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LIFT Open Market Shared Equity Scheme

Want to buy your own home but think you need more money to pay the price? If so, the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme could help.

What is the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity Scheme?

The Open Market Shared Equity Scheme is part of the Low-Cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers known as the 'LIFT) scheme. Link Housing administers this scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government for Scotland, and it is designed to help specific groups buy a home on the open market who need help to afford the total price. The primary aim of the scheme is to assist people on low to moderate incomes to become homeowners.

10% and 40% of the funding of the property valuation or the sale price (whichever is lower) is provided by the Scottish Government, who gets the same percentage back when the property is sold. In most areas, you can increase your share in the future. LIFT helps eligible buyers buy a home within a certain price threshold; any amount over the valuation must be cash funded and still be within the price threshold.

What are the LIFT thresholds?

Threshold prices in West Lothian:

Property Size

Threshold Price

2 Apartment


​3 Apartment


4 Apartment


5 Apartment


6 Apartment


* An apartment is a habitable room, including bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and box rooms (depending on size). Kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories are not classed as apartments. For example, a three-apartment property could have two bedrooms and a living room.

A complete list of the LIFT thresholds can be found here:

How can I apply for LIFT?

To be eligible, the property must be:

  • Advertised for sale publicly, e.g. on a website or social media site, and

  • Have a sale price (including any amount paid over the valuation) within the maximum threshold for the area.

  • It must be within the price threshold.

In addition to first-time buyers, the following groups get priority access to the scheme:

Social renters, i.e. people who currently rent from either a Registered Social Landlord or a local authority.

  • Serving members of the armed forces.

  • Veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years.

  • Widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel who have been killed recently whilst serving in the armed forces.

  • Disabled people who are either first-time buyers or who own a home that is not suitable to their particular needs.

  • Persons aged 60 and over who demonstrate a housing need to move against the set criteria.

What if I am a single parent?

One of our clients was recommended to Greenshoots, and we helped in achieving her dream of being a homeowner. She is a single mum, working full time, renting, and couldn't afford to own her own home. However, by using 40% LIFT shared equity to gap the shortfall in her income, she has been able to buy her first home and move into a 4-bedroom house in West Lothian.

What equity stake do I need to take for LIFT?

Suppose you purchase property through the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme. In that case, you generally need to take an equity stake of between 60 and 90 per cent of the value of a property (or purchase price, whichever is lower. You can pay over the valuation for a property from your funds, provided you only pay the threshold amount for that area and size.

When you decide to sell the property, the Scottish Government will be due the percentage stake back on the actual sale price at that time. For example:

  • Property price - £240,000

  • Valuation - £235,000

  • Applicants mortgage & deposit contribution - £ 141,000

  • Applicants over value contribution - £ 5,000

  • Scottish Governments stake - £89,000

  • (based on the lower figure)

  • Scottish Government % stake - 37.87%

  • Sale price - £270,000

  • Funds due to the Scottish Government - £ 102,255 - 37.87% of the total sale price

What is expected of me if I am successful in the LIFT scheme?

You should be aware that you may incur a loss if the market value is lower than the amount you purchased when they sell it.

You are expected to occupy the property as your sole and only residence. You are responsible for keeping the property in a good and habitable state of repair, including all relevant insurances covered, council tax etc.

A LIFT scheme buyer said:

"LIFT helped us buy our first home. Council rent was £416 a month, the mortgage is £230 a month! We will be able to pay more mortgage off, repay government money back, and own our own home." Kevin, LIFT scheme buyer

How do I apply?

Contact our friendly brokers, who will discuss your personal situation and available options. You must have a Mortgage Agreement in Principal before applying for LIFT, and we will guide you through this process.

Call: 01506 537111


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