How to sell a Shared Ownership property
Posted 11 December 2015 by Keith Osborne
Selling your Shared Ownership property, whether you own all of it or only part of the home, is slightly more complicated than selling a property on the open market. It's not as simple as having your home valued and appointing an agent. The first step is to contact your housing provider and inform them in writing of your intention to sell. They have first option on the property, which means that they can either nominate a buyer for your share, or market the share for an exclusive period of time, such as six or eight weeks.
Look through your Shared Ownership lease to find out what it says. If the housing provider does not find a buyer, or decides not to exercise its right to do so, you may usually engage an estate agent to market the share.
The next step is to have the property valued. This must be carried out by a qualified surveyor, who should be chosen by your housing provider and yourself. You should then advise your housing provider of the valuation and discuss with them how to sell the share. They will identify interested buyers, who may then view the property. If a buyer decides that they want to purchase your share, they must satisfy the criteria laid down by the housing provider, just as you did yourself. Your housing association will approve each potential buyer, but you can decide which of them you wish to sell to. The conveyancing process will be carried out as with any other property, and you will have to inform the housing provider when you and your buyer choose exchange and completion dates.
If your housing association does take up its first rights to sell, but doesn’t find a buyer within the allotted time, you then have the option of selling your home privately, although you may only sell to buyers who are eligible for a Shared Ownership property. You may have the option of ‘simultaneous staircasing’ (also known as ‘back-to-back staircasing’). This means selling the housing association's share as well as your own. The buyer therefore acquires both shares at the same time. This can make the purchase easier, but you must sell at the full valuation price. Check your lease to see if simultaneous staircasing is permitted. If so, you will incur additional legal fees.
There are usually increased costs in selling a Shared Ownership property, as it is a leasehold property, but if you obtain the services of a good solicitor it may not prove any more expensive than selling any other leasehold property. You will probably have to pay an admin fee to the housing association, as the lease will likely require them to carry out certain works. Bear in mind that you can obtain help and advice from your housing provider when you wish to sell your Shared Ownership property. So if you have any doubts or questions about the process, just contact them. They will have dealt with such sales many times before, and be very familiar with all aspects of the process.