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It’s an ownership thing.
This Shared Ownership Thing podcast
Welcome to This Shared Ownership Thing podcast. Each month we sit down to discuss frequently asked questions, share the incredible stories of our customers and dispel the myths and rumours of Shared Ownership. Visit Aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
Episode 1: Let’s talk all things shared ownership
In the first ever episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) and Gemma Robinson (Senior Marketing Officer) gather round the mic to discuss their top 3 FAQ’s about Shared Ownership, Toby & Sam's Aster Life Story, Buying guide - how to find a mortgage lender and Aster's upcoming Launches.
Episode 2: From renting to shared ownership
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) speaks with a recent Aster Shared Ownership buyer Tiana Chadwick . Listen to hear Tiana's experience of purchasing a shared ownership home and why it was the right decision for her.
Episode 3: From selling shared ownership homes to buying one
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) speaks with a fellow Aster Marketing Officer, who is also a recent Aster home shared ownership buyer, Lauren Allen. We discuss how Lauren went from selling Shared Ownership Homes to buying one herself.
Episode 4: Answering your mortgage questions
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by the Business Development Manager from The Mortgage People (TMP) Alex Greaves and they discuss all things mortgages, from applying to the paying off process.
Episode 5: How does staircasing work?
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by Aster Sales Resale and Staircasing Manager, Anna Dillon and they discuss all things staircasing and resales.
Episode 6: What is the role of a home ownership officer?
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by Aster Home Ownership Manager, Hannah and they discuss all things Shared Ownership.
Episode 7: Decorate your home how you want with shared ownership
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by Gemma Robinson (Senior Marketing Officer) to discuss interior design tricks and tips provided by Blocc to make your Shared Ownership house feel like a home. Blocc are the Uk’s leading light providing interior design for showhomes, retirement properties & private residences: www.blocc.co.uk
Read the "Picture This!" blog here: www.aster.co.uk/sales/blog/be-inspired/picture-this We mentioned Ikea's Kallax unit that can be found here: www.ikea.com.
Episode 8: Looking to sell your home? Top tips from On The Market!
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by Ollie, a new home sales manager at On The Market. Ollie will be sharing some insightful content surrounding market trends, important factors to include when selling your home, and much more. On The Market is a property search portal that launched in 2015, and they launch thousands of new properties monthly, for more information, head over to onthemarket.com.
Episode 9: Answering your questions about new build homes and developments
In this episode of "This Shared Ownership Thing" Podcast, Cheryl Gibbens (Marketing Officer) is joined by Ed, Head of new business and delivery at Aster Group. Ed will be answering some of our most asked questions about new builds and new developments, such as why developments experience delays, how the Aster handover process works and all about snags, plus much more.
- Episode 1
Hello, and welcome to ‘This Shared Ownership Thing podcast with the Aster sales team. Each month we sit down to discuss frequently asked questions, share the incredible stories of our customers andwe dispel the myths and rumors of shared ownership. My name's Cheryl, and this week I'm joined by my co-host, the fabulous Gemma Robinson. In this episode, we're going to discuss the top three FAQ's, our Aster life stories, information surrounding our buying guide and the upcoming launches of our new shared ownership homes. So before we get started, we'll just take a minute to introduce ourselves. So my name is Cheryl Gibbons and I am a marketing officer for Aster sales. Over to you Gem.
Thank you Cheryl. So my name is Gemma Robinson and I'm the senior marketing officer within Aster sales team. I'm currently covering a maternity leave cover whilst Alex is on leave.
Fabulous - and is there anything cool or interesting about yourself that you can share?
Oh, that's a really good question. I don't particularly think of myself as that cool, but I would probably say the cool thing is about me. Oh, that's a really good question Cheryl. I would say the fact that I was born in the channel islands, so somewhere a little bit different, and we lived there for a little while before coming back over to England. So that's a little cool fact about me. Something a bit different.
That's super cool Gem, and one thing I'm going to drop in there about myself of course, is that I've just completed the 24 hour national three-peak challenge. And if you're wondering, I will be dropping that into every single conversation from now on, so…..
Rightly so Cheryl it's a great achievement.
Okay. So here's a few questions for our listeners to get to know you Gem. Are you ready?
I am indeed.
Are you a dog or a cat person?
Ooh, that's a good one. Definitely dog. Although a few years ago probably would have said a cat until we got our dog Elsa because she rules the roost. So I'm going to go with dog.
Okay and next question. If you're just working at home, are you someone who wears jeans or are you a lounge wear queen.
Hang on? So people actually wear jeans when they're at home?. I didn't even realise that was a thing.100% lounge wear. I'm all about the comfort, kind of the only staple part of my wardrobe - leggings or lounge wear. I don't know about anybody else, but I certainly opt for the leggings over jeans every day of the week now.
My kind of girl!. And the last question is what is your preference? Starbucks, a little star b's or a Costa?
Oh, I think it depends on the drink. I think if there's a hot drink, I'm going to go Costa, but if it's a cold drink, like a frappe or something like that, I'm going to go Starbucks. Okay. Controversial maybe, but you know, a little bit on the fence. I like both depending on the type of beverage.
And just for our listeners, especially if Amy Nettleton's listening. What is your favorite cold coffee drink?
Oh, well, it's not really necessarily a cold coffee drink, but I do like a chilled chai tea.
And what is in a chai tea?
Well, it's a nice Chai, spicy cinnamon flavours and I think it's more tea based as opposed to coffee, but it just really kind of makes me think of summer and it's quite a nice refreshing drink itself. It's not to everybody's cup of tea, but I certainly like it.
I'm sure you can get Amy trying that sometime soon.
I'm not sure.
Okay. So moving on to shared ownership, presumably you found this podcast as you're interested in shared ownership, and you want to find out more about the product and how it works, but for those of you that don't know shared ownership is a model that enables you to purchase a share of a home, usually between 25 to 75% and you pay rent on the remaining share. And the deposits are usually a minimum of 5% of the share that you purchase. So for our first topic, we're going to share some of the questions that we frequently get asked through live chat or social media or on the phones from our amazing customers. So Gem, I'm going to ask you some of the questions that we are asked most frequently. Okay. Are you ready?
I am indeed. Go ahead.
Okay. So for shared ownership, what sort of deposit would someone need?
Okay, so this is a great one. So you usually only need a 5% deposit based upon the percentage share of the property you're buying. So just as an example, if you were to buy a 40% share in a £300,000 property, so the share would be £120,000, your 5% deposit would actually be based upon the share. So the £120,000 you're buying as opposed to the full property price. So that would mean it's around the £6,000 mark. So it's far more achievable as opposed to having to raise a deposit on the full market value.
Okay, perfect. That makes sense. Next question. Can you buy more shares once you've purchased your initial share? So say I went and purchased 30% of a home. Could I then go on to buy more shares in the future?
Absolutely, and that is the beauty of shared ownership. You don't have to stick at the share you initially buy, you can do if you wish to, but you can obviously buy more if you want to. It's called staircasing (So that's the jargon that we use to buy more shares.) and in most cases you can staircase and buy a 100% of the property. Now I say most cases because there are some homes in which have a cap on the staircasing amount that you can purchase, but that can be outlined to you before you purchase the home itself. So you'll be made aware at the outset what the maximum you can buy. But like we say, in most instances you can go on to buy a hundred percent of the property and then buy outright.
Okay. So if someone was wanting to staircase their home, would they do that through Aster?
Absolutely. We've got a dedicated team, a resale and staircasing team, led by Anna and Karen and you have a dedicated resale negotiator who would actually be able to guide you through the whole process. It's all dealt with in house. So we can guide you through this every step of the way and full information is on our website about that. But if anyone's ever got any questions about how the process works, they can get in touch with us on live chat or on social media, and we can talk them through exactly what they would need to do.
Fabulous. Thank you. And the last question, if someone has purchased a shared ownership home with Aster, but would then like to sell it a few years later, would they be able to do that?
Absolutely, and it kind of leads on from the question previously as well. We have a dedicated team that can help do this. So as soon as you decide you want to sell, your property will get valued and placed on the market with Aster. So we have an eight week period in which we would try and sell that property for you, bearing in mind, we have a database of people that are looking for properties in different areas. So we're quite well-placed to do that. If the property hasn't sold within that timeframe, you can obviously go to another estate agent of your choice and sell it through them.
Fabulous. Thank you, Gem. So that is the three most common questions we've been asked recently, mainly on our live chat function on our website. So it's good to get those answered. For any more answers to our FAQ, you can also visit aster.co.uk/FAQ or you can ask your question direct by emailing us on email@example.com, or you can contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or via live chat on our website.
So next we are going to look at one of our Aster life stories. So the story that we'll be playing is Sam and Toby, and there'll be telling us all about their shared ownership journey with Aster. They were looking for a place that they could call home for themselves and something that they could also afford in the Oxfordshire area.
Both Sam and I had a period where we were renting obviously, and Oxford is notoriously expensive for many reasons. So the kind of desire to get out of the rental property market and into, onto the property ladder, so to speak was kind of always the aim. That was the time to both kind of get away from renting and towards more stable.
We pay...well no we do pay less in rent, pretty much I'd say, and we also own a place and that comes and you do feel different when you actually own somewhere you sorta feel very proud of it. And, and you want to be there that's what I've noticed, sort of beforehand. I didn't really care about where I stayed. It was just somewhere to wake up and go to bed in, but now I find myself actually wanting to go home.
Aster is a housing developer and also a housing association. So they build their own houses for sale for direct sell for shared ownership and then also housing association as well, that markets properties.
Aster helped a lot just by, by being a source of information for it, because it's quite a daunting thing when you're making that first step. And certainly my generation, I didn't ever think we'd be able to just cause it seemed just the way everything was going that we'd be renting forever. But Aster was quite like a solid source of information to say, I know there are other ways just of getting there other than just sort of the more traditional route and they, yeah, they, they sort of told us all about shared Ownership.
Aster just get on with things they don't burden you with things you don't actually have to know about. They're just there when you need them. At the end of the phone or on email, they just do an awful lot of hard work, but you're sort of unaware of it and you're happy with that because you trust them.
Aster take the stress out of it and when you're a first time, when you're first time buyer, that's a massive, massive thing that's almost hard to overstate and they make the process very surprisingly easy which again, for people, our age in our situation was a massive, massive help.
You know, it's the best thing I've ever done. And that is in a massive way thanks to them.
I think this is a fantastic life story. I know I've seen this a few times and heard about Sam and Toby. What I particularly love about their story is they were well aware of Oxfordshire being super, super expensive. They didn't obviously feel that it was achievable to buy a property in the area they loved. But shared ownership really allowed them to continue to stay in a place they love to live and actually be able to call it home. So it's really given them the security that they were after. And that's why I love about the shared ownership product. You can stay in the place that you want to live. You're not necessarily pushed to another area due to costs and you know, the cost of the property itself. So I think it also highlights how the product can work for you. So you can stay in an area you want to live in.
Yeah, I think as well, one really special thing. Sam and Toby both mentioned in the life story, how, before they had found a home, they, they were just in a place that they could drop all their stuff off that like they didn't refer to it as home, but shared ownership has enabled them to actually have a place that they can call home themselves. So yeah, really special and a good story for how shared ownership works for people.
So you can also visit aster.co.Uk/Lifestories to watch more of our customer testimonials. If you would like to hear their stories,
Now we're going to move on to buying guide. So if you're thinking about buying your first home, but you don't know where to begin, we have a handy buyer's guide on our website. You can find this on aster.co.Uk/Propertybuyingguide. And for this part of the buying guide episode, we're going to discuss how to find a mortgage lender. So Gem, if I was to look at buying a shared ownership home, how, where would I start in trying to find a mortgage lender? What would I do?
Okay, so there are various ways in which you can find a mortgage lender. So, you know, the typical online research asking friends and family for, you know, recommendations or word of mouth. The good thing here at Aster is we do work with a company called T M P, which stands for the mortgage people. Now they can help you, not only do the affordability assessments to work out the share of the property you can afford to buy, but they’re also really well-placed and they know the other shared ownership mortgage providers that are out there and can advise on lenders available for you and your circumstances. So they really take the hassle out of finding the right mortgage product, because with shared ownership, you will need a specific shared ownership mortgage product type, as opposed to a mortgage that you could get on the high street.So one thing, you know, we always would like to say, you know, if you've got any questions about the whole process, the affordability assessments, or how to reach TMP, get in touch with us, we're always available for you to contact us on live chat or social media. So you can just pop us a message and we can certainly direct you to TMP who will be able to provide you some advice in this regard.
Perfect. Thank you, Gem that's super helpful to know. And lastly, on our first little episode, we are going to go through the exciting upcoming launches that we have for our new homes. So Gem, would you like to share what locations we have shared ownership homes coming up in?
Absolutely. So it's going to be a really busy couple of months for us all so it's a really fantastic opportunity to get your foot on that property ladder. So we'll have a couple of properties coming to Hop Field Place in Alton, which is in Hampshire. We've also got some properties at Carrington Place in Redhill, in Surrey. Carmel Meadows in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. River's Edge in Wimborne, Dorset. The Pavilions in now, excuse me in advance, is it Bodicote or Bodycote. Bodicote. Thank you, Cheryl knows this is because Cheryl looks after Oxfordshire. So thank you there. New Fields, in Chichester in Sussex. Rookery Park in North Bersted in Sussex. Shopwykes Lakes in Chichester in Sussex. Larkbear in Barnstable in Devon and Victoria Heights in Exeter in Devon. So you can really see there's a vast amount, you know, coming to Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Dorset and Sussex and Devon too, so you know, across the whole of the south and Southwest and we're really proud of.
