Help to Buy Solicitors

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Help to Buy Solicitors

If you are considering making use of the government’s Help to Buy scheme to purchase a house or flat, you will need to seek legal advice from a solicitor with extensive knowledge on the initiative.

At JMW, our expert real estate residential solicitors will advise you on your options, giving you clear advice and guidance that will help you come to the right decision.

For advice and assistance from our Help to Buy solicitors relating to all aspects of the scheme, call 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

What is Help to Buy Conveyancing?

The government’s Help to Buy scheme offers Britons the chance to buy a property with a deposit as low as 5% and is designed to help buyers who may otherwise not be able to afford to own their own home. There are a variety of options, each available to certain people and with their own advantages. These include:

  • Help to Buy: ISA - for first-time buyers in the UK. This option has been discontinued, but those who still have a Help to Buy ISA may still require legal advice
  • Shared Ownership - for owning a share of a home
  • Equity Loan - for brand new homes in England
  • London Help to Buy - for brand new homes in London

For more information about the Help to Buy scheme and the options available to you, visit the government website.

Discuss all of the affordable housing options available, as well as their pros, cons, costs, legal implications, and help to buy solicitor fees with our Help to Buy solicitors. London and Manchester-based buyers will have easy access to our main offices, but we also operate across the whole country and can effectively assist you wherever you are located.

How does Help to Buy work?

Help to Buy works differently depending on what scheme you use.

Help to Buy: Equity Loan

The 2013-2021 Help to Buy: Equity Loan programme is no longer accepting new applications. On 16th December 2020, new applicants were welcome to apply for the new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme (2021-2023).

The government contributes up to 20% (or up to 40% in London) of the cost of a new construction home under the Help to Buy: Equity Loan programme. A minimum 5% down payment in cash is required, and the remaining balance must be financed with a mortgage. For the first five years, there are no interest or expenses associated with the equity loan.

The government will get back the same amount it invested when you eventually decide to sell.

What is the difference between the 2013-2021 scheme and the 2021-2023 scheme?

The key distinction between the two schemes is that the new programme has geographical restrictions on the highest property price you may purchase with an equity loan.

For instance, the maximum price for a home in London is £600,000, whereas the maximum price for a home in North East England is £186,100.

Who is eligible?

You and any person who you buy the property with must be a first-time buyer purchasing a new build home in England.

Help to Buy ISA

This scheme is now closed to new accounts. If you opened a Help to Buy ISA before 30th November 2019, you can continue saving until November 2029.

The Help to Buy ISA is a savings account that you are able to use specifically to buy a new build property. The government will add to your savings by 25% up to a maximum of £3,000. The maximum amount that you can put in this account per month is £200.

Who is eligible?

You can only use a Help to Buy ISA now if you opened one prior to 30th November 2019. To have been eligible to open a Help to Buy ISA, you must have:

  • Been a first-time buyer who does not own any property anywhere in the world
  • Been aged 16 or over
  • Been purchasing a property worth £250,000 (or £450,000 in London)
  • Not have had another active cash ISA in the same tax year

When do you receive the Help to Buy bonus?

When you are close to purchasing your house, your conveyancing solicitor will make an application for funding. The funds will be applied to the completion funds as soon as they are received from the government. The incentive cannot be used to increase your deposit or to cover any other expenses, such as the price of hiring a third party to conduct research for you.

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership gives you the option to buy between 25% and 75% of a newly constructed home and pay rent on the remaining portion if you are unable to afford a mortgage on the entire property. Later on, you can purchase more shares (a process known as "staircasing").

Who is eligible?

Shared Ownership is a way for you to purchase a home in England if:

  • Your household's annual income is £80,000 or less (or £90,000 in London)
  • You are a first-time buyer, you are a house buyer who can no longer afford it, or you are a current shared owner who wants to relocate
  • You want to purchase a brand-new building

If you are elderly or have a disability, there are dedicated Shared Ownership schemes you can use to help you buy housing that suits your needs.

What is the process of buying a house with Help to Buy?

