A Guide to Selling your FIRST STEPS Shared Ownership Home
You can sell your home at any time. Under the terms of your lease your housing provider normally has 8 weeks to find a buyer for your home
During the 8 weeks you are not permitted to sell your home privately or through an estate agent. If your housing provider finds a buyer for your home they will normally charge an administrative fee which is usually a percentage of the share you are selling, or a percentage of the full market value, plus VAT.
If your housing provider is unable to find a buyer, you will be able to sell your home privately or through an estate agent.
What are the steps I take to sell my home?
Contact your housing provider to let them know that you'd like to sell your home. You will be asked to choose a surveyor to value your home. Your housing provider can provide you with a list of surveyors to choose from. You will have to pay a fee for the valuation; you will be informed of the cost before proceeding.
The surveyor will arrange to visit your home to carry out the survey. The valuation sets the sale price for your home. From this, your housing provider can work out the value of your share.
Your housing provider will liaise with you to explain each step of the process and to arrange for photographs to be taken that will be suitable for marketing your home. Please ensure that your home is tidy and presentable in any photographs in order to ensure that it is marketed in the best possible way.
Carrying out the valuation does not commit you to selling your home. Once your housing provider is in receipt of your valuation report they will arrange for you to sign a contract to agree the fee and details of how your home will be sold.
If you decide to proceed, you will need to complete and return a contract of sale and include details of the solicitor who will be acting for you once a buyer is found. If you bought your home with someone else, and you are both on the lease both of you will be required to sign the contract of sale.
You will need to instruct an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provider to produce an EPC. EPCs provide important information on the existing energy efficiency of your home and make recommendations on how you could improve its energy efficiency. You will only be able to start the process of selling your home once you have confirmed that an EPC has been commissioned. Please note that the EPC must be provided within the first 28 days of marketing of your property as this is a legal requirement.
The sales details will be added to the housing provider's website and the FIRST STEPS website. Any customer queries via FIRST STEPS will be passed onto the housing provider; and these potential buyers may be asked to contact you directly to view your home. Interested potential buyers will be prioritised and a buyer will then be nominated by your housing provider.
The nominated buyer will go through a similar process to the one you went through when you bought the home. They will need to attend a compulsory financial interview with an independent financial advisor.
If the buyer is approved financially and a sale is agreed, your housing provider will send you written confirmation of all the details. Their solicitor will then contact your solicitor.
As a standard part of the sales process your buyer's solicitor will raise leasehold enquiries relating to your property with your solicitor.
The buyer normally has 12 weeks to complete the purchase, although this needs to be flexible if you are buying another home. Both your solicitor and the buyer's solicitor will agree an exchange and completion date. Your housing provider would not usually be involved in agreeing dates so these are negotiated between the buyer and you.
We would encourage you to keep in regular contact with your solicitor to make sure that the sale progresses as smoothly as possible.
Your questions answered
What happens if I don't agree with the valuation from the surveyor?
From time to time, housing providers receive concerns from vendors that the amount the home has been valued for is under or over what they expected. Your housing provider can challenge the surveyor on your behalf but would require 3 comparables of properties that have sold within the last 3 months. They can also put you in touch with the surveyor to discuss your concerns with them directly.
When should I look for another home?
You should begin to look for another home to buy as soon as you decide to sell. However, to avoid putting yourself under any pressure, you should not make an offer on another home until a buyer has agreed to purchase your shared ownership home.
When you agree to buy a home, it is in your best interest to make everyone involved aware of the timescales outlined in this section.
How can I make sure that the sale progresses as quickly as possible?
It is advisable that you allow your housing provider to pass your contact details on to your buyers so that you can discuss possible moving dates. It is also important to liaise with your solicitor on a regular basis so that they can progress the sale with your buyer's solicitor.
Once a buyer has been found and your housing provider has instructed solicitors, your housing provider does not have any direct involvement with the sale, however they are happy to assist if required.
What if my housing provider is unable to find a buyer?
If your housing provider is unable to find a buyer for your home within the nomination period (which will begin the date they receive the signed contract of sale), they will write to you to say you are free to sell your home through an estate agent at a price not less than that set by the valuer.
You can sell your current share or you may decide to sell 100% of your home.
Can I sell 100% if I only own a share?
Yes. This is called 'back-to-back' or simultaneous staircasing and you have the option to do this if your housing provider has not sold your home within the nomination period.
You are allowed to sell for more than your valuation amount, however not less, unless you are prepared to cover the shortfall. You will increase your share to 100% and sell your home on the same day and you will not have to borrow extra money to pay for the remaining share.
On completion of the sale you will receive your share and your housing provider will receive its percentage share of the current full market value.
What happens if I do not commission an EPC?
You are unable to sell your home until you have commissioned an EPC. This is a legal requirement.
