- What is shared ownership / equity sharing?
Shared Ownership, also known as equity sharing means that we buy a property together. You will purchase between 50% and 90% of the purchase price and we cover the rest. Over time you can increase your share until you own it outright.
- Do I need a deposit to buy the property?
You don’t need a deposit for Co-Own, but you may need one for your mortgage. Some lenders take the Co-Own share instead of a deposit, others will require one. If we think you may be able to save for a deposit, you may not be suitable for Co-Own.
- I'm struggling to save for a deposit.
We understand that saving for a deposit can be hard. Download our excel budget planner to help you work out how much you are spending each month, how much money you have left and how much you could potentially save. Click here to download.
- What can I do if my Co-Own application is turned down?
We will review your application in line with our criteria and we use Experian to review your credit history and to help us make the decision on the credit worthiness of your application.
Previously declined applicants can’t apply until 3 months have passed from the date they were told of an unsuccessful application. Please remember that you will be charged for a new assessment when you apply again, so be sure to check that you meet all the criteria before submitting a new application.
- Can I apply to Co-Own if I have savings?
Yes, any savings over £10,000 must be put towards a deposit.
- How much of the property will I own to start with?
You buy whatever share of the property you choose, depending on how much of a mortgage you can afford. This will be between 50% and 90% of the purchase price. Co-Own will buy the remaining share.
- What is ‘Buying Out?’
Buying Out allows you increase the amount of your home you own in 5% steps or higher percentage blocks that suit your budget. You can buy out completely in one go if you are able to.
- Does Co-Ownership look at my credit history?
When you apply to Co-Own we will perform a full credit assessment to determine your affordability. Part of this assessment is to look at your credit file, not your score, using the Experian credit reference agency. We will look at your credit history which will include things like, if you have any credit cards or loans, the amounts of these and your repayments of these, and if you have missed any payments. Your credit history gives us an idea of how you have managed your credit up to now.
- I have had some debt problems in the past. Can I apply to Co-Own?
Yes you can. Before making an application to Co-Own, any of the following arrangements must have been settled for the stated period:
- Debt relief orders – 6 years
- Bankruptcy – 6 years
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement – 6 years
- Payday Loans & Home Credit – 12 months
The following arrangements also need to have been settled and will be subject to your credit score:
- Debt Management Plans
- Money Judgements
Just remember that you can have no adverse credit at the time of making a Co-Own application.
- Can I rent my property out?
Co-Own enables people to live in an affordable home. Therefore, we would normally not permit you to sub-let your Co-Ownership home unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you wish to sub-let your home please contact us to discuss this. Renting your home out without our permission is a breach of your agreement with us.
- How much are my legal costs?
Your legal costs are made up of two things – the professional fee for your solicitor and the amount for costs and outlays.
You can avail of our legal package and choose a solicitor from our panel. Your property fee of £450 includes the solicitor fee of £370 along with a £80 property valuation fee.
If your application doesn’t progress to solicitors fees, for example if the valuation highlights issues with the property you have chosen, we will refund the solicitors fee. If the solicitor has started work on the case, we’ll split what is due to the solicitor with you 50/50 and refund the rest to you.
You are also responsible for paying your solicitor’s costs and outlays, which you pay direct to the solicitor before the purchase can go ahead. Costs and outlays vary with the particular property and your solicitor will give you a quote once they have seen the title documents. Stamp Duty may be payable through your solicitor at the time of purchase and/or when later buying out. If so, you have options as to how or when duty may be assessed, and we recommend that you get independent legal advice.
If you choose not to use our legal package, you are responsible for finding your own solicitor, agreeing the amount of their professional fee and paying this directly to the solicitor, along with all of their costs and outlays. We’ll refund the full £370 to you.
- Will Co-Own require proof of income?
Yes, we will. In order for your application to be completed and progressed as quickly as possible, please have the following information to hand before you start your application (required for both applicants):
- The last 3 months payslips for all employment (where employed)
- The last 3 months bank statements
- The last 3 years tax calculation summaries (SA302’s) & corresponding tax year overviews (where self-employed). For company directors we will also require your last 3 months payslips.
- A letter from your employer regarding furloughed income (if applicable).
In addition to the above during the course of the application we may ask you to provide:
- Photographic ID
- Proof of current address
- Residency documentation
- Proof of savings e.g. savings statements
- Proof of any other income e.g. benefit award letters
- How can I apply?
