Legal Eagle Column: Want to get on the housing ladder but need some help?

Kelly Loft, a Senior Conveyancer at Neves Solicitors, explains the Help to Buy ISA.

The Help to Buy ISA is only available to first time buyers purchasing a property with the assistance of a mortgage that they will live in.

The purchase price of the property must be £250,000 or less outside of London and a maximum of £450,000 in London.

For a shared ownership property the price cap applies either to the full 100% sale price of the property or on the price paid being for the share plus a calculation on the rent payable for the unowned share.

To qualify you must confirm to your conveyancer you do not own, and have never owned, a home anywhere in the UK or the world.

What if my partner has already owned a home but I haven’t?

You can still apply for a Help to Buy ISA, however, they will not be eligible.

Is there a limit to what the Government will contribute and a minimum amount I need to save?

Once an account has been opened, you can deposit a maximum of £200 per month into the account. The Government will then ‘top up’ your savings by 25%.

The maximum Government contribution is £3,000, which means that you will need to have saved £12,000 over a five year period to be eligible for the full bonus amount available.

The minimum contribution is £400, meaning that £1,600 must be saved to be eligible to receive any bonus funds under the scheme.

You can apply at any point prior to December 2019 and you are only allowed a single account from a single provider.

What can the ISA bonus monies to be used for?

The bonus cannot be used for or towards the deposit payable on exchange of contracts, payment of solicitors’ fees, estate agents’ fees or any other indirect costs associated with buying a home.

How do I claim my Help to Buy ISA Bonus?

You are not able to request the bonus contribution yourself. Once you have decided to purchase a property using your Help to Buy ISA savings, the next stage would be to instruct a conveyancer to act for you.

A conveyancer is only entitled to charge an additional fee of £50 plus VAT for the work involved in the bonus application.

Although many solicitors will be on the panel of Help to Buy ISA it is worth checking your conveyancer is also registered with ‘Lender Exchange’.

If they are not registered with the Lender Exchange the processing time for the release of funds increases and there may be significant delays.

Here at Neves Solicitors, we are registered to administer the scheme on your behalf with Lender Exchange, meaning it usually only takes 5 working days to obtain your bonus monies.

Call Neves Solicitors on 01908 304560

This feature was published in the March 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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