The Shared Ownership buying process
From registering interest in a property to moving day!
To buy a home with the Shared Ownership scheme you will first need to be registered with the Help to Buy Agent for the area you wish to buy in. Help to Buy South’s geography covers Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset. If you are not registered with us click here to find out more or click here to find the Help to Buy Agent you’d need to register with.
After you’ve completed your application with a Help to Buy Agent you can start to express your interest in properties. The homes available to buy on the scheme will be listed on the Help to Buy website. You’ll need to be logged into your account to access the ‘register interest’ button on each property details page; this sends a notification to the housing association selling the properties to let them know you are interested in buying a home. You can also call or email the housing association directly using the contact details on the listing.
There will usually be a cut off point for people to express their interest in the homes. As Shared Ownership homes are available on a first-come, first-served basis* those who registered interest first will be contacted and asked if they’d like to have a financial assessment to assess their affordability for a home.
After you’ve had a financial assessment if you can afford to buy a home you will be offered the chance to reserve. If you cannot viably afford the homes on offer the next people on the list who expressed interest will be offered to have a financial assessment.
It is possible to get a financial assessment prior to applying for any homes so you know what your affordability is and a realistic budget for buying a home. This could also help you decide what property values to search and apply for.
If you reserve a home from the housing association you will usually pay a reservation fee of around £500 and you may get invited to a Shared Ownership briefing by the housing association. This could be done face-to-face or over the phone and it is carried out to ensure you understand all elements of the scheme and your property purchase, along with details of the building of your home (if you’ve reserved off plan).
You will then appoint a solicitor and get your mortgage offer firmed up. Following this the property purchase is completed by your solicitor on your behalf and you will get a moving in date. If you have any questions you should contact the housing association you are buying through or your solicitor. If you have a Help to Buy ISA which you are planning on using towards your deposit you will need to notify your solicitor at the beginning, otherwise you may not qualify for the bonus.
Please note the process listed above is an overview and each housing association will follow its own procedures which may differ slightly to the above.
If you are already registered with Help to Buy South it is very important to keep your application up to date, read why here. If you are registered with us but don’t receive emails about homes this may be due to recent changes to data protection and the way data is shared between Help to Buy South and housing associations. The best way to receive emails about homes is to log into your account then carry out a property search and save the search. By saving the search it will sit in your application and if a property is added to the website which matches your search you will receive an email to notify you then you can register interest in it.
For further information on Shared Ownership read our handy downloadable guide.
We’ve written lots of other blogs about Shared Ownership and savings/deposits required to buy on the scheme. To read them click here.
*Shared Ownership homes are available to purchasers on a first-come, first-served basis, however there are some exceptions. Serving military (MOD personnel) are a priority group and will be given priority to purchase a shared ownership home over other people. Also some properties are built with a clause in the contract called a Section 106 agreement, this means the Local Authority (Council) have given permission for the land to built on but the homes need to be sold to people with a local connection to the area, i.e. – they currently live or work there.