Own more of your home
Buying more shares in your home or 'staircasing' is a simple process, this guide takes you through he steps. If you need a little help, our specialist sales team are on hand to help you.
We offer two different options:
- Interim staircasing - buying additional shares in your property to a total of less than 100%. Your rent will reduce in proportion to the share you own.
- Final staircasing - buying additional shares in your property to 100%. In this case you’ll no longer pay us any rent. You’ll own the property outright and will no longer be classed as a ‘shared owner’. You don't need a financial assessment when final staircasing.
The nine steps to staircasing
- Contact Alliance Homes: You need to let us know we can help and we advise you to check how the market is performing so you know how much it will cost to buy further shares.
- Value your property with an independent surveyor: A valuation by a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) qualified surveyor will determine what more shares will cost. You will need to provide your surveyor with our 'Letter for you RICS Valuer'.
- Complete and return our Intention to Staircase form: You’ll need to send us a completed copy of our Intention to Staircase form, along with a copy of your valuation report to email@example.com.
- Receive and accept Staircasing Offer Notice: Once we’ve determined the cost of purchasing additional shares, we’ll send you a ‘Staircasing Offer Notice’. If you’re happy with the value and wish to proceed, complete the enclosed ‘acceptance slip’ and return it.
- Financial assessment & evidence your proof of funds/decision in principle: If you’re interim staircasing, you’ll need a financial assessment. This is so we can ensure you can afford to buy the additional shares and sustain the rent and service charges.
- Appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf: Give us the details of your solicitor for this transaction. We advise you choose a solicitor who is familiar with shared ownership staircasing. Your solicitor and our solicitor carry out the process of collating all the required information to facilitate the purchase of additional shares.
- Mortgage offer received (if applicable): Your mortgage lender confirms they’ll lend you the additional money or confirms your re-mortgage conditions. We’ll also receive a copy to approve.
- Financial Completion Statement issued: Prior to your completion date your solicitor will issue a Financial Completion Statement. This statement will detail the costs payable by you, such as any admin fees and rent payable to us, legal costs, any mortgage advance fees etc.
- Staircasing complete: Congratulations! Your solicitor will provide you with a copy of the memorandum of staircasing and will register your purchase with the Land Registry, confirming the share that you now own.
What are the benefits of staircasing?
You’ll own a larger percentage of your home and pay less rent.
Is there any reason why I would not be able to staircase?
You can't staircase if you’re in arrears with your rent and/or service charges, or your current financial situation doesn’t meet our guidelines for responsible lending. Your property may also have staircasing restrictions (i.e. if your property is in a rural area your lease might restrict staircasing to 80%).
Can I staircase with another person not currently named on my lease?
You may be able to, however you’ll need to request permission from both us and your mortgage lender should you wish to staircase with an additional person. You’ll require a solicitor to act on your behalf in the transfer of equity, as well as your purchase of additional shares. There will be an additional fee payable by you, for the legal work involved in the transaction.
What costs am I likely to incur when I staircase?
in addition to the cost of buying additional shares you’ll need to pay: RICS valuation (£300 to £500), solicitors fees (£500 to £1,000), rent & service charges, mortgage arrangement fees, admin fees and stamp duty.
What documents will you need from me to start the staircasing process?
You'll need to send us an up-to-date RICS valuation report (to determine the current value of your home and the additional shares you're looking to purchase) and a completed ‘Intention to staircase’ form from Alliances' Sales Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why does my home need a valuation?
We need to know how much your home is worth so we can determine how much it will cost you to buy more share. You'll need a RICS valuation each time you staircase.
How do I get a valuation and how long will it last?
Find a RICS surveyor at www.ricsfirms.com. Your valuation will last for three months. Should your staircasing not complete within three months, you'll need a new valuation, so when choosing a surveyor you may want to ask how much they charge for updating valuations.
How will home improvements affect my valuation?
Your property will be valued in its current condition, excluding significant home improvements you have made since purchasing. We'll only be able to discount the impact of any home improvements you’ve carried out on your property, if you gained written permission from us, as detailed in your lease. We have a standard valuation request letter which you can pass onto your chosen surveyor to ensure that the valuation they carry out is accurate.
What if I'm not happy with my valuation?
You can challenge the valuation by providing written reason directly to your chosen valuer. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can instruct another RICS surveyor at your expense. We'll not be involved in this process and we should only be forwarded a copy of your valuation report once you're happy to proceed.
How long will it take me to staircase?
This is dependent on several factors, but we would expect you to complete within three months.
What's involved in the financial assessment?
Like the assessment when you initially bought your home it will involve the Homes England Shared Ownership affordability calculator, as well as our budget planner. You'll also need to evidence a Decision in Principle from your mortgage lender (if applicable). Your financial advisor will need to see several documents from you (and anyone else who is purchasing additional shares).
Can you recommend a solicitor?
We're unable to recommend a solicitor, but we do advise that you use a solicitor who's familiar with staircasing and re-mortgaging of shared ownership homes. This helps to ensure your transaction ends within three months.
How do you verify if I have access to the funds if I'm a cash buyer?
Both us and your your solicitor will need to see documentation to verify the source of your funds. If this is from savings then we will need recent bank statements, if from pension then we will need an up to date pension statement and effective retirement date and if it is from inheritance then we will need a letter from the executors confirming beneficial interest.
For large sums of cash, you may need to provide your solicitor with additional information to satisfy the requirement of adhering to anti-money laundering regulations.
How do I get a mortgage offer?
Your mortgage lender or financial advisor will be able to assist you with your mortgage arrangements to buy the additional shares.
If you wish to arrange your own mortgage, you should talk to an Independent Financial Advisor or directly to banks and building societies and make sure you explain that you own a shared ownership home and are wanting to staircase. It’s important you explain to your lender/financial advisor that your staircasing valuation offer is only valid for three months and therefore it is imperative that they act quickly.
What happens once I have completed on my staircasing transaction?
Your solicitors will register your transaction with the Land Registry and send you a copy of the signed Memorandum of Staircasing.
We’ll adjust your account to show the increased share that you now own. If you have interim staircased you’ll still be responsible for paying us rent and service charges. If you've final staircased, you’ll no longer pay rent to us. You may still be required to pay a monthly service charge or estate charge and ground rent. We’ll send you a completion letter confirming all future payments.
If you now own 100% of your property and your home is a house, you'll become a ‘freeholder’. You'll be responsible for providing your own buildings insurance to start on the day that you complete on the purchase of your additional shares. If your home is an apartment, you'll still be classed as a ‘leaseholder’. Your buildings insurance will continue to be provided by your landlord and included as part your service charge statement.
Once you have staircased to 100% ownership, you're free to sell your home on the open market. Please note however, some leases will restrict you from selling your home for the first three-months following final staircasing.