Want to buy?

Affordable Home Ownership Options

Whether you are looking to get onto the housing ladder or move up it, there are a number of home ownership options designed to make buying a home more affordable, including:

First Homes

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be able buy a home for 30% to 50% less than its market value. This offer is called the First Homes scheme.

The home can be:

  • a new home built by a developer
  • a home you buy from someone else who originally bought it as part of the scheme

The First Homes scheme is only available in England.


You must be:

  • 18 or older
  • a first-time buyer
  • able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home
  • buying the home as part of a household where total income is no more than £80,000 (or £90,000 if you live in London)

The Council prioritises households living or working in the area.

Exemptions for armed forces and their families

You’re exempt from council conditions about working or living in the area if you’re:

  • a member of the armed forces
  • the divorced or separated spouse or civil partner of a member of the armed forces
  • a widow or widower of a deceased member of the armed forces (if their death was caused wholly or partly by their service)
  • a veteran who left the armed forces in the last 5 years

You still need to meet other eligibility conditions.

How it works

You can look for new homes in the area that are advertised by developers as part of the First Homes scheme.

Developers offer these homes to first-time buyers with 30% to 50% of the market value taken off the price.

Every home that’s sold is valued by an independent surveyor to make sure the discount is based on actual market value.

The homes cannot cost more than £250,000 in Dartford, after the discount has been applied.

You can only sell the home to someone who is eligible to buy a First Home. You must give them the same percentage discount that you got, based on the home’s market value at the time of sale.

How to apply

Contact the developer (or estate agent if you’re buying from a previous First Homes buyer) and tell them you want to buy a First Home.

They’ll help you to complete the application, then send it to us.

You’ll have to pay a fee if the First Home you want to buy is a new build. The amount is set by the developer.

You’ll get the fee back if your application is unsuccessful.

What happens next

We will check your application to make sure you’re eligible.

We will contact you to tell you their decision. We will also contact the developer and your mortgage advisor.

If your application was missing any information, we may ask you to provide it.

The government website has further information on the scheme.

Shared ownership

How does it work?

If outright purchase is not an option for you, this scheme offers an alternative to renting. You can buy an initial share in a new home that you can afford, helping you into home ownership in manageable stages.

The Housing Association or Registered Provider will offer initial shares usually between 10% - 75% of the full purchase price. You pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share that the Housing Association or Registered Provider still own. The combined monthly cost of mortgage and rent will normally be less than if you were purchasing the property outright.

In the future you can simply sell your share for its value at the time or alternatively you can purchase further shares in your home.

With most properties you are eventually able to own the property outright if you wish to, although there are some restrictions on rural schemes.

Who can apply?

You can buy a home through shared ownership if both of the following apply:

  • your household income is £80,000 a year or less (£90,000 a year or less in London)
  • you cannot afford all of the deposit and mortgage payments for a home that meets your

One of the following must also be true:

  • you’re a first-time buyer
  • you used to own a home, but cannot afford to buy one now
  • you own a home and want to move but cannot afford a new home suitable for your needs
  • you’re forming a new household - for example, after a relationship breakdown
  • you’re an existing shared owner and want to move

If you own a home:

When you buy a shared ownership home, you must have:

  • formally accepted an offer for the sale of your current home (called ‘sold subject to contract’ or ‘STC’)a
  • memorandum of sale

You must have completed the sale of your home on or before the date you complete your shared ownership purchase.

Older people:

If you’re aged 55 or over at the time of buying the home, you can buy up to a 75% share through the older people’s shared ownership (OPSO) scheme. Once you own 75%, you will not pay rent on the rest.

Disabled people:

You can apply for a scheme called home ownership for people with a long-term disability (HOLD) if there are no shared ownership homes for sale:

  • where you need to live to be close to your support network
  • that meet your needs

The HOLD scheme helps you to buy a home on the open market that is suitable for your needs. It works in the same way as the shared ownership scheme.

There are several places where you can search for shared ownership homes for sale in England.

You can:

Housing associations

Housing associations advertise shared ownership homes for sale:

  • on their websites
  • on their property developments
  • through their ‘resale’ schemes


Priority for military personnel:

Only serving and some former military personnel will be given priority over other groups.

Already a tenant of a local authority

If you are already a tenant of a local authority then you may be able to buy your own home under the Right to Buy. Check with your landlord for more information. If you are a tenant of Dartford Borough Council you can find out more information on the Right to Buy web page.

Key steps to buying a home

If you are able to raise a full mortgage yourself then your first step should be to visit the local banks and building societies of Dartford.

Try www.yell.com for listings of local establishments who will assess your finances and give you an indication of how much you will be able to borrow. Most prospective buyers will at this stage have at least a minimum deposit of 10% to put towards the house purchase.

Once you have this information you are ready for the fun part of viewing available properties.

To be kept abreast of all available properties, it would be prudent to register with all estate agents based in Dartford. They are all very keen to make a sale and will keep you informed of properties matching your requirements as they arise.

  • Their details can be found on the website of The National Association of Estate Agents (www.naea.co.uk)
  • Check the local newspapers property section and websites like www.rightmove.co.uk which have most estate agents properties available to view online

Once you have found a property that you wish to purchase, you will need to instruct a solicitor to proceed with a sale. The solicitor will instruct local land searches, check planning applications, environmental reports and issues with deeds relevant to the property.

Local solicitors can be found on www.yell.com or as recommended by your estate agent.

View more information on local land charges and searches.

The mortgage lender will also instruct a surveyor to carry out an inspection of the property to ensure that the money that is being lent is going towards a good investment.

The surveyors report (depending on the depth) will highlight any areas of concern and make suggestions for improvement. Some suggestions the mortgage lender may insist are carried out before purchase as they may affect the value of the property.

The cost of these improvements are normally negotiated between the seller and the buyer to achieve a satisfactory arrangement.

Unfortunately, not all house purchases proceed as hoped and there are many reasons why a potential purchase may fail. You may be refused a mortgage due to insufficient borrowing capacity, the survey carried out on the house may reveal unsatisfactory defects, a buyer/seller may 'pull out' of the sale, the list is endless...

It pays to be aware of the pitfalls concerning house purchase to avoid potential disappointment further down the line.

Between your lender and your solicitor, the sale will then progress to 'exchange' where all the contracts concerning the sale/s are passed to all parties involved, checked for accuracy and signed for acceptance.

Normally around a week separates the 'exchange' from the 'completion', where you pack up your belongings, pick up your keys and move into your new house!