Buying a shared ownership home has never been simpler. If you can't afford to buy a property outright, our shared ownership (or low cost home ownership) scheme will be a great option for you.
Our shared ownership scheme allows you to buy a percentage of your home and rent the remainder from us. Over time you can buy bigger shares in your property until you own it all. At which point you won't have to pay us any more rent - this is called staircasing. More information about being a shared owner, including staircasing, is available here.
If you're interested in buying the home you currently rent from West Kent please visit the Buy Your Home page.
West Kent has an exciting building programme offering homes for shared ownership and outright sale across Kent. To find out more about shared ownership, including how to register to become eligible to buy, visit the Help to Buy website.
How does it work?
You buy a share of one of our newly built homes, the minimum is usually 35% but you can purchase up to 75% depending on what you can afford. You will usually own that share on a 125-year lease, which is a legal document setting out all the agreements between you and us. Most people need a mortgage to pay for their share but you can buy without one provided you can’t afford to buy a whole property outright.
Who can buy a shared ownership home?
To be eligible for shared ownership you must:
- hold a UK passport or have a Certificate of UK residency
- have a household income of less than £80,000.
- not own any other property, including overseas. (Where a home is being sold in cases of relationship breakdown you may still be eligible.)
- have a bank or building society account.
- prove you can afford the rent or mortgage or, if you are purchasing a share without a mortgage, that you cannot afford to buy a property outright.
Priority will be given to:
- Social housing tenants (who will release a home to others in housing need).
- Serving or ex-military personnel.
- Key workers, including people working for the police, NHS, fire service or teachers.
- People with a local connection. In some cases our homes will only be available to people with a local connection to the area.
- Existing shared owners whose current home is unsuitable for their needs.
Could I be refused a shared ownership property?
We may refuse you a property If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria above; if someone has higher priority or if we believe you can’t afford to maintain the property longer term. We may also refuse housing for any of the reasons in our exclusion guide.
Can I afford a shared ownership home?
Speak to a financial adviser who is familiar with shared ownership to ensure you can get a mortgage before committing to a purchase. We have a panel of approved financial advisers you can contact if you would like assistance. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How does the buying process work?
- Preparing contracts - a legal contract that transfers ownership of the property from West Kent (the seller or vendor) to you (the buyer) is prepared. This contract contains full details of the transaction, such as the price of the property, the boundaries, what fixtures and fittings (like carpets and kitchen units) are included, and the date when the sale will complete.
- Exchanging contracts - when the buyer and seller are happy with the contract, both sides sign final copies and send them to each other. The agreement becomes legally binding at this point and usually neither of us can pull out without paying compensation. This is when you will pay the deposit and we will usually agree a date to complete the transaction.
- Completion - after any final checks are dealt with your solicitor will pay the balance of the purchase money to West Kent, and we will hand over the legal documents transferring ownership to you. We’ll also hand over the keys to you and the home is now yours.
How long does the purchase process take?
Once you reserve a home the process normally takes between four to eight weeks to go through. This is subject to West Kent taking handover of your home from the builder.
Delays can occur when buying a newly built home and are often out of our control. These include construction delays, legal enquires, or the mortgage process.
What are the costs associated with buying a shared ownership property?
You will need savings to cover the costs of buying. Here are the estimated costs for some elements of your purchase:
- Reservation fee: £250- If we allocate you a home, this fee must be paid at the point of offer so the home remains reserved for you. If you later pull out of the transaction we will keep this fee to cover some of our costs. The £250 will be deducted off the purchase price by solicitors on the day of completion and will show on the completion statement.
- Deposit: – The mortgage lender will require a deposit between 5% - 20% on the equity share you purchase.
- Mortgage valuation fee: Your mortgage lender will arrange a valuation to check they’re happy to lend you the loan against the home you wish to buy. The cost will vary depending on the lender.
- Mortgage arrangement fee: Lenders usually charge an arrangement or application fee for setting up the mortgage. These fees are not refundable, so if you don’t go ahead you may lose this money. You can find out how much the fee is and when you must pay it from your proposed lender or from a financial adviser.
- Solicitor’s fees: You need a solicitor to take care of the legal process and conveyancing on your behalf. You are responsible for all legal costs associated with the purchase. You can get quotes from a conveyancing solicitor but please check they have experience of dealing with shared ownership. We have a panel of solicitors you can contact if you want to. Please email email@example.com for more information.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) - This is a tax, based on the price you are paying, collected by the government when property changes hands. Stamp duty thresholds do change so you should check the latest information on the Gov.uk website. Your solicitor will be able to tell you the exact cost. You pay the SDLT to your solicitor when your purchase is completed.
- Removal costs: - Costs can vary so if you plan to use a removal company to move your furniture, you should get two to three quotes first. You usually pay this on the day you move.
When can I move in?
You will receive the keys to the home on completion day, which is the day you pay us the final payment for your share. Until exchange of contracts takes place this date is not fixed for certain. You should not give notice to end any tenancy you already have until exchange of contracts has happened. This can sometimes mean you have to pay rent on both your old and new addresses for a short time, but it will ensure that any delays don’t result in you becoming homeless.
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