Buying more shares in your home

What is staircasing? 

You’ve already taken the first step towards buying your own home with Sovereign shared ownership. When you’re ready to take another, we’re here to help.

If you’d like to own more of your home – or even buy it outright – we can guide you through the process of buying more shares in your property, and help you decide if it’s right for you.

Owning a bigger proportion of your shared ownership home – or even owning all of it – comes with many benefits: 

  • You’ll reduce the amount of rent you pay to Sovereign
  • If you decide to sell your home the more shares you own will lead to more profit if the value of your home has increased
  • If you own 100% of your home, in most cases you can sell it on the open market using an estate agent of your choice, and you’ll benefit from any profit made
  • Becoming the outright owner means you can maximise the profit from any major home improvements you carry out if you choose to sell

How does it work?

The process of buying extra shares, and increasing how much you own of your home, is called ‘staircasing’. There are two options available when staircasing:

01. Interim – Buy a little bit more at a time 

You can buy additional shares in your home in stages, typically in 10% increments. The amount you pay us in rent will go down as the amount of the property you own goes up.

02 . Final – Buy all the remaining shares in your home 

You can buy the remaining shares in your home to reach 100% ownership, either in one payment or after several interim transactions. When you have bought all the shares in your home, you’ll own your home outright and will no longer be a shared owner, and will no longer need to pay rent to Sovereign (service charges and ground rent may still apply). You’ll now be classified as a leaseholder or a freeholder, depending on your lease.

What are the steps to staircasing?

There are five main steps to staircasing which we've outlined below:

1. Check your finances

Use our online staircasing calculator to work out how much the cost of buying more shares could be. The cost of the additional shares is based on the open market value of your home at the time that you wish to buy them. You can do the calculations here.

2. Complete an application

If you’re happy with the estimated costs and would like to proceed with buying additional shares you will need to complete our online application form. Once you've completed the form we'll need to do a couple of background checks, as soon as these are done we will be in touch to let you know whether it's possible to purchase the additional shares.

3. Arrange a valuation

Once we have confirmed in writing that you can buy the requested number of shares, you will need to arrange an open market valuation of the property. This must be done by an independent surveyor qualified through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Fellow of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (FRICS). There are a few other requirements of the valuation report and we have put together a detailed valuation guidance document for your surveyor.

4. Authority to proceed

As soon as we receive the property valuation report we have a few checks to make in line with the valuation requirements. We will then also calculate the purchase price of the shares you wish to buy based on the valuation report and confirm this and all other details in writing to you along with an Authority to Proceed Form. This form confirms to us that you accept the price of the shares and wish us to commence the transaction - all leaseholders named on the lease must sign this form.

5. Conveyancing and completion

At this point, you will also need to confirm the name and address of the solicitors that will be acting on your behalf. Once we receive your completed Authority to Proceed form we instruct our solicitors and pass on all relevant information to your solicitors. They then work together to agree a completion date with you. During this time, you will need to contact your solicitor for any progress updates. 

If you have purchased additional shares but haven't staircased to 100% we will contact you after completion to reconfirm the revised rent and/or service charges that you will need to pay. If you have purchased 100% of your property then you will no longer have to pay Sovereign any rent but you may still need to pay ground rent and service charges, we will confirm this in writing following the completion.

Still have questions? 

If you'd like to discuss your application or would like more details, you can contact the team on staircasing@sovereign.org.uk or 0300 330 0718.