Definitely, and if anyone was wondering, or if you are looking for new home, we cover areas starting from the bottom in Cornwall and Devon, and we go right up to the Sussex, Surrey, Oxfordshire area. So if you're looking for a home there, we might have something for you.
But anyway, thank you so much, Gem, for jumping on the podcast today for episode one.
Absolute pleasure. Thank you for inviting me along.
It's been lovely having you and thank you to everyone for listening. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster sales and you can visit aster.co.Uk/Slash sales for more information.
- Episode 2
Hello, and welcome to this shared ownership thing podcast. Each month we sit down to discuss frequently, asked questions, share the incredible stories of our customers. And we dispel the myths and the rumors of shared ownership. My name's Cheryl and I'm a marketing officer at Aster sales, and this week I'm joined by a recent Aster home shared ownership buyer, Tiana Chadwick. In this episode, we're going to discuss Tiana's shared ownership journey and how she's getting on a year after moving in.
Okay. So before we get started, let's learn a little bit more about yourself, Tiana. I have a few quick fire questions for our listeners to get to know you. Are you ready?
Let's start with, are you an early riser or do you love a lay-in and obviously I know you have your little Teddy, so I can assume it goes around that.
So I am an early riser, but I do prefer the lay in, whenever I get a chance I will lay in.
How often do you get a chance?
Erm not very often.
Okay. Secondly, I'm going to hit you a little bit with all these questions, first tea or coffee. And what's your favourite brand and also what is your favourite coffee shop?
So I'm a coffee kind of girl. I love the Nescafe coffee. You know, the one in the powder form and I am a Starbucks girl.
What is your go-to Starbucks order?
At the moment it's a pumpkin spice latte because it's that time of year but normally some kind of flavoured latte. That's my favourite.
And do you go wild and have anything like a caramel syrup shot in there or?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Like there's always some kind of syrup in there.
My kind of girl, okay. Lastly, are you a Netflix-er, and have you got a favourite series that you're watching or that you've just finished?
Yep. I am a Netflix-er, I'm watching the maid at the moment, which is pretty good. And I've also finished the Squid Games last week, which I absolutely loved.
That was intense. Wasn't it Squid game?
Very intense. I wasn't expecting like the twist. I won't spoil it for anyone, but I wasn't expecting the twist at the end. Like you go through so many different emotions watching it.
Yeah, very intense. Thank you for the answers.
Okay. So for the listeners, we assume that you found this podcast as you're interested in shared ownership, and you want to find out more Tiana made the jump to shared ownership back in 2020. And for any listeners that may not know shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the remaining share that you don't yet own. This enables you to have a lower deposit and to get the home that you want for a price that you can afford, shared ownership isn't for everyone. However, it can really benefit some people. Tiana, why did you choose to go down the shared ownership route as opposed to renting or buying a home on the open market?
So we had been renting since I finished university really together. So we were just paying so much money into somebody else's mortgage and it was just really unaffordable to be able to save like a large deposit, to be able to buy on the open market, alongside renting. So we decided to go down the shared ownership route because of that reason mainly and I mean, shared ownership is not going to be for everyone, but for us it worked really well because obviously now we've got a family and we're paying some rent, which is nowhere near as much as what we were privately renting. And the rest of the money that we're paying every month is going into a mortgage. So that will forever help us in the future and it's not dead money. It's something that we actually own.
Amazing. Yeah. It's so nice to hear how it's worked for you, because like you say, it won't work for everyone but there are people that shared ownership does definitely work for.
Oh yeah. A hundred percent. Absolutely.
Another part shared ownership is staircasing. This is the term that she used to describe buying more shares in your home, buy more shares in your home means paying less rent. So by staircasing you'll own more shares of your home, you'll reduce your rent that you pay and you'll move forward on a journey to potentially owning a hundred percent of your home. If that's what you wish to do. All of our shared ownership homes can differ. So if we have anyone listening that would specifically like to discuss their staircasing options, just get in touch and we can help staircasing is a great opportunity. Is this something that you would potentially look into doing in the future Tiana? Does it interest you?
Oh yeah, a hundred percent. So we bought the highest amount that we could afford at the time, which is 25%. We were, our first initial plan was, well, let's see, cause we've got a fixed mortgage for five years and then we're going to re-mortgage. So we thought, well, let's just move into the house, give it the five years and see how we feel in it. We were hoping in that time that we had had another child because we bought a three bedroom, and then kind of see how we live in the home. I think that's the beauty of shared ownership, you can buy what you want to afford and you can kind of see how the home fits for you before you go into buying more, which we probably will be doing, but we'll just see how we get on, I guess, it's nice to have that option.
Definitely. I love how, as you said, like you can sort of make shared ownership work for you. So yeah, that's really nice, if it wasn't for shared ownership, where do you think you would be now? Do you think you'd still be renting privately?
Yeah, a hundred percent. We wouldn't be in any kind of position to be able to buy our own house, especially with the last year because of Coronavirus, the banks are, really pumping up how much deposit you have to put down to be able to get a more, which makes it even more harder. With Shared ownership you can put down just the 5%. So I don't think we would be able to afford the open market. We would still be renting and paying a lot of money, on rent.
So obviously you moved into your home in 2020, wasn't it? So was that before COVID hit or was it during that you moved in?
It was during COVID. So we actually got the email from Sarah, to say that the house had been allocated to us the day that we went into lockdown, the first lockdown down. Yes. It was a very long process. It was very hard, but it was so worth it, so so worth it. I'm really glad that we had Sarah.
You got there in the end.
Oh, we did. We did, we had to fight a bit, but we did.
Bless you, I'm so glad. How did you find the process from making an inquiry to moving into your home, obviously taking into consideration that you done that during COVID? So it was quite long.
Yeah, it was long. It was very frustrating. And it was very hard, the banks completely shut down, so we couldn't kind of get our mortgage on board and but you guys were just amazing. Like you were there every step of the way, Sarah, I cannot praise Sarah enough for what she did for us. Like she was just always there. If I had a little bit of a wobble, which I had plenty of wobbles, always at the other end of the phone telling me, like reassuring me that yeah, it's hard but there's loads of people in the same position and we're going to do it and it's going to be fine and you're going to be moving into your home and the day that we actually got our keys, I felt like was a day that was never going to come and when it did, it just felt even more amazing that we had kind of achieved that together.
That's amazing. I love that. I remember when I was in the process of buying my house and it was a new build. So they were like loads of delays and everything. And everyone keeps saying to you, oh, it will be so worth it on the day you get the keys and you're like, mm I'm not really sure right now, but then that day comes and it's just like, ah!
I'll do that stress all over again. For the same outcome.
So obviously your Shared Ownership journey has worked well for you. Would you encourage others to think about shared ownership as a potential house buying route.
A hundred percent. I actually have already, there's a lady that I worked with who was quite intrigued with this shared ownership and she's bought her house through you guys as well. So I would always suggest it to somebody. I think it won't work for everyone like we've already said that, especially people that have families or are on their own and want to buy on their own. It's definitely such a good option.
Love that. I love that you've, recommended it to a friend as well. That's awesome. You've now been living in your shared ownership home in Hampshire for a year. How has that year been and what do you love about the area that you've moved to?
It's been really good. I'm from Hampshire anyway. So is James but, we've lived outside of Hampshire and it just doesn't feel like home. If we're not here and we've obviously lived in rental properties and that didn't really feel like home either. So we feel really comfortable here. Our neighbors are really, really lovely, which really helps, our next door Neighbors got a child the same age as our little boy. That's really, really, really nice. And I just feel like part of the community it's really bizarre. I've never really felt like this before, and I guess we're just really happy. I'm really, really comfortable with, with our home. And it's always nice coming home, whereas before it kind of wasn't, I mean, it was awfully nice to come home, but it didn't feel like what it feels like now.
That's really special. And I think it's amazing that shared ownership has helped do that for you. So that definitely says a lot. Obviously we all have our home accounts on Instagram. And do you have your account where you shared your shared ownership journey on there, are there any home inspo that you personally love and would recommend following if any of our listeners are starting their shared ownership journey or just need an account to follow for home inspiration?
Yeah, a hundred percent. So I follow, a few different accounts, a few different reasons. Well, I did find when I first started my, account on Instagram was that the shared ownership community it's huge on Instagram. There's a page called the Mulberry reach home. She and her partner actually bought through shared ownership and her account is amazing. Like they've just built a whole brand new media wall inside their shared ownership home. And it's incredible. I really highly recommend, she's also got two dogs that are very, very cute. They're big dogs, but they're very cute. And also I really love home by Laura. That's kind of an inspo page, she didn't buy through shared ownership, but she completely renovated our home, from something that was kind of needed a good load of work. And it's just beautiful. I love her house so much and she's also very, very lovely.
Oh, definitely have to check those out. Thank you. Okay. So we've come to the end of our questions. Thank you so much for popping onto the This SO thing podcast it's been lovely having you on, and it's so lovely to hear about your shared ownership journey.
No worries. Thanks for having me.
You are more than welcome!
Okay. And finally we know how helpful it is to answer the questions that have been asked. And one question that has popped up recently is if I buy a shared ownership home, can I sell it if I want to move? And the answer is yes, we've had shared owners previously who have sold to move to a different area, for example, to be closer to family. And we've also had shared owners who have used shared ownership, kind of like a stepping stone and are now looking to sell as they're ready to buy on the open market. We have a dedicated resell team who will be there every step of the way to support you and answer your questions in regards to selling, we will also be having a lovely resell team member on the podcast soon. So if you have any questions, please feel free to just send them in for her. Or in the meantime, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call us on 01380735480. Or you can message us on social media. You can find us under Aster Sales. Anyway, thank you everyone for listening. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster Sales, visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 3
Hello, and welcome to This Shared Ownership Thing podcast. Each month we sit down to discuss frequently, asked questions, share the incredible stories of our customers. And we dispel the myths and the rumours of shared ownership. My name is Cheryl. I'm a marketing officer at Aster sales, and this week I'm joined by a fellow Aster marketing officer who is also a recent Aster home, shared ownership buyer, Lauren Allen. In this episode, we're going to discuss how Lauren went from selling shared ownership homes to buying one herself. Before we get started. Let's learn a little bit more about yourself, Lauren. Are you ready?
Ready, Let's go.
New Speaker (00:48):
Okay. So here's a few quick fire questions for our listeners to get to know you. Number one, are you an early riser or do you love a lie in?
I am early to bed and I like to sleep in, so a bit of both.
New Speaker (01:04):
So how many hours sleep do you like to get a night?
Nine or Ten.
New Speaker (01:08):
Oh yeah, my kind of girl. Are you a tea or coffee drinker?
Tea please strong and sweet.
New Speaker (01:19):
Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Doggies all the way from me.
New Speaker (01:25):
Yes. Completely with you on that one. And lastly, what is your favorite snack? Because you know, all we talk about is snacks in this team.
Yeah. So my life does revolve around chocolate. I do like Raw Halo, I also like the brand, If I'm feeling really, really special, I need Booja Booja Truffles.
New Speaker (01:44):
Oh, that sounds very boujee.
Yes, exactly that, vegan dairy-free organic, hit me right up with them.
New Speaker (01:53):
I love that from you Loz
Okay. So Lauren, your shared ownership journey to all of our listeners, presumably you found this podcast as you're interested in shared ownership and you want to find out more. Well, you've come to the right place. Shared ownership for anyone that's not too sure is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own. If you're able to do so, you can then go on to buy more shares of the home and this is called staircasing. This enables you to get a home that you want for a price that you can afford, like how our Lauren has. Now let's chat about someone who used to sell shared ownership homes, and then decided to buy one for herself. Lauren, can you remember the point when you thought that shared ownership was right for you?
So we wanted to get on the property ladder. Like a lot of other people, we aspire to have something, an investment, something we owned and could call home. So when I came into the Shared Ownership team, I didn't know anything about it. So it gave me a lot of insight into the product and how it could work. And then I realised it would really work for me and my family.
Perfect. And it has done just that hasn't it?
Amazing. So how did it feel to be the Aster customer when you're used to being the person selling the shared ownership homes?
I think that was good for me, cause I felt like I could see both sides of the journey. So I could see it from a customer's point of view as well and what a customer would want and the information we need and how we can help as a team.
Amazing. So, yeah, I guess that helps you now you're back to selling the shared ownership homes, you know, what sort of information the customer will need now.
Yeah. And the sort of questions people ask aren't a surprise. Cause I was asking those questions to.
Perfect. So if someone was thinking of going down the shared ownership route, what advice would you give them?
I would say, do your research look up and know your product and what you're getting into, get financial advice and know what you can afford and be comfortable with it.
Yeah. That's perfect. And is there anyone that you would recommend for the financial advice?
So we work alongside TMP. They are mortgage brokers as well. So I use them just because I knew then it was all in their hands and they knew what they were doing and I had access to Shared Ownership mortgages.
Perfect. Yeah, that was great advice. And we can pop in the details about TMP in the bio for this podcast. So thank you.
New Speaker (04:39):
What are the main benefits of shared ownership to you?
For me, it was about affordability. Being able to afford the house I wanted and be able to afford the life I want at the same time. I didn't have to spend years saving a deposit cause my life was happening now. I didn't want to put it on hold while I was living with my parents to save for the deposit. The fact that pets are allowed in Shared Ownership houses, whereas with renting, you can't always have pets. The fact that you can decorate your home and make it your own was really important to me. As you know, I love Pinterest so decorating home and making it into my own was something I really wanted to do. And I liked the security of having a share in a home.
Yeah. You've got something that you own. So the money that you pay, it goes towards something you own.
Love that, you've been living in your shared ownership, home in Wiltshire, I believe it's for almost three years now. So what do you love about the area, and what made you choose the area to start off with?
