Many housing associations and local authorities have embraced shared ownership tenures into their development plans, but selling and marketing is very different to allocating social or affordable rent. How do you manage leads, applications and find the most suitable properties?
The Sales and Marketing strategy for shared ownership should start with a capability audit to determine what needs to be done, what resources the organisation has, and where the gaps are. The marketing plan and sales strategy can then be created with reference to the available resources and target audience, giving the best chance of achieving the organisation’s sales ambitions.
As a prospective customer, we all know there’s nothing worse than being sent and shown marketing materials for things we can’t afford. The same goes for a property, so the sales process needs to tailor marketing campaigns to target only those individuals who meet the affordability criteria.
Typically, the seller takes only a small role in assessing affordability, leaving the customer to figure it out along with the help of the bank or mortgage advisor. With Shared Ownership, we need to take a more active role. Homes England (formerly HCA) requires organisations who offer Shared Ownership through a registered programme to assess purchasers financial capacity, and have created the Homes England Sustainability Calculator to assist sellers in this process. This spreadsheet based calculator seeks to ensure the purchaser buys as much equity as they can afford, but without over-stretching themselves.
For those looking to adopt a more modern approach and avoid spreadsheets, there is dedicated software available to help organisations with not only the affordability assessment, but also the rest of the sale process from managing leads and matching applicants to properties, to issuing and tracking all the required sale documentation.
SDS HomeMatch is a hybrid workflow/CRM tool, that can assist in all types of sale, but has been tailored to facilitate Shared Ownership ‘out of the box’. It has the Homes England Sustainability Calculator methodology embedded, allowing ‘one click’ affordability assessment of all the properties in the database against any given application. Once the group of affordable properties is displayed, HomeMatch will allow filtering of the results to show properties by development or geography (eg by postcode or distance from a location).
The Sales teams can easily modify calculator inputs at any point in the sales process, such as equity share, deposit, mortgage interest rate and term etc. This enables the sales team to offer a suitable package to the customer and update it should circumstances change.
Once the sale has been agreed HomeMatch will also help manage the sale process, create all the required documents, eg memo of sale, CML, solicitor letters etc. HomeMatch also provides reports and a dashboard. This frees up your sales team to focus on what they do best….. Selling homes.