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Shared Ownership: How Long Does it Take?

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26/06/2023

Shared ownership continues to be an affordable route to the property ladder and ideal if you want to buy a home without facing the delays that impact buying outright. As one of the most popular affordable home ownership schemes in the country, buying a shared ownership property often provides access to desirable areas that would otherwise be out of budget. But how long does the shared ownership process take? Below we explore how shared ownership works and how long the average shared ownership scheme takes.

How Long Does the Shared Ownership Process Take?

As with any property purchase, the time it takes to complete with a shared ownership property depends on a lot of factors including construction time, mortgage arrangement, developers and the association you’re working with. On average, the shared ownership process takes anywhere between 1 and 3 months. This is because it doesn’t rely on a property chain, which often makes the process of buying outright much longer.

While purchasing a shared ownership home typically takes between 1 and 3 months, it could technically take as little as 28 days if everything fell into place perfectly. Remember - if you’re buying off-plan and building work has not been completed, this obviously adds to the process length.

How Can I Speed Up the Shared Ownership Process?

If you’re looking to speed up the shared ownership process, there are steps you can take - namely being prepared and working with the right third parties. Since shared ownership purchases require working with solicitors, mortgage lenders and housing associations, it’s important that everyone has the right information to make the process more efficient.

Firstly, make sure that you’re eligible for a shared ownership property and speak with a mortgage advisor. This is a great first step as a good advisor will not only be able to support you in finding a suitable mortgage but also help you arrange a mortgage agreement in principle.

When buying a shared ownership property, mortgage lenders will generally look at your deposit, credit rating, age, income source, the percentage of the property you want to buy and the results of an affordability assessment before they provide a deal.

Secondly, do the research and find a great solicitor or conveyancer. Since they’ll be doing most of the heavy lifting on your part, as well as speaking with the housing association and mortgage lenders, it’s vital that you work with a communicative and proactive legal third party. In most cases, housing associations will be able to recommend a solicitor if you’re struggling.

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What are the Steps to Buying Shared Ownership?

If you want to know how long each step of the shared ownership process takes, you can read through below:

Finding Your Perfect Property

This is the first step to becoming a shared owner and the time it takes is largely dictated by you. Finding the perfect property can take anywhere between 2 - 6 weeks on average, although this largely depends on how much prior research you’ve done.

When you’re looking for your shared ownership home, research local housing providers, recent developments and the area itself.

Completing a Shared Ownership Application

Once you have a property in mind, you need to apply. Before you rush in, you’ll want to check that you’re eligible - remember that shared ownership is for people that do not currently own a home and don’t have a household income exceeding £80,000 (£90,000 in London).

You’ll then typically undergo an affordability assessment with the housing association that owns the property you want to buy. Once you’ve passed the affordability assessment with the housing association, you can start putting together your shared ownership application. This is a relatively short process provided you have the necessary documentation and send everything promptly.

Finding a Shared Ownership Mortgage

The time to takes to complete this step also depends heavily on your personal circumstances and the mortgage lender you work with. You may choose to work with a specialist broker that operates in the shared ownership space, which can often speed up the process. This is where speaking with an advisor can also help, as they often support by recommending mortgage products to suit you.

Exchanging Contracts

Provided everything has gone well up until this point, the exchange of contracts is done after you appoint a solicitor and they take the lead. Your solicitor will work with the housing provider to exchange any contracts as well as managing the transfer of mortgage and deposit. Depending on any snags or enquiries you have, this process takes around 28 days.

Moving In

Since shared ownership properties don’t have a property chain, there’s much less waiting around at this stage of the process. As soon as you reach your completion date - which may be longer if you’ve bought off-plan - you’ll be ready to move in to your new home!

Buying New Shares

When you’re ready, you may want to buy more shares in your home. Since this is essentially another property purchase process, staircasing can take around 1 - 3 months. Buying the property outright depends entirely on your financial situation and how many times you opt to staircase but remember, there’s no pressure to buy shares straight away.

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