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New Campaign Launched For NI Homebuyers

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A new campaign has been launched for Northern Ireland homebuyers, offering educational advice on the process of buying a house.

The Steps to Buy NI campaign will feature a free website with guides on moving, financing the move, and detailing the process, as well as information on budgeting, managing finances and more.

Co-Ownership introduced Steps to Buy NI to an audience of housing and property professionals at PLACE NI in Belfast city centre on Tuesday 04 December.

"It's a one-stop shop to help prospective homeowners understand the process," explained Mark Graham, Chief Executive at Co-Ownership.

"Research shows there is much about the process prospective homeowners, particularly first-time buyers, don't understand. In our 40 years we have supported over 27,000 people into homeownership. Throughout this time there has been an evident knowledge deficit among homebuyers with a clear pattern of recurring queries; 'what does this mean?', 'who does what?' and 'what comes next?'

"At Co-Ownership we work to help people into affordable homeownership. To understand affordability a homeowner first needs to make sense of the processes involved in purchasing a property as well as understanding their financial capability to maintain mortgage repayments on a property. Steps to Buy NI works to outline this in clear and concise terms.

"We also recognise that every person's circumstances are different and that other housing options may be more suitable, which is why, alongside shared ownership, the website provides guidance on the private rented sector, social housing and alternative routes to homeownership."

He continued: "There a are a lot of moving parts in buying a house. Mortgage advisors and providers, estate agents, conveyancing solicitors, surveyors, vendors and more. Each person has their own unique role to play. Many of these people work on your behalf, often behind the scenes, so it's important to be clear where they all fit in the process and to understand how they work for you during a purchase.

"Support and guidance does exist, but this is one of the first instances where it has been collated into one single resource to help bring reassurance and understanding to homebuyers during what can only be described as a complex and far-reaching decision."

Susan Mason, Acting Director, RICS in Northern Ireland, added: "It is extremely important that homebuyers understand what they are getting into and are able to make informed decisions. Whether it's getting the right survey, having awareness of the mortgage options available, or understanding the ongoing costs of homeownership, it can be a steep learning curve for those buying their first home. That's why we think this initiative has the potential to play an important role for many people."

The Consumer Council will also be working with Steps to Buy NI to implement further resources to help new homeowners set budgets, manage their spending and compare the cost of energy suppliers.


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