Posted 20 February 2016 by Keith Osborne
The government-backed Shared Ownership scheme has helped thousands of people on a modest income to get a foot on the property ladder – but what happens when you come to sell that home? Riverside Home Ownership’s sales and new business manager, Jeanette Grady, answers your top questions about selling your Shared Ownership property.
Selling a Shared Ownership property is often thought to be a more challenging process than selling a freehold property on the open market. However, with the right guidance and the support of your housing association, selling your Shared Ownership home needn’t be complicated and remains an excellent way to take a step up the property ladder.
How do I start the selling process?
The first thing to do when you decide to sell is to contact your housing provider informing them of your intention.
In most cases, you will need to have a valuation of your property carried out by a RICS-accredited surveyor (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), to establish the sale price of your share. Many housing associations have a list of firms they can give you to choose from.
How is the price of my share determined?
The price will directly equate to the share you hold in the property. To put it simply, if you own 50% of a property valued at £100,000, the value of your share will be £50,000.
What happens next?
Depending on your Shared Ownership lease, the association may have a right to nominate a new buyer for your property or to market your share for sale for an exclusive period of time, perhaps six or eight weeks.
If the housing association doesn’t have a suitable buyer to nominate within this time, or if they choose not to take up this right, then you can usually advertise your share through an estate agent in much the same way as any other homeowner.
What does the new buyer have to do?
When a buyer has viewed your property and wants to go ahead, they will need to be assessed by the housing association to make sure they qualify for Shared Ownership and can afford the property – the same way as when you bought it yourself.
The housing association will approve each potential buyer, but it is normally down to you which of the approved buyers you sell to.
How does the conveyancing process work?
Once the new buyer has passed the necessary checks and you have agreed a sale with them through your estate agent, the buyer’s solicitor will contact your solicitor and the conveyancing process will continue in much the same way as any house sale.
Choosing the exchange and completion date is entirely up to you and the buyer, you just need to let your housing association know the date you agree on.
Can I sell the housing association’s share in the property?
While you live in your Shared Ownership property you are often able to buy the remaining shares, known as ‘staircasing’. It can sometimes make the sale of your home easier if it is offered at 100% ownership, even though you still only part-own it yourself.
Selling the housing association’s share alongside yours is called ‘back-to-back’ staircasing. This means that the new purchaser acquires both shares at the same time. If you choose this option you are often able to complete the sale as you would with a freehold property. You should however check with your housing provider to make sure your lease allows this, and be prepared for the additional legal fees this involves.
Does it cost more to sell a Shared Ownership property?
The legal fees for selling any leasehold property are usually higher than for a freehold property, as there is additional work involved for your solicitor. Shared Ownership properties do not necessarily mean more costs if you choose a good, experienced solicitor.
Your housing association will likely charge an administration fee when you sell, as they are often obliged to carry out certain work under the conditions of your lease.
What if I need some help through the process?
Your Shared Ownership provider can help you along the way. Riverside Home Ownership has a dedicated sales team that provides advice and assistance to shared ownership buyers and sellers from start to finish. Get in touch with your housing association with any questions – they’re the experts!
Find out more about Riverside Home Ownership at www.riversidehomeownership.org.uk