Buying a shared ownership home off plan
A guide for Moat customers
What does "buying off plan" mean?
New homes are often reserved and bought by purchasers before their construction is complete, sometimes several months before they are built and finished. This is called "buying off plan."
At Moat, our new homes are made available for sale several months before they are finished. This gives you a chance to reserve off plan. Sometimes every single one of the homes we have for sale in any given development is reserved off plan during the months leading up to completion.
Reserving a new home off plan means that you commit to buying a property that is still being constructed. You may, or may not, have an opportunity to physically view inside it before your commitment to buy it becomes a legal obligation (at the stage where you legally exchange contracts).
A show apartment or show house is sometimes available to view; this may not be exactly the same as the property you are considering, but should give you an idea about style, specification and finishes. By visiting the show home, you will have opportunity to meet the Moat team face to face and to ask any questions you have. You can also explore the local neighbourhood and carry out your own research into things like public transport connections, schools, etc.
For some developments, we invite people who have registered their interest to a launch event held at the developer's sales suite, or, sometimes in a local hotel, village hall or similalir venue. At the event you will be able to view the floor plans, site plan and normally computer generated images of what the homes should look like inside and out. In some instances a mortgage advisor will be on hand to run through the figures of buying one of the homes with you.
What do I need to do?
If you are looking to live outside London, complete a Help to Buy application form at helptobuyese.org.uk/apply-online.
For homes in London, check you meet the headline eligibility for shared ownership: gross household income of no more than £90,000 per annum; you are unable to purchase a suitable home to meet your housing needs on the open market; you do not already own a home or you will have sold your current home before you purchase; additional criteria may be specified by local planning authorities for specific developments.
Work up your budget - use the online mortgage affordability calculator i.e. https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/house-buying/mortgage-affordability-calculator to estimate how much you can borrow to buy a home. This, plus your deposit, will give you an idea of the share you could afford to buy.
Look for a property in a development located where you wish to live on our website moathomes.co.uk. In the early stages of marketing, we announce new developments on our website as "coming soon." Sometimes this can be a year or even longer before we anticipate the properties being complete. As more specific details emerge, these are added to the website.
If you are interested in these homes, you can register your interest in the development via the feature on the website. This is a simple "no commitment" service and, by doing so, you sign up to receiving updates with more information as and when these become available. At the same time, you should read up about shared ownership and understand exactly how it works.
By registering your interest in shared ownership with Moat at a particular development, you will receive details of the Moat sales officer who will be your main contact. We provide the officer's name and direct telephone contact number. This gives you a direct link to someone who can help answer your questions and guide you through the process of buying your shared ownership home.
When prices are released, we are ready to take reservations off plan. You will receive an email advising you whether we are holding a launch event or if we are taking reservations from viewing the information online and completing an 'expression of interest' form and returning it to us before the set deadline.
Follow the link on the email to carry out a headline affordability/eligibility assessment, if you pass this then you will be given a list of the plots that fit your affordability.
Browse these plot floor plans and decide on your preferences.
You will be provided with a link to either go onto book an appointment to come along to the launch event or be directed to log on to 'my account' to complete an 'expression of interest form.' If it is a London development, we will ask you to complete an application form through 'my account' at this stage as well.
We will send you confirmation if one of your choices of homes has been successful.
Be ready to speak to the panel mortgage advisor to carry out a full financial assessment to see what share value you can afford to buy and to collate documentation we need to confirm your reservation.
Pay a £500 reservation deposit to secure your reservation.
Instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf for all the legal matters associated with buying a home.
Arrange a surveyor's valuation of the property - you do this via your mortgage lender or your mortgage advisor.
Read and complete the legal paperwork and pay your deposit to your solicitor so that exchange of contracts can happen.
Sit back, wait for your home to be build complete and ready for you to move into!
Things to consider when buying off plan
When you reserve a home off plan, the Moat team will keep you up to date with progress on site. If there are likely to be any delays that we become aware of, we will tell you.
Construction delays can, and sometimes do, happen. The date of your expected completion can subsequently change and you may have to make alternative plans for your accommodation if, say, your tenancy notice is about to expire.
Most mortgage offers are valid for six months. If your completion date is further in the future or there are build delays, you may have to re-apply which can incur extra charges. Discuss this with your mortgage advisor so that you're clear about potential costs.
Where we can, we try to get safe access either to the home that you have reserved off plan, or to a similar property. When this happens - and it isn't always possible (because of health and safety restrictions) - it is usually after you have reserved and much closer to completion date. You may be required to exchange contracts (legally commit to buying the property) without having viewed it other than off plan. We cannot delay exchange until you have seen your new home.
When you reserve off plan and exchange contracts, this is done "on notice." This means you will be given notice of ten days within which time you will have to complete on the purchase, ready to move in. Ask your solicitor to explain "exchanging on notice" to you in more detail.
- Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage, rent or other loans secured on it. Please note that the market value of properties can go down as well as up.
- Delays in the construction of new build homes can, and do, happen. Moat undertakes to provide you with updates on the build progress: however, Moat cannot be held responsible for delays and will not refund any costs you may incur.
- The mortgage calculator only gives an indicative idea of the level of borrowing and a further sustainability assessment will need to be carried out with our panel mortgage advisor to check that the home you wish to reserve is affordable.
- Reservations are subject to a £500 reservation deposit which will be taken once eligibility and affordability are confirmed. Moat reserves the right to review the property prices quoted until the reservation deposit has been taken.
- If you have a property to sell, we are happy to accept your reservation provided that you have a complete and secure chain and are in a position to purchase a home within our required deadlines. We will ask you for details of your buyer, their solicitors and their estate agent.
- Moat Homes Limited is a charitable housing association.