Decorating & improving your Shared Ownership home

Published: July 2018

There are lots of queries out there about Shared Ownership properties, what you can and can’t do, the positives and the negatives. Sometimes, it can all get a bit much when all you want is a straight answer. One of these common queries is “Can I decorate and improve my Shared Ownership home?”, so in this article we’re going to answer just that.

So firstly what is Shared Ownership? Shared Ownership is a home ownership scheme that has been around for over 30 years in the UK, helping people buy a property who may not be able to afford to do so on the open market. You buy a share of a property between 25% – 75%, depending on what you can afford and then you pay a low cost rent on the remaining share that you do not own. The more shares you buy the less rent you pay. What’s more, you can buy more shares in the future after your initial purchase; this is called staircasing. You can often buy more shares up to 100% and become an outright owner of the property.

“I like the idea of being able to buy as much as I can afford, but I don’t want a ‘landlord’ telling me how I can and can’t decorate my home, I’d have a mortgage after all.”

Many people ask us at our Help to Buy shows if they would be allowed to decorate or improve a home bought on the Shared Ownership scheme. Put simply, the answer is yes, of course you can decorate!

When you buy a Shared Ownership home you are free to decorate as you wish, putting your own personal stamp on it, after all, who wouldn’t want to make their new house a home!

You can carry out repairs, maintenance work and decorate without the need to gain permission from the Housing Association you purchased your share from. So if pink paint, a photo wall or stripey wallpaper takes your fancy, then go for it!

You might found that the housebuilder or Housing Association you buy your home from recommends that you don’t decorate with the first 12 months of living in your new home if you buy a brand new property. This is often because you will get a ‘defects period’ for an initial period of time when buying a new build home. If you do decorate but something needs fixing such as a faulty plug socket a few months down the line, you might find it hard to colour match a painted wall or keep a newly papered wall looking as fab as it did when you first decorated.

There are some home improvements you will need to gain permission for; these are major or structural improvements, for example, installing double glazed doors or windows (if there were none before), fitting a new kitchen or bathroom suite, adding extensions, conservatories or loft conversions. This list is not exhaustive and you would be given a full list from the Housing Association you buy from of what they would want you to gain permission for. The reason you need to gain permission for larger improvements is because the value added by them will be taken into account if you buy more shares in your home at a later date so it’s for your benefit too.

Properties available to buy with Shared Ownership include new builds and older properties, called Resales. Buying a Resale home means you might be moving in to a home with someone else’s taste & no doubt want to make your mark and create your own personal haven in your new pad!

So now you know that you can move in and immediately start to paint those walls and hang those curtains what are you waiting for, head over to Help to Buy South to start the search for your new home now!

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