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    Shared ownership

    Part own, part rent.

    Shared ownership is another way to buy your home. You buy a percentage, and pay rent on the rest. West Kent owns part of it - but you're living there, you decorate it, and you 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 also carry on buying shares, to own it 100%.

    What is it?

    You’re probably still wondering about shared ownership’s features, benefits and how it could work for you. We’ve gathered up loads of frequently asked questions.

    • Who can buy with shared ownership?

      Shared ownership is an option for lots of people — probably more than you think. A smaller deposit makes it easier for first-time buyers to get on the ladder, and it's an easier way for separated couples to buy again with their individual share of joint assets.

      Shared ownership is also a good option for retirees, or those who want to free up equity without losing the security of owning a home.

      Generally speaking:

      • Your household income needs to be under £80k (under £90k in London).
      • You can't be the owner of another property.
      • You'll need to show you have a good credit history, and can afford the regular payments and costs involved in buying a home.
      • You should have savings, or be able to put down at least 5-10% deposit on the share of the property you're buying.
    • Will I be sharing with other people?

      No. Contrary to its confusing name, you're not sharing the house with other flatmates or buying it with someone you don't know.

      Shared ownership means you own a share of the property, and a housing association owns the remaining share.

      If you want to buy with a partner, friend, or sibling, that's totally fine. But your total combined income when you submit your application must be below £80,000 per year.

    • Part mortgage / part rent. How does that work?

      Shared ownership is part buy, part rent. This means you will have a mortgage on the share you own, and pay rent on the remaining share. For instance, if you buy a 25% share of the property, you'll pay a mortgage on the 25% share, and rent on the remaining 75% share. Usually, you can also carry on buying shares, to own it 100%.

      You'll have a lease, which is essentially the contract for the share you've bought. It means you've got the right to keep your home for a certain number of years (usually at least 125), but the land belongs to someone else. Your lease also sets out how much you need to pay each month, your responsibilities while living there and all the details of your agreement with the housing association. Make sure you go through it and ask lots of questions. Your solicitor can help you with this.

    • What sort of properties are available through shared ownership?

      Shared ownership properties tend to be either new-builds offered by housing associations, or resales of existing shared ownership properties. There are a range of new properties available, which usually means fewer future repairs, and the chance to move in straight away without having to replace any ancient boilers.

    • Is this a government-backed scheme?

      The Government supports shared ownership, and funds lots of shared ownership homes. Otherwise, shared ownership properties are paid for directly by housing associations (this is most common), private investors, or some councils.

    How to apply

    To look for a shared ownership home, visit our 'Search for a home' page where all our available homes are listed.

    You'll need to complete our shared ownership application form to begin with. Our home ownership team will support you throughout the whole process; from completing the form to getting your keys on moving-in day. 

    Search for a home

    Hear from Aran, our Home Ownership Assistant:

    Why buy with West Kent?

    West Kent went above and beyond with us and were very patient with us being first time buyers and knowing very little about the process. Emily always replied to emails within a reasonable amount of time and had an answer to our questions. We didn’t have the best time with other aspects of the process and Emily kept us grounded, I don’t think we would have made it through without her."