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27th November 2023

How to Navigate Help to Buy Conveyancing in 5 Simple Steps

Introduction to Help to Buy Conveyancing

A homeowner checking the Help to Buy scheme - help to buy conveyancing

Entering the property market for the first time can be as exciting as it is daunting. But don’t worry, we at ‘My Conveyancing Specialist’ are here to guide you through every step. You might have come across the term ‘help to buy conveyancing’ in your research and wondered what it’s all about. Let’s break it down in simple language.

Help to Buy Conveyancing is all about assisting first-time buyers in stepping onto the property ladder, courtesy of the UK government’s initiatives, known as Help to Buy schemes. These schemes are a lifesaver for many who can’t afford to buy a property without some assistance. The scheme allows eligible buyers to secure a property with a deposit as low as 5%.

This is where ‘conveyancing’ comes into play. In its simplest terms, conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. Now, when layered with the Help to Buy scheme, the conveyancing process becomes a bit more complex. This is why you need a specially trained professional — a conveyancing solicitor — to guide you through it.

In essence, a solicitor for help to buy conveyancing stands as your advocate, ensuring the process runs smoothly and all the paperwork and legalities are correctly done. This will not only save you from potential pitfalls and legal issues down the line, but it will also provide peace of mind throughout the buying process.

Help to Buy Conveyancing at a glance:

  • It’s part of the UK government’s Help to Buy schemes
  • Enables first-time buyers to secure a property with a low deposit
  • Involves a nuanced legal process, necessitating a conveyancing solicitor
  • A conveyancing solicitor safeguards buyers from potential issues and gives peace of mind

An infographic illustrating the help to buy conveyancing process - help to buy conveyancing infographic pillar-4-steps

If you’re a first-time buyer seeking some help to step onto the property ladder, you’ve landed at the right place! In this guide, we’ll navigate you through Help to Buy Conveyancing in 5 simple steps. Stick with us, and let’s jump right into it!

Step 1: Understanding Different Help to Buy Options

As part of the help to buy conveyancing process, it’s essential to understand the different Help to Buy schemes available. The government has provided several options to assist first time buyers and existing homeowners, each tailored to address specific needs and circumstances.

Help to Buy for First-Time Buyers

The Help to Buy schemes are primarily aimed at first-time buyers who are struggling to gather a substantial deposit. The main scheme here is the Help to Buy: Equity Loan, where the government provides a loan of up to 20% (or 40% in London) of the home’s cost, meaning you only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest.

Shared Ownership

The Help to Buy: Shared Ownership scheme allows you to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. Later, you could buy bigger shares when you can afford to, making it a flexible option for those who can’t afford to buy a house outright.

Equity Loan for New Homes in England

The Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2021-2023) scheme is available to first-time buyers in England. The scheme allows you to borrow a minimum of 5% and up to a maximum of 20% (40% in London) of the full purchase price of a new-build home.

Help to Buy New Homes in London

For buyers in London, the government has introduced a higher loan limit of up to 40% of the property price, recognizing the higher property costs in the capital.

Remember, each of these Help to Buy options has specific criteria and rules, so it’s essential to understand each one thoroughly. At My Conveyancing Specialist, we’re here to help you navigate these options and provide clear, practical advice to guide you through the help to buy conveyancing process.

In the next step, we’ll look at how to check your eligibility for these schemes. Stay tuned!

Step 2: Checking Your Eligibility for Help to Buy Schemes

With a good grasp of the different Help to Buy options available, the next step in your journey to successful help to buy conveyancing involves checking your eligibility for these schemes.

Eligibility Criteria for Each Help to Buy Option

Each Help to Buy scheme has its own set of criteria that you must meet to benefit.

Help to Buy for First-Time Buyers: This scheme is specifically designed to assist those who haven’t owned a property before.

Shared Ownership: You are eligible for the Shared Ownership Help to Buy scheme if your household earns £80,000 per year or less (£90,000 or less in London). You’re also eligible if you’re a first-time buyer, are no longer able to afford to buy a property, are an existing shared homeowner looking to move, or if you want to buy a new build property.