So I really wanted to live in the town where I'm from. I didn't want to have to move out it. I've done that before, and I felt very lonely and isolated. So being able to walk to family and friends was something I really wanted to do, and it's a really beautiful town Wiltshire. So that was something I was really interested in staying here.
Yeah. I think it's quite common isn't it for shared ownership to help people stay in the area that they originally grew up in because some people might find that they're priced out of the area. So they have to move away from family and friends, but it's allowed you to stay in that area that you're from.
Yeah, it would be too expensive for me to buy it outright in this area. So Shared Ownership helped me with that.
Perfect. I love that. So thank you so much for sharing your story with us Lauren, and we hope you're as happy as ever in your home. We have more customer stories available for our listeners to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch more of our customer testimonials.
Fabulous, thank you.
Thank you so much for coming on.
No worries. See you later.
Okay. So after hearing the amazing story from Lauren and her finding her very own shared ownership journey, our next topic, we're going to share some of the questions that we frequently get asked through, live chat on social media and on the phone from our amazing customers.
New Speaker (07:14):
First question, can I have a pet in a shared ownership home? So pets are accepted in shared ownership houses. In most cases, it's normally flats that are the exception. But the best thing to do is just to ask us, and we can check this with the specific sales negotiator for the home that you're interested in. As we know just how important this can be for you.
New Speaker (07:37):
Is shared ownership only for first time buyers? No, it isn't just for first-time buyers. You may have previously owned a home before, but to proceed with purchasing a shared ownership home, you must have no legal ties with any other property. If you are in the process of selling your current home, it will need to be sold or under offered to proceed.
New Speaker (07:57):
Do I have to buy the share advertised on the website? Okay. So there's two parts for this one, one for new builds and one for resales with a resale home, the minimum share you can purchase is the share that is being advertised at, this is because this is the share that the current vendor owns and is selling. So you will be buying this share or even a higher share, if that's possible. With new builds, you can buy a share between 25 to 75%, but we usually advertise our shared ownership homes at a 40% share as a starting point, but the affordability assessments are carried out with TMP (The mortgage people) will determine what share you can afford to purchase, and if this is an affordable option for yourself.
New Speaker (08:39):
You may have seen or heard that changes are being made to the shared ownership model and lower shares can be purchased, but this doesn't impact on our current shared ownership homes for sale, and we will be updating our website with more details around the new model soon.
New Speaker (08:53):
So that is our three top asked questions that we've had recently on all of our different platforms, but for more answers to our FAQ's, you can visit aster.co.uk/FAQ. Or you can ask your question direct by emailing email@example.com, or contacting us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or via live chat on our website.
Okay. So we've come to the end of episode, three of our This Shared Ownership Thing podcast. Thank you for listening. This podcast is brought to you by Aster Sales visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 4
Hello, happy February. And welcome back to this shared ownership thing podcast. After having a month off, we have recharged and we are full of energy, ready to kick the podcast back off in 2022. Every month, we have a chit chat about all things, shared ownership, sharing our incredible customer stories, and also debunking common misconceptions of shared ownership. I'm Cheryl the marketing officer at Aster sales. And today I'm joined by the business development manager from The Mortgage People also known as TMP, Alex Greaves. This episode, we're going to discuss all things shared ownership mortgages, but before we kick off, let's learn a little bit more about yourself, Alex. Here's a few quick fire questions for our listeners to get to know you. Are you ready? Ready? Okay. Number one. What is your most used emoji on your phone?
Poo <laugh>. I've got three children. <laugh>
Not always, but regularly.
<laugh> okay. Number two. If you had to go on karaoke, what would your go to song be?
So it's daydream believer by The Monkeys, but I am trying to change it. I wanna do something with a bit of rap in it, which I think will be very cool. <laugh>
I love how you answer that as if you go on the karaoke regularly.
Well, I don't, but I do, I do like to plan ahead, so I've been trying to change it. Yeah.
Do you have a karaoke lined up anytime soon?
No, I don't have anything lined up very soon. <laugh>
Um, number three, would you rather be reincarnated as a dog or a cat? And why?
So I prefer dogs, but I would rather come back as a cat because they can do whatever they want, at any time they want, can't they? Yeah. Like the dog's just tied in and relying on you to go out for a walk and stuff. So definitely a cat.
<laugh> I can imagine you just pouncing from wall to wall, to your neighbours.
Um, and lastly, what is your favourite meal?
So chicken or lamb madras with pilau rice and a naan bread.
Oh, you don't go popadoms?
No, I do you know what?.Strangely. I find that they really fill me up.
Even if I have like a couple before then I'm not, I can't eat all of my proper foods, so no, I stay away from the popadom.
My 11 year old has a Korma.
<laugh> popadoms with the mint sauce. I love that. It is.
That is nice. So I do actually, if I do eat, popadoms, then have all the stuff on it as well. That is lovely in it.
I've heard of it, don't think I've tried it.
Oh, mm. That was incredible.
What is that? What's in it?
I can't remember. What's it? It's really sweet. I'm not sure if it's coconut maybe really. Sorry if I've got that wrong, but, mm.
Love that! Awesome little introduction for what you do.
We have asked our followers on both social media and on live chat, what they would like to know about mortgages for shared ownership homes. The following questions are what we've had sent in by people, both looking to buy a shared ownership home and people that have bought a shared ownership home already. So let's kick it off with this one. What is the process with TMP and how long after completing the affordability assessment will I hear back?
So the process is so in initially, um, one of the team Aster would send the client an email, which has a link onto our website. Um, just click on the link, um, answer a few basic questions, like income name, any debt, that kind of thing. And once they hit the submit button, um, we will receive it straight away. Now we'll get in contact with the client within 24 hours to maybe ask a few extra questions. If there's something that's not quite there, um, or to confirm whether you've qualified to buy the property and what share, or in some cases to, to let them know that they've not been successful and why. So really it takes about within 24 hours after completing the assessment, we would come back to that person to let them know what's happening.
Okay, fab. Does someone need a mortgage in principle/ decision in principle before they complete the assessment with you guys?
Uh, in short, no. So, um, when we do the financial assessment, that's making sure that the customer would, uh, meet the homes, England criteria and it establishes what share they can go for, but once we've actually done it, we will then contact the client. As I said, chat them through, um, what share they can go for. We would look to get 'em mortgage and principle done at that point, which will be based on lenders that have mortgages available for that specific client. So no, we can do all of that for them makes no difference.
I mean, I'd call it a DIP decision in principle. Um, some people used to call it like a mortgage promise a while ago. I think like some lenders used to call it that, but yeah, MIP and DIP are the same.
So I think probably the main thing is like the bank account conduct. Um, so I suppose if, if somebody was asking to borrow a load of money, um, the lenders need to feel confident that that person can manage their current situation. So, um, try not make sure that, uh, everything's being paid on time. Um, try not to take out any debt before you take out a mortgage as well, or before you apply for a mortgage, because that will affect what you can borrow. Um, so they're the main things really just look at it as if you are gonna lend somebody some money, you'd wanna feel confident that they can pay you back. So that's what you've gotta be able to prove to the mortgage lenders. And that's the same with them, whether it's shared ownership, whether it's the standard mortgage, whatever. So they'd all be looking at the same thing.
So if someone had say a car on finance, would that normally negatively affect it or would it all just be based on affordability?
So it wouldn't, as long as everything was kept up to date, um, it wouldn't negatively, negatively affect it because I suppose if you were looking at like a car loan, that's like an asset that you've got for that debt. So that's actually how I view it is kind of a healthy debt. Um, so no, it wouldn't have an impact, but it would actually impact what they're able to borrow because it's the certain amount of money that they can't pay the mortgage back for each month.
That makes sense. Um, why is it better to purchase a higher share with shared ownership?
Um, well, I suppose the biggest share you buy the less rent you pay and, nobody likes paying rent do they? Everyone must rather be paying that money on a mortgage. Um, secondly, most people that I've spoken to in the past, they either want to buy more shares in the future or they wanna own all of the property. Now, since I've been doing mortgage for about 10 years, house prices are continuing to rise. So if you were to buy a bigger share initially, then that share would cost less than if you were to buy it in the future when house prices have increased. If that makes sense.
That does make sense.
So, um, again, we can't guarantee that house prices will always increase, but based on my knowledge over the last 10 years, it generally works out to be cheaper, to buy the bigger share up upfront.
Um, so it's not really a straightforward yes or no, it's gonna come down to that particular situation. But if we assume that both partners are happy for that to happen, um, it really comes down to affordability. So I would suggest whoever you, whoever they arranged the mortgage with initially, um, go back to that advisor, let them know about the situation as it stands today. And they will look through the case. Okay. Um, they will look at the income of the new household any day to day living costs. And they would then possibly go back to the mortgage lender and say, look, this is the situation, uh, and do their own affordability calculation. So in theory, yes, but there's a lot of things to start doing. And again, that would be the same, whether it's shared only if you put standard mortgage, there's no difference between how lenders would look at it.
Okay, awesome. Um, what is the lowest deposit percentage that I need to have? Can my deposit be less than 5%?
So I suppose really 5% is the figure that you would need as a minimum. Um, so if the scale was a hundred thousand, then your deposit would be 5,000 pounds. Um, by having a 5% deposit, you get access to more lenders with lower interest rates, uh, with a choice of you have a, a mortgage with lower set of fees or higher set of fees, it just gives you more options. Um, so you are more likely to get a mortgage that's tailored to your plan. Um, there are a couple of lenders that will do mortgages with less than 5% deposit, but their interest rates tend to be a little bit higher as are their setup fees. Uh, and there's just not as many options. So if you can get to 5% deposit, definitely go down that route.
Thank you so much to Alex for being a guest on the podcast. You've shared some really invaluable information which will really help our listeners who are starting their shared ownership journey. And if you are feeling inspired, we have some customer stories available for our listeners to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch our customer to testimonials. And if any of our
Listeners have any other questions that they would like answered in regards to shared ownership, you can contact us through live chat on our website, aster.co.uk/sales through our social media channels via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01380 735 480.
Thank you so much for listening, and thank you for your support. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster Sales visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 5
Cheryl Gibbens (00:07):
Hello, and welcome to episode five of this shared ownership thing podcast. We bring out a new episode every month with different guests to talk about all things shared ownership, sharing our amazing customer stories and debunking common misconceptions of shared ownership.
Cheryl Gibbens (00:22):
For the benefit of any new listeners shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own. If you're able to do so, you can go on to purchase more shares of the home. This is referred to as stair casing, and, if able to, you can purchase the whole hundred percent of the home. With shared ownership, deposits can be as low as 5% of the share that you purchase, and this makes it a more affordable option for many people. I'm Cheryl, I'm the marketing officer at Aster sales, and today I'm joined by Aster sales, resale and staircasing manager, Anna Dillon. Before we recorded this episode, we asked our followers to submit their questions about resales, selling homes and buying more shares. If you don't already follow us on Instagram search @salesaster for the opportunity to be part of future podcasts and have your voice heard, we also regularly share home interior inspo and hints and tips on the shared ownership journey. Before we get started, though, let's get to know Anna a little bit better.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:30):
This is a quick-fire question round where you have to answer with the first thing that comes into your head. Let's get to know the real Anna Dillon. Are you ready?
Anna Dillon (01:41):
Hello! Yes, I'm ready.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:45):
Anna Dillon (01:53):
Cheryl Gibbens (01:54):
What's your favourite sweet?
Anna Dillon (01:56):
Oh, um, the fizzy strawberry laces.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:59):
Anna Dillon (02:09):
This is really hard. I also came to quite a quick answer and that is cheese.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:18):
Anna Dillon (02:20):
Just cheese, but obviously there's very many different kinds of cheese.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:26):
Anna Dillon (02:27):
So, you know, I could keep it varied, just with different types of cheese.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:32):
One day you could have cheese string, next day you could have babybell.
Anna Dillon (02:36):
Well, yeah. Or maybe a camembert and then, you know, brie and then Stilton then some cheddar,
Cheryl Gibbens (02:44):
But you'd have nothing to dip into your camembert, would you, apart from your finger?
Anna Dillon (02:48):
That's right. I can do that. Or just pour it in my mouth.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:55):
Number three, if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Anna Dillon (03:01):
Um, I think that is also an easy answer and that is the Maldives because it's really nice and it's hot and it's sunny and who doesn't love that?
Cheryl Gibbens (03:15):
Anna Dillon (03:20):
Cheryl Gibbens (03:22):
And the last question, if you could try to break any world record, what would you do it in?
Anna Dillon (03:30):
Um, twerks per minute.
Cheryl Gibbens (03:34):
How many can you do so far?
Anna Dillon (03:36):
Well, I don't know. We could try it out couldn't we? See where I get to and then just give old Guinness world records a call and be like, she's ready.
Cheryl Gibbens (03:47):
She ready to twerk.
Cheryl and Anna (03:48):
Cheryl Gibbens (03:56):
So now we know more about your favorite foods and your record-breaking twerking capabilities. Let's learn a little bit more about your role within Aster sales. How long have you been in your role and what does an average workday look like for you as the resale and staircasing manager?
Anna Dillon (04:16):
So I've been in this role since May, 2018. And, um, I was with Aster before then. A typical working day, um, kind of looks like, so before I start work, I'll get up and take the dogs out for a little walk and then it's back for a coffee. And then onto the laptop, um, initially it will be, um, sort of dealing with any enquiry. So, whether that's from customers, solicitors, mortgage advisors, colleagues, and then various points throughout the day on the phone, agreeing sales, agreeing completions, advising customers of processes for various different things that they'd like to do. And then eventually sign off and probably go to the gym.
Cheryl Gibbens (05:20):
And then eat some cheese.
Anna Dillon (05:21):
Oh, and then yeah, eat some cheddar.
Cheryl Gibbens (05:23):
and then do some twerking.
