Financing a shared ownership property


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Check your eligibility for shared ownership, the local rules such as what the minimum/maximum purchase is eg 25% through to 80% or 100%. Visit:

Complete and submit the application forms to confirm your eligibility. You will not be able to view any properties without a registration number

Find an experienced, independent, shared ownership mortgage adviser. The developer or housing association will help or an independent and fee-free firm such as Ash-Ridge Private Finance


Work with your mortgage adviser to budget for your ongoing costs including:

  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • Service charge
  • Utility bills
  • Maintenance – you will need to maintain the whole property, even though you only own part of it.

Check your credit files to ensure all the information is complete and correct. Check payslips, bank statements etc are addressed to your current address. Any incorrect entries should be amended as soon as possible. This will save unnecessary delays when you are ready to proceed.


Understand the pros/cons of fixed, variable and tracker mortgage rates.


Find out how much you can borrow, at what monthly cost and at what level of mortgage rate your affordability is being assessed on, such as 7%.

Check what costs you will incur to purchase, from stamp duty, legals, mortgage fees, survey and removals.

Once you have found a property you like, check with your mortgage adviser that the product and rate they suggested for you is still available and competitive.

Advise of the property’s address so the mortgage adviser can check the property meets the lender’s offer criteria – this includes the length of the lease.

Organise your solicitors prior to making an offer but do not pay them any funds on account until you have been offered a property and are ready to proceed. Make sure they understand it is a leasehold purchase and they are experienced in shared ownership.

Inform both the legal company and mortgage adviser if your deposit is in the Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA – in writing – so they understand the deposit may not be as much as 5%.

Make the offer in writing, subject to a survey or other condition giving details of your legal company and adviser.

Find out the costs eg valuations, percentage to developer when:

  • Selling a shared ownership property
  • Staircasing ie increasing your share of ownership.

Check how often the rent part of shared ownership will increase every year – this will be noted in the lease.

Compare the cost of staircasing, eg from 25% to 50%, to mortgage and renting, so you understand the extra you are paying – a firm such as Ash-Ridge Private finance will do these calculations for you free of charge.

Understand the costs of leasehold and length of lease. If the lease is around 80 years or less, check if the lender will support a lease extension as once the lease drops below 80 years it will be difficult to sell or re-mortgage.

Find out what change in circumstances would mean you have to notify your lender, or housing association, and what would affect your eligibility to own a shared ownership or for the mortgage. You must not let the property without permission from the housing association and your mortgage lender.

If your circumstances change, for example you lose your job, what options are there for help from the lender eg mortgage payment holiday or from the shared ownership scheme? For example, could you staircase down (reverse staircasing) if required? Insurance is available to cover loss of income from redundancy or through long-term sickness and this is often inexpensive. Your mortgage adviser can provide further information. Check what your financial position would be if you were unable to cover your costs and ensure you have a plan in place. You should have insurance in place ready to start when you exchange contracts.

Prior to exchange, finalise your mortgage offer and insurance. Your lender reserves the right to check affordability right up until the release of funds and will withdraw the offer if it does not meet their criteria. Random checks are made, so avoid taking on additional credit before completion of the purchase.

Make sure your deposit is with your legal company prior to exchange and, if it is under a government-supported ISA scheme, the legal company agrees to the deposit you can give, without the government top-up.

Between your mortgage lender and legal company, they should manage the process from exchange to completion.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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