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 (Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers) Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme has helped over 13,000 people since 2005. Applicants can receive up to 40% funding towards the price of a home on the open market.
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.
How does the scheme work?
The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% towards the price of a home you have chosen on the open market. For example, if you find a home for £100,000 and can afford to contribute £70,000 (through mortgage and deposit), the Scottish Government could provide the remaining 30% (£30,000). When the property is sold, 30% of the sale price would be returned to the Scottish Government.
In most areas you can increase your equity share to 100% over time if you choose to do so.
The Scottish Government’s contribution depends on the amount of mortgage you can get compared to the value of the property that meets your needs. Price thresholds apply. The maximum you can pay for a property is the threshold figure, or valuation figure, whichever is the lowest.
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.
Who is eligible?
The scheme is open to the following groups:
- First-time buyers
- 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 who can demonstrate a housing need
If you can raise more than 90% of the value of the property, you will not be eligible for the scheme.
There is a similar scheme for applicants aged over 60.
- Over 60s
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. • 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 to meet your needs e.g. you can no longer manage the stairs. There is no requirement to take out a mortgage if you are aged over 60, but you must contribute as much as you can afford and a minimum of 60% towards the purchase price.
How do I apply?
1. Complete an online form and submit your supporting documents
Submit an online application to find out if you are eligible for the LIFT scheme.
To support your application, you are required to provide the following documents for all applicants, regardless of if they are named on the mortgage:
- One mortgage decision in principle, unless you are over 60 and applying without a mortgage
- Your most recent 3 months’ bank statements for 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
Please ensure you have all of this information before proceeding with an application form. You can upload your documents using this link.
We cannot make a decision on an application until we are in receipt of this evidence.
2. You will receive a decision within 5 working days of submitting your application and supporting documents
3. You can now identify a property to buy
Send our team the property details to check the it is eligible for the scheme. We will require:
- Home report
- Sales schedule
- The amount you would like to offer
- Your Solicitors details
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
- 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.
What size and price of property can I buy?
When buying through the LIFT scheme, you choose a property for sale on the open market. To be eligible for LIFT, properties must be:
- Advertised for sale publicly e.g. on a website or social media site, and
- Priced within the maximum threshold for the Local Authority area.
Price thresholds are set by 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.
For applications made on or after 15 December 2020, applicants can apply for any size of property that they meet the financial criteria for.
Your Contribution must be between 60% and 90% of the Actual Purchase Price. Your Minimum Expected Contribution from mortgage and savings is based on your income. You may contribute more if an IFA confirms it is affordable to do so.
The Actual Purchase Price must not exceed the Maximum Price for that area and size. The Actual Purchase Price also must not exceed the property valuation. You are otherwise not restricted on maximum property size.
Check eligibility for property sizes and prices using the LIFT OMSE calculator with size and price thresholds.
Once your application has been approved and you have found a home you would like to buy, simply send us the details we will assess whether the property meets the scheme criteria.
Link’s After Sales team provides a range of services and transactions for buyers who purchased their home through one of the Scottish Government’s shared equity schemes. Find out more.
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 email@example.com or 0330 303 0125. You can also check the Scottish Government’s website.
Due to the impact of Coronavirus, we may start to take longer than normal to process applications. Please only call us if you have not received a reply within 10 working days or the matter is urgent. Thank you for your understanding at this time.