Help for First-Time Homebuyers

Getting that first foot on the property ladder is tough, and things don’t look set to get much easier. But don’t despair! Help exists via a mix of government-assisted saving and buying schemes, as well as various other options.

Getting that first foot on the property ladder is tough, and things don’t look set to get much easier. But don’t despair! Help exists via a mix of government-assisted saving and buying schemes, as well as various other options.

Government-assisted schemes

The government offers a range of help to first-time homebuyers entering the property market. These can be loosely grouped under buying schemes and saving schemes.

Buying schemes include:

  • The Help to Buy equity scheme, where you borrow up to 20% of the cost of a newly build home (interest-free for the first five years), so all you need is a 5% deposit and 75% mortgage.
  • Right to Buy, which allows most council tenants to buy their council house at a discount.
  • Shared Ownership allows those who can’t quite afford 100% of their homes to buy a portion of the property, usually 25%-75% of the home’s value, and pay rent on the rest.
  • Starter Homes are an upcoming initiative whereby first-time buyers can get a 20% discount on newly-built homes.

Savings schemes include:

  • Help to Buy ISAs are savings accounts in which your savings are boosted by 25% (up to a total of £3,000) to go towards buying a new home.
  • Lifetime ISAs help you save for a home by topping up your savings by 25% (up to a maximum of £1,000 per year) and you can deposit up to £4,000 every year until you’re 50.

Non-government-assisted schemes

There are a number of other options available for those seeking help getting on the property ladder, and some of them can be taken alongside certain government schemes.

Joint mortgages, for example, let you combine more than one person’s income and savings to go towards a mortgage. This can unlock a larger mortgage with a bigger deposit, with everyone owning an equal or part-share of the house.

Guarantor mortgages allow someone else, usually a parent or close family member, to serve as a guarantor. This means that while their names aren’t on the mortgage, they agree to cover any missed payments.

We’ve got more about help to get on the property ladder in our homebuyer’s guide.

You might want to seek independent advice on how these different forms of assistance could interact with one another before applying for any of them.

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Getting a mortgage

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