Q&A - Shared ownership myth-busting

Q&A - Shared ownership myth-busting
16th April 2024

Shared ownership is still relatively young compared to most forms of property ownership and understandably there is some confusion about this tenure, especially when it comes to selling.

In the Q&As below, we hope to address some of those questions. If you have any further questions, please get in touch directly.


Is it more difficult to sell a shared ownership property than a regular property?

No – in fact there are advantages. You must first look to sell your home via the shared ownership scheme. However, if you are unsuccessful within the housing provider’s nomination period (usually 4-8 weeks), you can (in most circumstances) sell on the open market – so, essentially, you have two routes to a sale.

What should I be aware of when selling a shared ownership property?

Exactly the same issues as when selling a property on the open market. The only other issue is that you will need to be aware of any staircasing restriction and also whether there is still a local area connection requirement (this is normally associated with more rural properties).

Are shared ownership leases different to leases on open market properties?

Shared ownership flats usually have a head lease (in common with other leasehold flats) and a shared ownership lease on the property itself. When you staircase out to 100%, you effectively buy up the shared ownership lease, and only head lease remains.

At that point, the only difference compared to open market properties is that because the properties tend to be newer, the leases on shared ownership properties tend to be longer – meaning that you will not have to lengthen your lease to get a mortgage or sell the property. The new model shared ownership leases are mostly 990 years as standard but there are variations, some at 250 and a few are as low as 125.

Is it harder to get a mortgage for a shared ownership property?

It is not necessarily harder to get a mortgage but not all lenders offer shared ownership mortgage products. SOWN has an in-house mortgage advisor which specialises in shared ownership and can source the best deals within the market. There are actually more and more lenders entering the shared ownership mortgage market as popularity and demand increases.



Are there instances in which shared ownership properties are more challenging to sell?

Along with outright sale properties, shorter leases can make selling a property more challenging. However this can normally be resolved by talking to the housing provider and establishing whether there is a possibility of extending the lease.

I want to sell my shared ownership property and I’ve been told that it needs to be offered as shared ownership first (but that if there are no buyers it can be sold on the open market). Are there specific estate agents that I should use, and how do I decide which agent is most suitable?

Any estate agent can market your shared ownership property but very few have the expert knowledge to advise accurately and see the process through in the correct manner. It’s best to choose an agent with a dedicated specialist shared ownership department. You can also choose to sell through a national agent, such as SOWN, which can deal with everything related to your sale in-house. This includes buyer qualification for the scheme, mortgage advice, RICS valuations, shared ownership sales progression and a network of sales and lettings offices throughout the country.

Do estate agents charge a higher fee for selling shared ownership properties?


If I have a mortgage on a shared ownership property, can I transfer that mortgage when I sell and buy a non-shared ownership property?

Our mortgage specialist, Mortgage Scout, confirms that most lenders will allow movers to port their existing product over to the new mortgage.



I’m thinking about buying a shared ownership property but my intention is to ‘staircase’ to 100% ownership. Can I do this with all shared ownership properties, or am I restricted to certain properties?

There are occasional instances in which there is a cap on the maximum share you can ever own (usually 80%). However, this is very rare and would be clearly advertised on the sales particulars.

Are there any restrictions on when I can sell my shared ownership property?

Any restrictions will be outlined in your shared ownership agreement but usually there are none.

When selling my shared ownership property, does the housing association that I bought it from have the right of first refusal?

Housing associations generally will not buy back your share (unless extreme circumstances or specified within your lease). They will however, usually have a 4-8 week ‘nomination’ period during which they have the opportunity to offer your home to shared ownership purchasers on their database.

How do I go about selling a shared ownership property?

Before putting your shared ownership property on the market, it's crucial that you review your shared ownership agreement. This document outlines the specific terms and conditions set by the housing association or developer. Check for any clauses related to selling, such as restrictions on when you can sell or whether the housing association has the right of first refusal. Being familiar with your agreement will help you avoid any surprises and ensure a smooth selling process.

You must inform the housing association or provider of your intention to sell your property. Then, you’ll need to get a professional valuation from an RICS surveyor to set the asking price. The housing association or provider will have the opportunity to find a buyer for your share within their nomination period before you are able to market it via an estate agent. In some circumstances a housing association or provider will release you early from this period if they are unable to offer it to any buyers.

Once the property is sold, the usual process of instructing a solicitor to oversee the transaction occurs.


Shared ownership could open the door to your dream home. But is it the right move for you?

We can help you decide.

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