What if the buyer my housing provider finds does not proceed?
Both buyer and seller have the right to withdraw from the sale before contracts of sale are exchanged. If this happens your housing provider will find another priority buyer. If it is over the nomination period your housing provider would allow you to go to an estate agent, but would continue to look for a buyer for your home.
Can I sell my share through an Estate Agent?
If your housing provider is unable to find a buyer within the nomination period you can sell through an estate agent or privately.
If you decide to sell your share (e.g. 50%), your housing provider check that the buyer you have found meets the FIRST STEPS headline eligibility criteria (just as you did when you bought your home).
What if I have made improvements to my home?
When you sell your home the valuer will not value improvements separately. You will sell the share you own which will be a percentage of the full market value including improvements you have made. If you staircase or 'back-to-back' staircase and sell, improvements are excluded.
What if the valuation expires?
The valuation usually lasts 3 months. Your housing provider will try to arrange an extension of time for the valuation. If this is not possible a new valuation will need to be obtained. You will be required to pay any valuation fee. You will need a current valuation to complete the sale.
6th January 2018
The London Home Show Spring 2018 takes place on Saturday 3rd March at the QEIIC, Westminster, 11am – 5pm. The event, supported by the Mayor of London, is the No.1 event for first time buyers in the capital.
20th December 2017
Tickets are now available for the London Home Show Spring 2018. The London Home Show is the no.1 event for first time buyers in London, and takes place on the 3rd March 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre Westminster. It's free to attend, register today to get your FREE tickets.
20th September 2017
Shared Ownership Week returns for its fifth year, 21st - 27th September. Shared Ownership week raises awareness this home ownership scheme which offers a life line to thousands of first time buyers.
19th September 2017
Countdown to the London Home Show Autumn 2017: Our sponsor Crest Nicholson give you the low down on their fantastic development Dylon Works, available via Help to Buy London.
FIRST STEPS is committed to the promotion of all types of accessible housing in London. We want to make the journey into your new home as simple as possible and to be sure that you know what to look for when searching for an affordable accessible home. All developments must be rated according to the type of accessibility they offer. That is why we have the following guide, based on the information provided in the Mayor of London's Accessible Housing Register, to help you understand what the rating of each property actually means.
A - Wheelchair Accessible Throughout
Meets the design standards from the Wheelchair Housing Design Guide which superseded the Housing Corporation wheelchair design standards. These properties have been designed to meet latest wheelchair accessible housing design standards, offering extra space and full access to all rooms and facilities. This standard provides more space than previous wheelchair housing design guidance and also ensures that all rooms are accessibly. In view of the high density of new build housing stock in London, the parking features have been excluded from this category. This will enable wheelchair accessible homes built above ground floor level to be categorised as such.
B - Wheelchair Accessible essential rooms
Complies with the Wheelchair Housing Design Guidance within the Housing Corporation Scheme Development Standards. Properties designed of adapted to provide access for wheelchair users to essential facilities of the property (that is, a bedroom, bathroom, toilet, living room and kitchen). Other rooms in the house such as additional bedrooms or bathrooms may not be wheelchair accessible.
C - Lifetime Homes
Meets the space standards of the Lifetime Homes developed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Designed to meet the space standards of Lifetime Homes. Main features include a level approach/entrance and wider doorways. This category will capture all new general needs housing built to Lifetime Homes standards. Properties achieving this category will not necessarily meet all Lifetime Homes design guidance as the LAHR framework does not assess features other than space and access. Properties may have an internal flight of stairs. If so, these will be wide enough to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
D - Easy Access
Compatible with the design standards in Mobility Standard Housing (1974) produced by the DoE and Housing Corporation Scheme Development Standards (pre-1999) and Part M of Building Regulations (2000). The main features of these properties include a level approach to the entrance, wider doorways and more space than in general needs housing. These properties may also have an internal flight of stairs and if so, there is enough space to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
E - Step Free
No published access design guidance. These are properties that are considered general needs housing but have a level approach/entrance into the property and throughout. Properties in this category that have an internal flight of stair will be likely to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
E+. Minimal steps
No published access design guidance. Properties that do not meet any accessibly housing design guidance and have a limited number of steps to enter the property. Properties in this category will have no more than four steps to access the front door and are likely to be ground floor properties or properties in a block with a lift and a small number of communal or property front door steps.
F - General Needs
General needs housing does not meet any of the above criteria. Properties in this category will have more than four steps or a ramp access that is steeper than 1:10 to access the property front door. These properties should be marketed with the number of steps to access the property as this will provide an additional factor for helping people choosing what to bid for.
The Accessible Housing Register captures the essential information which determines the category awarded to a property. Additional information is also collected. This includes:
- Details of major adaptations such as level access showers and stair lifts
- Private garden or balcony
- Proximity to local shops
- Proximity to public transport