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Shared Ownership FAQs

What is shared ownership?

Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme, designed to make stepping onto the property ladder more affordable. Shared ownership allows you to initially purchase between 10% - 75% of a home, normally with a mortgage and a deposit, and pay a low-cost rent on the remaining unpurchased share.

What homes are available to buy?

From family homes in the countryside, to slick city centre apartments, you might be surprised at where you can buy a shared ownership home! Unfortunately you can’t use shared ownership to buy any home, but you’ll find a fantastic range of shared ownership homes available to buy across the country, either new or existing homes known as ‘resales’.

Whether you’re looking for a one bedroom apartment with city views or a three bedroom house with garden (& shed!), you’ll find it on Keaze.

Why should I buy shared ownership?

There are many benefits to buying a home with the shared ownership scheme. If you are unable to raise a large enough mortgage to buy a home, or perhaps you have a good income but not enough deposit, or just find that homes in the area you want to live are simply out of reach, shared ownership could be your answer.

Shared ownership allows you to buy a share in your home reducing the size of the deposit and the mortgage needed to get you on the property ladder in a home you love. The scheme normally allows you to buy shares between 25% and 75% of a home, but the new model of shared ownership, which will become more widely available in 2022, allows you to buy a share worth as little as 10% of the total value.

The new model of shared ownership offers even more accessibility and flexibility to first time buyers through the smaller shares made available to buy. And while currently many homes are under the original shared ownership model with shares starting from 25%, 10% shares are becoming increasingly available.

By buying a share of the home, you won’t need to raise as large a mortgage. What’s more, the deposit you’ll need is based on the share value you buy, not the full market value; this could be as low as 5% of the share too.

For example, you’re looking to buy a home with a full market value of £300,000. You’re able to buy a 25% share for £75,000. Great. Even better, your 5% deposit is based on the 25% value, so you only need £3,750. You read that right, less than £4k. Great huh?

You can also increase how much of the home you own when you want to buy more, meaning you could own your home outright, bit by bit when you can afford to.

Does shared ownership mean I have to share with someone else?

Only if you want to! Shared ownership means you are buying a percentage, or share, of a home, with the housing association you buy it from still owning the remaining percentage of the home.

Who you live with, we’ll leave up to you!

Am I eligible to buy a home with shared ownership?

The eligibility criteria for shared ownership is simple; as long as you don’t currently own, or won’t own another property when you move in to a new home, you’re likely to qualify.

Your annual household income (that’s both yours and your partners’ if buying together) can’t exceed £80,000 (£90,000 in London) and you’ll need to have savings to cover purchasing costs such as solicitors fees and your mortgage deposit. There’s no minimum income; you just need to be able to afford to buy the home and the housing association selling will often give you a guidance income.

No age restrictions. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Buying on your own, with a partner or friend or you have children, there could be a shared ownership home just for you.

Does anyone get priority for shared ownership?

Some local authorities or boroughs may require you to have a ‘local connection’ before you can buy the home; this normally means that you must live, and/or work in that area.

If there is no specific connection requirement, Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel will receive priority to buy with shared ownership. This means:

Current military personnel:

  • You must have completed your basic (phase 1) training and are either regular service personnel (including Navy, Army and Air Force)
  • Clinical staff (with the exception of doctors and dentists)
  • Ministry of Defence Police Officers or uniformed staff in the Defence Fire Service

Ex-military personnel:

  • Have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of six years and they apply to buy within two years (24 months) of the date of discharge from service will also be prioritised. You must also produce a Discharge Certificate (or similar documentation) as proof
  • Surviving partners of Regular service personnel who have died in service where they apply to buy within two years (24 months) of the date of being bereaved.

If you don’t tick the above boxes, don’t worry! Many homes across the country don’t require you to have a connection to the area, or matter what you do for a living. So, if you’re keen & want to arrange a viewing, let the housing association know; you could be looking at your brand new home!

I already own a home, can I buy with shared ownership?

When buying a shared ownership home, it must be your one and only property owned, including any property overseas.

However, if you are selling your current home and cannot afford to buy a new home without the assistance of shared ownership, you may still be eligible. For example, you might currently own a one bedroom apartment but cannot afford to buy a bigger home, or following a relationship separation you now need to buy a home by yourself and cannot afford to do so with the assistance of the scheme; shared ownership could be what you’ve been looking for.

Can I have pets?

This will depend on the terms of your lease. Broadly speaking, if you share a communal front door, for example to an apartment block, typically pets are not permitted. However, there’s also a big difference between owning a large dog versus a hamster so we recommend always checking with the housing association you intend to buy from first.

How much in savings will I need to buy with shared ownership?

Shared ownership is much more affordable than buying outright, however you’ll still need a mortgage deposit. Shared ownership mortgages are usually a minimum of 5 or 10%, based on the value of the share, not the full market value.

