Share to Buy Expert Sessions: Your questions about the sales process

Answering your questions about the sales process!

Shared Ownership Sales Process

I live outside of London and will need to register with my local Help to Buy agent to be eligible for a Shared Ownership home. Should I do this before expressing interest in a property?

Response from JLL – Yes, it is advisable to do so. If you’re interested in a JLL home, our Shared Ownership team can go through the process with you, so give them a call and a sales consultant can guide you through the process!

At what stage would I need to pay my deposit?

Response from L&Q – A 5%/10% deposit of the share you are purchasing (minus the reservation fee already paid) is due at exchange of contracts – 28 days after contract issue or 21 days if the property is built.

Is there a maximum deposit I can put down?

Response from Southern Home Ownership – No there isn’t. The bigger deposit you have the bigger the share of the Shared Ownership home you can purchase.

How are Shared Ownership homes valued?

Response from Southern Home Ownership – Shared Ownership homes are independently valued by a RICS (Registered Institute of Chartered Surveyors) surveyor and have to be regularly revalued to ensure that they are being sold at the current market value. You can therefore be assured when buying a Shared Ownership property that you aren’t buying a home which is overpriced.

Can I negotiate on the percentage price when buying a Shared Ownership home?

Response from Clarion Housing Shared Ownership homes are independently valued by a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors valuer and they determine the price at which we sell our homes. We are therefore unable to accept offers on Shared Ownership homes

Is it cheaper to purchase a property off-plan?

Response from JLL – There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and sometimes the prices can rise through the selling period.

If a property is marketed at 25% but I'm told that I can afford to buy 40%, can I still choose to purchase the lower share?

Response from Southern Home Ownership – It’s in your best interest to purchase the maximum share you can afford as determined by the independent financial advisor, so we would always encourage you to purchase the maximum share you can afford.

Find out more about the costs associated with buying a Shared Ownership home here.

Some specific developments are only available to those who live in locally - will these be opened up to neighbouring areas? If so, at what stage?

Response from Southern Home Ownership – Yes. There is often local eligibility criteria such as having to live or work in the local borough that typically apply for the first three months before other people from neighbouring areas can apply. As this varies depending on the development, we’d advise checking what the requirements are at the specific development you are interested in.

Find out about the Shared Ownership eligibility criteria here.

What is taken into consideration when allocating Shared Ownership homes? Why would one buyer be accepted over another?

Response from JLL – It can depend on a lot of different factors such as the borough you live and/or work in, whether you have children, etc. If you’re interested in a specific property or development, we would recommend speaking with the sales consultant who can give you more information.

How long can I hold a property for after I reserve it?

Response from Clarion Housing – Once you’ve reserved a property, the ball starts rolling and we’ll be asking you to progress matters straight away. You may have a few days cooling off period, please check with the housing association you’re reserving with.

At what stage would I need to pay the reservation/holding fee on a home?

Response from L&Q – Once a property has been allocated to you, a £500 reservation fee will be taken which is offset against the total share payable for your property. However, this amount can vary from provider to provider.

What is the reservation fee for and does it go towards other costs?

Response from L&Q – Your reservation fee is the financial commitment from you to agree to purchase the property. The reservation fee is deducted from the deposit payment required on exchange of contracts.

After submitting an application for a home, how long will it be before I'm notified whether I have been successful?

Response from Southern Home Ownership – At Southern Home Ownership, we will always advise you when you submit your application what the process is and how long you can expect to wait to hear whether you’ve been successful or not. Typically this varies from a couple of days to perhaps a week depending on the popularity of the development.

You can start your search for a Shared Ownership home on our property portal today. 

Does the reservation fee get refunded if I don't get accepted for the home?

Response from Clarion Housing – A reservation fee is taken once you’ve passed an initial affordability assessment. This generally means that you can afford to go ahead and the property you are interested in is available.

Is there a lot of competition for Shared Ownership homes?

Response from SO Resi – Yes sometimes and this depends on the development, location and price. Each site is unique and we can let you know anticipated demand and whether we have any priority groups.

I'm applying for homes but keep being rejected - do you have any advice?

Response from L&Q – This could be dependent on the restrictions of specific developments. For example, you may need to be living or working in the area in order to be eligible to purchase a Shared Ownership property. Please speak with the on site sales team to discuss any specific eligibility criteria.

What questions should buyers be asking in the early stages to make sure they're aware of any potential hidden costs or fee increases such as service charges and ground rent?

Response from JLL – A buyer should ask their solicitor to go through the lease with them and make them aware of any additional costs such as administration charges or fees when staircasing or selling.

What is the average rent increase on a Shared Ownership home?

Response from Clarion Housing – Typically the rent increase for Shared Ownership is RPI + 0.5% and increases every April.

Are the Assisted Move and Part Exchange schemes available through all housing associations?

Response from L&Q – No, not all housing associations will offer Part Exchange and Assisted Move. If you’re looking to buy a home, we would recommend researching all the different schemes available to see which is likely to work best for you.

You can then specifically search for properties available through the product you’d like to use, and discuss your buying options with housing associations and providers directly.