Anna Dillon (05:30):
Finish off with some twerking, yeah.
Cheryl Gibbens (05:31):
Cheryl Gibbens (05:46):
Now let's get down to business. We had loads of great questions submitted for yourself by our lovely Instagram followers.
Anna Dillon (05:54):
Cheryl Gibbens (05:55):
Let's kick it off with number one. What costs are involved when buying more shares on a shared ownership home?
Anna Dillon (06:03):
So, there's a few things to consider... So initially there is an admin fee that's payable to Aster, but before we get to that stage, we'd take you through the process from the very beginning. So normally we'd say to get some mortgage advice first and check that buying more shares is going be possible for you at this time. And that doesn't cost anything usually. So, it's just some free advice from your mortgage lender or advisor. And then if that looks good, um, you'd need to get evaluation completed, which is variable in cost, depending on the surveyor and what they charge. Um, and then Aster's admin fee is 150 pounds plus VAT and then any solicitor's costs and mortgage application costs attributed to it. So a few variables in there.
Cheryl Gibbens (06:56):
So two questions off the back of that. If someone was thinking of buying more shares, is it their specific mortgage lender they need to go to just to discuss their options first, as opposed to just any random mortgage broker or anything?
Anna Dillon (07:16):
Um, they could do either. So, they could either go to the advisor that they use for their initial purchase, if they still have their details, or they could just go to their mortgage lender directly and talk to them on the phone and explain that they've got a current mortgage with them, would they be willing to lend some more money to them for staircasing.
Cheryl Gibbens (07:40):
Okay, perfect. And is there a difference, we get quite a few questions on live chat between, like a RICs surveyor for the valuation or like an estate agent valuation. Is there a difference between the both?
Anna Dillon (07:56):
Cheryl Gibbens (08:32):
That makes sense. Next question. Are you ready?
Anna Dillon (08:37):
Cheryl Gibbens (08:38):
Will I acquire the free hold if I staircase to a hundred percent?
Anna Dillon (08:43):
So this depends on your lease. On most of our shared ownership houses, yes. Um, but it's always best to come to us to ask for us to check and confirm that back to you. And for flats, no because you can't acquire the freehold of a flat within a block, so flats will always remain leasehold again, in most cases you can always buy up to a hundred percent and then just own the property a hundred percent leasehold.
Cheryl Gibbens (09:10):
Anna Dillon (09:19):
So again, this comes down to what's in your lease. So mostly to stipulate what admin fee is payable upon a resale. So this could be, um, usually the, the most common is 1.5% plus the 80 of the agreed sale price for your share. Um, but dependent on the age of the lease and the property, that could be different. So again, always come to us to ask and we can always check that and confirm back to you and that's payable on completion of the sale.
Cheryl Gibbens (09:54):
Anna Dillon (10:03):
Just, I missed something on the last question, which was what other costs are involved. So that would be the RICs valuation fee as well. So you'd have to get evaluation to put your property on the market solicitor's fees, and then obviously our, resale admin fee, and then just move on to the next question you asked about the estate agent.
Anna Dillon (10:24):
So, most leases have a nomination period within them, and the average is eight weeks, but again, it can be different. So, this is the amount of time that Aster will have to advertise the property and try and nominate a suitable purchaser. If whatever reason we can't find a buyer during that nomination period, after that time, you can then advertise with an estate agent of your choice if you wish.
Cheryl Gibbens (10:56):
Okie dokie. Someone has asked what happens to the rent when I staircase?
Anna Dillon (11:03):
So, the rent is reduced accordingly, dependent on how many additional shares you buy. Usually, the minimum is 10%. So, when you enquire about stair casing, we'll give you the figures for how much your rent will decrease by for every 10% that you buy. But obviously once you've decided exactly how much you'd like to purchase, we can work out the exact figure for you.
Cheryl Gibbens (11:33):
Anna Dillon (11:40):
Yes, you can. Um, but again, questions should be raised with the mortgage lender on this as to whether or not they were charged an admin fee for any changes or indeed if they're wanting to lend any additional lending for stair casing purposes. So, in terms of Aster, we wouldn't have any issue with that. Um, it's down to the mortgage lender as to whether or not they can renegotiate a current deal in that time.
Cheryl Gibbens (12:15):
Okie Dokie. Awesome answer. And the final question, can we make a profit on our shared ownership home if we sell it, how does it all work?
Anna Dillon (12:27):
So in relation to sales prices, because you have the independent chartered surveyors report, that will determine what the current market value is of your property and like the open market property prices go up and they can go down too. So, if your property price has increased from the time when you bought the property, then your share will be worked out based on what your valuation is at that time. And the same again, for if you are in this circumstance where you're in an area where the property prices have decreased from when you bought your property, then again, you would have to sell your share based on what the valuation says. So yes, if there is a profit on your share, then it will be your profit to have.
Cheryl Gibbens (13:23):
So it's a very similar process too, if you were to sell on the open market, if prices had gone up and gone down.
Anna Dillon (13:30):
Cheryl Gibbens (13:31):
Anna Dillon (13:38):
Cheryl Gibbens (13:39):
Thank you so much. And thank you for being a guest on the podcast. You've shared some invaluable information which will really help our listeners who are starting their shared ownership journey, and for those customers who are also thinking about buying more shares in their Aster home. If any of our listeners are feeling inspired, we have some customer stories available for you all to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch our customer testimonials. And if any of our listeners have any other questions that they would like answered in regard to shared ownership, you can contact us through live chat on our website, aster.co.uk/sales, through our social media channels, via email on email@example.com, or by phone on 01380 735 480.
Cheryl Gibbens (14:35):
Thank you so much for listening and thank you for your support. The shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster sales visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 6
Cheryl Gibbens (00:08):
Hello! And welcome to episode six of the This Shared Ownership Thing Podcast. We bring out a new episode every month with different guests to talk about all things, shared ownership, sharing our amazing customer stories and debunking common misconceptions of shared ownership. For the benefit of any new listeners, shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own, if you're able to do so, you can go on to purchase more shares of the home. This is referred to as staircasing, until, if able to, you can purchase the whole hundred percent of the home. With shared ownership, deposits can be as low as 5% of the share that you purchase, and this makes it a more affordable option for many people.
I'm Cheryl, I'm a marketing officer, at Aster sales, and today I'm joined by Aster home ownership manager. Hannah. Before we get started, though, let's get to know Hannah a little bit better. This is a quick fire question round where you have to answer the first thing that comes into your head. Are you ready?
Cheryl Gibbens (01:06):
<laugh>. Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Definitely dogs. Um, and excuse me, if you hear mine in the background, her name's piglet and she's a pug.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:16):
Oh, piglet. <laugh> that's so cute.
Do you prefer coffee or tea? What's your morning go-to cuppa?
Uh, that's easy and coffee. I can't even begin to function until I've had my first coffee of the morning.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:32):
Do you only have one coffee a day?
No. No. Okay. <laugh> I will drink coffee up until about two o'clock and then I stop. But between kind of when I wake up in until that time, it is coffee constantly
Cheryl Gibbens (01:46):
Free refills of coffee.
Cheryl Gibbens (01:49):
What is your favorite food?
Okay. Uh, so that's a hard one. I love food. Um, however, those that know me will probably say anything involving peanut butter.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:03):
Cheryl Gibbens (02:05):
Do you like the Reeses Chocolate?
I do anything. And if I'm having a really bad day, I'm known to get the jar of peanut butter out the cupboard with a spoon and just sit there and eat it out at the jar.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:17):
I love that. Are you a smooth or a crunchy peanut butter?
Cheryl Gibbens (02:24):
Girl. Love that. <laugh>
And, obviously apart from the job that you are in now, what is your absolute dream job?
Okay. So if I could do anything at all, it would be having my own kind of dog daycare center and kind of a rescue center for dogs attached to it. I'm just dog mad.
Cheryl Gibbens (02:47):
I love that. Like I always end up looking on RightMove at houses that have like land where I can have my own little dog farm, which obviously I'd never be able to afford <laugh>.
Well, I'm known um, between my friends of being kind of the dog nanny. So if anyone's going away at the weekend, I have guest dogs come here and I never wanna give them back.
Cheryl Gibbens (03:07):
Oh, I love that. That's so cool. You should have your own little dog home boarding thing
One day, one day.
Cheryl Gibbens (03:23):
Okay, perfect. So let's get into the good stuff. I've got a few questions for Hannah that we are commonly asked by our followers on social media and on our website, live chat. Are you ready for these questions?
Cheryl Gibbens (03:39):
Number one. Can I have a lodger in my shared ownership home?
So a lodger is classed as someone who lives with you in your home. So they will share your living space. So that's like the kitchen or the bathroom or the living area. They should not have exclusive use of your home. So whilst many leases allow you to have a lodger, we do need to check each individual lease. So we're not against it, but we do ask that you come to us for permission so we can check your lease.
Cheryl Gibbens (04:12):
Perfect. Can I rent my shared ownership home out if I temporarily relocate?
So this one's a little bit different. The shared ownership model doesn't really allow for subletting. It's just not allowed under the terms of a shared ownership lease. However, we are aware that in some cases there will be exceptional circumstances. So an example I can give you is that's perhaps someone is in the army and they're being posted to an area that is just not a commutable distance for a temporary amount of time. In that instance, we may allow it. All I can really say is if you have a case like that, then please do contact us at the home ownership team. And we can investigate that further for you.
Cheryl Gibbens (04:57):
Oh, that makes sense. What sort of things do I need permission for in my shared ownership home, such as decorating, landscape and pets?
Yeah. So, all of the above really that you've just mentioned, with a few others. So as a shared owner, you do need to get permission for certain types of alterations or improvements. And this can be things like changing external doors and windows, or if you live in a flat to change your front door, so extensions to your home, sometimes this can include loft conversions or conservatories. However, not all leases or build types allow for that, but we will check your leases individually. This can be for installing a new boiler or putting a new kitchen or bathroom in installing satellite dishes, pets, and some alterations to gardens. But if in doubt, just give us a call at the home ownership team and we'll guide you through the process.
Cheryl Gibbens (05:58):
Okay, perfect. So obviously it's best to ask you guys, but things such as, I don't know, like changing carpet or just painting some walls. Is that also best to come to you guys first or?
No, no. Obviously as a homeowner, we really want people to make their home a home. So if they are anything like me, they will just continuously decorate, so no, absolutely fine. People can decorate and lay new flooring.
Cheryl Gibbens (06:24):
What is the role of a home ownership or housing officer?
Okay. So the role of a home ownership housing officer is to support the homeowner with any queries they may have or any lease queries they may have that could include things like lease extensions or service charge inquiries. There may also be neighborhood issues. Sometimes you may be in dispute with your next door neighbor. There may be a ground maintenance issue. We really want to be there to offer support and guidance.
Cheryl Gibbens (07:01):
Fab will a home ownership or housing officer visit my shared ownership home. You know how, some people in a rental home, they may have like checks or anything. Does this happen on a shared ownership home?
So checks, no, they don't happen. Of course we will come in and visit you if you'd like us to come in and visit you at your home and have a look around and see what you've done. We would love to, but we don't do ‘tenancy checks’ if you like. It's your home, you are a homeowner. However, under the terms of the lease, if we needed to get in as an emergency, for example, if you were in a shared ownership flat and you are on holiday and you had an escape of water, so a water leak into the flat below, that could be classed as an emergency. And we may be able to gain access then, but you are the homeowner and we wouldn't come in unless you wanted us to.
Cheryl Gibbens (07:53):
Great. Do I need to let you know if my partner moves into my shared ownership home?
Yes you do. And just a reminder really that anyone that lives with you at your home, you're responsible for, but you should let us know. And also if you are in receipt of housing benefits or universal credit, then you should also make them aware as that could affect your claim.
Cheryl Gibbens (08:18):
Yeah, that makes sense. What does the building's insurance cover and who pays for this?
Okay. So as a shared owner, you pay through your service charges to Aster for building insurance. And the only time that you will stop paying Aster for building insurance through your service charges is when you become a freeholder. So this is when you own a house as a homeowner, as the free holder has an obligation to make sure that your home is insured for the whole time you are a shared owner or a lease holder. It covers for items such as escape of water and storm damage. We do have a summary of cover, and we're more than happy to send that out to our shared owners. And if you would like to have a copy of that, please do contact us at the home ownership team and, and we'll get a copy email across to you.
Cheryl Gibbens (09:14):
Amazing. And your last question, what are sinking funds?
Okay. So sinking funds, if you like, is an amount of money, which is set aside by the homeowner to cover for any one off works or major works in the future, which is needed on the property. So sinking funds are very common in lease hold properties, especially those that live in flats and the sinking fund will normally form part of the service charge that is payable by the shared owner. It's really a savings account. So that in five years’ time, if we have to do a one off piece of work, for example, we need to do some roof work on a block of shared ownership flats, then we aren't asking the shared owner at the time to pay a huge bill because we've been saving it over an amount of time.
Cheryl Gibbens (10:11):
Perfect. That makes sense.
That is all of your questions done. Thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast, Hannah. You've shared some invaluable information which will really help our listeners who are either starting their shared ownership journey or those who currently live in a shared ownership home now.
