Home Stepper – A Shared Ownership Scheme


Buy a shared ownership property with Home Stepper

If stepping onto the property ladder feels like an impossible task, our Home Stepper shared ownership scheme, in partnership with Sage Homes, could be for you. It allows buyers of new homes to purchase a share of their chosen home and pay a monthly rent on the remaining part.


What is Home Stepper?

We’ve teamed up with Sage Homes to offer Home Stepper, a shared ownership scheme that enables you to purchase shares of up to 75% of the home you would like to buy, based on your level of affordability

The great news is, you’ll be able to live in your home as if you'd bought it outright. Over time, you can increase the share of the property you own and decrease the share that you pay rent on.

Once you own your new Countryside Home, Sage Homes then become your landlord, granting you a 990-year lease while you pay them rent on the unowned share of your home. Home Stepper is only available on selected homes at certain developments.


Who are Sage Homes?

Sage Homes is England’s largest provider of newly built affordable housing with the goal of helping to address the housing crisis by providing affordable housing to those most in need. They provide both new Shared Ownership (part buy, part rent) and rental homes and have handed over the keys to more than 10,000 homes in the last five years.

For more information on Sage Homes visit their website.


Benefits of Home Stepper

The Home Stepper scheme helps make buying a new build home more accessible, with smaller deposits and lower monthly payments that could mean getting onto the property ladder is more affordable than you thought.

You can purchase your share with either cash savings or by taking out a mortgage. If you are taking out a mortgage to finance your share, you will typically need to allow for at least a 5% deposit. The larger your deposit, the lower your mortgage payments will be.

On the share you don't own, you will pay a monthly rent of 2.75% of the unsold value to Sage Homes.


Who is eligible for Home Stepper?

If you think using Home Stepper would be a good fit for you, there are a few criteria that you’ll need to meet to be eligible to use the scheme:

  • Your household income does not exceed £80,000 per annum (or £90,000 in London)
  • You have a deposit of at least 5% of the share value
  • You plan to live in the shared ownership property as your principal and only home
  • You have passed a financial assessment, demonstrating you are financially able to purchase the maximum share value and support the monthly costs

Frequently asked Questions

Can I buy any Countryside Home using the Home Stepper scheme?

Home Stepper is available on selected Countryside Homes and eligible homes will be advertised on our website. Please check availability with our sales consultants.

What share can I buy using Home Stepper?

This is dependent on your individual financial circumstances, but you can initially buy up to a 75% share of your home based on your level of affordability.

Can I increase my share?

Yes, you can choose to increase your share of home ownership gradually through a process known as ‘staircasing’. This means that, over time you could own 100% of your home, at this point a transfer of the freehold interest of the house or a transfer of the full leasehold interest of the apartment/flat will need to take place.

How much rent will I pay?

Once you've bought your property with Home Stepper, rent will be paid directly to Sage Homes. The monthly amount depends on the value of your home and the size of the share that you decide to purchase. Rent is only paid on the unpurchased share of your home (which is owned by Sage Homes) at a rate of 2.75%.

Will my rent ever increase?

Your rent will be reviewed annually on 1st April and is usually in line with the year-on-year change to the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 0.5% in the preceding 12 months. These terms are clearly set out in your lease and our sales teams are on hand to explain the process to you.

Will I have to make any other regular payments with Home Stepper?

In addition to the rent you pay to Sage Homes, you will need to pay 100% of your household bills, including council tax and utility bills, as well as 100% of the costs of any maintenance fees and estate charges that are applicable to the home you choose.

Does Sage charge leasehold management fee?

An annual leasehold management fee will be payable directly to Sage along with your service charge, this is £195 per annum, which increases each year with inflation. The terms are clearly set out in your lease.

Does shared ownership mean sharing with another person?

The term “Shared Ownership” refers to the fact that you are acquiring a percentage share of the home, with Sage Homes owning the remaining percentage of the unacquired share. During the term of the lease you are able to live in the home as if you own it outright (subject to the terms of the lease). Whilst you are welcome to purchase a Countryside Home with another person, this is not a requirement of the Home Stepper Shared Ownership scheme. If you are purchasing the property with another person then your combined household income must not exceed £80,000 (£90,000 in London).

Will I need to arrange home insurance?

Sage Homes will provide buildings insurance and payment for insurance will be included within the service charges, your IFA will be able to tell you how much this will be. You will need to arrange your own contents insurance separately.

What happens if I want to sell my home in the future?

You will be able to sell your home at any time. You will need to firstly notify Sage Homes that you wish to sell the property, Sage Homes will then arrange an independent RICS valuation to establish the sale value of your home. The purchaser(s) will need to meet the Home Stepper eligibility criteria. Sage Homes then have 4 weeks from receipt of your intention to sell notice to nominate a purchaser(s) (Sage Homes nominee) so that other people can benefit from the scheme.

If a Sage Homes nominee cannot be found to purchase your home, or if one is found, but fails to exchange contracts with you within 12 weeks of your solicitor issuing the draft sale contract (and related sale documentation), you are then able to sell your home on the open market. If you do so, on completion of the sale you must repay to Sage Homes, the market value of the unacquired percentage share (the percentage share Sage Homes owned, prior to the sale).

