What is Shared Ownership? How Shared Ownership works

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is another way to buy your home. You buy a percentage and pay rent on the rest. Guinness owns part of it - but you're living there, you decorate it and decide when to sell.

Buying a percentage means a smaller deposit and a smaller mortgage. It's a sooner first step on the ladder for lots of people. Usually, you can carry on buying further shares to own it 100%.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility to buy a home using Shared Ownership is governed by Homes England. In summary, you need to be over 18 and resident in the UK.

When purchasing using Shared Ownership there is a maximum household income. To be eligible your household income should be less than £80,000 (this is increased to £90,000 if you are buying a home in London) and you must be unable to afford a home on the open market.

Do I have to live in a specific area?

Most of our homes are available for everyone to apply. In some cases, if the property is in a rural area, it is likely that you’ll need to prove a local connection to the area in which the homes are built, or the surrounding areas.

Can I buy with a smaller deposit?

Buying a share means you need a lower mortgage and deposit than purchasing a property outright. This makes it a cost-effective way to own your own home and ideal for first-time buyers. Shared Ownership usually works out less per month than renting privately, and you can enjoy the benefits of being a homeowner rather than a tenant.

What share will I buy?

You’ll buy a share ranging from 25% to 75%, we’ll tell you in the property listing on this website the minimum percentage that can be purchased (anyone able to buy a larger share of 75% will not be eligible).

You’ll need to be able to get a mortgage or have savings to cover the price of the share. You should remember that you need to pay your mortgage and rent payments each month as well as the usual household outgoings. To help you, we’ll carry out an affordability check to make sure you won’t be stretching yourself too much financially.

How do I arrange a Shared Ownership mortgage?

We can put you in touch with our panel of mortgage brokers who specialise in Shared Ownership sales so you can be confident that you’ll get expert advice during the buying process.

How do I choose a Shared Ownership solicitor?

You can use a solicitor of your choosing, or we can put you in touch with one of our panel of solicitors to help you purchase your new home.

What properties are available?

We have both brand new and previously owned Shared Ownership homes across England, you can search for properties using the search function here.

What happens in the future?

Once you’ve moved in and you’ve settled you might decide to buy further shares until you own the property outright or alternatively you might sell your home. We will help you with both these options.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, you can download our guide to buying your Shared Ownership home.

Other frequently asked questions

  • How do I apply?

    Just register your details with us at guinnesshomes.co.uk/apply

  • Do I have to share my property?

    No. Shared ownership does not mean you share the ownership of the property or have to live with another person.

    It means you own a share of the property and pay rent on the share you don’t hold to us.

    Buying a house with friends, a spouse or a partner is known as joint ownership.

  • Am I eligible to purchase using Shared Ownership?

    In summary, you need to be over 18 and resident in the UK.

    When purchasing using Shared Ownership there is a maximum household income. Your household income should be less than £80,000 (this is increased to £90,000 if you are buying a home in London).

  • What is the age limit?

    There is no age limit for buying a home using Shared Ownership as long as you are over 18 years of age.

  • Is stamp duty payable?

    First-time buyers under Shared Ownership schemes can now claim First-Time Buyers Stamp Duty relief on homes worth up to £500,000. This means that you will not have to pay any Stamp Duty if you are a first-time buyer and you could save up to £15,000.

    If the property you are buying is worth over £500,000, or if you have previously owned a home, you will pay the standard rates of Stamp Duty and will not qualify for first-time buyer’s relief. Your solicitor will be able to give you more advice on the best way to pay it depending on your circumstances.

    Further guidance on Stamp Duty for Shared Ownership homes can be found on the Government website: www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/shared-ownership-property

    If you will be liable to pay Stamp Duty, then you can calculate how much it will be here: www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro 

  • Do I have to send you financial information?

    We do ask you to send us some financial information when you make an application for Shared Ownership.  Our team will assess whether you can afford to buy and sustain a Shared Ownership home.

  • What are the timescales?

    We aim to let you know you have been approved to apply to reserve a property within 5 working days of you notifying us of your interest by completing an application form.

  • How long before I can move in?

    Once you have applied and been approved, you will send us your Reservation form, deposit and documentation.
    The process usually takes an average of 6-8 weeks from this point. This depends on whether the home is ready and whether the legal formalities have been completed.

  • What causes delays when buying a home?