Cheryl Gibbens (10:36):
If you are inspired after listening to this podcast, we have some customer stories available for our listeners to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch our customer testimonials. And if any of our listeners have any other questions that they would like answered in regards to shared ownership, you can contact us through live chat on our website, aster.co.uk/sales or through our social media channels, or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on 01380 735480. Thank you for listening and thank you for your support. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster sales, visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 7
Speaker 1 (00:08):
Hello, and welcome to episode seven of this shared ownership thing podcast. We bring out a new episode with different guests to talk about all things home, including shared ownership, sharing our amazing customer stories and debunking common misconceptions of shared ownership. I'm Cheryl and I'm a marketing officer at Aster sales and today I'm joined by our marketing senior Gemma. In today's episode, Gemma and myself will be sharing some valuable content surrounding home interiors with all details provided by the lovely Suzanne from Blocc house of interiors. Blocc are the UK's leading light established in 2009 they provide outstanding interior design for show homes, retirement properties, and private residences. We will include their link within the info if you'd like to check them out. For the benefit of any new listeners, shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own, if you're able to do so, you can go on to purchase more shares of the home. This is referred to as staircasing, until if able to you can purchase the whole hundred percent of the home. With shared ownership deposits can be as low as 5% of the share that you purchase. And this makes it a more affordable option for many people.
Okay. Let's get started.
Okay. So current interior trends let's kick start the conversation with the current trends that Suzanne has mentioned. So there are a number of different colour palette trends for 2023-2024. One of which is nature, which is a neutral tone of ivory, cream, warm beiges and rich taupe. This trend has a link between wellness being with organic and cozy materials. Materials, such as wool, cotton, clay, velvet and ceramics are key elements for a smooth organic environment bringing greenery through in either real or fake plants is also key to provide this look. Pastels, so soft pastels are coming back, especially the lilac hues combined with duck egg blues, soft tonal greens and primrose yellows. Another one is the seventies revival, so bold autumnal colours of tans, burnt orange terracotta, claret, mass of yellow honey, and sand combined with tonal deep blues. Colours that are applied in bold shapes or prints, an already very loved hue used from fashion to interior design.
Perfect. Does that not just make you want to redecorate your entire house right now and just make it all like cream with like ceramic vases of pampas grass?
Yeah. It's those textures I think and I really love the soft pastels as well at the moment. I kind of went away from them a few years ago, but I really think they're back in, those soft pinks, things like that, It's just beautiful. I'm buzzing. I just wanna redecorate right now.
<Laugh> okay. So adding character into a new build home and how to do this on a budget. So some of the key points that Suzanne mentioned to add character were feature paint walls, feature wallpaper walls, paint colour blocking, and I wasn't actually too sure what this was. So I had to Google this. Do you know what paint colour blocking is? Does everyone know what is apart from me?
Is it when you literally block off with masking tapes, certain areas on the wall and you have different sections of different colours or is that wrong?
Yeah, I think so. So it said how you take colours, you can take them opposites on the colour wheel. So I don't actually know the colour wheel, but say like red and blue opposites. Um or you can do similar colours. So like a block of dark grey and a light grey. And you just pair them together to make a combination, but I didn't know that's what it was called. And I didn't realize it was such a big thing either, but obviously you have similar in the background right now.
Yeah, I do. I have actually seen a few people on Instagram that have almost created with the block of colour, a frame for mirrors or an art simulate, like an arch way with colour block, just to add different dimensions. So you kind of make the walls don't look so 2d. They've got that other element to kind of bring it to life in the different types of like you were saying just then different grays or different whatever colour you go for that can add the different dimensions to make it pop more, I guess, as well. So yeah, colour blocking. It's a, it's a, it is a cool, cool old trend. Something that certainly I've experimented in my study as well, which looks quite cool.
I think we do have, yeah. One of our shared owners, @mypetitenewbuild on Instagram in her dining area, she has a lovely little sort of oval block where her mirror goes. Gorgeous.
Yeah, it's frames the mirror doesn't it, kind of sets it off really nicely.
Perfect. So if anyone wants to check that out, that's @mypetitenewbuild on Instagram, beautiful.
Home goals, right there
Feature paneling is another point that Suzanne mentioned. She said, this is a great way to create a different look and it is on trend. And I am in the process of completing paneling in our master bedroom. So if anyone needs any tips hit me up. <Laugh>.
I was gonna say, you're the girl to go to.
Yeah, we just need to paint it now. So I don't wanna rush into that. I wanna be fully sure what I wanna paint.
Yeah. A hundred percent.
Statement, artwork and artwork galleries, I think similar to what you had in your previous house up your stairs, did you have a photo gallery?
Yeah. Gallery wall and once again, this is something that, you know, Pinterest is, is a great help to create because you can search on Pinterest things like gallery walls, and they give you an idea of the layouts and the size frames as well. So you can almost look at the shape you're trying to create. So if it's going up the stairs to make sure that it reaches across that area and then work out from there, on if you need like a big one in the middle or some smaller landscape ones to the sides, and it helps you plot out how it's going to look. So definitely. Yeah. I think statement, artwork and the gallery is just, you know, we all have, we're guilty of having photos on our phone. Don't print them off, but actually you can make some really effective looking galleries and whether you wanna keep them all black and white or have a mix match of frames, I think either can just, it adds something else to the wall. It's not just one picture. It's like a bit of you on the wall, you know.
And if any of our listeners would like to see this, Gemma did type up a blog named "picture this" which also has the link in with your templates. So we'll link that into the description. Bringing colour into a room through bold coloured cushions and soft furnishing. This is a great thing to do if you are on a budget as if fashions and trends change, it's not a major thing that you need to change. You could just get some new covers or something. And it doesn't mean that you have to repaint a wall several times. Like I have done when I get bored.
And you know, you could even make seasonal changes that way. So if it was Christmas and you wanted it all warm and you wanted to have those, you know, warmer colours and fluffy textures. And you know, when you get your pine cones out and things like that, I think at least if you've got just, you can inject that, make it feel very different just by doing that like you said, with, with a few furnishings, different cushions.
Yeah. No, I love that. Why did I never think of that?
How to do this on a budget? So Suzanne has advised a tin of paint for a feature wall is probably one of the most affordable ways to add impact into a room. And I think when I moved into my home five years ago, the first thing we done was just popped a feature wall in the living room because it does just break it up a bit. Doesn't it? It makes it look like it has been decorated, but you haven't actually done a huge amount of work.
Hundred percent. Yeah.
And the DIY retail outlet, such as Homebase and B&Q now sell the MDF paneling strips to help you create the wow factor for the paneling. But on that I used a website called skirting for you and they have all the paneling things you need and pictures for inspo and they're on Instagram. So, you know, when you find an account on Instagram and they engage with you, you are like, I gotta go with you. So I put a story up on my home, Instagram account about paneling and I tagged skirting for you in it. And they replied and they were like, oh, I can't wait to see what you do. And I was just like, oh, we're best friend.
Oh, I love that. I guess that you're gonna share the finished results with them as well.
I will. Yeah. But yeah, you can get everything for the paneling on there. It's all measured out, all cut the size for you.
Speaker 2 (09:05):
And I was gonna say, I'm sure I read that somewhere as well, with some of the bigger DIY stores. If you actually say the measurements you're going for, you can obviously choose the panel and they will cut it. So you, at least you haven't got the worry of having any, you know, jagged edges or anything like that. They can just cut it for you off you go take it up and then you just apply it it's yeah. Far easy. Cause that that's the bit that would worry me is measuring by having like a centimeter at the bottom from the skirting board, be like, oh, it doesn't fit <laugh>.
Yeah, no, just take it home. Just stick it on. Easy. Amazing.
Now you're giving me the inspo, to do a paneled wall, I'm like which one can I do?
So the next one on the list from Suzanne was how to add textures without breaking the bank. So this kind of leads on from the previous section. You know, you can add the textures with your cushions and things like that in different rooms, but I really, really love this tip getting wallpaper samples and trapping them in a frame to create impact on an empty wall space. So you don't necessarily have to buy the whole roll. Quite often, you can take small samples, you know, to put on your wall as you know, to see how it might look. If you did pay for the whole wall, you could use that and make some, you know, artwork from that. And I think that's fab.
It's awesome. Isn't it?
Yeah, so, so simple. And then once again, if you want to change it, you can, as frequently as you want, you've got the frame, you just change the insert with a different wallpaper sample. I just think that's so cool to, you know, change things up a bit. The other thing she suggested is creating an artwork gallery combining different size and different finishes of photo frames with wall mounted objects. Completely think that's a great one too, because I've done the similar in my study actually the frames don't all match. Initially I was like, oh my OCD, how am I gonna cope with black or white? They're all different. They're completely mixed, different sizes. And it just works. And you can put other little art pieces in between. It just feels that you can just keep adding to it and making it bigger. So it does become more of a gallery. So that's quite cool and the other suggestion that was made about adding textures without breaking the bank was the lead shelves that are really kind of a cheap way to add a point of interest to a room. So you can add hanging plants or things that'll drape off the side of the shelf, just to create that element of texture. And once again, you can just change whatever's on that shelf and it will have a completely different feel, put a diffuser on it. It smells nice too, you know, just <laugh> feature it up.
Yeah, no, I love that. And I think if you've got a home Instagram account, surely you've got a hanging plant somewhere in your house, it's gotta be a hanging plant. We've all got one.
I've got a few of those, is it Macrame where they have them, they hang from the ceiling.
Oh, I've got one of those. Yeah.
Yeah. It was quite a, I think seventies/eighties thing, but now it seems to have come back in with like a plant that drapes down with like a, is it called a trailing plant or something like that? It just looks really quite funky.
Yeah. I love it. Even just puts a little bit of colour in there. Doesn't it? Like I have quite plain gray walls because I will mention later on, but my house is very gray and just my little hanging plants that I have on my shelves. Just a bit of greenery just breaks it all up, which is needed.
Yeah. Bring a little bit of the outside in as well.
So how to plan the decor for your new home and how to choose a colour scheme. And this is definitely the exciting part to buying a home isn't it. Once you get through all the legal stuff, all the adult stuff, you can just think about planning your decor.
This is the exciting bit for sure. <Laugh>.
So the first thing that Suzanne mentioned was Pinterest and Instagram and how great they are for colour inspiration. Or if you want to be, this blew my mind. If you want to be ahead of the trends, look at the colours that are coming through in fashion because it filters through to interiors approximately 12 to 18 months later. And I just, obviously I'm not down with fashion. I'm not a fashion guru. I just wear whatever's comfy. But I did not know that fashion filters then through to like interior.
Nor did I, so I guess from that respect, if you looked at fashion magazines or anything like that, or any of the shows that are up and coming, you know, the catwalk shows, if you, you could see probably prints and colour hues actually like Suzanne said, 12 to 18 months later, you'll probably be seeing that on your shelves at B&Q and that'd be the next Dulux paint of the year, you know.
Crazy isn't it. I just I'm so oblivious to things like that. I just, if there's a trend on Instagram, then I'm like, oh yeah, that would look nice. I never knew where they all originate from or anything.
I'm gonna be looking in the fashion magazines now to see if I can stay ahead of the curve.
Next week, half your house is gonna be orange. The other half will be like, purple.
There'll be peacock feathers. There'll be everything you name it.
I saw someone wearing a peacock dress <laugh> I was like, so I've taken inspiration. And that is now my colour scheme. <Laugh> Hi, Suzanne. I hope you like my peacock house.
And secondly, for inspiration, you can head to our insta account, which is @SalesAster, or you can just search the hashtag #ThisSOthing where you'll find lots and lots of photos that our shared owners have shared of their homes as a source for inspiration. And you may also even find someone that's potentially living in a similar house type to you, which could help you envision how your furniture's gonna lay out or where you'd like to put things. I always found that really handy when I reserved my home being a new build. I could just see where people put their sofa or how they had like little storage hacks or anything.
See, I would never have thought of that, but it makes complete sense because how you might think about my sofa would be there. The tele could go there that, that, you know, perfect job done, but actually, until you see it in the flesh and you live in it, it's probably quite hard to envisage. So if you've got other people that are living in the similar home, you're just gonna get inspiration from that. And it definitely will help you plan out how your rooms, how things will fit together.
Yeah. And I completely understand the difficulty of reserving a home off plan because anyone who's bought a new build home has that struggle. I had the exact same struggle and you just don't know how to plan off of a floor plan. So if you can find a house that's either the same house type or similar, it does give you a bit more.
That's a really good idea. Really, really good. Love that. Check that out guys. If you're buying a new build home, look at what other Shared Owners have done. I think that's a fantastic suggestion there.
Right, we've got a few more top tips from Suzanne. Really like this one. So how to make a room look cozy. So with this, a great tip and add in lots of different textured materials fabrics. So we're talking furs, we're talking velvet, silks, linens, cottons, wool. Anything that just brings that other dimension in so, and different finishes. So scatter cushions, throws, you know, draping that over the sofa, add some maybe, I don't know, a fluffy cushion, a silky cushion, mix it up. Doesn't all have to be the same texture, but that all really makes a room feel cozy. Now Suzanne with the show homes, it's more the interiors that she does as opposed to garden inspiration. So we asked her about if you've got any tips on new build garden inspiration. So she, she would suggest bringing the colour palettes you use into the garden through using things like colour pots. So maybe, you know, small shrubs, but bring in some pops of colours with pots like that, that, that can, you know, maybe brighten up, brighten up the garden. And we also asked if there's any clever storage hacks for new builds, because let's be honest, no matter how big your home or what home you've got, you always want storage and the cleverer and crafty ways of doing it the better. I know I'm the same, any kind of cupboard is filled with stuff. So Suzanne doesn't really get involved to do with much, you know, storage solutions as such, but she has sent some ideas that include the storage units at the end of a bed, such as a Kallax from Ikea. We can link to that anyway so you can see a link to that particular solution or under stair storage solutions with built in drawers. So you could even custom do this I guess if you've got an under stairs, cupboard, you could have shelves in there. You could have drawers to put shoes, to put your, whatever you wanna put in there. But I think you could really make use of that space. It's basically utilizing every element inside your home, any cupboard unit, any spare bit of space, trying to make the best of that really. And just utilizing what you've got.
And talking of under stairs cupboard, we have that shared owner don't we, that we all fell in love with the dog storage.