So, if you were buying a 25% share of a £300,000 home for £75,000, you’ll need to have a minimum of £3,750 (5% of £75,000) for your mortgage deposit. Versus a 5% deposit of the same home but buying it outright, you’d need to have savings to cover £15,000 so shared ownership can be a much more affordable, and achievable, route to owning your own home.

You’ll also need savings to cover initial purchase costs such as mortgage and solicitors fees; this is normally around £3,000.

To reserve your chosen home, you’ll also need to pay a reservation fee. This will secure the home as yours until a formal offer is made, and will usually be between £250 and £500. This cost will come off the total purchase price when your sale completes.

Do I need to pay Stamp Duty on a shared ownership home?

Following the stamp duty changes from July 2020 to September 2021, stamp duty land tax has now returned to the usual rates. As a first time buyer you won’t have to pay any stamp duty on your home as long as it’s total value is less than £300,000. If your home is worth more than £300,000 you will pay a 5% stamp duty tax on any amount over this value just like income tax. If you have owned a property before, the threshold on which you pay stamp duty is £125,000.

With shared ownership you can choose whether to pay stamp duty at the very start on the total value of the home or you can pay this later down the line once you own a share above the value of £125,000. If you’d prefer to get it out of the way with those initial costs when you buy your first share, you will never have to pay this again. But if spreading the cost and paying later would better suit you, then you won’t have to worry about stamp duty until you own at least a £125,000 share of your home.

Whether you choose to make the payment straight away in one chunk or take a more gradual approach and pay later down the line, stamp duty on a shared ownership home gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to those initial payments. So you can decide what works best for you under your circumstances.

Who decides if a shared ownership home is affordable for me?

Buying a shared ownership home should be affordable in the long run, not just the short term; that’s why the housing association you buy from is required to check your financial situation including understanding your monthly income and your outgoings. A financial check, or ‘assessment’, will be carried out before an offer is made because let’s face it, no one wants to live in a new home if you can’t then afford to enjoy it!

A mortgage advisor, or broker, will help to see how much you can borrow for your mortgage, what deposit you’ll need, and what your interest rate will be; this will be based on your household income (salaries and any other regular income), any monthly payments on debts such as loans or credit cards, as well as other regular monthly outgoings such as child maintenance or contractual payments. Your credit score will also be used to find the right mortgage lender for you. Along with knowing how much you have in savings to put towards your deposit will then help the advisor, the housing association, and just as importantly, you, to establish what percentage share you can buy.

What will my monthly costs be?

The specific monthly amount will depend on what you buy, for what value, and where, however monthly costs will include your mortgage repayment, rent on the remaining unpurchased share, service charges, and other ‘standard’ living costs such as utility bills, council tax and home insurance.

What is staircasing?

Staircasing simply means buying more shares of your home. The more of the home you own, the less rent you’ll be paying each month.

With the new model of shared ownership you can now staircase in installments of as little as 1% making buying your home overtime easier if you’re wanting to take a more gradual approach to owning more of your home. Homes under this new model will be more widely available throughout 2022 with many shared ownership homes still under the original model in 2021. With the original model of shared ownership, you’ll be able to buy a minimum of 10% more in your home. In both cases, if you can afford to and it suits your plans, you can normally buy the rest of the home so you then own 100% (or anything in between!). The value of the additional share you buy will be based on the full market value of your home at that time, not the original purchase price.

Normally there’s no restrictions on when you can buy more of your home, but remember there will be costs to pay such as solicitors fees, so it’s often best to buy as much as you can afford from the start.

Will my monthly rent and service charge change?

Yes, they are both subject to an increase (or decrease) annually, but the housing association will be required to give you at least 4 weeks notice of any changes, or as per the terms in your lease.

Unlike privately renting, housing associations are closely regulated so the rent portion of your monthly outgoings will not suddenly jump, just ‘because’; it will normally be in line with any inflation and costs of living changes.

Can I use Housing Benefit, Child Maintenance or Universal Credit to buy a shared ownership home?

Child maintenance payments cannot be used as ‘income’ towards monthly costs, however some other payments and benefits may be able to be used towards the rent on the remaining unpurchased share. For example, if you are able to buy the share ‘outright’ with a cash lump sum, you may be able to use Housing Benefit towards or to cover the costs of the rent on the share of the home you don’t own. Speak to the housing association and/or an independent mortgage advisor for full details before applying for shared ownership.

What if I have a bad credit score or I’ve missed previous rent payments?

This is likely to have an impact on how likely a mortgage lender will say ‘yes’ to letting you borrow money for the mortgage. This doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for shared ownership, but it could mean that you cannot get a mortgage, and therefore cannot afford to buy a home. A financial or mortgage advisor will be able to help you with this, or you can check your own credit score online before applying, often for free.

