Looking for shared ownership - speak to Daniel
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As part of our 'Day in the life of...' series of blogs we catch up with Daniel Chambers in the new homes sales team who talks us through his day…
My mornings are very organised and today was no different – up at ten to seven, cup of coffee accompanied by a bit of T’Pau on Free Radio 80s. No, not ‘China in your hands’… ‘Heart and soul’ was playing whilst I finished off my Shredded Wheat. A quick shower then I left for the office at about half past eight.
I jumped in the car and was greeted by Michael Jackson – not literally, obviously. I fancied a bit of History this morning. Michael is usually my first choice to help me through the stress of the road works on my journey into work.
First job of the day is to make a round of drinks for the team – there are quite a few of us so there’s a bit of coffee ‘poker’ that goes on. You know the kind of thing, everyone wants a drink but no one wants to ‘show their hand’ – I broke first this morning!
My job is really fast paced and we have to deal with a lot of different issues at the same time so, after finishing the drinks round I make my to-do list for the day. I’m involved from the moment that someone enquires about buying a shared ownership property with us, until they collect the keys to their new home. This means that I have to be extremely organised but it’s great because I get to manage the process from start to finish.
It can be quite a complex process and so it’s important to stay on the ball. I co-ordinate all parties involved, including the buyer, solicitors, financial advisors and estate agents to ensure that everything stays on track. If someone is buying one of our stock plots (one that’s built and ready to move into), we aim to complete the process in four to six weeks and if you consider that at any one time I have between 15 – 20 sales (in different stages) going through, you can see why I need to be organised.
Part of my role is to explain the concept of shared ownership to potential buyers and this is what I do during my first call of the day.
Help to buy
As I finish my to-do list (and coffee), I receive an enquiry about one of our plots in Shropshire. The customer said that they didn’t have a deposit and thought that because shared ownership is described as ‘affordable housing’ they didn’t need one.
I explained that a 5 per cent deposit is needed and that the buyer also has to pay their own legal fees – the same as you would when buying a house outright. After a conversation about their income I pointed the customer in the direction of the Help to Buy website which is where buyers can apply for the shared ownership scheme via the Local Help to Buy Agent who will determine whether they are eligible for the shared ownership scheme.
I also explained that with shared ownership you can only buy between 25 per cent and 75 per cent initially but you do have the option to increase your share as and when your financial situation changes.
The next call is a little challenging as it’s from a customer who had previously applied for one of our shared ownership properties in Northamptonshire.
After we completed the financial assessments it was obvious that he could afford to get a mortgage that would cover 75 per cent of the cost of the property. The customer insisted that he only wanted to buy a 50 per cent share because he wanted to save the rest for a ‘rainy day’.
I explained that in these cases, potential buyers must buy what they can afford and because his financial assessment showed that he could afford more than he wanted to spend we wouldn’t be able to continue with the application.
It’s not the most enjoyable part of the job but we find ourselves having difficult conversations with people who, when they initially call, don’t fully understand the concept of buying shared ownership properties.
My next call is from a solicitor confirming that all monies had been transferred and that one of our customers was now a home owner.
This particular lady had been really anxious throughout the process. She had moved to England from Latvia and to support herself was working 12 hours a day making it really difficult to contact her. When we did speak she was really stressed and a lot of my time was spent reassuring her and explaining what would happen next, so today’s call was one that I was really looking forward to.
She was so emotional when I called to let her know that she was the proud owner of her new home. It took a little while for the news to sink in but when it did she thanked me so much for all of my help – all that chasing and reassuring was definitely worth it.
A few more calls to keep the plates spinning and a bit of lunch and then it’s time for our monthly team meeting.
There are eleven of us in the team so the meetings are normally pretty lively – and there’s always cake of some description.
During today’s meeting I discuss the sales that I’m currently working on. One of my sites has four plots still to be sold and I’m happy to announce that one of them is due to complete any day soon. There are applications in place for two other plots and new instructions signalling that the sale has started and is due to be sent to the solicitor on the fourth.
We’ve had to re-market a plot on another site recently due to being unable to contact the previous buyer to make sure that all processes were being followed. After a lot of chasing, with no response from the customer we had to cancel his application which left me with the plot to sell again. I need to generate interest in the house so it’s decided that I organise a mail shot campaign to promote an open day. I work alongside Michelle, our marketing specialist, to arrange this and see whether we need to promote through newspapers, estate agents and on our website.
The meeting ends just before five, giving me enough time check my to-do list (all complete) before heading off home.
Red Thai curry
For the twenty minute journey home I swap Michael Jackson for Free Radio 80s and I start to think about what to have for dinner.
A couple of hours later, my red Thai curry is done and I settle down in front of the TV – it’s Tuesday night so I’ve got a visit to Albert Square to look forward to followed by a little peace and quiet.
Find out more
If you’re a first-time buyer and want to find out more about the current shared ownership properties available why not take a look at the website - you might even get to talk to Daniel.
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