Buy more shares in your home
Interested in buying our share of your home?
At the moment, you share the ownership of your home with us. This aims to explain how you can buy more of your home, or own it outright… this is called ‘staircasing’. The price you pay for each share you want to buy will depend on the value of your home at that time.
What are the benefits of staircasing?
Most people dream of buying their own home, and you took the right steps towards that goal when you bought your home through the Shared Ownership scheme. Buying more shares in your home has a number of benefits:
- You reduce the amount of rent you are paying to us, or stop paying altogether if you buy the maximum share permitted as determined by your lease.
- When you decide to sell your home, the more shares you own, the more profit you will make if the value of your home has increased.
Can I own the whole of my property?
Instead of increasing your share, you may just want to buy it outright, (we will need to check your lease first to make sure you can buy 100% of your property) if you can buy the whole, you will no longer pay any rent to us.
However, if you live in an apartment, or a home with communal services (cleaning and maintenance), there will still be a service charge. If you live in a house, (again depending on the conditions in your lease) you will normally be granted the freehold title on the property.
What are the costs involved in staircasing?
Every time you staircase you will need to bear in mind that there will be expenses you need to pay. Before you decide to staircase, please investigate the fees involved. These could include:
- Valuation fees; a valuation is required in accordance with your lease.
- Legal expenses; staircasing will involve changes to your existing lease which will require the services of a solicitor. The solicitor will charge you for this service.
- Mortgage fees; if you are applying to change lender (re-mortgage) to buy the additional share, or to get a better interest rate, you will need to pay the lender’s valuation fee and possibly a mortgage arrangement fee. You may also have to pay penalty charges to your current lender if you re-mortgage before the end of a pre-agreed deal or product that ties you in to set a timescale.
- Rent and service charge arrears; if you are behind with your rent or service charges, you will need to bring these up to date before you can proceed with purchasing further shares.
What do I do now?
- Complete and return the staircasing options form, along with your valuation, (unless you are using our recommended valuer) by post or email, letting us know that you would like to buy more shares of your home, or buy it outright.
- You need to get a valuation on your home by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS, MRICS or FRICS). Or we can arrange this for you, a fee will apply, we will advise of the fees on application. You will have 3 months from the date of the valuation in which to purchase your further share.
- An estate agent (unless they are RICS certified), bank or building society valuation is not classed as an independent valuation and will not be accepted.
During this time, you will need to think about your mortgage requirements. We will also need to see proof of funds and income to ensure the purchase is affordable for you.
- The sales team will acknowledge your application within 5 working days.
- You will need to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf, and forward their details to the sales team we will pass these on to our solicitors.
- Both solicitors will speak to each other and complete the paperwork needed to buy the shares.
- Once your purchase is completed, we will need you, your solicitor and/or mortgage provider to pay us our share.
- Please remember that you will be responsible for the cost of valuation, legal fees and mortgage arrangements.
- If you have any more queries about the staircasing process, please contact the sales team or speak to your solicitor.
Repairs, maintenance and home improvement
Under the terms of your lease you need to keep your home to a good standard, this includes redecoration and service of boilers and plumbing to maintain the value of your home. When you decide to buy more shares, if you have made substantial improvements which are considered to be over and above the terms of your lease, (For example, if you’re fitting a new kitchen, bathroom, conservatory or extension), When the surveyor visits your home, please make sure to let them know.
If the improvements increase the value of your home, the surveyor should disregard them so they are not included in the value, this way you will not pay twice for improving your home.
On the other hand, as per your lease, if the property is in need of essential repairs these must be disregarded and the property valued as if it were in good condition, we will not approve a loss in value, due to the property not being kept in good repair.