LIFT Open Market
Want to buy a home on the open market but don’t think you can afford the full price? The LIFT Scheme could help.
Covid-19: Shared Equity Schemes operated by Link on behalf of the Scottish Government remain open, with staff working from home. Please check this web page regularly for updates.
The LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme has helped over 13,000 people receive up to 40% funding towards the price of a home on the open market since 2005.
LIFT helped us buy our first home. Council rent was £416 a month, mortgage is £230 a month! We will be able to pay more mortgage off, repay government money back, and own our own home.Kevin, LIFT scheme buyer
Link administers the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government throughout Scotland.
- Who is eligible?
The Scottish Government’s LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme is open to:
- First-time buyers and the following priority target groups:
- Social renters
- People with a disability who can demonstrate a housing need
- Members of the armed forces
- Veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years
- Widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel who have lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years
- People aged over 60 with a housing need are a priority group who do not need to take out a mortgage.
You must be unable to afford the property without the scheme’s support. You will need to take out a mortgage unless you are over 60. All purchasers must be first time buyers unless at least one purchaser falls within one of the other priority target groups and will no longer own another property at point of purchase via the scheme.
If you are aged over 60, and can demonstrate at least one of the following criteria, you can apply to the LIFT open market shared equity scheme using savings and sale proceeds rather than a mortgage:
- You are living in a property that is too large and need to downsize.
- You need to move closer to family or friends to receive care and support.
- Your existing property is no longer suitable e.g. due to stairs.
- You are living in private rented accommodation.
- How does LIFT Open Market Shared Equity work?
The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% of the price of a home you have chosen on the open market. When it is sold, the same percentage of the sale price is returned to the Scottish Government; or you can increase your equity share when it suits you to do so.
The Scottish Government’s Contribution depends on the amount you can afford to contribute towards the purchase price from savings and a mortgage (which is optional if you are over 60 and in housing need). Your minimum contribution will be detailed in your Passport approval letter which gives you three months to find a suitable property.
- What value of property can I buy?
The purchase price cannot exceed the valuation, and it must be priced within the Price Threshold for that area and number of apartments. An apartment is a habitable room, including bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and box rooms (subject to size). Kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories are not classed as apartments. For example, a three-apartment property could have two bedrooms and a living room.
There is no longer an upper size limit on the property you can buy.
Price thresholds are updated annually and there is some discretion for applicants affected by disability, detailed in the Procedures for Administering Agents on the Scottish Government’s website.
Once your application has been approved and you have found a home you want to buy, simply send us the details and we will assess whether the property meets the scheme criteria.
If you know roughly how much you can contribute from savings and a mortgage (which is optional if you are over 60), check out our LIFT OMSE calculator with size and price thresholds ready reckoner.
Check what local authority area a property is in using our postcode checker.
How do I apply?
Read our Leaflet for an easy step by step guide to applying.
We recommend that you speak with an Independent Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor before applying. You will need to provide a Mortgage Promise or Mortgage Agreement in Principle along with your application unless you are over 60 and buying without a mortgage.
Supporting documents for all applicants to be named on the title deeds, irrespective of whether they will be on the mortgage, must be received before we can assess your application. All supporting documents should be submitted with your application.
We will assess applications within 5 working days of receipt of all supporting documents.
To support your application, you are required to provide the following:
- One mortgage decision in principle, unless you are over 60 and applying without a mortgage
- Your most recent 3 months’ bank statements for all accounts held for each applicant
- Your most recent 3 months’ confirmation of all savings held for each applicant
- Your most recent 3 months’ (or 12 weeks) payslips for each applicant
- If you are self-employed, a copy of your last years accounts or most recent SA302 tax form
- Your most recent award notice for any benefit payments including Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit and Personal Independence Payment
- Confirmation of all savings held for each applicant
- Proof of accommodation status such as tenancy agreement, mortgage redemption statement or letter from parent or guardian if living with them
We recommend that you speak with an Independent Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor before applying to the scheme as you are required to provide a Mortgage Promise or Mortgage Agreement in Principle along with your application.
There are currently 12 lenders offering mortgages for the OMSE scheme:
- Bank of Scotland
- Capital Credit Union
- Glasgow Credit Union
- Lloyds Bank
- The Royal Bank of Scotland
- Scottish Building Society
If your application is eligible, you will be issued with a Passport Letter, which is valid for 12 weeks to give you time to find a suitable property.
Not ready to apply? Join the LIFT mailing list to receive additional information on the scheme, including the maximum purchase price for a property in your area, via email.
Link’s After Sales team provides services to buyers who purchased their home through one of the Scottish Government’s shared equity schemes. Find out more and read the Scottish Government’s Aftersales Information for Buyers on our Shared Equity After Sales web page.
For more information about the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme, please read the Buyers’ Information Guide, sign up to the LIFT mailing list or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0330 303 0125. You can also check the Scottish Government’s website.
We welcome feedback about our services. Compliments and complaints can be submitted here.
Read our Flyer for a simple step by step guide to applying
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