    The volume of applications, the rate at which the development is built, the weather can also affect the pace at which the development is built.

    Sometimes the legal process can take additional time to ensure the formalities are all complete.

  • Is it first come, first reserved?

    If there are more applications than there are properties a priority order comes into play to ensure that best use is made of the available homes.

  • Can I purchase with a gifted deposit?

    Yes, money can be gifted by family or friends towards your purchase.  Your mortgage lender will require this to be a gift rather than a loan.

  • Do I have to get a mortgage?

    If you can obtain a mortgage, you will be encouraged to do so as this will enable you to buy a larger share at the outset.
    You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

  • How much mortgage do I need?

    You need to be able to buy at least the minimum share at the outset.  We’ll let you know what the minimum share is that you can purchase.

    You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

  • How much deposit do I need?

    This depends on the full market value of the property and the size of the share you are purchasing, your mortgage lender and your credit rating.

    The benefit of shared ownership is that the deposit required will be significantly lower than if you were purchasing the property outright because you only need a deposit on the share you are buying.

    You should expect to have at least 5% deposit saved.

    Your mortgage advisor will be able to tell you the exact amount of deposit you need.

    You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

  • I can't get a mortgage?

    If you are unable to obtain a mortgage, you can speak to us about purchasing your share with your savings.

  • What size of property can I buy?

    You are free to purchase a home with no restrictions on the number of bedrooms determined by the household size.

  • Can I keep a pet?

    You may be able to keep a pet in your home, but you must ask us first. In most circumstances, you are not able to keep a cat or a dog if you share an entrance door/ hallway with other people.

    Your lease often restricts the ownership of livestock (including chickens), and you should consider the impact having pets may have on neighbouring properties.

  • What properties are available?

    We will keep this website updated with all the properties as they become available.  You can also save your property search to be notified by email of new properties that are added to the website.

  • What is the Service Charge for?

    The Service Charge covers your Buildings Insurance premium and those areas not owned by you or the council.

  • Can I buy less than the minimum share?

    We are not usually able to consider applications from customers who are unable to purchase the minimum share.

  • Can I buy more than the minimum share?

    Yes, as long as you can afford the monthly repayments required as assessed by us.

  • If I buy a bigger share does the rent payment change?

    Yes, if you buy more than the minimum share, the monthly rental payment falls accordingly.

  • Does the rent go up each year?

    Yes, the rent paid to us on the share not owned by you will be reviewed periodically, usually every year, and will be increased in line with any proportionate increase in the Retail Prices Index plus an amount, typically between 0.5% and 2%.

    These rent rises will be explained to you by your solicitor.

  • Do you arrange my mortgage for me?

    No, however, we recommend you contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers for help to make an application to a mortgage lender.

  • What is a Mortgage in Principle?

    A Mortgage in Principle (sometimes called an Agreement in Principle) is confirmation from a lender that they would be willing to consider you for a mortgage of a certain amount.

    You can contact one of our panel of mortgage brokers to obtain a Mortgage in Principle.

  • I'm an existing owner. Can I use Shared Ownership?

    Yes. We ask that you have a buyer waiting to purchase your existing home as this will need to be sold at the same time as you using Shared Ownership.

  • Do you offer rent to buy schemes?

    We do not currently have any plans to offer a rent to buy scheme.

  • I have a County Court Judgement (CCJ)

    If you have an unsatisfied County Court Judgement (CCJ) in your name, we are not able to offer you a Shared Ownership home. 

    If your judgement has been satisfied (paid back) and you can provide a Certificate of Satisfaction from the court. We can consider your application for Shared Ownership.

    You can search online to see if there is a County Court Judgement in your name.

  • When can I view my new home?

    If you are purchasing a brand new property from us, then we'll arrange a viewing when the property is complete, and it is safe to enter.

    We sell some of our new homes "off-plan" as the homes are not ready to view at the time a reservation is being made. Ask your Sales Consultant if there is a show home or a view home available.

  • Can I buy larger shares?

    Yes, you can buy additional shares either at the outset of your initial purchase or at a later date. The cost of the additional shares is based on the market value of the property at the time that you purchase the shares.

    If you increase your share in the property, your rent is re-calculated and reduced proportionately. Usually, you will be able to buy further shares as and when you can afford to. That could either be at the beginning or after you’ve moved in.

  • How do I rent from you?

    Visit our main website to find out more information.