It's a little house, isn't it?
I'm just trying to find it on Instagram, but I can't find it to tag the account. So the Shared Owner turned the under stairs cupboard into like a little doghouse for their dog. And it was incredible. Oh, I’ve found it. So, their handle is @plot535. And you just need to check it out. It was for their little dog called Monty. Oh and he has his own little front door and everything. Oh my goodness. It looks Fad. So maybe if you don't have the space to put like dog beds or dog food things or anything, and you've got the under stairs cupboard free and your dog's small that's great idea. You couldn't put like a big dog in there I don't think. But that's definitely an awesome idea.
So lovely and things like that. You could even use it as well, you know, understairs kind of, not like a camping situation, but with kids, you could be like the little, not a playroom, but like a den, a snug where they could read, get cozy, put lights under there. Like we're not talking Harry Potter under the stair. It's not living in there forever.
You have to let them out.
A little area that they can call their own and just have some calm time. You could, why not use a space like that? It doesn't have to just be just to store things. It could be other uses too.
Yeah, no, I have also seen, I think it was mainly over lockdown when a lot of people had to work from home. Quite a few people managed to put a little desk in their under stairs cupboard and a little chair with their laptop. And that was just their little home office thing. Keeping it separate. I love it. Great idea.
The next thing we asked Suzanne was what the bravest thing she had done decor wise in a show home. One of these things was painting the ceiling, a dark colour. And she advised that this is always a big statement and a talking point. And I know that Gemma has carried on her stripe onto the ceiling.
Yeah, I've done this in my study. It's a Farrow and ball dupe so you can go B&Q to Valspar, and they will match any colours that you want them to match. So I've gotten this almost terracotta, almost plaster colour, actually panel that goes through the middle of the wall and it extends up and over the ceiling and past the ceiling rose and slightly over it, it's strange. You stand underneath and it feels like you've got an umbrella over your head. It feels like there's an extra roof over you. But it's really funky I've so many comments about it, you know, initially I was just gonna extend it slightly onto the ceiling, but we went a bit further and I'm really pleased I did. It just feels cosier. I can't explain it. It just feels cosier. And I didn't wanna paint the whole wall in this colour. But like I said, when we painted probably half of it, but a strip down the half, going straight across over the ceiling. And I think the end result's good. Definitely, it's a brave move to make, because if you don't mask it up correctly oh frog tape will become your friend, but you need to be really quite accurate with marking it up and just making sure that, you know, that you've sealed that frog tap down really securely, so you don't get any of the paint bleeding out onto the other colour on the ceiling so it's really crisp. But it's definitely easily achievable, you know, it is brave and it is bold, but if you fancy doing something different, I would definitely give it a go.
Yeah. I think that's the thing, isn't it, it's just really different and I just love that. And I can imagine if you were to paint the entire ceiling, which is also very brave and you had a real nice light, some sort of nice light fixture, I think it would just look gorgeous.
I've seen a few people do that with that very dark blue and dark green. And they've extended it literally from the skirt and boards up and over. And it's super brave. I'm not quite at that stage, but I tell you what the pictures that I've seen that people have done it, it looks really dramatic, but very cool. It's just taking that move when you do go for a really bold and dark colour, because obviously if you do that and you don't like it, you do have to have several coats to try and cover it back up again. So it's just knowing and feeling confident in what you're doing and, and ultimately if you don't like it you can paint over, it just might take a few extra coats to cover.
No, absolutely. I think another thing to take into consideration though, would be how much natural light you get into that room. Because my kitchen, I made the rookie error of painting it quite a dark gray, and we actually don't get that much natural light come into it. So it is a very dark room. It's just a bit, mm. You need a bit of natural light, don't you?
You do. And that's a massive thing to consider with any decor that you're doing is the light that you get in that room.
Another thing that Suzanne has done was paint colour blocking in the show homes, which obviously we've mentioned already, but I can imagine that looked very fancy, especially being in a show home.
Oh, definitely. You go into show homes and they do wow you, and to be honest, if you are looking to do some decoration, look around some show homes, because I'll tell you what people like Suzanne at Blocc, you know, they know what they're doing. They, they have great style, they know the trends and you can quite often go around and get inspo from the show homes, yourself thinking that that would work for me. So hit those up as well. It's a lovely thing to do on a weekend.
<Laugh> I honestly love going to see the show homes, especially when it's like the big five bed homes. And you're like, yeah, I'll never be able to afford this, but Hey, we don't even need to think about that right now.
But you can still bring that interior style from that five bed into your one, two or three bed, you can still make it feel and look that way. And that's the beauty of when you've got your own shared ownership home, putting your own stamp on it, decorating as you wish. And you can have those dreams are, you know, achievable and you can get that look and feel without worrying about ringing the landlord and thinking, actually are they gonna let me do that colour block because actually they don't like it, but I do. So in my shared ownership home, I will do that colour block wall.
Absolutely. And please do take a picture of it and send it to us so we can just see it. Get some inspo from it. Makes us happy.
Absolutely, on that note. If you do do that with your Aster shared ownership home and like Cheryl said earlier on with the hashtag #ThisSOthing we do run seasonal competitions for summer, winter, spring and autumn. So if you tagged us in the picture that you do of your Aster Shared Ownership home with any decor that you've, you know, been involved with, we'll one love to see the imagery, but you could also be entered into our draw to win £250. To do more DIY and decor.
Absolutely. And you can spend that on some MDF to panel your wall.
Oh, there's an idea.
We'd love to see it.
We certainly would
Fab so these are the main points that Suzanne very helpfully covered to help you decide your interior style for your new home journey. But before we end Gem and I will also share one tip each because you know, we're interior gurus now <laugh>.
I've learned a lot. Cheryl, I've learned a lot. <Laugh>.
I'll start with mine. So my main tip would be, unless you are fully certain on what colour palettes and styles you want for each room, I would personally say don't rush into anything. There is no rush. Just take your time to look through. If you use Pinterest, look through Pinterest boards, scroll through social media, look around in shops, or even like how Gem said, have a look at show homes to get some ideas. And I do only say this because when I moved into my new build home in 2017, there are some rooms that I've painted minimum three or four times already, which my other half absolutely loves, obviously, because I've already moved on from what styles and colours I liked then. And also trends have changed too. So when I moved in, in 2017, we all loved Mrs. Hinch. I still do love Mrs. Hinch, but her house was all gray and everyone else's house is gray and I wanted my house to be gray. Yeah. But, but when you do every single room gray and all your furniture gray, it gets a little bit expensive when you....
It gets quite grey.
Yeah. <laugh> and it gets expensive to make it non gray. So yeah, it was the in thing then, and I'm now in the process of de-graying, everything, which is expensive. And it does take time. So maybe just wait until you've got your heart set on some sort of style, some sort of theme, and then go with it. Just don't rush into it with a tin of paint and a paintbrush like I did.
Do you know what Cheryl I completely agree. I almost feel you need to live in a home for a bit before you can decide on colour, you know, pallets and themes that you're gonna go for. So you need to get to know each room, you know, where the light is. If it's a cooler room, literally like in temperature style, you know, maybe you wanna add warmth to that cool room with some different warmer colours. Or if it's a smaller, darker room, maybe you need more mirrors to, you know, give that idea of space, but defo, you know, give it a few months, live in it first before any decisions are made. And it's the same with garden space, work out where your sunny spots are based on different times of the day. Let's face it If you're gonna set your barbecue up, you want it to be in the sunniest place possible that has the most sun to enjoy that burger and a nice cool beverage of your choice. So yeah, I think you just don't rush into anything, just take your time, live in it, create some Pinterest boards in the interim. And then when you're sure you know what you want to do, go for it and just be brave.
And ultimately just enjoy it. If you're in your new home process, if you're on the journey, just enjoy it. It's a huge thing. And it'll be amazing once you're in.
Couldn't agree more.
Love it. Oh, I remember that feeling when you just move in and you're like, oh my God, this is mine.
It's the best. It's a feeling like no other, the excitement and also just you feel secure, you feel safe and now's the time to just make it your own. It's just a lovely feeling.
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast, Gemma and a huge thank you to Suzanne from Blocc for sharing this invaluable home inspiration advice that will really help our listeners who are starting their new home journey. If you are feeling inspired to find your new home, we have some customer stories available for our listeners to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch our customer testimonials. And thank you for listening and for your support. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by Aster sales. Visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 8
Hello, and welcome to episode eight of this shared ownership thing podcast. We bring out a new episode with different guests to talk about all things home, including useful tips and advice around home buying, selling, or staircasing sharing our amazing customer stories and debunking common misconceptions of shared ownership. For the benefit of any new listeners shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own, if you're able to do so, you can go on to purchase more shares of the home. This is referred to a staircasing, until if able to you can purchase the whole hundred percent of the home. With shared ownership deposits can be as low as 5% of the share that you purchase and this makes it a more affordable option for many people. I'm Cheryl, a marketing officer Aster sales, and today I'm joined by Ollie a new home sales manager at On The Market. In today's episode, Ollie will be sharing some insightful content surrounding market trends, important factors to include when selling your home and much more. On The Market is a property search portal that launched in 2015, and they launched thousands of new properties monthly. For more information head over to https://www.onthemarket.com/
Okay. Let's get started. So to meet the guest, we have a few quick fire questions for our listeners to get to know you. Are you ready?
I am ready. Let's go.
Okay. Number one, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Quite an easy one for me, professional footballer.
Okay. Perfect. Number two. Are you a sweet or savoury person?
I'm gonna have to say both. I, I like a something savoury in the morning and something sweet in the afternoon. So yeah, a bit of both, but I'm not, I'm partial to both, so it's absolutely fine.
Do you always have to have a dessert?
No, I'm not a dessert man generally.
I probably prefer a starter to a dessert.
Okay. What's your favourite kind of starter? Just to put you on the spot.
Ah, yes. Mm-Hmm.
Yeah. With a nice garlic tartar sauce.
Oh, number three. What is your most used emoji on your phone?
Do you know what it's probably it's bit of a boring one, but it's probably the, the laughing emoji or, or the love emoji. I think in the last couple of months that I've been using the golf emoji, because I'm, I'm a keen golfer. I get to Thursday, Thursday night and I'm, I'm raring to go on the golf course. So yeah, we've got a golf WhatsApp group and yeah, we're making, making the most of this lovely weather at the moment. So, lot of golf.
That's very tame compared to my last guest that explained that theirs was the poo emoji all day, every day. <Laugh>. And the last question, if you had to only have one item of food forever, what would it be?
Controversial this one.
So when you say an item of food, I would probably say steak.
But if you are saying an item as in could a pizza, be in the equation?
I knew you were going to say pizza <laugh>
Because it's, it's not an item of food, but it would be my fav, it would be my go-to, and I want to eat that for the rest of my life and have nothing else. So yeah
Okay. So you're gonna go steak or pizza?
<Laugh> gonna go pizza. If you gimme me the option.
Okay. Alright good choice. What's your favourite pizza toppings?
Mozzarella. basil. Um, I do like prawns on pizza as well?
Do you? Mm, so you don't go like with dominoes, they have the like full meaty thing where you literally have like every piece of meat under the sun on the pizza.
No, my lad goes for like the cheeseburger one. They do at dominoes.
speaker 1 (04:24):
speaker 2 (04:24):
I don't know it's called cheeseburger, but it tastes like McDonald's on pizza. Oh, but I actually find that dominoes are a little bit too doughy and a bit, so you just feel a little bit sick after.
They're heavy, aren't they?
Yeah, I think with sour dough and just the other variety of pizzas nowadays.
Oh, oh, sour dough.
Yeah. There's better options.
Yeah. I love one of those like proper oh, what they called? Like the baked the proper as opposed to like the thick crust.
Yeah. Stone, stone baked
Stone baked. Mm, yeah. Yeah. All day.
Yeah. We've been tempted to get one of these Ooni pizza ovens. I think I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and spend a few hundred quid and do it. It's just the hassle getting the dough prepared and all the other bits, so,
Oh, I know, but it'll be so worth it.
Yeah. We love our pizza in our house, so yeah.
Oh, amazing. Okay. So we should probably move on to the adult questions now as opposed to talking about pizza <laugh> so are you ready?
I am indeed.
These first few questions are focused more on tips and tricks when selling your home. So, the first one is from a, On The Market perspective what information should you include when selling a home as this could be really useful for our shared owners that are looking at selling their shared ownership homes?
Yeah. Okay. So, so from a listing perspective I think the main thing that we sort of, we ask all of our sort of sellers to include on their listings or whether they're estate agents or new home developers or housing associations is to make sure it's plot specific information and content that is gonna sell your plot over sort of any other plots or houses within the area. So at the moment what we have on our, our website is the ability for buyers to create a wishlist of things that they most like. And so the most common things on that wishlist are quite basic terms. So such as garden, parking, garage, off street, parking, large garden, rural outside space with land, out outbuildings, character property. So, you know, make it plot specific, but also don't, don't forget the things that are, might seem basic to you, but also a necessity for other people who are potentially looking.
The other key one as well at the moment is sustainability. So if your house has solar panels, if your house is more energy efficient, if you've already had a, an electrical vehicle charger installed, then include those sort of contents. Because I think, you know, we're in that space at the moment where energy prices are, are key to everyone's thought process.
The cost of living. So actually, including those sort of extras within your house, again, things that you might not think are extras because you've had them for a few years, can actually be the, the selling features for other, other buyers out there.
Yeah. No, that's actually really interesting when you say, something that may seem so basic and normal to us, like a garden. For someone that's maybe going from a flat to a house are specifically looking for a garden. They obviously would be looking for that point. So yeah,
Speaker 3 (07:56):
So be sure to include that.
