Information for Armed Forces
If you are a current member of the armed forces, or have left the forces within the last two years, you could be eligible for up to 40% towards the cost of buying a home you have chosen through the Scottish Government’s LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme.
Covid-19: Shared Equity Schemes operated by Link on behalf of the Scottish Government remain open, with staff working from home. Please check this web page regularly for updates.
The LIFT (Low-cost Initiative for First-Time Buyers) scheme was created to help first-time buyers, and other priority groups, including those in the armed forces, get on to the property ladder. Find out how the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme could benefit you.
The LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme has helped over 12,000 people since 2005.
This scheme gave us an option to get a house of our own when we least expected. The process is very simple, quick and straight forward. As a member of armed forces, it is especially ideal as LIFT gave me an option to buy a house from an area of my choice. This means my transitioning from Army life to civilian is already sorted.Mr Chipwatali, Army veteran
Link administers the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government throughout Scotland.
Who is eligible?
The LIFT scheme can be a useful housing option for those in the armed forces who want to buy their own home, or those who are transitioning to civilian life.
LIFT was created to help those on low to moderate incomes get on to the property ladder. Several groups receive priority access to the LIFT scheme, including:
- Current 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 whose partner has lost their life while serving in the armed forces within the last two years
If you can raise more than 90% of the value of the property, you will not be eligible for the scheme.
There is a similar scheme for applicants aged over 60.
- Over 60s
If you are aged over 60, and can demonstrate at least one of the following criteria, you can apply to the LIFT open market shared equity scheme. • You are living in a property that is too large and need to downsize. • You need to move closer to family or friends to receive care and support. • Your existing property is no longer suitable to meet your needs e.g. you can no longer manage the stairs. There is no requirement to take out a mortgage if you are aged over 60, but you must contribute as much as you can afford and a minimum of 60% towards the purchase price.
How does the scheme work?
The Scottish Government contributes between 10% and 40% towards the price of a home you have chosen on the open market. For example, if you find a home for £100,000 and can afford to contribute £70,000 (through mortgage and deposit) as your share, the Scottish Government could provide the remaining 30% (£30,000). When the property is sold, 30% of the sale price would be returned to the Scottish Government.
In most areas you can increase your equity share to 100% over time if you choose to do so.
The Scottish Government’s contribution depends on the amount of mortgage you can get compared to the value of the property that meets your needs. Price thresholds apply.
When you buy through a shared equity scheme, you own the property outright. Find out more about shared equity .
How do I apply?
Submit an online application to find out if you are eligible for the LIFT scheme.
We recommend that you speak with an Independent Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor before applying to the scheme as you are required to provide a Mortgage Promise or Mortgage Agreement in Principle along with your application.
If your application is eligible, you will be issued with a Passport Letter, which is valid for 12 weeks to give you time to find a suitable property.
Not ready to apply? Join the LIFT mailing list to receive additional information on the scheme, including the maximum purchase price for a property in your area, via email.
What property can I buy?
When buying through the LIFT scheme, you choose a property for sale on the open market. To be eligible for LIFT, properties must be:
- Advertised for sale publicly e.g. on an Estate Agent’s website or social media site, and
- Priced within the maximum threshold for the Local Authority area.
Price thresholds are set by apartment size. An apartment is a habitable room, including bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and box rooms. Kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories are not classed as apartments. For example, a three-apartment property could have two bedrooms and a living room.
Your Minimum Expected Contribution is based on your income. You may contribute more if an IFA confirms it is affordable to do so. Your Contribution must be between 60% and 90% of the Actual Purchase Price. The Actual Purchase Price must not exceed the Maximum Price for that area and size. The Actual Purchase Price also must not exceed the property valuation. You are otherwise not restricted on maximum property size.
You can apply to the LIFT scheme to purchase any size of property that you meet the financial criteria for.
Once your application has been approved and you have found a home you would like to buy, simply send us the details we will assess whether the property meets the scheme criteria.
For more information about the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity scheme, please read the Buyers’ Information Guide, join our LIFT mailing list or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0330 303 0125. You can also check the Scottish Government’s website.
Apply for LIFT online
Find out if you are eligible by completing an online application. There is no obligation to buy a property if your application is approved.
Contact our shared equity team
For more information about shared equity please complete our online enquiry form.