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Help to buy

Government has created the Help to Buy schemes including Help to Buy: Shared Ownership and Help to Buy: Equity Loan to help hard-working people like you to take steps to buy your own home. The Help to Buy: ISA pays first-time buyers a government bonus. For example, save £200 a month and they’ll add £50, up to a maximum of £3,000, boosting your ISA savings of £12,000 to £15,000. It's not very often you can get free money but if you are in a position to save for your mortgage, it's a great opportunity to top it up.

Help To Buy

Shared ownership

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership is great opportunity for anyone who wants to get a foot on the property ladder but can’t afford to buy a home outright on the open market.

The scheme gives you the chance to buy a share in a brand new leasehold property (either a house or an apartment) on a part buy/part rent basis.

You buy a share of between 25% and 75% of a home from a registered provider, usually a housing association. You then pay a subsidised monthly rent to the housing association for the remaining share. 

It’s not just new properties that are available to buy under Shared Ownership. From time to time, older properties can become available for resale.

To qualify for Help to Buy Shared Ownership, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Can’t afford to buy a home on the open market

  • Have a household income of less than £80,000 per year.

  • Applicants are primarily expected to be first time buyers, although applicants who currently own or have previously owned a property may be considered for the scheme.

  • Are at least 18 years of age.

  • Have a good credit rating.

  • Have at least £1,500 savings to cover one-off costs involved in buying your new home such as solicitor costs. This does not include any mortgage deposits, developer reservation fees or stamp duty (if applicable). Most schemes will require you to have a deposit of at least 5% of the share you are buying.

Equity loan

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is open to both first time buyers and existing homeowners. 

This scheme may be for you if:

  • You’re buying your first home and are finding it difficult to save for that ‘big’ deposit.
  • You’re looking to move to your next property but need help to get you onto the next rung of the ladder.

The scheme helps you to buy a newly-built home with an equity loan of up to 20% of the full price of the property. You won’t have to pay any interest charges on this loan for the first five years and you own 100% of your own home from the start.

You will need a minimum 5% deposit, along with a 75% mortgage, but you can put in a higher deposit to reduce your mortgage if you wish.  The minimum mortgage level acceptable for this scheme is 25% of the full purchase price. 

Help To Buy ISA

If you are saving to buy your first home, save money into a Help to Buy: ISA and the Government will boost your savings by 25%. So, for every £200 you save, receive a government bonus of £50. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000 and is available from a range of banks, building societies and credit unions.

The accounts are available to each first time buyer, not each household. This means that if you are planning to buy with your partner, for example, you could receive a government bonus of up to £6,000 towards your first home.

Save: save up to £200 a month into your Help to Buy: ISA. To kickstart your account, in your first month, you can deposit a lump sum of up to £1,200.

The minimum government bonus is £400, meaning that you need to have saved at least £1,600 into your Help to Buy: ISA before you can claim your bonus. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000 – to receive that, you need to have saved £12,000.

Receive bonus: when you are close to buying your first home, you will need to instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to apply for your government bonus. Once they receive the government bonus, it will be added to the money you are putting towards your first home. The bonus must be included with the funds consolidated at the completion of the property transaction. The bonus cannot be used for the deposit due at the exchange of contracts, to pay for solicitor’s, estate agent’s fees or any other indirect costs associated with buying a home.

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