By Lucy Owen, Partner and Head of Resales
As a solicitor specialising in resales shared ownership, pretty much since I qualified some 16 years ago, I have long felt that resales transactions are treated as the uglier, less sexy (as far as conveyancing goes) branch of shared ownership and frankly I’m fed up with it!
New build shared ownership has always been the flagship of affordable housing with its brand-new shiny buildings, quirky radiators, and smell of new paint, however resale shared ownership properties have a lot to offer and it’s time for this to be recognised.
Pre-loved shared ownership properties (I’m still trying to persuade my fellow Partners to change the name of my department to the Pre-Loved Department, but they have no vision!) are incredibly varied in the form they come in, thanks to various schemes that have run in the past. Not only are there relatively new properties, but older, more characterful properties as well, thanks partly to the old DIYSO scheme (Do-it-yourself shared ownership scheme - where a housing association would buy a chosen property on the open market and grant a shared ownership lease to the lucky buyer). Not everyone wants a new build, and this is where resales really come into their own offering flats and houses of all shapes and sizes including maisonettes and coach houses.
Practically speaking, conveyancing of resale properties is quite different to new build shared ownership properties. With new build shared ownership properties, once the draft Contract package for one plot is reviewed and any necessary enquiries satisfactorily responded to, this information can be relied on for all the other plots on that new build development and therefore they can move to exchange extremely quickly once the mortgage offer has landed. However, with resale properties, each set of draft Contract papers are individual to the property and therefore must be considered individually as well.
In addition, Management packs (sometimes 2 or 3 different packs from separate providers) have to be obtained together with at least a Local Search from the council (and perhaps other necessary searches according to the area the property is located) and can sometimes take at least a few weeks to issue. This means that a resale transaction can take 8-10 weeks from the date the draft Contract package is received to exchange, and then another 1-3 weeks to completion as long as there are no unexpected issues, which is a similar timescale to buying on the open market. In addition, there may be a chain involved as the owner of the shared ownership property may be buying another shared ownership property (as the scheme has really worked for them) or they are buying on the open market.
I appreciate this timescale may put some buyers off resale properties, but really it makes the conveyancing process as individual as the property they are purchasing. As resale properties are generally a bit older, they have their own sense of character.
Personally (and obviously I’m bias) there is also the benefit that you are buying a property that already exists (bear with me, it’s not as daft as it sounds!). Often new build properties are sold off plan i.e., they haven’t been built yet. The bonus with resale properties is that you get to view them in person and get a feel for the local area and sense of community. If you live locally anyway, you may even know someone who lives around there anyway, which is always good for an emergency cup of prosecco…I mean sugar. Plus, you can move in straightaway, you don’t have to wait for the roof to go on!
From this article, I guess you can gather that I am all about the resales. For me they have it all - colourful, sometimes off-beat and just a bit more about them than your average new build. And the slightly longer conveyancing time makes the wait for the property all the more worth it, so if you are after something a bit different, they are definitely worth considering over the many new build developments around.
Repeat after me, “Resales, Resales, Resales”. New Build, move out the way, we are coming through!
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