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FAQs

General FAQs
Q. What is the process of registering for these properties?

If you're in London, you will need to complete a Homematch application form. Outside of London, you'll need to apply to your local Help to Buy Agent. To find out who this is, click here.

Once you have submitted your application form , we will send you a letter outlining your eligiblity status. Equipped with this information you can then begin your search of affordable homes across the capital from  Metropolitan and the partner housing providers that we work with.

Q. What happens when we want to sell our share?

Most Shared Ownership homes have a clause in their lease which gives Metropolitan the opportunity to sell your home for you during an initial eight week period. The reason for this is so that Metropolitan can try to sell your home to a priority  or eligible applicant, to help meet housing need and retain the home in the affordable sector. If Metropolitan are unable to sell your home with that eight week 'nomination' period, you are then free to sell your home on the open market.

If you're are thinking of selling your Shared Ownership home, contact our Resales department.

Q. Can we increase the share that we own over time and if so when can it be done?

Most part buy, part rent leases allow leaseholders to buy a further share in their home, usually in tranches of 10% (although this varies, being dependent on mortgage lender's terms) and subject to affordability, until they own it completely and this process is known as staircasing. If a 100% share is purchased then no rent will be payable.

Once you have completed a further staircasing, your rent will be reduced proportionately, and this is calculated with respect to Metropolitan's remaining percentage after staircasing. All service charges will remain. Once you have completed the final staircasing to 100%, your rent and management fee will completely cease and all service charges will remain.

The main advantages of Staircasing are that you will eventually own the full 100% share of your property and your rent charge will completely cease. On 100% ownership Metropolitan relinquishes its equity share in the property and you become the outright owner.

Q. How long do I have to wait for my application to be processed?

If you've applied to our Homematch service in London, once we have received your application we will process it within three working days (although online applications are usually much quicker).  We may need to contact you for more information before we can let you know if you are eligible for Shared Ownership but we will always contact you within 3 working days.

If you've applied to a Help to Buy Agent outside of London, they will process your application within four working days.

Q. Can I only apply for properties in the borough I live in?

For new build properties each development will have its own funding stream which will determine who is eligible to buy there. In most cases you will have to either already be living or working in the borough you are applying in. Normally homes will become available to other applicants outside the borough but in the same region and sometimes more widely, so it is worth registering an interest even if you do not meet the initial eligibility criteria.

Q. How long does the whole process take?

If you are buying a home on the open market the process can take up to 4-6 months. The time taken to buy varies by development; in exceptional cases it can take as little as 28 days, however if building work has yet to be completed on the development you can be exposed to delays caused from by a range of factors, including the weather. Four months as an average guide to the time it takes from making your enquiry to collecting your keys is a reasonable rough guide. Your sales officer will keep you up to date with detailed, step-by-step communications once you're into the buying process.

Q. How much will my monthly repayments be?

Monthly repayments will vary depending on the purchased property value, share purchased and the cost of any service charges. The home your are insterested in buying will have a price listing which breaks this down in detail for you. 

Q. Will I need a deposit?

Currently lenders usually require a minimum deposit of around 10% of the value of the property you purchase. This varies depending on lending market conditions at the time you purchase, ask your sales officer or consult with your Specialist Financial Advisor should you be in any doubt. As a rule of thumb, the higher the deposit you can put down on a mortgage, the lower the rate of interest on your monthly mortgage payments will be. 

You must also have savings to cover the cost of stamp duty (if applicable), legal fees and other costs involved in buying a home (such as removals, storage etc.). For Equity Loans products, you will usually need a deposit of 5% but, again, any deposit requirement will depend upon mortgage deals available from mortgage lenders at the time you buy.

Q. Am I eligible?

Eligibility varies across products and developments but there are some general rules which apply. You can't use low cost home ownership to buy a second home, to buy to let or if you can afford to a home that is suitable to meet your needs without the financial assistance provided by a low cost home ownership scheme.

Most homes will have their eligibility defined by their funding stream, or the rules applied in the region or Borough where the home is. For example, if you are buying Shared Ownership in London you must not earn more than £90,000 per year and each property will have a defined income requirement to make sure that whoever buys it can afford to sustain the costs of home ownership. If you are buying outside of London, the maximum income you could have is £80,000 per year.

In most cases, Council and Housing Association tenants and qualifying Ministry of Defence personnel will be a priority for low cost home ownership. Don't let this deter you though - more than 8 of 10 Shared Ownership buyers have a tenure background of having lived with family and friends or renting privately, having lived or worked or having had a connection to the area where they are buying.

Q. What is a key worker?

Currently, only qualifying Ministry of Defence personnel hold key worker priority status for intermediate housing.

To be considered a priority, armed forces personnel must have completed basic (phase 1) training and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Regular service personnel (including Military Provost Guards Service in the Army, Navy, Air Force)
  • Clinical staff (excluding doctors and dentists)
  • MoD police officers
  • Uniformed staff in the Defence Fire Service
  • Ex-regular service personnel (who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of six years and can produce a Discharge certificate, or similar document). Applications must be within 12 months of discharge
  • The surviving partners of regular service personnel who have died in service may be eligible to be prioritised where they apply within 12 months of the date of being bereaved

The following roles are prioritised for Intermediate Rent only:

  • Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)
  • Individuals who have not completed basic training

 For past intermediate housing schemes, Key Workers have been defined as below. Some of these groups are priority in specific Local Authority areas - this will vary by development:

  • NHS Staff
  • Teachers
  • Metropolitan Police
  • British Transport Police
  • Prison Service Staff
  • Probation Service Staff
  • Fire & Rescue Service Staff
  • Some Local Authority Staff (e.g. Town Planners)
Q. Should I go to my bank right now to arrange a mortgage, so I’ll be ready as soon as I find a property?

We advise that you to wait to speak to one of our recommended Specialist Financial Advisors (SFAs) before making any financial commitments. The reason that we do this is that our SFAs have specialist experience in affordability assessment, administering best advice, and securing the right mortgage for low cost home ownership buyers.

You can go to any lender, but if they lack experience in, for example, providing mortgages for Shared Ownership, this could cause delays to the home buying process later.

Q. How do I go about contacting housing providers who have homes that I'm interested in?

As with any property search, it pays to be proactive. You can contact any housing association or provider that has homes available in the area you are looking to move to directly, especially if you want to ensure a reservation before the properties sell out but it will save time if you've completed an application form first.

Outside of London, if you have applied to your local Help to Buy Agent,  your details will be made available to housing providers with homes that you might be interested in.

Q. What is the minimum/maximum share I can purchase?

The minimum share you can purchase in a Shared Ownership home starts at 25% and the maximum is 75% but this varies from scheme to scheme. For some Shared Ownership schemes to be viable, the initial share purchased might be set at 35% - a typical initial share offer.

When you buy, you will be encouraged to buy as large a share as you can afford once your affordability has been assessed in detail by an Specialist Financial Advisor. The larger the share you own, the less rent you'll pay each month. Owning a larger share also reduces the amount by which you would have to staircase to own outright.