Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Help to Buy Scheme Experience- Putting the Wheels in Motion

The Help to Buy scheme (check out my other post in this category for predeceasing article) is a government scheme designed to allow a buyer to purchase a home with a 5% deposit & a 20% equity loan provided by the government. That being said, they outsource 99.9% of the work to local housing associations to deal with. The best way to start investigating whether this would be a viable option for you is to visit the Help to Buy website for your area. Mine was the South of England; http://www.helptobuysouth.co.uk. The website will direct you to all local housing developments that support the Help to Buy scheme and will also give you a breakdown of what sort of properties are available at each location. Unfortunately, absolutely none of this existed when I applied. I was directed to Catalyst Housing (http://www.chg.org.uk/) who were, to summarise, absolutely shite. They never answered an email, would direct me to endless voicemail boxes & I'm not actually sure whether the end goal was to sell houses or just piss people off. Things have improved dramatically in the past 18 months and Catalyst are not actually representing the scheme anymore. YAY. There is also a lot more help available directly from the government than there was last year. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/help-to-buy-equity-loan-guidance-and-application-forms for some guides and FAQs.

The next step for the buyer is to visit a few housing developments and start looking at properties. This is the absolute best bit, especially if you get to wear those little plastic shoe condoms. Savour the showroom experiences but take note of any small details. Is the grout in the bathroom sealed properly? Is the boiler smack-bang in the middle of the kitchen wall instead of tucked away? Are there 3 bathrooms in a 2 bedroom house when you would rather another small bedroom? Make some notes, take some photos, grab an irresponsible number of brochures and then take a month out to seriously think about what you want, away from all of the glittering uplights and "Sally" from Sales...
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