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Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) Scheme Explained

Posted September 5, 2023
Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) Scheme Explained

For those aged 55 or over, the thought of owning a home can feel overwhelming, especially in later years. However, the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme might provide the solution you need. This distinctive scheme stands as a pillar of hope for those wishing to invest in property, offering a feasible route for mature individuals or couples to own part of their homes while renting the rest.

This guide will delve into OPSO’s nuances: its structure, merits and constraints, and how it affects your retirement lifestyle. No matter if you’re merely toying with different options or on the brink of committing to homeownership, this guide aims to provide all information about OPSO.

What is the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme?

Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) offers a unique opportunity for you if you’re 55 or above. As part of this scheme, you can buy a portion of your home – usually between 25% and 75% – while paying rent on the remaining share. This housing option is specifically tailored to make home ownership more affordable for mature individuals or couples, allowing you to keep your independence in a comfortable and secure living environment.

Unlike conventional Shared Ownership schemes that are open to various ages and do not limit the ownership percentage. As an owner under OPSO, it’s important to know that you cannot possess over 75% of your property. This restriction helps ensure homes stay reasonably priced. It makes it continually accessible for older people seeking residency.

The advantages of opting into OPSO are substantial. At its core, it offers a cost-efficient route into the property market for people in their later years. Rather than needing to fund an entire property’s price tag, you merely finance the portion you are making yours. It effectively lowers the initial financial burden and makes owning your own place a realistic aim. OPSO isn’t only about money; it’s also about quality of life. Many residences provided under this scheme are constructed with conveniences suited for older individuals’ needs, such as common areas where you can socialise and enjoy communal living.

To consider yourself eligible for OPSO, there are several key points to consider:

  • You need to be at least 55 years old
  • Your annual household income mustn’t exceed certain limits
  • Acquiring a suitable house on the open market needs to be beyond your reach financially.

If these conditions reflect your situation accurately, OPSO might indeed be an excellent alternative.

Keep in mind that although OPSO presents older individuals with fantastic opportunities to own their own homes partially. The scheme won’t suit everybody’s circumstances perfectly. With long-term financial implications on one hand and inheritance decisions on the other side, there’s much thought required before proceeding further down this route—a significant life step like buying a house necessitates careful evaluation of all alternatives in reach along with seek professional advice from a financial advisor.

OPSO and Staircasing

As an individual considering the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme, you’ll appreciate that it offers a unique feature: Staircasing. Imagine buying a home but only paying for a portion of it, somewhere between 25% and 75%. Then imagine gradually owning more of that home as your finances allow. That’s what staircasing enables you to do.

With each additional share – or “step” on this staircase – you increase your stake in your property while simultaneously reducing the part on which you pay rent. Not only do these steps provide you with increasing equity, but they also enhance your sense of ownership and security.

Staircasing provides flexibility tailored to fit around your personal finances. You are under no pressure to buy extra shares; it is entirely up to you when or if you take another step upwards. If desired, under OPSO scheme, you can end up owning up to 75% of the total property value. There’s an added milestone too – once you reach 75%, there will be no rent due on the remaining 25%.

The Process of Buying Additional Shares

If staircasing appeals to you as an option, let me explain how this works for those over 55 considering OPSO. At some point after your initial purchase through OPSO, if circumstances permit, you might decide to increase your ownership by buying more shares in the property.

However, before purchasing additional shares, there’s a vital first step: having your property professionally valued by a RICS certified surveyor. This gives an up-to-date market value because the cost of any new shares will be based on this current valuation.

Growth in property values may mean additional shares could cost more than at the time of initial purchase. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider potential expenses thoughtfully before proceeding – costs such as surveyor fees, legal costs and potentially increased mortgage payments associated with higher ownership need accounting for.

Aside from financial considerations though, just remember that each step towards full ownership comes with greater security and peace of mind within your living space.

In essence, staircasing allows for strategic growth in homeownership—a truly precious feature within the OPSO scheme.

Extra Care Scheme and OPSO

This option sometimes known as ‘assisted living,’ strikes a perfect balance between independent dwelling and receiving care when you need it most, providing you with an added layer of security.

The beauty of the Extra Care scheme lies in its hybrid approach. It gives you the comfort of living in your own home, fully equipped to meet your needs, while being part of a vibrant community of similar aged people. But here’s where it becomes more than just another housing initiative: It offers tailor-made care and support according to your individual requirements. Whether you require help with daily tasks like cooking and cleaning or need assistance managing medication, this scheme adapts to your evolving needs while allowing you to remain independent.

