Your guide to YourChoice Open Market Home Purchase Equity Loan Scheme. Making your aspiration of homeownership a reality

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1 Your guide to YourChoice Open Market Home Purchase Equity Loan Scheme Making your aspiration of homeownership a reality For eligible people living or working in the South Bucks District Council area Delivered in partnership with Catalyst Housing Group Making homeownership more affordable

2 What is YourChoice? YourChoice is an equity loan scheme that offers aspiring homeowners, currently priced out of the housing market, a route to purchasing a home of their own in the open market. This scheme is delivered by Catalyst Housing Group and is funded through a unique partnership agreement between Catalyst and South Bucks District Council (SBDC). Boosting your affordability with an equity loan 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 Preference 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 property you select must not be tied to another Government backed affordable homeownership scheme e.g. shared ownership. Your purchase should proceed like any other personal purchase on the open market. We will always ensure that your financial details are kept confidential; only those assisting with the purchase (solicitor, financial advisor, lender, possibly your estate agent and the vendor) need to know that you are receiving support from this scheme and others only if you decide to tell them. YourChoice really is your business! Catalyst Housing Group Catalyst Housing Group is a Charitable 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. We deliver a registrationbased one-stop shop 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 housing association tenants in SBDC where the resulting vacancy will be offered to the SBDC for nomination. Living in the District Aspiring first time buyers who currently live in the South Bucks District area and have done so for at least the last twelve months or three of the last five years and who cannot afford to buy a home to meet their current requirements. Employed in the District First time buyers who are employed in the district, and who have been for at least the last twelve months, but do not necessarily live in the area. Wexham Park Hospital First time buyers who are permanently employed at Wexham Park Hospital and have been for the last twelve months. Changing Circumstances Those experiencing a major change in circumstances for example through disability / prolonged illness, or divorce / separation. Additional Considerations You must also register your housing needs with SBDC through the Choice Based Lettings website Ideally, you should apply online but if this is not possible, call for a paper application form. Total gross 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 not have been in arrears with rent in the preceding twelve months. You must be unable to purchase a property suitable for your needs without assistance. Your name must not be on the deeds of another property whether in the UK or abroad (with certain limited exceptions). 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 total price of a property. The maximum loan available is 100,000 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 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). * Note: Mortgage rates may vary, please check with the approved scheme IFA provider. 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 2.5% interest only charge. The amount charged will increase annually by an amount equivalent to the Retail Price Index* (RPI) plus 1%. This increase is illustrated as below: Property Value 180, Mortgage 117, Deposit 13, Equity Loan 50, Yr 1 Interest Charge 1, Monthly payments Yr 1 Interest Charge 1, Assumed RPI (3%) plus 1% Yr 2 Interest Charge 1,300 Monthly Payment Increase pcm 4.16 Total increase for the year Yr 2 Interest Charge 1, Assumed RPI (3%) plus 1% Yr 3 Interest Charge 1, Monthly Payment Increase pcm 4.34 Total increase for year *RPI may vary and figures are subject to rounding. Please note the following price caps are likely to apply: 1 Bedroom Property: 180,000 2 Bedroom Property: 250,000 3 Bedroom Property: 325,000 Property values are limited to the above caps and are subject to terms and conditions. Properties above the threshold will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Note: You must ensure that you DO NOT make any financial commitments until any property you identify has been fully approved by both Catalyst Housing Group and SBDC. 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 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 with priority given to existing residents in SBDC if necessary, as funding is limited. Terms and Conditions apply and are subject to change. 4

5 How does the scheme work? Step 1 Register with Catalyst Housing Group by completing the required application form. You will also need to register your housing needs online with the SBDC through the Choice Based Lettings website Ideally, you should apply online but if this is not possible call for a paper application form. Step 2 Receive written notification from Catalyst Housing Group of support available. Once you have formally submitted your application form, Catalyst Housing Group 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. Visit for more information. Step 3 Speak to an Independent Financial Advisor. You are then required to speak to an IFA appointed for this scheme to obtain a provisional mortgage calculation which will be reviewed by Catalyst Housing Group and SBDC. Your IFA will provide Catalyst Housing Group with formal confirmation of your financial assessment once you have found a property. Step 4 Start looking for a suitable home of your choice. At this stage there is no obligation for you to proceed. You will be given a Property Information Form (PIF) by Catalyst Housing Group. 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, exploring the areas in which you want to live. Step 5 Property found? Once you have found your property, submit your PIF to the IFA. This will then be given to Catalyst Housing Group 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 Group assesses the proposed property. Catalyst Housing Group s Equity Loans Team will then assess the suitability of the proposed property and obtain any final approvals, for example from SBDC and your landlord if required. Step 7 Green lights to proceed, instruct solicitors, survey and submit mortgage application. You will then be given conditional consent to purchase the property using assistance from the YourChoice Open Market Home Purchase Equity Loan Scheme. At this point you must 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 Group 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. They will also seek confirmation with your mortgage provider and the Catalyst Housing Group s Equity Loans Team that all the relevant funds have been approved. Your IFA/solicitor 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 Group has provided your solicitor with formal authority to exchange, exchange can take place. Completion must be at least 10 working days after exchange and is conditional on your direct debit mandate also 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 location There are certain criteria governing where you can purchase your property. If you have any queries, please First time buyers who live in the SBDC area can buy anywhere in England, although because the funding is being provided by SBDC to help local people to buy locally, purchasing in or adjacent council area is preferred. First time buyers who are permanently employed in the South Bucks District can buy within the area or buy in the adjacent council area, or any other Buckinghamshire districts, providing it is closer to their place of work. First time buyers who are permanently employed at Wexham Park Hospital may buy within the SBDC area. Property eligibility The home selected for purchase anywhere in England unless otherwise restricted by the above qualification which also meets the following criteria: 1. The size must be suitable to accommodate the applicant s current housing needs and can exceed by one bedroom. 2. The home selected has a wholly residential use. If the planning use is part commercial this is not eligible. 3. The home selected must be bought with vacant possession and a be an immediately habitable existing property OR b be a new home under construction, provided the purchase price is fixed AND i) exchange of contracts can be achieved within 6 months of the applicant being invited to select a home AND ii) is available freehold or have a lease length of at least 99 years as well as meeting the lender s requirements AND iii) does not benefit from other public subsidy 4. The home is acceptable to the Association and for mortgage lending purposes and 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. 5. A new property must have a National House Building Council (NHBC) guarantee or a similar warranty agreed by the Association by a reputable insurance company; 6. An Open market leasehold property (other than new build) must provide a leasehold interest of at least 70 years as well as meet the Eligible Applicant s first charge lending Institution s requirements; 7. The Eligible Applicant s first charge lender places a retention if any on the mortgage offer of no more than 5,000; The following types of property may be purchased, subject to the following ADDITIONAL conditions: 8. A home the applicant is currently renting from a private landlord provided it is self-contained AND the landlord is not resident; 9. 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 RICS surveyor appointed by the Association; 6

