How Long Can You Expect the Shared Ownership Process to Last?

Shared ownership offers an affordable and flexible way to own a portion of your home while paying rent on the rest. For many individuals and families in the UK, buying a shared ownership property has become a desirable avenue to step onto the property ladder. New build shared ownership properties are a wise choice if you seek a home with modern features. While this path to homeownership has many advantages, it’s essential to understand how long the shared ownership process typically lasts.

Stage 1: Property Search and Application

The shared ownership process begins with the exciting task of searching for new build shared ownership properties that match your requirements and budget. This stage can vary significantly in terms of duration, depending on how quickly you find a property that suits your needs.

  • Duration: On average, the property search and application phase can take a few weeks to several months. This timeframe depends on factors like your location, property availability, and your own readiness to start the process.

Stage 2: Mortgage Approval and Financial Assessment

Once you’ve identified a property, you’ll need to secure a mortgage for the share you wish to purchase. Lenders will assess your financial situation and determine your eligibility for a mortgage. You’ll also undergo a financial assessment to ensure you can meet the associated costs.

  • Duration: The mortgage approval and financial assessment stage typically takes four to eight weeks. The duration can vary based on the complexity of your financial situation and the responsiveness of the lender and housing association.

Stage 3: Reservation and Legal Checks

After your mortgage is approved and your financial assessment is complete, you’ll need to reserve the shared ownership property. This involves putting down a reservation fee and beginning the legal checks, including property searches and surveys.

  • Duration: The reservation and legal checks can take approximately eight to twelve weeks. The timeline may be extended if there are legal complexities or delays in obtaining the necessary information.

Stage 4: Exchange of Contracts

The exchange of contracts is a crucial step in the shared ownership process. This is when you and the housing association sign the legal documents, finalising your commitment to purchase the property.

  • Duration: The exchange of contracts generally takes around four to six weeks. Delays can occur if there are issues with the legal documentation or if parties involved experience scheduling conflicts.

Stage 5: Completion and Moving In

Completion is the moment when you officially become a shared owner of the property. You’ll pay the deposit and the share’s purchase price, and then you can move into your new home. This is the culmination of the shared ownership process.

  • Duration: Completion and moving in can occur approximately one to two weeks after the exchange of contracts. The duration primarily depends on the scheduling and logistics of the move.

Post-Purchase: Staircasing

Staircasing is the process of buying additional shares of your shared ownership property. While this is not a part of the initial shared ownership process, it’s worth considering for the future. Staircasing can take place at any time after you’ve completed your initial purchase.

  • Duration: The time it takes to complete staircasing can vary widely, depending on your financial situation, the housing association’s processes, and the amount of additional shares you intend to buy. On average, it can take two to three months, but it may be longer if there are complications.

It’s important to note that these timeframes are general estimates, and the shared ownership process can vary from case to case. The timeline can be influenced by factors such as the efficiency of the housing association, the complexity of legal checks, and your individual circumstances.

Additionally, the specific circumstances and requirements for new build shared ownership properties may differ from those for existing properties, as new builds often involve construction timelines and developer schedules. It’s advisable to maintain open communication with the housing association or developer to stay informed about progress and potential delays during the process.

Overall, the shared ownership process, from property search to completion and moving in, can generally take anywhere from three to six months or more. It’s essential to be patient and prepared for potential delays while understanding that the duration may vary based on numerous factors. By having a clear understanding of the process and its expected timeline, you can embark on your shared ownership journey with confidence and a realistic perspective of what to expect.


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