If you own a shared ownership property it is likely that the shared ownership scheme administrator (usually a housing association) will require a professional valuation of your property prior to you either staircasing (buying additional equity) or selling the property. Shared ownership schemes are typically publicly funded (albeit via ‘Section 106’ development levies on private housebuilders) and are therefore subject to a number of rules designed to protect that investment of public money, including the requirement for a valuation to be undertaken before the property (or part of the property) is sold.
Details of the requirements for the valuation will usually be set out in your shared ownership lease. Some housing associations also publish guidance booklets for client’s seeking to staircase or sell, detailing the matters that need to be addressed in the valuation report. Typically, the housing association will require a market valuation of the property in question carried out by a RICS Registered Valuer. The valuer will need to visit your property and compile a report describing the property and detailing the comparable sales the valuer has used in coming to their opinion of value. The housing association will typically insist that the valuer is independent to an estate agent and must not be known or related to you.
Typically, the housing association will require the proposed transaction (be it staircasing or selling the property) to be completed within a certain period of time after the valuation (often 3 months). If staircasing this is unlikely to be an issue (so long as you have your finances in order), but when selling this might be a tight timeframe. For sales of shared ownership properties housing associations will often require that the property is marketed through them on a shared ownership basis for a period of time in the first instance and may only then be offered to the open market if they can’t find a buyer. Even then, it often takes a number of weeks if not months to find a buyer, and a further two to three months to complete the transaction. If the transaction isn’t completed within the timeframe set by the housing association you will be required to commission another valuation, which is likely to be subject to further fees.
Some housing associations will be willing to recommend a surveyor, but you might prefer to choose someone unrelated to the housing association in order to ensure there are no questions as to the valuer’s objectivity. For most people their home will be their most significant asset, so having an accurate valuation of the property will be vital whether you are staircasing or planning to sell. In addition to the requirements of the housing association the surveyor’s valuation will need to be prepared in accordance with the RICS Valuation – Professional Standards 2017 (often called a Red Book Valuation). The Professional Standards require valuers to produce genuine, independent and objective valuations, to only undertake valuations where they have the prerequisite knowledge and experience to do so and to undertake their work with due diligence.
When choosing a Chartered Surveyor to undertake the valuation it is probably best to pick someone with offices near the property in question, who has a working knowledge of the local property market. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of the valuer’s professional C.V. in order to ensure that they have an appropriate level of qualification and experience and remember to make the valuer aware of any requirements for the report set by the housing association.