Published 13 Nov 2020

Why it’s important to use a solicitor with experience of affordable housing products.

Buying a home with the help of Shared Ownership or Help to Buy? - Use a specialist solicitor with experience of these housing products.

We’ve teamed up with Direction Law, who sit on our panel of solicitors, to help explain why it’s important to find a conveyancing solicitor with the right experience to support you in your home buying journey.

Walk down any High Street and you will find a firm of solicitors offering conveyancing services. However, the vast majority of these will have little or no experience of affordable housing schemes such as Shared Ownership or Help To Buy.

Although it has been around for many years, it is only recently that Shared Ownership has become more common. Likewise, in recent years, various equity loan and discount purchase price schemes have been introduced including Help to Buy.

However, affordable housing is still only a comparatively small proportion of the overall housing sector and most solicitors still see affordable housing conveyancing as more complex than standard property conveyancing.

In fact those solicitors aren’t wrong, affordable housing conveyancing can be a lot more complicated! 

  • Shared Ownership leases contain many provisions that you won’t find in other leases, whilst mortgages have to be approved by the Housing Association and lenders tend to have more detailed requirements. 

  • Equity Loan schemes have complex procedures and require the solicitor to liaise with the Help to Buy Agent as well as the Developer or Housing Association and their solicitors.

  • Discount Purchase price schemes are not acceptable to many lenders and are not well understood even by those who do lend on them, so require careful handling, yet are so new that very few solicitors will have dealt with them before.

Make sure a Solicitor isn’t learning at your expense!

As your regular High Street solicitor is not familiar with affordable housing products, they will usually charge more for the conveyancing and generally take longer when dealing with such cases. 

There are even some mortgage lenders who only have a limited number of firms on their panel who they trust to act for them on Shared Ownership cases.  A buyer who instructs a firm of solicitors who doesn’t specialise in affordable housing may therefore end up paying two sets of legal fees – their own solicitors fees for the conveyancing and their lender’s legal fees too.

Housing Associations and the mortgage brokers they work with will often have panels of solicitors that they recommend who specialise in affordable housing.  Whilst a solicitor may be recommended to you on behalf of a housing association, the solicitor is duty bound to act in the buyers best interest, not the sellers.

Also, with a new build property, the legal paperwork can be extensive and take several hours to read. However, as it tends to be similar for all plots, it is more efficient for a solicitor to act for multiple buyers on a development. A buyer who uses a solicitor who is already familiar with a particular development will be more likely to achieve the exchange deadline imposed by the Housing Association than one who uses their own, non-specialist, solicitor.

Using a firm which specialises in affordable housing or one which is on a “panel” as explained above, means that you will be looked after by an expert who will most likely charge less and generally proceed quicker than if you used a conventional High Street solicitor.

 

Looking for a solicitor with experience in affordable housing products?

Everyone who buys a home needs a solicitor to do the necessary legal work. To help you decide which solicitor to use, we have an approved panel of solicitors who are experienced in Shared Ownership and other affordable housing purchases.

View our panel of Solicitors

 

Direction Law has specialised in affordable housing for many years, indeed we dealt with some of the very first Shared Ownership purchases in the late 1980s. We have large specialist teams dealing with all aspects of affordable housing, shared ownership and newbuild properties and last year acted for over 3,000 new build Shared Ownership buyers across the country. For further information visit www.directionlaw.co.uk or for an instant quotation call
0800 158 82 81.

 

Ready to buy your new home?

Peabody are one of the largest housing associations in the UK with a selection of Shared Ownership homes available throughout London and the South East. Take a look at our property search to find the perfect home for you.

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