The shared ownership buying process: A step-by-step guide to part-buy, part-rent

The shared ownership buying process: A step-by-step guide to part-buy, part-rent
2nd August 2023

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.

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 can 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.


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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