I think the other thing is as well, if you have got a spare room that could be converted into office space, I think with the way that we've gone into this hybrid working world a lot of buyers are looking now to office space. So actually to include office space in the content is is a selling feature for a lot of, a lot of potential buyers.
Yeah great shout. Number two. What are the best types of imagery to use when listing a home?
Okay. So, key things is make sure you've got high quality images to start with. From a, a portal perspective is nothing worse when you're looking through and you find the right location. You find the house that you think is your, your dream house and the images are blurred. The pixels don't look right. Or potentially even the sizing's not right on the page. Straight away that can be off putting. So size is key is always, is always, you know, right thing to, to use in that respect. Don't be afraid to lead with a non-internal picture. So an image of a kitchen or a lounge if, for example, your, the exterior of your house may not be eyecatching. It might be a property that perhaps you didn't fall in love with the look of the property, but actually you fell in love with the kitchen or the lounge or the garden or the outside space, then why not lead with that? Because that's something that you fall in love with. And perhaps that initial shot that buyers will see as the external might not be the, the selling features. So actually rotate the images as much as possible.
Love that. What makes a listing more appealing in general? Are there any sort of points that people always look out for or,
Yeah, look, I, I think the key one with this is if you have an overkill of images, then I actually think that can be a little bit off putting, because buyers, yeah, I think buyers can always, will always find potentially something they don't like if you give too much choice. So be selective over what images you use. We, we actually say the Optum level is between sort of seven and nine images.
As far as what makes the, the listings more appealing from a visual perspective, if you have got the ability to add video content, then video content is key. You know, I think coming out of a, a COVID world where we saw video usage, increased engagement by around about 220% on site, then it is still a pull factor. I think a lot of buyers out there now actually like to have a digital, the way we look at it is almost they have a digital walkthrough of your property. So if you think about it, the more content that you add inside that that profile, I'm not just talking about the images I'm talking about, you know, video content, floor plans you know, the energy rating of the house and any of the key features will, will help your listings perform better against, you know, competition properties.
Perfect. That'll be really useful for our shared owners that are currently looking at putting their home on the market. So that's really interesting.
So now I have some questions that focus more around the housing market. You ready for these ones?
Yeah. Let's go for it.
How has the market been for the first half of 2022? And how does that compare to average?
Okay. So I would say it's a tale of two halves within one half <laugh> that doesn't make any sense <laugh>. I mean, we've been blessed in the last two years during COVID through an absolutely buoyant market, probably a market that you couldn't have really anticipated going into COVID, you know, what seems like many years ago but actually the market did boom. So going into this year, the market has been very strong, but then what we've seen is various factors coming into play. The key one being at the moment is the increase in living costs. And more recently interest rates have gone up. You then had the start of the war in Ukraine. Now there was a lot of uncertainty about how that would impact over here. And actually that was a little bit of a short-term doubt brought by the Ukraine situation, but other things have kicked into play. So, we saw a great start of the year, very buoyant market.
Over the last couple of months, we've certainly seen a downturn in number of eyeballs, actually looking at properties in the, in the sort of UK. Okay. one thing I would say though, is that we are comparing a lot to the last couple of years. And actually if you compare the market to perhaps three years ago, we're on about the, the same level playing field. So I actually think we're from the data we see on the market. We still see a large percentage of our users are looking to transact within the next three months. So again, I think there's still a lot of high intent buyers in the marketplace. Perhaps there's not as many eyeballs, but yeah, there's still very many buyers who are looking to move in the next couple of months. So that that's good from a market perspective.
Perfect. I guess it's really hard for any industry to do any form of like year on year comparison. Isn't it, when everything during COVID was just crazy, like house buy-in or just shopping in general, like it just went mad.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, going back to this time last year when we would look at, you know, we had some of our, our busiest months last year from a site traffic perspective. So it just goes to show that you were never gonna replicate that. When you know, you've got the challenges that the market faces at the moment. So yeah, I think, you know, overall though, I don't wanna sound too doom and gloom about the market conditions at the moment, because there are buyers out there and, and we're certain certainly seeing a lot of good quality inquiries and reservations coming through for our, for our new home developers and housing associations.
Have you seen an increase in buyers that are looking specifically for shared ownership homes as opposed to homes on the open market?
Yeah, generally, I think one of the, one of the things that we do find is that because there's been a lot more awareness about shared ownership over the last couple of years and actually from a housing housing association perspective and a digital focus, it seems that it seems that buyers out there have shared ownership on their minds. So, whereas a couple of years ago, you know, I've been in the industry for, for quite a few years, over 10 years. And I always thought that the problem with shared ownership was almost this understanding piece where buyers didn't really understand what it meant and how they would access shared ownership. I think what we now see is an increase in knowledge, but also a situation where perhaps they are being out priced by a lot of the, the market conditions at the moment, price points being such a sealant. So actually shared ownership is a, is a great opportunity. And that's why we're seeing a lot of interest. And actually we haven't really seen a, a decline in in interest or leads generated for our shared ownership properties over the last couple of months where perhaps, you know, our new home developers might have seen that decline. So I'd say, you know, from a market perspective yeah, we definitely are seeing an increase in buyers looking for shared ownership properties.
Ah, well, that's very positive to hear. <laughs> Where is the most popular place to purchase a home in the Southwest?
Okay. So Southwest is quite a, is quite a broad term to use Southwest. So I think there's, you know, you can split it down into sort of regional parts of the Southwest. I would say overall in the Southwest, if you looked at the biggest search or most popular place, you would be looking at sort of Bristol and surrounding areas. Okay. That's where we get the, the biggest concentration of searches. If you take that down into sort of more Cornwall, Devon area, then we see a lot of active activity around sort of Truro. Yeah, so Truro again, surrounding areas, but there are rural locations that also have periods where they have heightened traffic and that might be due to seasonality effect as well. And then of course, you've got, if we're looking as far as Dorset, I would say the most popular area for Dorset is, is sort of Bournemouth or surrounding areas there. Yeah. And Wiltshire, as you would expect Swindon. And there's a lot of activity going on in, in Swindon, not just from a, a resale perspective, but from a new home's perspective. So Swindon generates a, a good amount of sort of traffic level. I think that's, I think that's all of the Southwest covered just about
<Laugh> well done. <Laugh> Have you seen an increase or a decrease in first time buyers over the last couple of years?
Yeah, we, we have actually last, last couple of years, I mean last year we actually saw first, first time buyer activity, double for starter homes.
But actually that was in the, in the face of a housing boom with house prices reaching sort of a peak. So the, in the interesting thing is actually the age of first time buyers in is still increasing. First time buyers at the moment are you know, they start saving around about 24 on average and they look complete around about 32. So I still think, although we're seeing a lot of increased activity, it's still very tough for first time buyers and the market conditions, especially where we're at now are not sort of favourable. So I think, you know, there are a lot of challenges and I think this is where, you know, shared ownership really comes into its own. And I think there's a, a massive opportunity with shared ownership within the market space that we're at the moment.
Do you think one of the factors that does hinder first time buyers is the large deposits on like the open market?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's the, it's the, it's the key point. And I think with the challenges that everyone will face at the moment with the increase in living costs.
It's not gonna be easy for anyone, especially first time buyers, perhaps who are you know, just starting out their career potentially. Perhaps they're just come out of university. They might have a little bit of debt overhanging. They're trying to make them way in the world where prices are so expensive if you know, shopping, living cost, everything that goes with that. And then to try and save a, a sizeable deposit for a house is in some cases not feasible or, or at least in some cases they can't save as much as they would like to. So it's very restricting. It's very tough. And again, this is why I think products that we can help out with or with shared ownership it really does give them that opportunity to make that first step. But yeah, it's, it's not an easy one to, to go through at the moment. First time buyers.
Yeah, no, a hundred percent. I've got a friend, actually who's a teacher and she was saying that with her monthly wage, she's got more than enough to cover like a mortgage payment or whatever, but she will just never be able to save something like 20,000 pounds in the next few years. She said, it's just not feasible. So yeah, people like her shared ownership would work perfectly for, with the low deposits to get her on the property ladder and stuff.
Yeah. We hear, we hear a lot, a lot about, you know, the buyer intent and first time buyers is very much to you know, get on the ladder in the next few years if they can. But often I think the realistic picture is more like five to 10 years, depending on how much they can save. And also I, we have found that mortgage lending is a lot stricter at the moment. So you know, my, myself actually we've recently been through a remortgage and yeah, the amount of questions we were asked about our, our sort of our monthly spend was, you know, almost intrusive, but then mortgage, they mortgage lenders are being a lot more protective. They won't, they don't want the sort of the market to go bust like it did in 2008. So they're, they're wary of that and they're protecting themselves. So I think that's why they're, they're bringing in these restricted measures with everything that we're seeing with the the price of living cost going up so much.
Yeah, no, a hundred percent. It is difficult. That is all of your questions complete.
Fabulous. That's brilliant.
Thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast today Ollie and thank you for sharing such insightful information today for our listeners. If you are feeling inspired to find your new home, we have some customer stories available for our listeners to see on our website, just visit aster.co.uk/lifestories to watch our customer testimonials. Thank you for listening and for your support. This shared ownership thing podcast is brought to you by aster sales visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.
- Episode 9
Hello and welcome to episode nine of This Shared Ownership Thing podcast, where we bring on different guests to talk about all things home, including useful advice around home buying, selling, or staircasing, why shared ownership could be an option for you and sharing our amazing customer stories. For the benefit of any new listeners, shared ownership is when you buy a share of a home and you pay rent on the share that you don't yet own. If you're able to do so, you can go on to purchase more shares of the home. This is referred to as staircasing, until if able to, you can purchase the whole hundred percent of the home. With shared ownership, deposits can be as low as 5% of the share that you purchase and this makes it a more affordable option for many people. I'm Cheryl, a marketing officer at Aster Sales, and today I'm joined by Ed Till head of New business and delivery at Aster Group.
In today's episode, Ed will be answering some of our most asked questions about new builds and new developments, and he'll cover why developments experience delays, how the Aster handover process works, and all about snags. Now, before we get into the nitty gritty questions, let's get to know Ed a little bit better. It's time for a quick fire question round. Welcome, Ed.
Are you ready for your questions?
Yeah, go for it.
Okay. Number one, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So, as a child, I think I most wanted to own my own surf shop, to be honest and I realized that-
Oh, do you surf?
No, but I used to love going to the beaches in Cornwall. So, as I grew up, I always wanted to work in a surf shop, and own one, and then I worked at a snowboard shop in my early late teens and so, that fulfilled my ambition. So, that was that really.
Oh, so once you'd done that, you didn't want to do it anymore?
Yeah, it burst the bubble because it was quite boring day to day. Well, we only used to get one or two customers so you could literally go eight hours without seeing anybody unless someone come and bought some stickers or something.
Are you a dog or a cat person?
Definitely a dog person. We've got a-
What is the dog you have?
Sausage dog called Josie, he's eight months old. We've got a cat in the house as well, but she's not really my friend.
she doesn't like you?
Yeah, no, I think it's mutual. We just steer clear, we've got a two meter boundary, we don't encroach on.
Do you feed her or does your partner feed her?
No, I don't feed her, no.
Oh, okay. What is your favorite ever TV series or film?
So, my favorite ever film is Point Break, but the original, not the remake because the remake just makes you feel sad it's so terrible. But yeah, the original Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, definitely my all-time favorite film.
Never heard of this film.
Really? Great, that makes me feel young. Thank you.
Bless you. Do you prefer a film over a series?
Pretty much. With the boys at the minute, we're watching a lot of films, which is enjoyable. So, we're just going through the Austin Powers trilogy at the moment with them.
Oh, love that. That's hilarious.
They're not quite getting all the innuendos, which is helpful, but ...
That's great. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have one thing with you, what would you take?
It's quite tough, isn't it? I don't know-
Teleportation device, but I think ideally, I'd probably have to take a tarpaulin, just because tarpaulins are massively versatile, because you can sleep underneath a tarp, you can have a picnic on a tarp, you can gather up wood and carry it as a bag. So yeah, definitely a tarpaulin and that would ... I think my wife would be surprised if I didn't have a tarpaulin because that's what we always have our picnics on.
I feel like you put a lot of thought into that.
Yeah, oh I had to give it ... because I was sitting there panicking thinking, "Well, would you take a knife or would you take a ... " But actually, a tarpaulin.
Love that. Okay, so now we've got to know Ed a little bit better, we're going to go into the proper questions now. So, are you ready for us to start with those?
Yeah, fire away.
So, one of our most commonly asked questions is why do we not label our house types the same as developers? We have a lot of people contact us and ask if we're going to have this house type for example, say like a Persimmon Hanbury available. But we tend to go more just off plot numbers. Do you know why this is?
Yeah, so it's generally speaking, if we're working on developer-led products, where we're buying say, 40 or 50 homes out of their wider development of a hundred homes, they will usually provide a marketing name for their own house types. But for the affordable house types that are on that plot, they're usually defined by a reference number, such as AH for affordable home and then the number for what it is, a two bed, four person, or whatever. So, they don't populate a marketing name for us. There are exceptions, I think Redrow Homes will have within their affordable housing products, they have units with various names like Tavy, trying to think of another one, but they definitely name them. So, that could follow through to our marketing. But I think with developer-led products, because they don't populate a name for us, it's ultimately we then disseminate that information to the wider team and to the marketing team and that's all that we have. We don't have something which we could readily label unless we were making the names up ourselves, which could potentially cause problems because we may end up duplicating what's on another site or with another developer.
Okay, that makes sense. How soon into the build is the kitchen and bathroom spec decided on with shared ownership homes? As obviously with the open market, when you buy a new build home, if it's pre-roof stage you can choose the spec but you can't usually do that on shared ownership.
