Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to Shared Ownership, Rent to Buy or just buying a home in general, you’ll probably have lots of questions. It’s always best to chat with the team but here are some questions we often get asked.
What is Shared Ownership?
Shared Ownership is an affordable alternative to purchasing a home on the open market. It’s not just for first-time buyers either… find out more
Why do I need an affordability assessment before I can view?
When you register your interest in a Shared Ownership home, we ask for detailed information about your income and financial commitments. This helps us determine whether you are able to afford the costs of buying and maintaining a new home. Check your affordability.
How much is Shared Ownership rent?
This will depend on what percentage share you are buying and is usually 2.75% of the unsold share which is payable monthly. We will confirm the amount of rent you will be paying when you reserve your home.
How much deposit do I need to buy a Shared Ownership home?
In most cases, you only need a 5% deposit, but this will depend on your personal circumstances and mortgage lender. As this is based on the share that you are buying and not the total property value, the deposit is lower than buying outright. Find out more.
What is a service charge?
A service charge is a payment to cover the cost of the upkeep of communal or external areas such as gardens, pathways or hallways, not specifically your individual house or apartment. If you buy a newly built apartment your service charge may also include a ‘sinking fund’. A sinking fund covers the cost of major repairs that may be needed in the future – such as replacing the roof, redecorating shared areas and so on. Paying for these costs month by month means that you will not have to find a large amount of money to pay for these repairs in the future and will help you if you decide to sell your home as the new buyer will know that the money is available to cover any major repairs.
How much is the service charge for a Shared Ownership home?
The service charge will depend on which development you are interested in. Please contact the sales team for further information here.
How much is the reservation fee payment and what is it used for?
The reservation fee is £250.00 and is used to formally secure your plot. Payment will be taken on the day of reservation and is non-refundable, but will be deducted from the sale price at completion.
How long will the Shared Ownership sales process take?
From the day of reservation we expect exchange of contracts to take place within 28 days, and for completion to take place soon after, or when the property is built and ready for occupation if you are reserving off-plan. Find out more about the buying process here.
When can I move into my new build home?
You can move in on the day of legal completion. To help you complete and move in as quickly as possible, please follow the steps in our buying process and speak to a member of the team regularly!
Do new build properties come with an alarm?
Generally, our properties do not come with an alarm, but as it is your home if you wish to install an alarm you can. Give the sales team a call if you have any questions.
Can I decorate my Shared Ownership property?
You can decorate it anyway you like. It’s your home, however you want it! For more information about after sales, see here.
Do I have to pay for the affordability assessment?
Nope. The affordability assessment is completely free, all you need to do is have a quick chat with Metro Finance to work out what percentage share you can afford to buy.
What other costs might there be when buying a house?
Can I sublet my Shared Ownership home?
You cannot sublet your Shared Ownership home. This is stated in your lease. If you would like to discuss this please contact our Home Ownership team on 0300 555 0600.
Can I have a pet in a Shared Ownership property?
Most pets are allowed, but it’s always best to double check with us first!
Will my Shared Ownership property be leasehold or freehold?
All homes bought through Shared Ownership are leasehold and your lease agreement sets out your rights and obligations in full. It’s important to go through all of these details with our solicitor. In most cases, you can buy 100% of your home outright and become the freeholder. It’s always best to ask first though so please get in touch with the team if you have any questions.
How long is my Shared Ownership lease?
While most Shared Ownership home providers offer leases between 99 and 125 years, Onward Living has taken the decision to grant all Shared Ownership leases for a term of 250 years. Your home can be bought and sold during that term.
How does Shared Ownership work?
Shared Ownership allows you to buy a percentage share of a home, based on what you can afford. You buy between 25% and 75% of the full property value and pay a reduced monthly rent on the part you don’t own.
Am I eligible for shared ownership if I already own a property?
If you already own a property including one overseas, then you may not be eligible. You will need to have agreed a sale on your current home before you can apply for Shared Ownership.
Can I buy a new home if I previously owned a property?
Your application will be based on your current situation.
If you have any equity from the sale of a previous property then this will be taken into consideration when you apply for one of our homes.
Can I use housing benefit to buy a home?
Unfortunately you are unable to use housing benefit to buy a Shared Ownership property.
Can I apply for Shared Ownership if I am self-employed?
Yes, as long as you can afford a Shared Ownership property long-term. You must be able to provide at least 3 years of accounts and speak to one of our Mortgage Advisers for further advice on affordability.
Can I buy more shares in my home in the future?
Yes, you can buy further shares in the future when you buy through Shared Ownership and even be able to buy the house outright. This process is called staircasing, and a number of our buyers have utilised this process.
Who pays for the repairs / maintenance of my Shared Ownership property?
Some properties offer a twelve months warranty (from date of build completion) for any defects that require attention. Any repairs or maintenance will be the responsibility of the buyer, regardless of what share you own in the property.
Is Shared Ownership better than privately renting?
Shared Ownership makes mortgages more accessible, especially for those with single incomes or lower wages. Usually, the total monthly repayments work out cheaper than if you had an outright mortgage on the property. The monthly payments can also work out lower than if you were to rent privately and unlike private renting, you have security on tenure.
When you undertake an affordability assessment and budget planner with Metro, you will be able to work out exactly how much you will be paying out each month before proceeding with the sale.
How easy is it to sell a Shared Ownership property?
Selling a Shared Ownership home is known as a resale, and you are able to sell at any time. We’re happy to help you find potential buyers.
If you own 100% of your home, you can advertise this however you like on the open market – i.e. via an Estate Agent.
Like any home, the value of a Shared Ownership property can rise and fall according to the housing market at the time you come to sell.
Do you pay council tax on a Shared Ownership property?
Yes, just like buying any home, you will need to set up all of your own household bills including council tax.
Does shared ownership mean living with other people?
No! This is a common misconception of Shared Ownership and could not be further from the truth. Shared Ownership is just another way to buy a home – it means buying a ‘share’ in a property instead of having to get a mortgage and deposit for the full property value.
It’s an affordable way to get onto the property ladder, especially for those on single incomes or lower wages. Read Rachel’s success story.
Can I buy a Shared Ownership property without a mortgage?
Yes, you can buy your share outright with cash or borrow the funds via a mortgage – whatever works best for you.
What is Rent to Buy?
Rent to Buy is a homeownership scheme that allows you to live in your forever home while you save a deposit for a mortgage, meaning you will be in a position to purchase your home after 5 years.
How does Rent to Buy Work?
You pay 20% below Market Rent Value, which means you can use this extra money to save up for a deposit to purchase your rental home. It’s a great option for first-time buyers who are struggling to save while paying 100% market rent, at the same time.
When will I own my Rent to Buy home?
After a five-year period, you will be offered the chance to buy your rental home either outright or through Shared Ownership.
What are the costs for Rent to Buy?
With Rent to Buy, you will pay rent 80% of the market rate and put aside the 20% saved towards a deposit.