Buying a home through a shared ownership scheme is a great way to get your foot on the property ladder, but as the process can be complex it is important that you appoint an experienced conveyancing solicitor to ensure that your purchase proceeds smoothly and that you get the keys to your new home as soon as you can.

At Step Legal Solicitors, we specialise in the purchase of shared ownership properties, together with other types of affordable housing, including those available through the Help to Buy initiative, Home Ownership for People with Long-Term Disability (HOLD) and the Older People’s Shared Ownership Scheme.

Our service is fast and efficient, delivered at a fair cost and explained to you in simple, jargon free language that is easy to understand. We even offer a free Polish translation service should you require it.

Want to find out how much our affordable housing conveyancing service costs? Click here for an instant quote.

Shared ownership at a glance

When you buy a shared ownership property, what you are buying is a long lease with a housing association or registered social landlord which gives you greater security than if you were renting and which you can cash in and sell on if you decide that you want to move.

The arrangement is a complicated one where you part rent, part buy under a shared equity agreement, but in essence it works like this:

  • you will take a stake in the property of between 25 to 75 per cent, with ownership of the remainder staying with the housing association or registered provider;
  • you will need to obtain a mortgage to fund your purchase and on which you will have to make regular mortgage payments;
  • you will also need to pay rent to the housing association or registered provider, but at a lower rate than usual and in proportion to the share that they have retained, together with a service charge to cover repairs and maintenance;
  • there will be a leasehold agreement setting out your respective rights and obligations and which you will need to observe to avoid the risk of your lease being terminated;
  • if you want to increase the share that you own, this will usually be possible through a process known as staircasing; and
  • if you want to sell your share then this will also be permitted, although it is likely that the housing association or registered provider will have a right of first refusal which means that you must offer to sell to them first before you can advertise your share on the open market.

How we can help

Our experienced conveyancing team understand the complexities associated with share ownership schemes and are on hand to support you through the process from start to finish. Drawing on our specialist knowledge of the affordable housing sector, we can:

  • explain how your shared ownership arrangement will work and confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria;
  • clarify the percentage share you would like to take and the approximate cost of acquiring this, taking account of mortgage, rent and service charge payments together with other usual outgoings;
  • help you to understand the terms of your lease and the details of any restrictions that may apply, e.g. where there is a prohibition against subletting;
  • investigate the housing association or registered provider’s ownership of the property through an examination of their title deeds, and make any necessary searches and enquiries to ensure that everything it as it should be;
  • liaise with your mortgage lender and carry out any checks that they require;
  • prepare the purchase agreement and property transfer, unless the housing association or registered provider wishes to prepare these instead; and
  • complete the transaction and register your interest at the Land Registry.

We can also assist where you wish to increase the share that you own through staircasing or if you have decided to sell your share to enable you to move on.

Why choose Step Legal Solicitors?

Our expert lawyers offer specialist advice on the purchase and sale of shared ownership homes and have a wealth of experience in dealing with both new build properties and existing housing stock being offered up for sale through a shared home ownership scheme.

Our in-depth knowledge means that we are well placed to ensure that your transaction proceeds according to plan and that you are able to move into your new home in as little as six to eight weeks.

And because we understand that buying a property can be expensive, we promise to do our best to keep our prices as low as possible and in every case commit to explaining our fees in a clear and transparent way so that it is easy for you to budget for our costs.

Want to find out more?

For more information on buying or selling a shared ownership property through Step Legal Solicitors, or on residential sales and purchases more generally, please contact the head of our residential conveyancing team, Anees Khan, on 0800 195 6412 or via email at enquiries@steplegal.co.uk.

We are able to help wherever in the country you are based, whether that be locally in Crewe or another Cheshire town like Nantwich, Northwich, Sandbach or Macclesfield, or even further afield in the neighbouring counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Merseyside or Greater Manchester.