Shared ownership is a unique property scheme popular in the UK, created to aid individuals in stepping onto the property ladder. The programme, often run by housing associations, allows individuals to buy a share (between 25% and 75%) of a property while paying rent on the remaining portion. Over time, one can increase their stake in the property through a process called ‘staircasing’.
Selling A Shared Ownership Property
When it comes to selling a shared ownership property, it is a slightly different process than a standard property sale. Shared owners often have to grant the housing association the right of first refusal, also known as a ‘nomination period’. This is typically a 6 to 8 weeks period during which the housing association has the opportunity to find a buyer before the owner can sell the property on the open market.
Potential Challenges In Selling Shared Ownership Properties
- The complexity of Shared Ownership Agreements: The nature of shared ownership properties can make them slightly harder to sell. The contractual obligations, including the nomination period and the requirement for the new buyer to fit certain eligibility criteria, may deter some potential buyers.
- Market Demand: Like all properties, shared ownership properties are susceptible to fluctuations in the housing market. If the market is in a downturn, it can become more challenging to find buyers. The potential buyer also has to meet specific criteria, such as being a first-time buyer or having a particular income level, limiting the pool of potential purchasers.
- Mortgage Complications: Many mortgage lenders have stricter criteria when it comes to shared ownership properties. Buyers may struggle to secure a mortgage due to the complexities associated with shared ownership. This can significantly reduce the pool of potential buyers.
- Perception of Shared Ownership: Some buyers might have misperceptions about shared ownership, seeing it as complex or risky. This can be a deterrent for potential buyers and make it more challenging to sell the property.
Strategies to Overcome These Challenges
Despite the challenges, there are strategies that shared owners can employ to improve their chances of a successful sale.
- Educate Potential Buyers: Clarifying the shared ownership scheme, and its benefits and dispelling common misconceptions can encourage more potential buyers. Highlighting features like the ability to staircase and eventually own the property outright can make the deal more attractive.
- Use A Specialist Estate Agent: Estate agents like Sold experienced in selling shared ownership properties can effectively communicate the benefits to potential buyers. They are also more likely to have a network of clients who are interested in and eligible for shared ownership properties.
- Optimal Pricing: The shared ownership scheme often attracts first-time buyers looking for affordability. So, setting a competitive price can make the property more appealing to potential buyers.
Selling a shared ownership property may have its unique challenges. However, with a strategic approach, these challenges can be navigated successfully. Buyers interested in affordable housing and stepping onto the property ladder will always exist, ensuring a consistent demand for shared ownership properties. By understanding the process, preparing for potential hurdles, and implementing effective strategies, you can increase the likelihood of selling your shared ownership property without a struggle.