Buying your council home is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you are ever likely to make and a dream for many people to own their own home.
The right to buy is available to all secure tenants who signed their agreement before 18 January 2005 and who have lived in the property for at least two years. If you are a tenant whose agreement was signed after this date, you need to live in your home for at least five years before you can buy it.
There are certain exceptions to the types of home that can be bought under the Council right to buy scheme and these mainly relate to sheltered housing, housing for the elderly, temporary accommodation and tied housing.
Buying your council home, rather than renting it, will, however, bring additional costs:-
- Initial purchase costs such as conveyancing fees and survey fees.
- Potential loss of benefits such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
- Cost of repairs and maintaining the property.
- Additional costs such as buildings insurance.
By renting your property, you may continue to be eligible for certain benefits and of course, the Council will continue to be responsible for carrying out any major work required to your home.
However, the benefits of buying your council house through a right to buy mortgage are numerous including:-
Enjoying the significant discounts afforded to tenants on the purchase price of your home.
Benefiting from increases in property values.
Being able to carry out work to your home and upgrade it according to your own personal tastes.
It is important that impartial specialist advice is sought when considering buying your council home as there are a number of issues to be considered, for example:-
The construction of your home and the availability of an affordable mortgage on it.
Any potential difficulties in reselling the property.
Repayment of the discount if the property is re-sold within a certain time.