How long does help to buy application take?

How long does the help to buy application process take?

A help to buy application takes a bit longer than a typical mortgage application due to the fact that you have to consult and wait on your local help to buy agency.

It should take on average 6 weeks for the whole help to buy application process to completion of your help to buy home.

How long does Help to Buy equity loan application take?

The Help to buy equity loan application will also take on average 6 weeks to complete.

The Help to buy application process is summarised below:

Confirm you are eligible for a help to buy scheme:

This is relatively simple, all you need to do is check your eligibility with a government scheme eligibility calculator and then confirm this by consulting your local help to buy agency. The help to buy agency will require you to fill a property information form when assessing your eligibility.

They will usually get back to you within 4 working days

Find an eligible help to buy property:

This all depends on the availability of eligible help to buy properties in your region. Remember to take into the price caps in London (£600,000) and outside London (£450,000).

An authority to proceed is given once the local help to buy agent has evaluated your affordability and eligibility for the help to buy scheme. The authority to proceed will be valid for 3 months.

Get your help to buy mortgage

Getting a help to buy mortgage could take up to 2 weeks depending on how fast your help to buy mortgage lender and help to buy mortgage broker work.

Complete on your help to buy purchase

Your conveyancer would have been working away in the background to ensure the sale process is going on smoothly.

The majority of help to buy house builders aim to exchange contracts within one month of you making a reservation by way of paying your deposit to the help to buy home builder.

Tip: The purchase of your help to buy property must complete within 6 months of exchanging contracts and you must complete the whole process within 9 months of you making an application to the help to buy agency by way of the property information form.

Alternative Government schemes to the Help to buy scheme

Government schemes help you reduce the amount of mortgage deposit you may need to put down, reduce the price of the property or create a structure that increases your mortgage affordability much sooner than it would have been.

Some of these include first-time buyer government schemes whilst others in this list are accessible to you even if you are not a first-time buyer.

Government schemes are not available to you if you are getting a buy to let mortgage.

The Government schemes include:

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save a maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Shared ownership– You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy– similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy– This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy– allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy– same as above.
  • Right to acquire– similar to the above.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to take advantage of home buying schemes provided by your local council. Example: In Norwich, the local councils provide the Norwich home options scheme.


Use a mortgage broker for your mortgage in principle

You may want to use an independent mortgage broker to help you get a mortgage on your new home.

Mortgage brokers are important as they can access mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases.

This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages rather than going directly to a mortgage lender.

A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which mortgage products may be suitable for you based on your mortgage affordability.

After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle

This will allow you to shop for your home as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously and it will also give you confidence that your mortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. 

Once you have found a home you want to buy and are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your mortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.

This will come with a key facts illustration document that details the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month.

It will also contain information on if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.

If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your mortgage with the help of a conveyancer.

Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it.

They will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer, and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.

This will then bring an end to the conveyancing process, at which point you will receive the keys to the house and move in.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.