The help to buy process

  1. Confirm you are eligible for a help to buy scheme
  2. Find an eligible help to buy property
  3. Get an authority to proceed from the local help to buy agent
  4. Get your help to buy mortgage
  5. Instruct a conveyancer
  6. Complete on your help to buy purchase

Confirm you are eligible for a help to buy scheme

The first step in your help to buy process should be to check if you are eligible for a help to buy scheme. You can do this through a government scheme eligibility calculator.

To be eligible for the governments help to buy scheme you will likely have to meet these requirements:

  • You need a minimum of 5% for your mortgage deposit

  • You cannot purchase a buy to let property

  • You cannot rent out any part of the help to buy property

  • Your property cannot be more than £600,000

  • You must be a first-time buyer or a home mover with no other property in the world.

  • You cannot have any overdue payments on any loans, any county court judgments (CCJs) against you for more than £500 nor can you have a bankruptcy on your credit file within the last 3 years.

  • You can only use a standard repayment mortgage, you won’t be able to use any unique type of mortgage such as a guarantor mortgage or offset mortgage.

  • You cannot use any other Government schemes with your help to buy scheme aside from a help to buy ISA.

Find an eligible help to buy property

You can find an eligible help to buy property by searching on Zoopla or right move but not every property which meets the criteria of help to buy properties may be available as they may already have buyers who have paid a deposit and registered their interest in the property or the developer may not be registered with the help to buy agency. Most eligible properties will have the help to buy logo next to them.

You can crosscheck by contacting the developer to ensure the property is eligible and available for sale.

Your new build property can either be:

Built and ready for you to move into or

Not yet built (also known as buying off plan -the property is yet to be built). This sort of property may become troublesome when getting a mortgage as it will be hard to value if the build isn’t completed yet.

Once you have found a property which is eligible and available you can then put a deposit down. This could be between £100 and £1000 depending on the property developer. You must check to ensure your deposit is refundable.

If it isn’t refundable then you must be reasonably comfortable you are going to get a mortgage. In some cases, the property developer will put a timeline on how long they will hold the property for you and if you don’t get a mortgage in their timeframe you may lose your reservation on the property and your deposit if it isn’t refundable.

Once you have found a property that is eligible and paid your deposit you can then apply to the help to buy agent for an authority to proceed. You won’t be able to get a help to buy mortgage without an authority to proceed. The developer’s solicitors will also not waste their time by issuing any contracts for the sale without an authority to proceed from the help to buy agent.

The help to buy agent will ask you for your details to access your eligibility. This includes:

  • Your bank statements
  • Your credit file
  • Your proof of mortgage deposit
  • The details of all applicants
  • Proof of earnings from all applicants.

After about 4 working days your help to buy agent will either inform you that they will be giving you an authority to proceed or not.

Get your help to buy mortgage

At this stage, you would hopefully have already spoken to a help to buy mortgage broker to assess your eligibility for a mortgage. You can then go back to the help to buy mortgage broker and ask them to process a help to buy mortgage application for you.

Your help buy mortgage broker will source the mortgage market to find the best help to buy mortgage which suits your needs.

Once you get a help to buy mortgage offer from a mortgage lender you will then need to go back to your help to by agent to request an authority to exchange

To provide an authority to exchange your help to buy agent will need to see:

  • Your mortgage offer
  • Your home valuation report (your mortgage lender may provide this to you or you may need to order a home valuation yourself)
  • Council for mortgage lenders form

You won’t be able able to exchange contracts without the authority to exchange.

Instruct a conveyancer & complete on your home purchase

You conveyancer will deal with paying stamp duty, carrying out searches on the property and exchanging contracts with the seller.

You will likely have contracted a conveyancer once you got a mortgage offer from the mortgage lender.

The local help to buy agent will issue a “confirmation to developer” to the help to buy developer letting them know that they can go ahead and exchange contracts. Once this is done your solicitor will set a date with the help to buy developers solicitor and then you can move into your new home.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.