. A property occupied by sitting tenants. 7

8 What are my responsibilities once I have purchased my property? Your responsibilities include the following: The legal charge You will sign a legal charge that will record that you have bought your home with the help of an equity loan. The legal charge sets out certain responsibilities including: Keeping your home in good condition. Informing us and getting our written consent for any improvements or alterations you make. Not subletting your home to anyone else. Keeping your home insured. Paying any service charges required of you. Repaying the loan if you leave your qualifying profession (where relevant). Repairs and maintenance You will be responsible for all the repairs and maintenance on your home, as any home owner is. If you own a flat you will be responsible for maintaining the interior. The freeholder will usually take care of external repairs and decoration to communal areas for which you will pay a service charge. If you own a maisonette, you will usually have an obligation to maintain the exterior together with other occupiers and there may be no service charge. Alterations and improvements You must notify Catalyst Housing and obtain approval for any alterations or improvements you intend to make to the property, for example, building an extension or altering the layout. Any improvements you make to your home which potentially increases its value will be recorded and taken into account when you sell your property. If you need to take out further loans, for repair or improvement, which need to be secured on the property, you must obtain consent from Catalyst Housing. You will not be permitted to obtain a further advance for debt consolidation. Insurance It is your responsibility to ensure that the property is insured and to send the details to Catalyst Housing. 8

9 Selling the property or repaying the loan We are required to provide this information by law. The loan provided by Catalyst Housing is available to people who meet the proposed eligibility criteria. This loan must be secured by a mortgage over the home you buy. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loans secured on it. The amount you will have to repay when the loan comes to an end is linked to the value of your home at the time you sell it. You may have to repay less than you borrowed, but it is likely that you will have to repay more. If you have to repay more than you borrowed, the effect will be similar to a loan under which you pay credit charges at the rate by which your home has increased in value. Example: Assume you buy a home in the Vale of White Horse District Council area for 180,000 and Catalyst Housing provides you with 45,000 (25% of the purchase price). In five years time you want to sell your home and house values have risen. Assume house prices have increased by about 10% a year, so that your home would be worth 198,000. In this example you would repay 25% of the value when you sell the home, which is 49,500. How to sell or repay the loan? 1. If you wish to sell your home or repay the loan at any time, you must contact Catalyst Housing. 2. If you sell the property, you will be required to repay your loan once your mortgage has been redeemed (to a maximum of 25 years). 3. You will then arrange for an independent valuation to be carried out by a RICS approved surveyor, so that the value can be agreed and the loans repaid in full. You will be responsible for the cost of the valuation. 4. You will repay the relevant percentage (your initial loan percentage) of the agreed market value of your home at the time of repayment. 5. Under the terms of the loan, there is an interest charge of 1.75% (APR) payable on the loan annually. This charge will increase by an amount equivalent to the Retail Price Index plus 0.5% on an annual basis. 9

10 Additional Fees Below are a list of additional fees that may be implemented in relation to the Vale of White Horse District Council Equity Loan Scheme, after purchasing the property*. Late monthly payment - 8 If you fail to pay the monthly payment on time. You will also be responsible for any associated legal fees. Redemption of loan If you or your beneficiary repays the equity loan in full. Approving a mortgage - 80 If you wish to change to another mortgage lender or obtain a further advance through your existing lender, Catalyst Housing s consent is required. Registration of improvements - 35 If you wish to make an alteration to the property. Not all works will be accepted as an improvement, so please check with Catalyst Housing first. Transfers of equity - 50 If you wish to add or remove a name from the loan, Catalyst Housing s consent is required. Copies of documents - from 10 If you ask Catalyst Housing to supply a copy of a document. Deed of substitution/ Security - 50 If you require an extension of any lease. * Prices are correct at time of print. Catalyst Housing reserves the right to review these figures. 10

11 Interested? Got some questions? Contact Catalyst Housing on: * 11

12 Catalyst Housing Ltd Ealing Gateway Uxbridge Road London W5 2AU Tel: Fax: BDV924 10/2012 A charitable housing association, IPS no.16561r

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