Do I have to apply for shared ownership?

Registering with Keaze will mean you can directly apply for shared ownership homes across the country; we’ll even do some initial affordability checks too! It’s completely free to register and we’ll also send you alerts of homes you’ll be interested in if you want us to.

If buying a home in London, you’ll just go direct to the housing association selling the home you’re interested in, but for the rest of England, you’ll need to also apply to theHelp to Buy agent for the area you want to live in.

How long does it take to buy a shared ownership home?

There are a few factors that will impact how long it takes to go from viewing the home to getting the keys.

If the home is ready to move into immediately, the process of buying a home will usually take between 6 - 10 weeks, but can depend on how quickly your chosen solicitor and mortgage provider processes paperwork so it’s important to pick both solicitors and mortgage/financial advisors that understand shared ownership, or it could cause delays. The housing association you buy from however will often be able to recommend these for you though.

What does buying off-plan mean

If you are buying a new home, you may be buying ‘off plan’ without getting to view the actual home you intend to buy. This is completely normal and you’ll have a thorough explanation of the layout of the home via floorplans with dimensions, or by also viewing a show home. This may be up to 6 months ahead of when the homes are ready to be moved in to, so you’ll have plenty of time to plan the decor (& continue to save to buy new things for when you do get the keys!).

Shared ownership resales

If you are buying a resale home, this means you are likely to be in a ‘chain’. This means the current owner, known as a vendor, will be moving into another home so that buying process also has to be taken into consideration, however the chain will be made clear at the start of the buying process.

What am I responsible for in a shared ownership home?

Check with the housing association you buy from, but often your buildings insurance is included in your monthly service charge; this means you may only need to arrange contents insurance but always ask first!

As a shared owner, you’ll have the responsibilities of a home owner; this means you’ll need to cover minor, or day-to-day repairs and maintenance such as changing lightbulbs, keeping your boiler serviced, or fixing any white goods such as a washing machine should it break. However with the new shared ownership model, the landlord will support the shared ownership buyer for a 10 year period - meaning they are responsible for helping pay for essential repairs similar to if you were just renting.

Unlike renting, shared ownership means you don’t need to ask permission to paint the walls or hang a new photo, but any major home improvements you’ll need to check with the housing association first; they own part of the home after all.

Why do shared ownership properties have a service charge, and what does it cover?

A monthly service charge will vary, depending on the home you buy. For example, buying an apartment with a lift, concierge and resident gym will cost more than an apartment without! If you buy a house, there may still be service charges but the housing association you buy from will be able to give you a breakdown of the costs.

Broadly speaking, communal areas are covered in your service charge and therefore the maintenance is organised and run by the housing association or management company.

Can I sublet a shared ownership home, or rent out a room?

Shared ownership is designed to help people buy a home that cannot afford to do so without the help of the scheme. Essentially, if you buy a home with shared ownership, you need to live in it and cannot sublet. There may be some case-by-case situations that your housing association you pay the rent on the remaining share to will consider, such as a short-term relocation for work, so always speak to them in the first instance.

If, for example, you buy a two bedroom apartment with shared ownership and a friend moves in to your spare room, this is usually permitted as long as no formal letting agreement or contract is in place, and you can afford to buy and live in the home without the additional income of a friend renting the room or contributing towards the bills.

What happens when I want to sell my shared ownership home?

If you own less than 100% of the home at the time of wanting to sell, you’ll need to go back to the housing association you purchased your share from; they’re also the people you pay a monthly rent to on the share you don’t own. Most housing associations will offer an estate agent-like service called a ‘resales service’ but if they don’t they’ll explain what to do next.

There will be a fee for selling a shared ownership home, just like a property on the open market, which will often be either a percentage of the full market value, or a flat fee.

You’ll often be required to advertise your home with the housing association first; this is so another buyer looking for a shared ownership home can be found first. If a shared ownership buyer isn’t found, normally within 8 weeks, then you’ll be free to sell the home on the open market.

The only difference with someone buying a resale versus a new shared ownership home is they buy the share from you, not the housing association like you did if you initially bought the home ‘brand new’. So, if you purchased 25% but bought more of the home & you now own 40%, the new buyer could only purchase 40% or more in your current home.

How easy is it to sell a shared ownership home in the future?

You’re on our website and reading these FAQs because you’re interested in buying a home with shared ownership, right? And you’ve taken a look at the homes listed on our property search too? Well housing associations across the country list both new homes and resales on their websites and expert portals like which showcases your shared ownership home to thousands of potential buyers, just like you right now! So, if you have the right home, in the right place, at the right price for someone else looking to buy with shared ownership, chances are you’ll have a buyer in no time.