There are a number of schemes you can use to help you buy a home.
You could get a:
- Help to Buy ISA
- Lifetime ISA
- Help to Buy Equity Loan
- Shared Ownership home
Buying your first home can be one of the most stressful events in your life. Our national team of Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors can talk to you about the timescales, rules, and procedures involved in using the Help to Buy Schemes. And give you options if you need help to buy a home but you are not a first time buyer.
Help to Buy ISA
The Help to Buy ISA Scheme is now closed.
But if you opened an account before 30th November 2019 you can still save into your Help to Buy ISA until 2029. And you can claim the 25% Government bonus until 1st December 2030.
The Help to Buy ISA Scheme was designed to help first time buyers fund a deposit to buy their first home. If you didn’t open a Help to Buy ISA before the scheme ended, don’t worry. It’s been replaced with the Lifetime ISA, which has similar benefits, or there are more Help to Buy options below.
Can I still use my Help to Buy ISA?
Yes, but you must follow the requirements for the Help to Buy ISA Scheme to get the 25% government bonus on top of your savings. The requirements are:
- You’re a first time buyer and have never owned or had an interest in a property before
- You’re over 16 years old
- The property costs less than £250,000 (£450,000 in London)
- The property will be used as your primary residence (the government appreciates your circumstances may change in the future and you may need to rent the property, for example if your job changes)
- You buy the property with a mortgage
- You ask your Conveyancer to claim the government bonus for you before 1 December 2030
How Can I Use the Bonus?
The government bonus is paid once the transaction is confirmed. This is usually after exchange of contracts and before completion.
The bonus will be 25% of the closing balance of your Help to Buy ISA. It’s important to remember that there’s a cap on the bonus no matter how much you’ve saved. The minimum bonus is £400 and the maximum is £3000.
It’s important to remember that you cannot use the bonus towards your deposit, but you can use it against the value of the property. This means that it will reduce the amount you will have to borrow on your mortgage.
Understand the Deadlines
Your Conveyancing Solicitor has 12 months from the closing of your ISA account to claim the bonus payment for you. It can take up to 5 business days for the bonus application request to be processed and funds transferred.
Get advice from your Conveyancer about how long it will take to claim back your bonus, and make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Always check with your Conveyancer if you’re not sure as we can reassure you so you know the deadlines.
Lifetime ISAs were designed to help you buy a home or save for retirement. You can open a Lifetime ISA if you are over 18 but under 50.
A Lifetime ISA is similar to a Help to Buy ISA in that it can offer you the same 25% state bonus on your savings towards buying a home. If you didn’t manage to open a Help to Buy ISA before the deadline, don’t worry. A Lifetime ISA might even work better for you.
You can save up to £4,000 in your Lifetime ISA per month, and the government will add a 25% bonus each year on up to £1,000 of your savings.
Many people favour the Lifetime ISA over the Help to Buy ISA as the government add in 25% each year so you receive a larger interest on the savings you make over time.
Buying a Home with a Lifetime ISA
You can use your savings and the 25% government bonus to buy a home if:
- The property costs less than £450,000
- You buy the property over 12 months after opening your Lifetime ISA
- You buy the property with a mortgage
Help to Buy Equity Loan
You don’t have to be a first time buyer to apply for a Help to Buy Equity Loan.
This is a low interest loan that you can use to help towards your mortgage deposit if you’re buying a home in England (the scheme varies in Scotland and Wales). It can only be used to buy a new build of up to £600,000 that will be used as your primary place of residence.
This loan might work well for you if you are on a lower income. You’ll only have to pay 5% on your deposit and the government will pay 20% of your mortgage (40% in London).
So if you buy a house that costs £200,000, you’ll pay £10,000 towards your deposit and the government will pay £40,000 towards your mortgage.
You won’t have to pay any equity loan fees for the first 5 years. And then you will pay back 1.75% of the equity loan for the sixth year, with an additional 1% added on each year.
If you sell the property you’ll have to pay 20% of the sale value back, which could be more than the original loan. But this could be a better option if you are currently on a lower income but hope to pay more towards your mortgage in the future.
In England, you can buy a share of your home and pay rent on the rest. Your share could be anywhere between 25% and 75%. You can opt for Shared Ownership if:
- Your household earns less than £80,000 (£90,000 in London)
- You’re a first time buyer, or;
- You used to own a home but now you can’t afford to buy one
- You’re already a Shared Owner
Paying a mortgage on the percentage that you own, alongside rent for the rest could be a cheaper option for you if you can’t afford to buy a home.
For this scheme you’ll need to contact your local Help to Buy Agent.
Why Choose Simpson Millar?
If you’re using a Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA, you’ll need to use a Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor to access your ISA bonus. So it’s important you choose the right one for you.
At Simpson Millar we are proud to be registered with the Help to Buy Scheme. We have helped and supported many first time buyers get their government bonus from their Help to Buy ISAs, and move into their first home, whilst also supporting others to access the Help to Buy schemes.
Our expert team of Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors are there to make the purchase process as quick and stress free as possible. We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different and we pride ourselves on our ability to tailor our friendly service to your individual situation.
Our Conveyancing fees are transparent and we will always be open and honest with you about the entire Conveyancing process and the fees involved.
Our Free, Fixed Fee Conveyancing Quote is always accurate and includes all the costs involved in the buying a home – including Stamp Duty. And with our No Sale, No Fee guarantee, if you don’t exchange and complete on your property, we won’t charge you for any legal fees up until that point.
Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Southport.