5 steps to buying a Shared Ownership home

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If you’re struggling to get on the property ladder, Shared Ownership is a great option to help you buy in a more affordable way. Government schemes can seem a little daunting and many buyers can be overwhelmed by all the information out there, so we wrote this blog to explain how buying a home through Shared Ownership can be done in 5 easy steps…

1.      First things first – are you eligible?

To apply for a Shared Ownership home you need to meet the criteria set by the Government.

You can buy your home with Shared Ownership if:

  • Your household earns less than £80,000
  • You’re a first-time buyer or existing shared owner
  • Your income is sufficient to cover the mortgage (if applicable), rent and service charges
  • Your chosen Shared Ownership property is affordable and sustainable for you

If you are a serving member of the British Armed Forces then you will receive priority for buying a home through Shared Ownership.

If you’re unsure if you are eligible you can contact us at info@helptobuynw.org.uk or apply online to find out.

2.      Find a property / Apply online

You can search property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla for Shared Ownership homes, but did you know our website is updated directly by Housing Associations? This means it will always have the most up to date properties available. You can use our Property Search to find a home in your area and once you have chosen your property you will need to complete our online application form.

As well as your online search, keep your eyes peeled for new developments offering Shared Ownership being built in your area. Visit show homes and follow providers of Shared Ownership on social media. As well as being the first to hear of new developments you’ll also be able to see first-hand what new developments will look like on platforms like Instagram. We will also share details on our social media so you can give us a follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too!

If you just want to find out your eligibility for the scheme you can still apply online and we will assess you. Once you know if you’re eligible you will then need to find a property that meets your needs and let us know via email.

Your application will then be passed on to the Housing Association who may ask you to supply the following information:

  • 3 months wage slips or your most recent P60
  • Proof of savings you may have
  • Photographic ID
  • Proof of address (recent utility bill)

3.      Mortgage & Legal Advice

If you need to obtain a mortgage to buy your home you will need to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA), bank or building society.

If you use an IFA they will apply for a mortgage on your behalf. If not, you will need to do this yourself. Make sure your lender knows that you need a Shared Ownership mortgage.

You can download our list of Shared Ownership IFA’s here.

To buy a home, you will need to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf. They will handle the conveyance for you (transferring the title to you legally), explain the terms of your lease and deal with the seller's solicitor on your behalf.

They will also check contract documents and carry out legal searches. These searches provide vital information on what may happen in the area surrounding your home such as other developments, sewer and road adoptions or any major works. There will be a cost to this so please bear this in mind when budgeting for your new home. Your solicitor will clarify the costs associated with this work with you.

You can download our list of Shared Ownership Solicitors here.

Once you have received your full mortgage offer, your solicitor will then liaise with the Housing Association on the exchange of contracts and completion of your new home.

4.      Exchange of Contracts

About four to six weeks after reservation, subject to legal and mortgage arrangements being in place, contracts will be exchanged.

The balance of the deposit is normally paid at this stage and the whole transaction becomes legally binding. If the exchange does not take place on the agreed date, the property can be put back onto the market.

5.      Completing the Sale

Now comes the final step of the buying process – legal completion. This is when your lender releases the funds to pay for your home, at your solicitor’s request.

On the day of completion a Sales Advisor will meet you at the property to give you the keys, a handover pack, take meter readings and answer any questions you may have.

And that’s it! Buying a Shared Ownership home in 5 easy steps – find out if you’re eligible, find a home, appoint a solicitor, exchange contracts and complete!

You can visit our Help & Advice section for more information or contact us on 0300 790 0570.