Equity Loan for New Homes in England and Help to Buy New Homes in London: These schemes are open for applications until 2023. To be eligible, you must contribute at least 5% of the cash deposit and obtain a mortgage to pay for the rest.

How to Check Your Eligibility

The Help to Buy website provides a comprehensive guide and tools to check your eligibility for each scheme. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional, like us at My Conveyancing Specialist. We can provide a detailed assessment of your eligibility, guide you through the application process, and help you understand the implications of each scheme.

Remember, the Help to Buy schemes are designed to help you get onto the property ladder. Checking your eligibility is a crucial step in the help to buy conveyancing process. In the next step, we’ll guide you through finding an approved property and obtaining an “Authority to Proceed”. Stay tuned!

Step 3: Finding an Approved Property and Obtaining an “Authority to Proceed”

Once you’ve reviewed your eligibility and understand the different Help to Buy options, your next task in the help to buy conveyancing process is to find an approved property and get your ‘Authority to Proceed’.

How to Find an Approved Property

To benefit from the Help to Buy schemes, you need to find a property offered by a registered Help to Buy builder. These properties are often new builds, so you’ll be looking at developers who offer Help to Buy properties. Do some online research, visit property fairs, or get in touch with local estate agents to find out which developers in your preferred area offer Help to Buy homes.

The Process of Obtaining an “Authority to Proceed”

Securing an ‘Authority to Proceed’ (ATP) is a critical step in the help to buy conveyancing process. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Apply through a Help to Buy agent – Once you’ve found a property and paid your reservation fee, you need to apply to a Government-appointed Help to Buy agent. They will guide you to complete the Help to Buy Property Information Form.
  2. Receive your ‘Authority to Proceed’ – If your application is successful, you’ll be granted an ATP. This document is necessary for your mortgage application and signifies that you are officially in the help to buy conveyancing process.

Remember, the ATP is not a guarantee of a mortgage. It’s only an approval from the scheme’s perspective. You still need to secure a mortgage from a lender, which we’ll cover in Step 4.

Navigating the help to buy conveyancing process may seem daunting, but at My Conveyancing Specialist, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. We aim to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible, ensuring you’re well-informed and supported throughout. Next, we’ll look at getting a Help to Buy mortgage and consulting a solicitor.

Step 4: Getting a Help to Buy Mortgage and Consulting a Solicitor

So, you’ve found an approved property and obtained your ‘Authority to Proceed’. The next step is getting a Help to Buy mortgage.

How to Get a Help to Buy Mortgage

Although there are various types of Help to Buy schemes, all of them require a mortgage. It’s important to note that there are only a limited number of mortgage providers who offer Help to Buy mortgages. You can either apply directly to these lenders or use a mortgage broker.

Once you have your ‘Authority to Proceed’, you can use it to apply for a mortgage. Make sure to take into account that standard mortgage offers tend to last between 3 and 6 months, so it’s crucial to ensure your mortgage doesn’t expire before the purchase is final.

The Importance of Consulting a Solicitor

Once you’ve secured your mortgage, it’s time to consult a solicitor. It’s advisable to engage a solicitor who specializes in Help to Buy conveyancing from the start. The Help to Buy conveyancing process is similar to regular conveyancing, but it comes with special conditions. This requires a lot of attention to detail and an experienced Help to Buy solicitor can make the process much smoother.

At My Conveyancing Specialist, we have a network of experienced conveyancing solicitors who can guide you through the process, ensuring that all legal aspects are handled efficiently and professionally.

How to Choose the Right Solicitor for Help to Buy Conveyancing

Choosing the right solicitor for your Help to Buy conveyancing process is vital. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Experience and Expertise: Look for a solicitor who has expertise in the Help to Buy scheme. They should be familiar with the special conditions that come with the scheme and have a track record of successful Help to Buy conveyances.
  • Transparency in Fees: Ensure that the solicitor provides a clear breakdown of their fees upfront. At My Conveyancing Specialist, we believe in transparent pricing and provide fixed fees whenever possible.
  • Communication: Good communication is crucial. The solicitor should keep you informed about the progress of the conveyancing and be readily available to answer your queries.

