Shared Ownership Myth Busting

Debunking the myths around Shared Ownership

You’ve been looking into Shared Ownership and think it might be the right scheme for you but then you hear some things on the grapevine that unsettle you.

There’s no family homes, just tiny starter flats. It’s impossible to get a mortgage and even if you do, you’ll have to share your new abode with someone. You don’t own the home, plus you’ll never be able to sell!

However, this isn’t the case! Our Shared Ownership myth busting looks at the biggest misconceptions surrounding the scheme to help you make an informed decision on your home buying journey.


Myth: Shared Ownership means that I have to share my home with someone

Truth: No, in fact the ‘shared’ aspect of the scheme is because you’re sharing ownership of your home with a housing association.

Buyers will purchase a share in a property, paying a mortgage on the share they own and rent on the remainder to their provider; you don’t have to buy or live in your home with anyone that you don’t want to. In most cases, you can also choose to purchase more shares in your property until you own 100% through a process known as ‘staircasing’.

Woman reads book in her new Shared Ownership home


Myth: Shared Ownership is only available to first time buyers

Truth: While Shared Ownership is a great stepping stone for first time buyers who are looking to get a foot on the property ladder, it isn’t just available them. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, and you do not own another home (or you’re in the process of selling your current property), the Shared Ownership scheme is open to anyone over the age of 18.

So whether you’re a first time buyer, upsizer, downsizer or anything in between, Shared Ownership is still an option!

Adult son and senior father celebrate catch up over a cup of tea


Myth: You’re still renting, so you can’t decorate a Shared Ownership home

Truth: One of the biggest attractions of buying through Shared Ownership is that you are the homeowner and have full right to decorate as you wish. Whether you want to paint each room a different colour of the rainbow or create a feature wall out of your favourite artwork, it’s completely up to you!

However, there are certain structural improvements that you would need to gain permission for from your housing association, such as fitting a new kitchen or bathroom suite, or adding an extension to your property. Find out more about the rules and responsibilities of a Shared Owner here!

Man decorates his new Shared Ownership home


Myth: Shared Ownership is more expensive as I have to pay rent and mortgage every month

Truth: In many cases, the monthly payments for a Shared Ownership property is less than renting privately, just with the added benefit of owning a stake in your home!

With Shared Ownership, you pay a mortgage on the percentage share that you own and a below-market-value rent on the remainder to a housing association. It’s also worth noting that if you choose to buy more shares in your home, your mortgage payments will increase but your rent will decrease in turn.

Photo of a calculator next to a model of a house


Myth: You can’t buy family homes in the country, it’s only small apartments in busy cities

Truth: With Shared Ownership homes available up and down the country, and with so many providers building these homes, it’s only right that the scheme offers a good mix of properties. From studio apartments, one and two bedroom flats, to three and four bedroom houses, there’s something for every buyer. You can start your search via our property portal here.

Family enjoy a dinner together in their new Shared Ownership home


Myth: I’m struggling to save for a deposit, I’ll have the same issue with Shared Ownership

Truth: The great thing about Shared Ownership is that you only need to raise as little as a 5-10% deposit of the share that you are purchasing, not on the full market value of the property!

For example, if you were to purchase a 25% share of a £250,000 home – equating to £62,500 – a 5% deposit of this would be just £3,125! In comparison to buying a home on the open market, Shared Ownership deposits are generally much cheaper. Find out more about the costs of buying a home here.

Woman using a piggy bank to save for the deposit for a Shared Ownership home


Myth: You can never actually own a Shared Ownership property

Truth: Shared Ownership homes are sold on a leasehold basis but you are still able to buy more shares through a process known as staircasing. This will increase the share of the property you own while decreasing the rent you pay, and in most cases you can go on to buy 100% of your property. Find out more about the staircasing process here.


Myth: It’s impossible to get a Shared Ownership mortgage

Truth: It’s true that not all lenders will provide mortgages for Shared Ownership, but the majority will! Plus, all mortgage lending is calculated on a similar affordability calculator, which means it comes down to your income, outgoings, credit rating and the size of your deposit – the same as if you were buying on the open market.

Want to know more about the different Shared Ownership mortgage options? Check out our free mortgage calculator today to see the mortgages available to you based on your individual circumstances.

Young couple sign documents with their mortgage lender for their Shared Ownership home


Myth: You can’t sell a Shared Ownership home

Truth: Shared Ownership is available on both new build homes and resale properties that are being sold by the current owners! For some customers, Shared Ownership is a stepping stone towards 100% ownership and for others, as circumstances change, they may wish to sell their home.

When you want to sell, you need to contact your housing provider to let them know. As there are often long waiting lists for Shared Ownership homes, your provider will then have a set period of time (as outlined in the terms of your lease) to try and sell your home to other buyers who are looking to purchase through the scheme. After this time, you will be able to advertise the property yourself, selling privately or through an estate agent of your choice. Find out more about the resales process on Share to Buy.

If you’re interested in purchasing a part-buy part-rent home, you can find out more via our article index and Shared Ownership terms and conditions on Share to Buy. You can also start your search on our property portal, using key filters such as location, number of bedrooms and deposit amount to find your ideal home. 

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