Q. What is Help to Buy?
Help to Buy is the umbrella terms for all homeownership schemes, such as Shared Ownership, Help to Buy Equity Loan and Intermediate Rent. It was formerly known as HomeBuy.
Q. Do I Qualify?
Help to Buy Shared Ownership
You should be able to say YES to ALL of the following statements.
Help to Buy Equity Loan
You should be able to answer YES to ALL of the following statements
Q. Why can't I find any properties in the area I'm looking for on your website?
Help to Buy South West cover the following areas:
If you are looking for properties in any other areas, you will need to contact the local Help to Buy Agency covering that area. For a list of all local Help to Buy Agencies in England click here.
Q. How do I apply?
Help to Buy Shared Ownership:
Help to Buy Shared Equity:
You will need to download a Property Information Form (PIF). This can be done here, alternatively please contact us on 0300 100 0021 and we will be happy to send you out a paper version. Once you have identified a property you would like to purchase you will need to take the property information form along to the sales office for the developer to complete.
Q. I already own my own home – would I be eligible for Help to Buy?
Help to Buy Shared Ownership schemes are aimed at first time buyers so existing homeowners are not normally eligible. If you currently own your own home but have a housing need which means you need assistance to buy a property suitable for your needs you should detail these needs fully on your application form to us. We may then ask you to obtain a nomination form from your Local Authority, confirming your housing needs and on receipt of this nomination, you may be classed as eligible. You will need to sell your existing property although you may be able to do this simultaneously with buying a new property. This applies to properties both in the UK and abroad.
If you are currently a Shared Owner and would like to move into another Shared Ownership proeprty, we would require confirmation from your current Housing Association that they have approved an applicant for the purchase of your property
The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is available to both first time buyers and existing homeowners. If you already own your own home and want to buy through this scheme, you will not need a nomination from your Local Authority but you will still need to sell your existing property by the time you complete on your home.
Q. Help to Buy properties aren't council houses, so why do I have to register with my local authority/council?
Generally, for Shared Ownership you only need to register with us as the Help to Buy agent for the South West in your area, but there are some cases where you might have to register with your local authority too. For instance, sometimes it is a planning condition of a development that local people take priority. It is always best to check with the Housing Association before making an application to a local authority/council.
Q. What if I need help completing the application form?
You can call us on 0300 100 0021 between 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday.
Q. If you do not accept my application, can I appeal?
Yes. We will reconsider all applications. This is especially the case if any of the circumstances within your application have changed.
Q. Do I have to live in a local authority or housing association property before I can apply?
No, all buyers may apply. You will be a higher priority if you are a serving member of the British Armed Forces, have been honourably discharged in the last 2 years.
Q. I'm a nurse – are there any schemes specifically for keyworkers like me?
There are no longer any key worker specific Help to Buy Schemes in the areas covered by the Help to Buy South West Agency. However, key workers are encouraged to apply for the homeownership schemes available including Help to Buy – shared ownership and Help to Buy Equity Loan.
Q. I've submitted my application for Shared Ownership, when can I start looking for a property?
Once you have completed an application form and have been accepted on to our register you can start searching for your new home. You will not be offered a property; instead, you should select a home and request a viewing with the Housing Association or Developer. You will find their contact details in each property listing on this website
Q. Can I choose to buy a home on the open market and then get help through Help to Buy?
You can only buy either a shared ownership property, which may be brand new or a re-sale property, or a newly built property under the Help to Buy – Equity Loan scheme. You can use our Property Search to look for properties available or coming soon in the areas where you want to buy.
The government have launched the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme which will give assistance to those starting out on, and moving up, the housing ladder. This will be available on homes for sale on the open market, as well as new properties. For the latest information click on this link www.helptobuy.gov.uk
Q. I can afford the monthly costs involved in home ownership but I haven't got a deposit. Am I still able to apply?
Buying a home is expensive you will need to cover costs such as legal fees, mortgage valuation, home survey and stamp duty. You will also need a deposit to secure a mortgage. Unfortunately, we cannot accept your application if you do not have access to funds as you will need to cover these costs.
Q. I don't know anything about mortgages and I'm not sure if I could afford one. Can you advise me?
Whilst we can't give you advice on financial matters, we do have a panel of Independent Financial Advisors who may be able to help you.
Q. I'm thinking of buying a property under the Help to Buy Shared Ownership scheme. If I buy a share in one of these properties, who is responsible for the repairs and upkeep?
As the homeowner you are responsible. This will be detailed in the terms of your lease.
Q. I've seen a property on your website that I'm interested in but it says it is a Re-Sale property – what does this mean?
Re-sale properties are ones which were bought on a shared ownership basis when new and the current owner is now selling. You can purchase this property from the current owner, on a shared ownership basis if you are eligible.
Q. I bought a 50% share in a Shared Ownership property a while ago and I now would like to buy more shares in my home – can I do this?
Yes – this is called Staircasing. More information is given on our staircasing page.
Q. I bought my home through one of the old equity loan schemes (HomeBuy Direct/FirstBuy). When do I have to start paying fees on the equity loan?
For HomeBuy Direct and FirstBuy fees on your Equity Loan kick in 6 years after you bought your home. Fees for properties bought under the First Time Buyer's Initiative kick in after 3 years. You should receive an annual statement from the National Help to Buy Agents, which will tell you when your first payments are due and how much they will be. For more information please contact them directly at www.myfirsthome.org.uk
Q. I bought a property through an Equity Loan scheme and now want to move. What do I have to do to pay back the Equity Loan?
You will need to contact the National Help to Buy Agent (www.myfirsthome.org.uk) and they will be able to advise you on what you need to do.
Q. I am self-employed – can I still apply for Help to Buy schemes?
Yes, but in order to get a mortgage, lenders usually require you to produce 3 year's accounts from your business. For more advice, you might want to talk to an Independent Financial Advisor.