Approximately 65% of homes in Argyll and Bute are owner occupied. This is slightly higher than the average for Scotland. House prices vary according to the property and the area in which it is located but you can get a rough guide by looking at For Sale displays in local papers or on Solicitors/Property Centre websites. Buying a house It is recommended that all potential home-buyers consult a solicitor as soon as possible, and certainly before submitting any offer, as this is usually binding. Helpful guidance on the property buying process, including mortgages, is available on the Citizens Advice Bureau website Shared Ownership Housing Several housing associations in Argyll and Bute have Shared Ownership schemes. Shared ownership means part owning/part renting a house or flat, where the occupier purchases a share (25%, 50% or 75%) in the ownership of the property and pays a reduced occupancy charge (rent). Where available, this may be an option for people who aren’t in a position to buy a property on the mainstream housing market, but want to get on to the “property ladder”. Please note that if you can afford to buy a property on the mainstream property market, you will not be eligible for Shared Ownership. Most shared ownership schemes are run by housing associations, though occasionally private builders may offer this on new build developments and will normally advertise this in the local press. After the first year, under shared ownership you would have the option to purchase further shares (although you don't have to) until eventually you own the whole home outright. LIFT – Low cost Initiative for First Time buyers The Scottish Government’s LIFT scheme gives help to disabled people and to first time-buyers people who would like to buy their home, but cannot afford to pay the full price for a property. Disabled applicants to the scheme do not have to be a first time buyer to qualify, but do need to show that their current property no longer meets their needs. There are two LIFT schemes: The Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme, which is to help people buy a home on the open market – within certain price thresholds The New Supply Shared Equity scheme (NSSE), which helps people buy a new-build home from a council or housing association. Information is available on both Scottish Government schemes here or for Local Authority and Housing Association Tenants you can also get information from LINK. or by contacting Argyll Community Housing Association Dunbritton Housing Association Fyne Homes West Highland Housing Association Building a house Potential sites will be advertised in local newspapers, solicitors/property centres and estate agents websites and offices. Local knowledge can also be very useful in finding a site for sale. Sites vary considerably – some may have outline planning consent, some may already be services with water, electricity or gas while other sites may have no planning consent or services. It’s generally not a good idea to purchase until at least outline planning consent for housing has been obtained. As with all major property transactions, you should get legal advice from a solicitor at an early stage. You should inspect planning permission for your potential site as there may be restrictions the type of size of house that you can build. There may be restrictions which affect the cost of the build – for example, a traditional style of building may be required. Any existing planning permission will be available from the selling agent or from the Area Planning Office For advice on planning regulations and procedures please contact your area planning office or visit the planning pages on this website.