No. So, to think about how we generally contract with ... on my side of the business, which is with the big house builders, is we will enter into contract with them and in so doing, we need to stipulate what we're buying from them. So, we're buying the house and we're also buying the bathrooms at a certain specification and the kitchens at a certain specification, which includes vinyl flooring, et cetera, et cetera. So, the standard of kitchen that we are buying for the shared ownership homes is predefined right at the beginning of the contract. And that could be some years before the development's even started because we do enter into contract before they've got planning consent for example.
But even if they are soon to start on site, we've stipulated what type of kitchen we like and then early on in the construction stage, normally even prior to First fix, they're wanting to know what color selections we would like and they need to do that at scale. If you think we're buying 50 to 80 homes, we're not in a position unfortunately, to be able to stipulate a different finish for each house type. We need to think, "Right okay, what works for a three bedroom house, and what works for a two bedroom house, or a flat with an open plan kitchen?" And so it's purely driven by the early timing, which is they need to cool those off to build into their program of a six to nine month build, but also our need to have certainty over what we're getting and to make sure it works.
And we have, I think in the recent past, we considered ... we had a scheme which was custom build, where the developer was keen to see choice brought into the affordable homes in the same way that they were offering choice to the private customers. And because of the timings, actually we were quite open to doing that. But because of the timings of when they needed that information, we hadn't even started marketing the properties, let alone having any certainty over who might be the eventual purchaser and what their color choices may or may not be. So, it is primarily down to the fact that they need it early on, especially with supply chains being what they are, to have certainty in the build program and hopefully meet completion targets for the houses.
Do you think that will always be that way, or do you think there may be a time come where people are given more choice with affordable housing, or do you just not think it would work?
I struggle to see where ... because of the timing, I think it's always going to be that direction that we're being asked to specify too early on to be able to bring customer choice into that element of it, unfortunately.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. What is the difference between a land-led development and a section 106 development?
So, within affordable homes, the terms are bandied around quite loosely, aren't they? That, "Oh that's land-led, or that's 106." And essentially, even our teams are divided into two parts and I'm the developer-led or the section 106 side of the business. And so, to be brief on it, section 106 refers to a developer's obligation to build affordable homes on their site. And so, if a developer is coming forward with a hundred houses, then the planning authority will oblige them to have a certain percentage of that site, possibly 30% or 40% to be affordable homes. And that is secured through a section 106 agreement between the landowner who gets the planning consent and the local authority. And so, that's why, when we contract with a developer and we're buying those 30%, 40% of their development, they're termed section 106 homes. We do on occasions by more of their homes than just the section 106 homes but that's more the exception rather than the norm.
The land-led side is actually ... does what it says, is essentially where Aster is going out securing a land opportunity and then working up the planning consent ourselves and delivering the homes. And that could be a mixture of tenure for rent, for private sale and for shared ownership. So, it's land-led by the nature of the fact that we are out to secure the land, whereas the section 106 team, or section 106 developments, we're out to secure homes which primarily already have planning consent off another developer and buying a part of their site.
How does the handover process work? So, we have a lot of people ask why they can't view the home that they've reserved before it's handed over. How does that all work?
So, we have a lot of quality checks throughout the construction process and our team of project managers and our surveyors and our clerk of works who inspect specifically the construction, are out on site between them, every week checking what's being done on our properties, checking progress and the quality of the build. But as you approach handover, we have ... Typically our contracts require an eight week notice and a four week notice and they're predicated on the stage of completeness of the homes. Once we get those notices, we then need to inspect the properties for finishes and make sure all the items that we've collected and identified up until then, are being closed down and issue any reports that we have of any concerns. That's the developer for them to close down.
So, within those plots, because of the targets that developers are working to meet their own deadlines, they can be a hive of activity and there can be a lot going on, a lot of finishing, painting, touching up, repainting, replacing bits that have got damaged, unfortunately in construction. And so, it can be quite fraught on site.
To articulate the process, once they've done that and confirmed to us they've closed them all down, we will then reinspect, hopefully confirm that the vast majority, if not all of the items that have been reported have been closed down, and then go through all the paperwork to ensure it's correct before taking handover. The reason why primarily can't do viewings before Aster's actually taken handover is because contractually we're not in possession of the home. The developer is and whilst we might own the land, they're under license to do the construction and the property, until we've taken handover, is part of a live construction site. And so there's all sorts of safety implications that may be involved with having members of the public visit those homes or even with us guiding them around. And really, if you think often on the developer-led sites, it's usually the externals that are catching up. The homes are pretty much complete but actually outside the home, is still laying roads, et cetera, et cetera and getting it to a finished state. So, it's really about safety and the fact that we're not in possession of the unit, so aren't insured to have members of the public walking around what isn't our site, it's the developer's site.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. Can you give some more information on the NHBC certificate and what are the main things that it covers?
So essentially, each home comes with a warranty. It's often provided by the NHBC, but there are other warranty providers we use. The second one which is most common at the moment, is Premier Guarantee. So, all the new home owners who purchase property will have either an NHBC or a Premier warranty, essentially. Both warranty providers, what they essentially do, is they also inspect properties throughout the construction and they are ... In doing so, they're seeking to ensure that the developer is building the homes to their required standards, as well as to building control compliance. And once they're satisfied, and only once they're satisfied, they issue a completion statement which confirms they are now putting the property under warranty and they're satisfied with the build quality.
The warranty essentially provides loosely, they do vary between the different providers, but they provide a period of protection against all defects. So, in the first instance, if a defect arises in the first two years with NHBC, it should be reported through to the developer to address. If they fail to do so, then those defects can be pursued through the NHBC warranty and they can compel the developer to attend to them. And if they don't, then equally, they can over commission the work, or compensate the customer under the insurance warranty. But the longer term protection the NHBC warranty gives, is usually between 10 and 12 years after completion, it provides a structural warranty of quality. So, there shouldn't be any issues that arise because they've been inspecting the properties throughout. But in the unfortunate instance, if there was a structural issue, such as a roof leak, or issues with foundation design, then the warranty protects the customer essentially, and us as the asset holder for rented properties, against those defects and we can pursue a claim with the NHBC to get appropriate compensation to remedy the defect.
Nice. Are more developments fitting electric charging points within their sites?
Yeah. Essentially, yes. In the last couple of years, we've seen more and more come through primarily because there's been a requirement of the planning consent that's been secured. And so, it's bit been a bit hotchpotch as to where they're at. So, in my region for example, we have electric charging points coming through in certain parts of Surrey but maybe not so much in other areas of Hampshire, because the planning authorities haven't required it. But it's now coming in as a building regulation requirement and so, many properties which are registered for building regulation post June this year will actually require some form of electric charging points. So, it won't be instant in terms of our program because a lot of our current program that's onsite was already registered a year or longer ago with building regulations, but you'll start seeing it filtering through fairly rapidly with the new schemes that we are securing through our future program.
Oh wow, that's exciting. Do you have any new contracts in any exciting new areas that you are working on? Any upcoming developments in new areas or anything?
I think all of our areas are really exciting, of course, Cheryl.
So yeah, my patch, I'm responsible for the eastern side of our patch of Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Berkshire, primarily, and Dorset, I always forget.
I know. So, in recent years, we've been expanding into Sussex, which was a new area for Hampshire and has quite a substantial build program now in West Sussex and specifically around Chichester. This year we've also branched into Wokingham in Berkshire for the first time and have a scheme secured, which is 74 homes, of which 35 will be for shared ownership. And they're all shared ownership, semi-detached, two and three bed houses. So, it's hopefully a really desirable and attractive scheme.
And exciting because it's always nice, from an ego point of view, to get into a new borough and make something happen, but also to meet the needs of the business and be expanding into those new areas. We often bid in locations of Aster's boundary areas to grow our patch and our location, but we can't pick and choose either because it's a competitive market and so, we bid on a lot of things and win some of it, but we don't win all of it, for sure. And so sometimes, it's not necessarily purely by design as to where we end up.
In a recent example, I say, we've also ... in Hampshire because of various things that have gone on with the planning issues in Hampshire, our program in the recent past, has dropped in terms of numbers and that's quite a ... was a core patch and certainly is a core patch for Aster but I used to have a lot of activity when I was a project manager in that area. But it's now starting to come back again and we're starting to win schemes there once again. So, it's not always the case, as I say, it's not always the case of just building where you want. It's building where the opportunities are and where we can get our noses in front of other registered providers to secure the affordable homes that are on offer.
Nice, exciting times ahead. What does the project manager role involve?
Quite a lot, actually, I'd say. So, I always have a colleague that used to say it's not a Jack of all trades but master of none but you need to be generalist in terms of your knowledge area and know a lot about ... or a small amount about a lot of things to do with development, rather than being a very specialist role and an expert in one. But day-to-day, a project manager's role will involve seeking out and working to secure new opportunities, overseeing and managing a program of housing projects, generally around six for a full-time member of staff. And that will be engaging with the site, attending site meetings, inspecting the homes, assessing the program that the developer's giving you, adding comfort to that, feeding that into the wider business to try and give assurance as to when we expect the homes to be delivered, making sure the quality of the product is there, making sure that the specifications being met as well, and coordinating our various members of the product team. So, that might be updating valuations and inputting that through to the business, et cetera, et cetera.
They're also involved in managing parts of the defect process and closing down schemes, and release ... and managing the payments for the development projects and helping secure our charging program, which is where we borrow money against our assets to fund our future program. Sorry, and also engaging with local authorities, representing Aster at that level and meeting with developers to be the front of shop for the business in that guise as well.
It's a very varied role then?
Yeah, it is varied and it can be really exciting. And also can be lots of different challenges because there's lots of plates to spin at the same time, to keep all things ticking over. And one of the main challenges that they have, I think, is often being able to give certainty to a development program, an assurance to the wider business when there's so many ... various factors which aren't in our direct control, that can affect when the homes actually are complete and are ready for us to take possession of. And that's a judgment call that the project managers have to take.
Yeah, absolutely. So delays, can you give a brief overview as to why there can be delays, issues that are out of our control, such as seasonal delays or material shortages. We do get a lot of people contact us asking about why their homes delayed, or can you give an insight into that?
I think, yes, for sure. So when, as I said, having touched upon it with the project manager's role, in feeding the information from the business, we're getting the information about when a property will be ready from a developer. And we're not in control of the actual construction program, they are, but they are also reliant upon subcontractors performing, materials arriving on time, planning obligations being met and discharged. And there's a lot of people involved in different elements to get a property ready and be finished and be signed off by everyone. So, first and foremost, when a developer is telling us of a certain date, we will look at how realistic that is and build a degree of pessimism into it to try and manage expectations within the business. But also, because realistically, often the homes come in slightly later than we've been told.
But added to that, because we drive to try and get the best quality at handovers, when we get notices, often we'll get an eight week notice and we push it back with the developer on a case that we don't think the property's ready and there's are two-way conversation, depends what the contract says, et cetera, et cetera. But as we enter into that eight week cycle, as I mentioned earlier about preparing for handover, at the issue of the eight week notice, the homes aren't in a finished state. They are approaching being finished. And so, a lot can happen between that point and the handover date, where the quality, or our requirements for the state of completeness of the home, needs to be achieved. And if it isn't, then that's when we must make a judgment call. Are we prepared to take a home that's almost there but not where we want it to be? Or actually, is it better to take a stance and push back and wait until the homes are ready, because ultimately we need to deliver a good quality product?
And so, I think there's always a tension between timeliness and 100% quality because there's so many various factors that come to it. I think also, and I've had it in the past, where everyone is acting in good will and working very hard to achieve an outcome, but one thing's being missed and it's a critical thing, and that ultimately means that, I don't know, the building control can't sign the property off, or the NHBC warranty provider isn't happy with it, or we are ultimately not happy with it until it's sorted because it might affect the safety or the long-term enjoyment of the home. And that way you just end up and say, "Well, it has to be sorted before occupation can be made." So yeah, there are a lot of facets to it, notwithstanding planning issues, or the odd piece of paperwork, or the gas certificate having an error on it or something like that, that also causes a delay.
That's good to know. I know you briefly touched on it when talking about the handover process, but with snags, what are snags and how does that snagging process work?
So, snags really are items that our surveyors have identified, when they're inspecting the property prior to handover, they're items or small issues that they have identified in their inspections that need to be addressed. And typically, they may be a minor scratch, or a blotch on the paint work, or ... trying to think of something else. There might be an item that's been installed, say a tap, it's been installed and it's not quite the right tap or something. But they really shouldn't, no snag should really affect the beneficial enjoyment of a property. And that's where the judgment call is required from the project managers because we really want to minimize the list of snags we have at handover, because it creates a legacy and a challenge for those to then be closed down once somebody's living there.
But at the same time, you could be waiting for a very long time for a developer to actually manage to close down absolutely everything. And so you have to say, "Okay, well if we've got eight to 10 items and they're all minor items, it's possibly reasonable that we take that home, move someone in, and the developer comes down and sorts those out afterwards." So, it is a subjective thing and it is a judgment call in terms of which developer you're working with, how committed they are to closing down their snags, previous experience and really what the best outcome is for everyone involved and primarily the customer. If we've already experienced delays, for example, it may be that we've got the property as good as we can get it at that juncture, and it's in everyone's interest to actually take the property and then pursue the snags, than it is to say, "We're not taking the property, until it's snag-free." But we do try and get to a situation where we've got no major items at all which would actually ... somebody would move in and be instantly disappointed with what they found. We do try and work very hard to minimize it to be minor items, that shouldn't really affect people's enjoyment of the home.
Perfect. That is the end of all of your questions.
Brill, thank you.
Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast.
Oh, you're welcome.
Thank you for listening and for your support. This Shared Ownership Thing podcast is brought to you by Aster Sales. Visit aster.co.uk/sales for more information.