So what are the prerequisites if you wish to benefit from this scheme? Typically, it is aimed at individuals who are 55 years of age or over although some schemes may stipulate a higher minimum age limit. Additionally, you would be required to demonstrate that your care and support needs can’t be met by existing housing options. This assessment is usually carried out by social services experts or medical professionals for confirming that such level of support aligns perfectly with your specific needs.

Remember that under this scheme, the level of necessary care could widely vary among residents; whilst some may need minimal aid with day-to-day chores others may necessitate comprehensive personal care plans. Regardless, rest assured because care provision under Extra Care is inherently flexible and can either increase or decrease according to changing requirements.

Finding an OPSO with Extra Care facilities is plain sailing too – many housing providers advertise listings on their websites or local authorities could also guide you. During your search remember key factors such as easy accessibility, closeness to family/loved friends and range of amenities offered should constitute significant parts of your ideal house hunt. Your ultimate aim should be securing a home that accommodates both present needs but also caters for potential future changes in respect to health or mobility.

Pros of the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme

There are many benefits that come with it.

One of the most significant advantages is financial relief. When you buy through OPSO, you only pay for a share of the property that’s within your budget – anywhere from 25% to 75%. The remaining portion is owned by the housing association, which reduces your monthly housing costs. Plus, if you’re over 80, there’s no rent due on the housing association’s part. That’s a major boon for retirees.

When you join OPSO, you enjoy more than just affordability. You gain increased security as well. You won’t just be a tenant; but also part-owner of your home. That means your place in your home is secured as long as you meet your obligations. Several OPSO properties come with additional safety measures. These could include emergency alarms and secure entrances, lending an added sense of security.

With OPSO, not only do you get to own a home, but establish firm roots in a community. It promotes stable long-term residency and cultivates deeper connections with neighbours and locals. This can vastly improve your social milieu and support structure. And let’s not forget the potential for leaving behind something for loved ones. As a shared homeowner under OPSO, you can allocate your share to heirs adding an asset value to their financial future.

Mindfully absorbing these attractive benefits offered by OPSO makes it clear why it’s such a viable choice especially if managing homeownership in an affordable manner appeals to you.

Cons of the Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO) scheme

Like anything else, there could be drawbacks alongside those benefits when purchasing through OPSO.

The possibility of increased expenses could potentially greatly unsettle any party considering this form of ownership arrangement particularly if you’re working around a fixed retirement income. This happens when one starts buying larger shares in properties i.e., staircasing causing overall monthly payments to swell-up proportionally. Availability becomes another impediment predominantly because of disparate offerings across local housing associations or developers leading to fewer choices regarding location and types occasionally even restrictions during resales consequently challenging individuals wanting fluidity during relocation.

Flexibility takes another hit especially when under certain circumstances sub-letting isn’t permitted implying tying yourself exclusively down to the property without being able to possibly rent it out in future or during extended periods away from home on travel or stayovers at family residences. Physical maintenance responsibility towards upkeep and regular repairs despite overall comfort provided by OPSO may sometimes turn tiresome for senior homeowners finding it troublesome physically dealing with general administration work required.

Purchasing via OPSO itself requires large financial commitment so always requiring careful planning projecting well into future constructing systematic schedules understanding associated costs while always keeping room for professional advice ensuring sound life-time decisions are made concerning money matters.

In light of potential drawbacks alongside strong positives furnished by OPSO schemes having clear pragmatic thinking grounded down-to-earth approach invariably simplifies making definitive conclusions suiting personal requirements set against unique circumstances driving retirement goals aligned favourably amidst fluctuating market conditions.

Do I have to use OPSO if I am over 55?

No, it’s not necessary for you to use OPSO (Older People’s Shared Ownership) if you are over 55 and looking to purchase a property through Shared Ownership. While OPSO is specifically designed for older people, its use is not compulsory.

You have other options available when considering property purchase via Shared Ownership. They include:

Regular Shared Ownership
It’s open to all age groups and adheres to a system wherein you can buy a share of your home and pay rent on the remaining share.

Home ownership for people with long-term disabilities (HOLD)
If there are no suitable properties in other schemes, this scheme may be beneficial.

You might want to consider factors such as the size and location of available properties, financing options, service charges associated with each scheme before deciding which option works best for your situation. Consultation with a financial advisor or solicitor would help you understand these schemes better.

Does Guinness Homes offer OPSO scheme properties?

We do not specifically offer properties under the OPSO scheme at the moment. You can access any of our new build Shared Ownership properties and resales if you meet the eligibility criteria and subject to approval. Please contact us for more information if you have questions.