7 10. 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: i) court order or ii) legal settlement after a court order or iii) order sanctioned by a court (e.g. a consent order) or iv) formal written separation agreement signed by both parties, such an agreement can be legally enforced or varied by reference to a court. AND provided that an independent valuation (based on market value with vacant possession) is obtained from a RICS surveyor appointed by the Association. 11. A second property can be purchased even though the applicant has an ongoing interest in the 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; 12. The Association may reject any property it considers to be in poor condition, based on the information provided in the HSV. However where the vendor has agreed to carry out works before completion, the Association may approve the home on condition that the applicant provides evidence that the works have been completed to a satisfactory standard, and are also acceptable to the applicant s conventional mortgage lender. AND provided that an independent valuation (based on market value with vacant possession) is obtained from a RICS surveyor agreed by the Association. Excluded property The following type 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 social rented properties which are eligible for purchase under the Right to Acquire, Preserved Right to Buy or equivalent as well as 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; 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 Group 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 Group. You will not be permitted to obtain a further advance for debt consolidation. Insurance It is your obligation to ensure that the property is insured and to send the details to Catalyst Housing Group. Financial difficulties You may at some time experience a change in your personal circumstances which affects your ability to pay your mortgage/equity loan. If this occurs, then please contact Catalyst Housing Group as soon as possible so we can assist in helping to prevent the situation escalating further. 8

9 Selling the property or repaying part or all of the loan If you wish to sell the property or repay the loan you are required to contact Catalyst Housing Group. You will be required to repay your loan once your mortgage has been redeemed (to a maximum of 25 years). You will then arrange for an independent valuation by a FRICS or RICS approved surveyor to be carried out so that the value can be agreed and the loans repaid in full. You will be responsible for the cost of the valuation. You can sell your home or repay the loan at any time. When you do, you will repay the relevant percentage (your initial loan percentage) of the agreed market value of your home at the time of repayment. A minimum of 10% repayment can also be made towards the equity loan at any time after the initial 12 month period. This will be based on the survey value of the property at the appropriate time. Interested? Got some questions? Contact Catalyst Housing Group on: * 9

10 Additional Fees Below are a list additional fees that may be implemented in relation to the YourChoice Open Market Home Purchase Equity Loan Scheme post completion*. Late payment on 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 in full, or part repayment of loan If you or beneficiary repays the equity loan in full. Approving a mortgage - 90 If you wish to change to another mortgage lender or obtain a further advance through your existing lender. Catalyst Housing Group 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. Please check with Catalyst Housing Group first. Transfers of equity - 50 If you wish to add or remove a name from the loan. Catalyst Housing Group s consent is required. Copies of documents - 25 If you ask Catalyst Housing Group to supply a copy of a document. * Prices are correct at time of print. Catalyst Housing Group reserves the right to review these figures. 10

11 This page provides more detailed financial information about the equity loan scheme. We are required to provide this information by law. The loan provided by Catalyst Housing Group 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. You may repay the loan at any time, but it must be repaid if you sell your home. You only have to make one repayment which is the relevant percentage of the market value of your home at the date of repayment. The relevant percentage is calculated as the percentage of the original purchase price that the loan represented at the time of purchase. Under the terms of the loan, there is an interest charge of 2.5% of the value of the loan in Year 1. This charge will increase annually equivalent to the Retail Price Index plus 1% 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. For example, if your home increases in value by 4% a year, the sum you repay will be equivalent to borrowing under a loan with an APR of 4%. Similarly, if your home increases in value by 8% a year, the sum you repay will be equivalent to borrowing under a loan with an APR of 8%. Example: Assume you buy a home in the SBDC area for 180,000 and Catalyst Housing Group provides you with 45,000 (25% of the purchase price). In seven years time you want to sell your home and house values have risen. Assume house prices have increased by about 6% a year, therefore your home would be worth 270,653. In this example you would repay 25% of the value when you sell the home, which is 67,663. As you are repaying more than you borrowed, the amount you repay would be equivalent to borrowing the money at an APR of approximately 6%. 11

12 Ealing Gateway Uxbridge Road London W5 2AU Tel: Fax: BDV918 May 2011 A charitable housing association

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