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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.

London Buildings and Monuments