You will also need to pay the fees of the process including the valuation, Sage’s fee of 1% of the full market price (to advertise the property for sale), legal fees and admin fees.

Will I need to pay stamp duty?

Yes, you will be required to pay stamp duty, this will be based on the percentage share of the home you are purchasing, subject to any allowances which may be offset against the Stamp Duty payable. Please ask your solicitor to calculate this for you.

Who is responsible for any repairs needed to my home?

All Shared Ownership customers that purchase a Countryside Home under the Home Stepper scheme are responsible for completing and/or paying for repair works that are not covered by the Countryside Homes two-year customer service warranty or the NHBC’s 10-year building warranty.

If your chosen home is sold with white goods such as a fridge and washing machine, each of these items will be covered by an individual guarantee which will be provided to you on legal completion.

Can I decorate my new Home Stepper home?

Yes, you can decorate your new home as you like. However, if you wish to make any significant alterations to your home, such as an extension, you will need to seek permission from Sage Homes/Countryside Homes and obtain any relevant planning permission. The precise terms of what alterations you can and cannot make to your home will be set out in the documentation provided.

Can I have pets in my new home?

Sage Homes as the provider of the Home Stepper scheme will need to provide consent for you to keep pets at the property and you will need to contact them directly.

Can I have a lodger or sublet my Home Stepper home?

Whereas most Shared Ownership leases do not allow you to fully sublet your home, Sage Homes will consider granting permission for you to take a lodger on a case-by-case basis, you would need to contact Sage directly in this regard.

Are there any additional administration fees?

Yes, it is usual for Landlords of leasehold properties to be notified of your mortgage lender as the lender will register a Legal Charge on the title to the property. Sage will need to approve your mortgage offer and there is a charge of £50 (+VAT) for this process. In addition, on legal completion Sage will need to be served a Notice of Charge (Notice of your mortgage lender) in accordance with the terms set out in the Shared Ownership lease, the Notice of Charge fee is £75 (+VAT). The solicitor acting for you in relation to your purchase of the property will include these fees in your completion statement and these will be payable on the day of completion. If you are buying your share without a mortgage then neither of these fees will apply.

Are homes bought with Home Stepper covered under the Consumer Code or NHQC?

Shared ownership properties are not covered under the Consumer Code or NHQC (New Homes Quality Code).

Start your search today

More ways we can help you move

Deposit Unlock

Did you know that if you’re a first time buyer or existing home owner, you could make your move now with just a 5% deposit using the new Deposit Unlock scheme?

Home Exchange

If you need a hand selling your current home, our Home Exchange scheme guarantees a buyer for your property.

Smooth Move

Take the stress out of selling with our Smooth Move scheme where we’ll help you sell your current home.

Introduce a Friend

Did you know that if you’re a first time buyer or existing home owner, you could make your move now with just a 5% deposit using the new Deposit Unlock scheme?

Deposit Unlock

Did you know that if you’re a first time buyer or existing home owner, you could make your move now with just a 5% deposit using the new Deposit Unlock scheme?

Home Exchange

If you need a hand selling your current home, our Home Exchange scheme guarantees a buyer for your property.

Smooth Move

Take the stress out of selling with our Smooth Move scheme where we’ll help you sell your current home.

Introduce a Friend

If you recommend a Countryside Home to a friend and they buy from us, we’ll give you £500* to say thank you.

Still haven't found what you're looking for?

§Home Stepper is available on selected new build homes only, subject to contract and eligibility criteria. Home Stepper is a new build shared ownership scheme brought to you by Sage Homes. The scheme is subject to individual mortgage lender qualification and affordability criteria as prescribed by Homes England. The scheme is subject to you first obtaining approval from Sage before reserving a new home from us. Eligibility for the scheme may be withdrawn at any time prior to reservation. Sage may also require evidence of your financial ability to proceed with the purchase of a new home from us. Shares from 10% up to 75% of the new home are available. Prices advertised can represent up to a 75% share of the new home. Rent will be charged at 2.75% of the unacquired equity share and is reviewed annually in line with the year-on-year change to RPI in the preceding 12 months plus additional 0.5% and an annual fee of £195, payable monthly. The property will be sold on a shared ownership leasehold basis with a term of 990 years and a buildings insurance contribution is also payable. You will also be liable to pay managing agent costs plus an administration fee payable to Sage. You will be an assured tenant with Sage Homes as the landlord until such time as you staircase to own 100% of the property. In addition, a mortgage approval fee of £60 and a notice of charge fee of £90 will be payable to Sage Homes on completion. More information on eligibility and affordability of using Home Stepper to purchase your new home can be found at www.sagehomes.co.uk. Home Stepper is also subject to the terms and conditions of Sage Homes. Home Stepper cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount, promotion or scheme. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other debt secured on it. Subject to individual lender terms and conditions. Our usual reservation and sales terms and conditions also apply. Please speak to one of our sales consultants for more details.

References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.

All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.