Remember, choosing the right solicitor can make a big difference to your Help to Buy journey. So, take your time and make an informed decision. With the right help, the process of buying your home can be much easier and stress-free.

Step 5: Examining Draft Contracts, Exchanging Contracts, and Completing the Purchase

Once you’ve secured a mortgage and chosen your solicitor, it’s time to dive into the core of the help to buy conveyancing process. This step involves examining draft contracts, exchanging contracts, and finally, completing the purchase. Don’t worry, we’ll guide you through each of these stages!

The Process of Examining Draft Contracts

The first part of this step is the examination of draft contracts. Your solicitor will review a draft contract from the seller and raise or satisfy any legal enquiries. This process requires a keen eye for detail, as the Help to Buy scheme comes with special conditions that need to be meticulously handled.

During this stage, your solicitor will ensure that all the terms and conditions are accurately represented, and that your interests are protected. This step may take some time, as the length of time it takes to complete a final draft of the exchange contracts can vary.

How to Exchange Contracts

Once the draft contracts are reviewed and all the legal enquiries are satisfied, it’s time to exchange contracts. This is where you become legally bound to buy the property. You will have to pay a 10% deposit, and your Help to Buy solicitor will need to obtain an ‘Authority to Exchange’ before the contracts can be exchanged.

The exchange of contracts is a critical stage in the process. Once contracts are exchanged, the transaction becomes legally binding, with both parties committed to the deal. It’s essential to note that you should be absolutely certain before you proceed to this step as backing out after this point can have serious legal and financial implications.

Completing the Purchase: What to Expect

After the exchange of contracts, the final stage of the help to buy conveyancing process is the completion of the purchase. The developer will give you a two weeks’ notice to be ready to complete. On the completion date, the remaining balance of the purchase price is transferred to the seller’s solicitor. Once the funds are received, the keys to the property can be handed over to you.

Post-completion, your solicitor will handle several tasks. These include registering the property under your name with the Land Registry, and paying the stamp duty land tax, if applicable.

Remember, the completion process can take around 12 days for Help to Buy funds to be released to the developer. It’s important to make sure your mortgage doesn’t expire before the purchase is final.

Navigating the help to buy conveyancing process can seem daunting, but with clear understanding and the right professional help, it becomes manageable. At My Conveyancing Specialist, we are committed to providing you with expert help to make this journey as smooth and straightforward as possible.

The Cost of Hiring a Conveyancing Solicitor for Help to Buy Property

In the Help to Buy process, hiring a seasoned solicitor is crucial. But how much does it cost? The fees might seem high at first glance, but it’s important to understand what’s included in the cost.

Average Conveyancing Fees for Help to Buy Properties

The average conveyancing fees for a Help to Buy property are £2,619 for freehold properties and slightly higher at £2,789 for leasehold properties. However, these costs can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your case and the solicitor you choose.

It’s important to note that these fees often include a range of services such as land registry fees, bank transfers, applicable taxes like stamp duty, and other costs like postage and courier services. Some conveyancers may also charge more if you’re using a Help to Buy or Lifetime ISA, or if you’re buying or selling a shared ownership property.

Why Help to Buy Properties Incur Higher Solicitor Fees

As previously mentioned, buying a property through the Help to Buy scheme incurs higher solicitor fees. The primary reason for this is the additional complexity involved in such transactions.

Help to Buy properties often involve more legal procedures, such as dealing with the equity loan from the government, which adds to the complexity of the conveyancing process. This results in more work for the solicitor, leading to higher charges.

Additionally, the Help to Buy scheme has specific legal requirements that must be met. Solicitors need to have extensive knowledge of these requirements, and this specialist expertise can command higher fees.