A set procedure must be followed in order to use Help to Buy to purchase a home:

  1. Check your eligibility; to be eligible for Help to Buy, you must be a first-time buyer, have a least 5% deposit toward the purchase of the property, own no other properties, have no past-due loans, and be a first-time buyer.
  2. Locate an approved property; only a select few properties will qualify for Help to Buy; therefore, be sure to choose a developer who is registered with the programme.
  3. Obtain your "Authority to Proceed" by applying to a government-appointed Help to Buy agent, who will assist you in filling out the Help to Buy Property Information Form, after you have identified a property and paid your reservation fee.
  4. Get a Help to Buy mortgage; there are now only 15 mortgage companies in the nation that offer these loans. You have the option of applying directly to these lenders or via a mortgage broker.
  5. Consult a solicitor; it is a good idea to have a Help to Buy solicitor assist you from the beginning, but once you have secured a mortgage, you will need one to handle the conveyancing work. The Help to Buy conveyancing procedure is identical to standard conveyancing, with the exception that the solicitor must handle the unique requirements associated with the programme. It is crucial to select knowledgeable Help to Buy solicitors for this sort of conveyancing because it calls for meticulous attention to detail.
  6. Examine draft contracts; your solicitor will examine a draught contract provided by the seller and raise or resolve any legal concerns.
  7. You are obligated to purchase the property under exchange contracts. Before the contracts can be exchanged, you must pay a 10% deposit, and your Help to Buy solicitor must receive an "Authority to Exchange”.
  8. After the developer gives you two weeks' notice to prepare for completion, the property is yours once you pick up the keys.

How long does the Help to Buy conveyancing process take?

The time it takes for your home purchase to be finished can vary once you have gotten a mortgage and hired a solicitor to handle the conveyancing. This variation is based on certain elements, such as:

  • The time needed to finish a final draft of the exchange contracts
  • The three to five working days it takes to get your authority to exchange so you can trade contracts
  • The amount of time it takes to build a property (the developer should give you an idea of when this will be)
  • The 12 days it takes for Help to Buy funds to be released to the developer

Standard mortgage offers last between three and six months, so it is important to make sure your mortgage does not expire before the purchase is final.

Restrictions of the Help to Buy Scheme

There are a number of restrictions that may prevent you from applying for a Help to Buy scheme. The first is that the property you wish to buy must be for your own use (i.e. you cannot sublet it to someone else), while your mortgage must include repayments and not just be interest only. Other examples of restricted mortgages include offset and guarantor.

For those moving house, the only property you should own is the home you will be selling at the same time as buying. Also, your deposit cannot be paid by a government scheme. If you need advice on any aspect of the scheme, contact our Help to Buy conveyancing solicitors today and we will do our best to provide the information you need.

Why Choose JMW?

The real estate residential team at JMW has years of experience in all property matters and regularly keeps up to date with the latest changes to government legislation. Our Help to Buy solicitors are knowledgeable on all areas related to the scheme and can help you decide the best option for you and your family by providing no-nonsense advice and guidance.

When you contact us, you will be able to discuss your situation with an expert property solicitor. Help to Buy schemes can involve complex processes, but can also be very useful for those looking to purchase property. We can help you through the application process, ensuring the transaction is as smooth as possible by assisting with Land Registry and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) returns. We will be able to explain the process to you in easy-to-understand terms, and outline everything you will need to do to be successful.

FAQs About Help to Buy

Who provides the loan contribution for Help to Buy?

Homes England, a government organisation supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, offers the equity loan.

On 11th January 2018, the Secretary of State announced the launch of Homes England.

The Homes and Communities Agency's trade name is Homes England. The lender for all Help to Buy: Equity Loans is Homes and Communities Agency.

Homes England has a right to a portion of the future sales earnings of your property equivalent to the percentage contribution borrowed as compensation for giving you the equity loan.

Is Help to Buy: Equity Loan just on new-builds?

Only new-build home purchases made through a developer registered with Homes England to provide the programme are eligible for a Help to Buy: Equity Loan.

Can I sublet a home purchased through Help to Buy: Equity Loan?

You can climb the housing ladder with the aid of a Help to Buy: Equity Loan. It must be your sole residence up until your equity loan is paid off. As long as you continue to reside in the property, you could still be eligible to rent out a room.

Subletting is permitted in several unusual conditions.

Talk to Us

Get in touch with the expert Help to Buy scheme solicitors at JMW today for advice. Call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back as soon as possible.