Selling A Shared Ownership Property
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Selling a Shared Ownership property explainedWant to sell your Shared Ownership property? Here’s everything you need to know about the process, including what to do and when. Plus, find answers to some frequently asked questions around Shared Ownership property selling.
Shared Ownership is a government scheme to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. It allows you to buy shares in a home - between 10% and 75% of the property’s full market value - that you rent from a housing association or local authority.
You can increase your shares over time - known as staircasing. Most Shared Ownership leases let you staircase up to 100%, at which point you own the property outright. But some are capped at 80% to keep these more affordable homes available for others needing them.
If you’ve staircased up to 100% ownership, you can usually sell just as you would any other property - double-check your contract to make sure. Own less than 100%? The housing association or local authority who owns the rest will have the right to buy or sell it, known as ‘first refusal.’ If they don’t find an eligible buyer within four, eight or 12 weeks (depending on how long the agreed nomination period is for your property), you’ll be free to advertise on the open market with an estate agent.
However, there are some extra things you need to consider when it comes to selling a Shared Ownership house. You’ll need to have it valued by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) before you can market it - more on this below. You might also have to cover the cost of the housing association’s legal fees as well as your own, and you’ll need to pay for the Leasehold Information Form mentioned above.
1. Check your leaseEvery housing association or local authority will have its own rules for selling a Shared Ownership home.
Check your lease now to make sure you know what these are, including all the processes you need to follow around getting the property valued, who pays for what in the sale and any restrictions that might apply.
2. Contact your housing association or local authorityIt’s time to let your housing association or local authority know you want to sell your home. At this point, you can confirm how long the nomination period is - in other words, how long you have to wait until you’re free to market the property yourself with an estate agent if they don’t find a buyer.
3. Get your property valued and arrange an Energy Performance assessmentOnce you’ve told the housing association or local authority you want to sell, they’ll ask you to arrange and pay for an RICS-qualified surveyor to value your property. The housing association might have some recommended surveyors, or you can find one yourself, if you prefer.
Based on this valuation, the housing association or local authority will give a total market value for your property and work out how much your current share of the property is worth.
The RICS valuation report is valid for three months. Once you receive it, you must send it to your housing association or local authority. If the property doesn’t sell before the three months are up, you’ll need to arrange and pay for another valuation.
You’ll also need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that’s less than 10 years old. Check the EPC register to find out if you need to pay for a new one.
4. Complete the relevant paperworkIf you’re happy with the RICS valuation and want to go ahead with the sale, it’s time to fill in some paperwork.
First, you’ll need to complete and return a contract of sale or ‘intention to sell’ form to your housing association or local authority. At this point, you’ll probably be asked to give the details of the conveyancer or solicitor who will act on your behalf, once a buyer is found. It might make sense to find someone with experience in Shared Ownership property sales.
You’ll also need to provide a copy of your lease, along with all the usual paperwork that comes with selling a property. At this stage, your housing association will usually ask you for a marketing fee to cover the cost of photographs, floor plans and advertising the property.
5. Market your property and find a buyerYou’ll now begin the agreed nomination period - usually four, eight or 12 weeks. During this time, the housing association will exclusively market your home - usually through a combination of their own platforms and contacting potential buyers.
Throughout the nomination process, the housing association or local authority should arrange convenient viewing times with you. If they find a buyer, the housing association will check they can meet the mortgage and Shared Ownership scheme requirements. If the association can't find a buyer within the nomination period, you'll be free to market the property yourself or with an estate agent to help you find a Shared Ownership buyer.
If you go down the open market route, remember that there are specific criteria for Shared Ownership buyers. They must earn £80,000 or less (rising to £90,000 or less in London) and have a large enough deposit to buy your share of the property. (Information correct as of April 2023).
6. Formally instruct a solicitorOnce a buyer has been found - either by the housing association, local authority, or through the open market - you'll need to formally instruct your conveyancer or solicitor to handle the sale. It’s important to stay in contact with your solicitor throughout the process to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
7. Exchange and completionThe buyer will go through a similar process to the one you went through when you first bought the property. Once they’re financially approved, their solicitor will contact your solicitor, and the process of exchanging contracts will begin. At this stage, you’ll get a completion date so you know when to hand over your keys and can arrange payment of outstanding legal fees.
Can you transfer a Shared Ownership property?Yes. This happens as part of the selling process described above, but there may be other times when you want to transfer your lease (or your share of the lease). In these cases, you’ll need to ask the housing association or local authority for permission first and then appoint a solicitor to make the legal transfer.
Can you sell one Shared Ownership property and buy another?Yes, as long as you can still buy a Shared Ownership property under the government scheme. If not, you may have built up enough equity by staircasing in the Shared Ownership property you’re selling so that you can now afford to buy a non-Shared Ownership home.
What can you do if you’re unhappy with how the housing association is handling the sale?If you're not happy with how your housing association or local authority deals with the selling process, ask them for a copy of their complaint procedure and make a formal complaint. If you’re unhappy with the response, you can take your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman free of charge, which can award compensation and/or force the housing association to take action.
If you’re not satisfied with the RICS valuation, you can ask for another one to be carried out. But you’ll need to pay for it again. It’s also worth remembering that members of the RICS have a standard way of surveying properties, so it might be unlikely that a second opinion will result in a very different valuation. You can challenge a valuation by doing your own research into similar properties.
How much does it cost to sell a Shared Ownership property?There are various costs associated with selling a Shared Ownership home. Exactly what you’ll pay depends on how your housing association or local authority operates. Typically, you can expect to be responsible for marketing, valuation, and legal fees. In addition, you’ll have to pay for a Leasehold Information Pack and an EPC if you need a new one.
A much better selling experienceReady to sell your property? Our experienced team of leading estate agents are available seven days a week. From valuation to price negotiation - we’re here every step of the way. And we’ll list your property on Zoopla, Rightmove and many more.
Purplebricks don’t charge a commission to get you sold. Instead, we set one fixed fee, so you know exactly what you’ll pay - without any hidden costs. You can pay this fee at the start of the process or later once you’re sold—whatever works for you. Book a free valuation or instruct Purplebricks to sell your home today.