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Buying

The shared ownership buying process.

Shared ownership presents a great opportunity to buy a home sooner than you expected. The shared ownership process, however, is ever so slightly different to buying on the open market.

This Government-backed scheme enables buyers to purchase a share of a leasehold property and pay rent on the remaining portion. This article will guide you through the buying process, providing a clear understanding of the steps involved.

Buyer’s tip: Not sure if you fit the criteria for a shared ownership property? Find out here.

A step-by-step guide to part-buy, part-rent

  • Step 1: Assess your finances

    As with any property purchase, you should seek mortgage advice first to understand your borrowing capacity and explore the available mortgage options. We will put you in contact with a mortgage broker who specialises in shared ownership and will help you determine what you can realistically afford. This is a key part of the shared ownership process.

  • Step 2: Find your dream home

    Now that you have a clear understanding of your budget, the exciting part of the shared ownership buying process begins. Time to look for the right home.

    A good way to find shared ownership properties is to Google ‘shared ownership + location you want to buy in’. You can also filter on websites like Rightmove and Share to Buy to find properties that are available through buying schemes. Or find all homes available through SOWN here.

    Buyer’s tip: On many sites, you can register for updates on new listings to be the first to know when new properties become available.

  • Step 3. Reserve a home

    When you finally find the home you’ve been searching for, you'll need to express your interest in reserving it with the selling agent or housing provider. At this stage, you will be required to complete a financial assessment specific to the property you wish to reserve, fill in an application form and provide proof of eligibility, such as income, identification and proof of savings.

  • Step 4. Start the mortgage process

    Once your reservation is accepted, the next part of the shared ownership buying process is to begin the mortgage process. We can put you in contact with specialist mortgage brokers who have access to several lenders and mortgages and can help arrange the mortgage most suitable for you. You’ll need to have all the necessary documents ready, including proof of income, identification and bank statements.

  • Step 5. Property valuation

    Your mortgage lender will want to carry out a valuation of the home you are purchasing to confirm that they are happy to lend against the property. This is carried out by an independent qualified surveyor of your mortgage lenders’ choosing. This valuation is essential for your mortgage lender as it determines the loan amount they will provide.

  • Step 6. Appoint a solicitor

    Meanwhile, you will need to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the purchase. They will review contracts, conduct searches and ensure a smooth transfer of ownership. Once your solicitor has done everything they need to, they will send you a contract and full report to sign and return to them.

    Buyer’s tip: At SOWN, we work with a panel of solicitors who specialise in shared ownership purchases. We can provide you with their details as part of the purchase process.

  • Step 7: Exchange of contracts

    If your mortgage application is successful, your lender will issue a mortgage offer detailing the terms and conditions of the loan. Make sure you review this document carefully and address any queries or concerns with your solicitor or mortgage broker. If everything looks good, you can proceed to exchange contracts on the sale. At this stage, you will typically pay a deposit: usually 5-10% of the share value.

  • Step 8: Completion of the purchase

    Congratulations! Completion is the final step, where the remaining balance of the purchase price is paid and legal ownership of the property is transferred to you. Your solicitor will handle the necessary paperwork. We will meet you at your new home on the day of completion to hand you the keys and show you around.

  • Step 9: So this is home

    Home sweet home. It’s time to make the home your own and enjoy it with friends and family.


    The shared ownership buying process can be an exciting and rewarding journey towards homeownership. We hope that this step-by-step guide helped you feel better prepared for each stage of the journey.

    We are always here if you have any questions. Get in touch.

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IS SHARED OWNERSHIP RIGHT FOR YOU?

Shared ownership is a Government scheme designed to help more people buy a home that meets their needs. As such, it involves a few eligibility criteria: 

  Your annual household income is £80,000 or less (£90,000 in London)

  You can’t afford to buy a home through traditional mortgage

  You don’t own any other properties in the UK or abroad (if you do, you’ll need to show proof that it’s been sold or under offer)

  You can afford regular payments on your home and shared ownership legal fees (usually around £4,000)

  You’re a British or EU/EEA citizen or have indefinite leave to remain

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WHO HAS PRIORITY TO BUY A SHARED OWNERSHIP HOME?

Shared ownership is primarily designed to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, but other priority groups may have an increased chance of securing a property.

  First-time buyers

  Those who have had a significant change in circumstances, such as a relationship breakdown or relocation due to work

  Key workers

  Serving military personnel

  People with disabilities

Some properties may have age restrictions (for instance, developments that cater specifically to older adults). In some instances, you may have to show that you have a connection to the area where you want to buy a home.

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ANY DISADVANTAGES?

There are some disadvantages to shared ownership, such as additional costs or the fact that the repairs and maintenance of the home are largely down to you.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your financial circumstances, long-term goals, and personal preferences.

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