Selling a Shared Ownership Property
The process of selling a Shared Ownership property is different to selling a home you owe 100% of on the open market. There are a number of additional steps you will need to take, and the sale will need to go through the housing association or registered provider.
Shared Ownership is a fairly new way to get onto the property ladder in the UK. It allows buyers to purchase a share of a home and then pay rent on the rest. However, due to this new form of buying a house, there’s often a lot of confusion for homeowners surrounding how to sell their Shared Ownership homes.
Here at Compare My Move, we work alongside a variety of property and finance experts to create reliable, insightful and highly informative guides that will help you with your house move. In this article, we will look at the process of selling a Shared Ownership property, how it differs from a traditional house sale and what added fees are involved.
How Do You Sell A Shared Ownership Property?
If you own 100% of the property through the staircasing process (increasing your shares), you will be allowed to sell the home through the open market. However, if you do not own 100%, you will be required to sell the home through the Shared Ownership scheme.
To do this, there are a number of steps you will have to follow:
Step 1 - Contact Your Housing Provider
The first step of selling a Shared Ownership house is contacting the housing provider. Your provider will usually have the right to buy your property. You will have to let it know you want to sell so it can begin the process for you.
When you sell your home you'll need to pay off any outstanding mortgage on your home, as well as being up to date with rent payments.
Step 2 - Arrange a Valuation
Next, you should arrange a property valuation and pay the associated fee. The surveyor will then arrange a time to visit the property and carry out a valuation. The survey will set the sale price of the home and allow your provider to calculate the value of your share.
The property surveyor must be RICS qualified to accurately determine the market value of the home. Your housing association may suggest a valuer for you to contact, but you will also have the option of finding a professional yourself. The valuation report will be valid for 3 months, meaning you will be required to arrange another valuation if the property doesn’t sell in time.
Having a valuation or property survey conducted does not mean you’re committed to the sale. Once your provider receives the receipt for the valuation report, it will then organise a contract to agree on the fees and details of the sale.
Step 3 - Hire a Conveyancer
If you decide to continue with the property sale after the valuation, you will be asked to complete, sign and return a contract of sale which will include the details of your solicitor. If you do not already have a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor, now would be the time to compare conveyancing quotes. If you bought the property with someone else, you will both be expected to sign the contract.
Step 4 - Gather the Relevant Documents
Before your home can be put on the market, you will need to organise the relevant documents for your housing provider. Your conveyancer should be able to help you with this if you’re struggling.
The documents you need include:
- A copy of the valuation report
- Photos of the property
- An Energy Performance Certificate
- A Leasehold Information Pack
Step 5 - Find a Buyer
Once everything is in place, you can begin the process of finding a buyer. Your housing provider should have a waiting list for their Shared Ownership homes, meaning it might be able to find a buyer for you. It will have a set amount of time to find a buyer to purchase through the scheme. This time period will be stipulated in your lease.
As well as having to meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme, the buyer will also be required to purchase a share equal to or higher than the share you own at the time of the sale. If the provider fails to find an eligible buyer within the time period, you will be allowed to search for a buyer yourself and sell the property through an estate agent or privately.
Step 6 - The Selling Process
Once you’ve found a buyer, they will have to go through a similar process as you went through when you first bought the Shared Ownership property. There will be a financial interview arranged before you can continue with the sale. If the buyer is approved, the housing provider or its solicitor should send you written confirmation of the sale’s details.
Both you and the provider’s conveyancers will then begin communication and exchange the relevant documents. The buyer’s solicitor will also raise leasehold-related enquiries and request the Leasehold Information Pack.
On average, the buyer will have 12 weeks to complete the sale, but this may vary depending on personal circumstances. Both solicitors can then arrange and agree on an exchange and completion date to finalise the transaction. Your housing provider won’t be involved in this conversation, so the dates must be agreed upon by you and the buyer.
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Finding a Buyer for Shared Ownership Homes
If you haven’t staircased to 100%, you will be required to sell the property through the Shared Ownership scheme which will include eligibility criteria set out for potential buyers. The buyer does not have to be a first-time buyer to qualify, but they do have to meet certain requirements. To purchase a Shared Ownership home, the buyer must:
- Be over 18 years old
- Have an annual household income lower than £80,000 if living outside of London (£90,000 if living in London)
- Have access to a deposit of 5-10%
- Be a first-time buyer or currently not own a property
- Be unable to afford a property suitable for their personal housing needs
- Prove they are not in mortgage or rent arrears
- Have a good credit record
- Have savings of at least £4,000 to cover the costs (this amount may vary depending on the provider)
It’s important to note that the criteria needed to qualify as a Shared Ownership buyer can vary as different housing associations will have different requirements. If you’re unsure, speak to your housing provider to confirm. Most providers will have a long waiting list for their Shared Ownership homes.
