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Below we've answered some of your most Frequently Asked Questions. If your question isn't answered below, our team are on hand to help, contact us and we'll talk you through it.

Who is shared ownership for?
  • As long as you are over 18
  • Your household income is less than £80,000
  • And you don’t already own a home at the time of buying your shared ownership property

    … then shared ownership could be right for you

Some properties may be bound by local connection restrictions in order to make them affordable for local customers. We'll let you know if there are any restrictions in place when you are searching for a property. 

What is shared ownership?
  1. Shared ownership is the easy and affordable way to owning your own home without the need of a large mortgage or the big deposit that goes with it

  2. You buy a share of a home and rent the remaining share at a reduced cost

  3. When the time is right you can purchase more shares within your home - the more shares you own, the less rent you pay

For further information please see our page on how Shared Ownership works.

Do I have to register with the Help to Buy agent?

The Help to Buy agent is a government funded ‘one-stop shop’ for everyone who wants to apply to buy or rent an affordable home. 

You need to register with the Help to Buy agent for your area so they can assess your application, check you are eligible for and provide you with approval so you can then look for your ideal with us.

Find your local Help to Buy agent by clicking on your region on this page.

What happens when I want to sell?

Your shared ownership home is just that – jointly owned between you and us, so when you’re ready to sell and move on, we’re here to help. 

As part of your lease, we have eight weeks to help sell your share to someone looking for home like yours with shared ownership.

During these eight weeks, we’ll advertise your home on our website and the Help to Buy website to help find you a buyer. If after this time we haven’t found a buyer for your share, we’ll still market your home – but you’ll also be able to market your share, either yourself or through an estate agent of your choice. 

Check out the information on our selling your home page for more information.

How much does the rent go up each year?

The rent will go up annually on the first day of April. Each increase will be based on the Retail Price Index figure for February of the same year.

Do I need a deposit?

A deposit for a shared ownership home can start from just 5% of the share value you’re looking to buy. So for example:

If you’re looking to buy a home that has a 40% share value of £80,000, then your deposit could be as little as £4,000 - meaning you may be able to get on the property ladder sooner than first thought!

You can speak to our panel of financial advisors for more information around affordability. 

Can I do home improvements?

Decorating? Yes, go for it! But before you carry out any major work, you need written approval from us, and in some cases also from your mortgage lender. You may also need planning permission and building regulations approvals.

Can I buy more shares in my homes?

If you’d like to own more of your home – or even buy it outright – we can guide you through the process of buying more shares in your property, and help you decide if it’s right for you. This process is also known as staircasing. 

Owning a bigger proportion of your shared ownership home – or even owning all of it – comes with many benefits: 

  • You’ll reduce the amount of rent you pay to Sovereign.
  • If you decide to sell your home the more shares you own will lead to more profit if the value of your home has increased.
  • If you own 100% of your home, in most cases you can sell it on the open market using an estate agent of your choice, and you’ll benefit from any profit made.
  • Becoming the outright owner means you can maximise the profit from any major home improvements you carry out if you choose to sell.

In most cases you can buy shares (provided you buy a minimum of 10%) until you own your home outright. However, there may be restrictions on the maximum amount of shares you can buy or when you can buy them. We will have already discussed this with you when you first bought your home but you can always contact our dedicated Staircasing team to check this when the time is right. 

We also have a handy Buying More Shares Calculator to check how much it might be to buy more shares in your home and an online application when you're ready to go ahead!

What are the ongoing costs?

Once you have moved in you will be responsible for paying the monthly rent, insurance, service charges, repairs, council tax, utility bills, and your mortgage if you have one, so it's best to take all this into account when making your decision. 

Can I use a Help to Buy ISA for a shared ownership home?

Yes – however there are rules regarding this. For further information please visit https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/faq/

 

My Own Home

Find out how others used shared ownership to get on and up the property ladder

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