Apply online via our Applicant Portal. If you are unable to complete your application online, please contact our Customer Services Team on 028 9032 7276.
- Can I apply to Co-Ownership if I am a second time buyer?
Yes, if you have previously owned a home (or had your name on title as owner of a home) you may still apply providing you meet our criteria. In addition, you must have:
- No mortgage
- No unpaid debt from any previous mortgage
- No property to sell
- No interest in any property, in this country or abroad
- Concluded any settlement arrangements from any previous relationships
- Is my employment status relevant to my Co-Own application?
The following types of employment are acceptable and you must be with your current employer for at least the following period before you apply:
- Permanent – 6 months plus
- Fixed Term – 12 months plus
- Temporary – 12 months plus
- Zero Hours Contract – 12 months plus
- Self Employed – 3 years plus
You must not be under notice of termination of employment or redundancy.
- Are there any restrictions on what type of property I can purchase?
We want to make sure your new home is a sound investment, so we do have some requirements we need you to follow. Check out our criteria for a full list:
- You can choose a property up to £165,000 depending on your affordability anywhere in NI
- It can be a new build or an existing property
- If a new build, it must have a suitable 10-year warranty
- You must live in the property
- You can’t run a business from it
- Sorry, but we cannot buy one-bedroom properties
- We can only buy properties in generally good condition.
- How many people can apply on one application?
We will accept 2 people per application.
- Can I apply on my own without my partner?
If you are married, civil partners, or couples living together or intending to live together in your new home, then we will expect you to apply together.
- Do I need a mortgage broker to apply for Co-Own?
It’s your choice whether you chose to use a mortgage broker or not. For Co-Ownership to be suitable for you, you will need to be able to either have the money or access a mortgage for your share of your home so It is a good idea to understand if you are eligible for a mortgage or not. You can find this out either through talking to a financial adviser or your bank or building society. A list of the lenders who offer Co-Ownership mortgages are listed below.
- Can you recommend a mortgage broker?
Unfortunately, we can not recommend a mortgage broker. You can find a list of mortgage brokers who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on their website.
- Can I buy my housing association home through Co-Own?
Unfortunately, you cannot purchase your registered housing association home through Co-Own.
- Are there specific lenders I should approach for Co-Ownership?
There are a number of lenders in Northern Ireland that will lend for Co-Ownership. If you are using a mortgage adviser, they will help you find the right one for you, alternatively, below is the list of lenders to contact, correct as at August 2020. You should check with the relevant lender for their up to date policy on Co-Ownership cases. We do not require a deposit, some lenders will take our share instead of a deposit, however other lenders may require a deposit from you. Your eligibility for a mortgage with a particular lender will be dependent on your own circumstances and you should check if you meet their lending criteria.
Lenders offering Co-Own mortgages:
- Bank of Ireland
- Leeds Building Society
- Nationwide Building Society
- Progressive Building Society
- Ulster Bank
Please be aware that: this list is in alphabetical order; we do not recommend or endorse any lender over any other; we cannot provide contact details for any lender; you should take their own independent financial advice; although this is a list of all the lenders we are aware of who operate in the shared ownership market, there may be others who may be prepared to lend for shared ownership and you are free to approach whichever lender you wish.
- Can I get a refund if I decide not to proceed with my application?
This will depend on what stage of the application process you are at.
The assessment fee of £100 is non-refundable.
The property fee of £450 may be refundable in part depending on how far the application has been processed. If you withdraw your application or it is declined you may be due a refund as follows:
- if no valuation has been conducted a refund of £415 will be due.
- if a valuation has been conducted but no legal work has been instructed a refund of £370 will be due.
- if legal work has been instructed but not completed a refund of £370 less one half of any legal costs incurred will be due.
If you applied before 8 May 2019 your refund amounts will be different. Contact us to find out more.
- Where does the money from the rental payments go?
The rent to Co-Ownership goes towards the cost of running the organisation and helping more people into their homes.
- I am an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen but live in Northern Ireland, can I buy a home through Co-Own?
From 31st December 2020 to be eligible to apply for Co-Own you must be resident in NI, and must have settled or pre-settled status or another suitable form of immigration status. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme details are available at: www.nidirect.gov.uk.