There is often a set period of time that your housing provider will have to try and sell the property through the scheme - this should be stated in your lease. Once this period ends, you will be allowed to either advertise the home yourself, choose an estate agent or sell privately.
How Long Does it Take to Sell a Shared Ownership Property?
As with any property sale, the length of time it takes to sell will vary as every transaction is different. However, many housing associations will already have a waiting list of prospective buyers, possibly reducing the waiting time. If they fail, you can then sell the home through the open market.
The housing association will have an allotted amount of time to find an appropriate buyer and begin the selling process - this will vary depending on the provider, but it's typically about 8 weeks with the buyer then having 12 weeks to complete the sale. Peabody is one of the largest housing providers in London and the South East of England. According to its latest data, they were able to find a buyer within the 8-week nomination period for 98.8% of resales, suggesting a healthy waiting list of buyers.
If the housing association can not find a suitable buyer within the time period, you will be able to sell the home on the open market through an estate agent. On average, it can take around 2-6 months to sell a house through the open market, depending on you and your buyer’s personal circumstances. However, when selling a Shared Ownership property this way, you will still be required to find a buyer who meets the scheme’s criteria, possibly lengthening the process.
What is the Cost of Selling a Shared Ownership Home?
On average, it costs about £5,542 to sell a house priced at £235,673 on the open market in the UK. However, if it’s a Shared Ownership property, the cost of selling will slightly increase.
There are a number of added fees that come with selling a Shared Ownership house. Whilst the cost will vary depending on the property itself and your housing provider, these additional fees can include:
Leasehold Information Pack
1% of the total value of the home (plus VAT)
True costs will vary depending on the housing association. The above averages were taken from one of London’s largest housing providers, Peabody.
When selling the property, many housing associations will charge a non-refundable marketing fee to cover their costs during the nomination period. The price of this will vary but, typically, larger housing providers charge around £350.
This fee is usually deducted from the total proceeds of the sale upon completion. This fee goes towards the cost of publishing your listing and organising viewings.
Another cost you will need to pay is the cost of the surveyor when they conduct a valuation. Many providers will recommend a professional from their panel of surveyors, but you do not have to accept. You can still compare surveying quotes should you want to find other options.
The cost of the valuation will depend on the location and size of your home as well as the surveyors themselves. However, you should expect to pay around £250-£500.
You will also need to pay both your own conveyancing costs and the housing association’s legal fees. Our research discovered that the conveyancing fees for selling a house are £1,000. This means you will have to add an additional £450-£500 to cover the Shared Ownership legal fees.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
When selling any residential property, it is a legal requirement to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ready. When selling through Shared Ownership, the housing association will usually take care of obtaining this certificate for you, but it will cost you £50-£100.
Leasehold Information Pack
Another fee you should budget for is the cost of a Leasehold Information Pack. This is usually requested by the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor and will include a variety of documents containing information regarding your obligations as a leaseholder. This pack will cost about £210.
Finally, if your housing provider successfully sells the property within its nomination period, it will take around 1% of the total value of the property plus VAT to cover assignment fees. If you are selling through an estate agent, this fee won’t be included but you will need to pay the typical estate agent fees.
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Problems When Selling Shared Ownership Properties
Whilst Shared Ownership is often seen as a great way to help people onto the property ladder, it can sometimes come with problems when you decide to sell. It is not as straightforward as a traditional property sale.
It’s important to note that more often than not, the housing association will have the right to buy back the property before you can market it to anyone else. Depending on what is stated in the lease, this may also be the case even if you’ve purchased 100% of the home. If you do not own 100%, you will definitely be required to sell through the scheme and may face a number of added steps and issues.
When selling a property through the Shared Ownership scheme, you will have to consider the eligibility criteria which can often limit the number of prospective buyers. Whilst the housing association should have a waiting list, this will not always work and you will have to wait at least 8 weeks until you can begin to find an eligible buyer yourself. If you do eventually sell via the open market, again, your list of potential buyers will be limited as they will have to meet the scheme’s criteria.
If a buyer puts in an offer on the property, they will have to first be interviewed by a financial adviser to ensure they are eligible. If they pass, the sale can continue as normal. If not, you’re back to square one, waiting for more offers. This is why it’s often advised you find an experienced estate agent who has knowledge of selling Shared Ownership homes.
Another issue that may reduce the pool of prospective buyers is the requirement for a Shared Ownership friendly mortgage. Not all banks will offer these types of mortgage deals and so, even if you find a suitable buyer, they may be delayed when applying for a mortgage.