Rotherham Council has an ambitious house building programme with more than 400 new homes planned over the next five years. In recognition of the difficulties faced by first time buyers, the Council is for the first time building shared ownership homes, the first of which will be completed in early 2019. The Council is seeking to contract with an external agency with an excellent track record and expertise in the sales and marketing of shared ownership properties. The agency will be required to demonstrate its ability to deliver to the Council’s timeframe, robust financial forecasting, and high quality sales and marketing of shared ownership properties. The Council has developed a brand: “Rother Living”, which must feature prominently in the marketing strategy for shared ownership homes. The Council is also considering the optimum delivery arrangements for ongoing management and maintenance of the properties and has therefore included questions pertaining to this. However the scope of the contract is limited to sales and marketing. In addition the agent will be expected to enter into a data sharing agreement to collect and share relevant information (as set out in the contract) with the Council. If you are interested in working with Rotherham Council to deliver these services, please respond via YorTender by no later than noon on Friday 11th May 2018. In January 2017, Rotherham Council was awarded grant funding through Homes England’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP). This programme will contribute to meeting Rotherham’s housing growth target, and will meet the needs of a range of people – particularly first time buyers and older people seeking homes that meet their needs. Shared ownership housing is a form of affordable housing as defined by the National Planning Policy Framework. Initial shares between 25% and 75% of the market value are sold to households meeting the nationally prescribed criteria and any local conditions as set by the Planning Authority. Purchasers pay rent to the Council on the remaining share and can ordinarily ‘staircase’ up to owning 100% of the property. The Council acting as a developer for the Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme, will deliver 227 new affordable homes; additionally the Council is delivering a number of sites, as part of the “Site Cluster” programme. The total number of shared ownership units across both programmes is 86, and the remaining will be Council rented properties. 36 of the 86 shared ownership properties will be marketed by Wates Constructions, the Council’s Site Clusters partner. This contract therefore relates to the remaining 50 shared ownership properties. 30 of these will be houses and 20 will be apartments. (At least 20 additional shared ownership properties are in the pipeline for future development and there will therefore be scope to extend the contract to encompass further units). Rotherham Council’s Strategic Housing and Development Team require an experienced agency with a proven track record of sales and marketing shared ownership housing in Rotherham. There will be a requirement for the organisation / agency to move swiftly on providing marketing materials, developing a clear programme of activities evidenced in a project plan. A future management plan will also need to be developed, in parallel with the sales and marketing team. This is originally a 24 month contract; after which the service will be reviewed, with the overall aim of some or all of the service to be assessed for the Council to deliver internally. Therefore, the successful organisation will work closely with the Strategic Housing and Development Team to assess how, and if, the sales, marketing and management systems can be integrated into the Councils existing systems. The following is a list of requirements that the appointed agent will be expected to provide (this is not exhaustive and may be subject to change by mutual arrangement by both parties): Pre-sales and development stage: • Preparation of an agreed sales and marketing strategy for the sites, ensuring the promotion of the Council’s “Rother Living” brand, well in advance of the launch events. • Review valuations periodically and use valuations provided by the District Valuer on behalf of the Council, plan and execute the production of marketing literature including brochures and price lists in a style agreed with the Council. • Site signage to promote the development as early as possible in consultation with the site developer. • Liaison with the Council and the local Help to Buy Agent to identify and keep a register of interested parties for low cost home ownership. Sales and Marketing stage: • Commence the agreed marketing campaign including any launch events as confirmed with the Council and in consultation with the construction company. • Promotion of the properties via recognised portals including Rightmove, the agency’s own website and local press / other publications, in a style agreed with the Council. • Promotion of the properties on social media platforms, in a style agreed with the Council. • Arrange and attend open days and viewings until all properties are sold. • Refer the customer to the local Help to Buy agent for the area, currently Help to Buy North East, Yorkshire and the Humber (Help to Buy NEYH), in order for their eligibility for the scheme to be assessed. • Assess sales rates and prices achieved on previous properties to maximise potential revenue. Sales Process: • Send out specific marketing literature or email links to any relevant information on the internet to potentially interested parties. • Receive the enquiry from the potential buyer and provide them with key information. Answer any questions regarding the development and sales process. • Obtain all contact details from the customer. • Enter into a data sharing agreement with the customer which sets out that information will be shared with the Council. • Carry out a preliminary assessment to obtain an indication of the customer’s suitability. For example, ensure that the rent, service charge (if applicable) and any other relevant housing costs do not breach the cap which is 45% of net income. • Signpost applicants to an approved list of independent financial advisors and solicitors as produced by the Help to Buy Agent. • Alongside the Help to Buy Agent, verify the customer’s details and confirm the applicant’s immigration status, sharing copies of records with the Council in accordance with the contract. Applicants will be required to : o Complete the Homes England Affordability Calculator; o Provide proof of identification; o Provide proof of income (usually by way of latest three pay-slips or last three years accounts for self-employed applicants); o Provide proof of savings; and o Provide a Mortgage in Principle or credit reference (where applicable). • Advise the customer of the next steps and retain an oversight of the sale. The Council will instruct the conveyancing solicitors and progress the sale through to completion. • Provide stair-casing management service Post Sale Support In advance of the completion of shared ownership properties, work with the Council to develop internal systems to manage the properties post sale. Reporting Process: • Regular meetings to discuss the sales and marketing campaign and revise the strategy accordingly. • Regular valuations. • Weekly update in an agreed format to keep the Council informed of enquiries and sales agreed. Monthly financial and management performance reports to the Council.