At My Conveyancing Specialist, we strive to provide transparency in our pricing. We aim to ensure that there are no hidden costs, giving you peace of mind in what can be a confusing and stressful process. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the way, ensuring your Help to Buy property purchase is as smooth as possible.

Timeframe for the Help to Buy Conveyancing Process

When embarking on a Help to Buy property purchase, it’s crucial to understand the timeframe involved. This allows you to plan accordingly and manage your expectations. But, it’s important to remember that each case is unique, and various factors can influence the duration of the process.

Factors That Can Affect the Conveyancing Timeline

The Help to Buy conveyancing process, like any property transaction, does not have a fixed timeline. It is typically estimated to take between eight to twelve weeks. However, several factors can influence this, including:

  1. The Contract Pack: The length of time it takes to consider the Contract pack, raise any necessary additional enquiries, and receive responses to them can impact the timeline.
  2. Authority to Exchange: This is a crucial step in the process. The timescale to acquire Authority to Exchange from Help to Buy so that Contracts can be formally exchanged can vary. It usually takes between 3 to 5 working days.
  3. New Build Completion: If you’re buying a new build, the completion time can affect your timeline. This can also be subject to disruption and change.
  4. Third Parties: The responsiveness of other parties involved in the transaction such as solicitors, mortgage lenders, estate agents, and surveyors can also affect the timeframe.
  5. Searches: The time taken to conduct necessary searches and obtain the reports from different authorities can impact the timeline. This stage can take about 3 to 6 weeks.

What to Do If the Process Takes Longer Than Expected

If the process takes longer than expected, don’t panic. Delays in conveyancing are not uncommon and can be due to a variety of reasons. It’s crucial to stay in regular communication with your conveyancing solicitor. We at My Conveyancing Specialist are committed to keeping you informed throughout the process and will work diligently to minimise any delays.

However, if you’re concerned about a delay, don’t hesitate to ask for updates or clarification on the cause. If the delay is due to an issue with the property, such as an unexpected result from a search, it’s crucial to discuss this with your solicitor. They can advise on the best course of action, which may include renegotiating the price or even reconsidering the purchase.

In conclusion, the timeframe for Help to Buy conveyancing can vary significantly due to several factors. But with patience, open communication, and the guidance of a professional conveyancing service, you can navigate this process with confidence.

Conclusion: Navigating Help to Buy Conveyancing with Confidence

Navigating the Help to Buy conveyancing process may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance, it becomes a manageable and even rewarding journey.

Recap of the 5 Steps to Navigate Help to Buy Conveyancing

To recap, the five crucial steps in navigating Help to Buy conveyancing are:

  1. Understanding different Help to Buy options: Take time to understand the various Help to Buy schemes available, including options for first-time buyers, shared ownership, and equity loans for new homes.
  2. Checking your eligibility: Check your eligibility for each Help to Buy option before proceeding further.
  3. Finding an approved property and obtaining an “Authority to Proceed”: Find a property approved for Help to Buy and obtain an “Authority to Proceed” from the relevant agency.
  4. Getting a Help to Buy mortgage and consulting a solicitor: Secure a Help to Buy mortgage and engage a reliable solicitor experienced in Help to Buy conveyancing, such as My Conveyancing Specialist.
  5. Examining draft contracts, exchanging contracts, and completing the purchase: Your solicitor will examine draft contracts, facilitate the exchange of contracts, and assist you in completing the purchase.

The Benefits of Using a Professional Conveyancing Service for Help to Buy Transactions

Engaging a professional conveyancing service like My Conveyancing Specialist for your Help to Buy transactions brings numerous benefits. These include expertise in navigating complex contracts, protecting buyers from potential issues, understanding regional regulations for smooth transactions, and offering impartial guidance. Moreover, we offer transparency, promptness, and tailored services that can be managed from the comfort of your home, with competitive pricing and a ‘No Move, No Fee’ guarantee.

Call to Action: Get Started with Your Help to Buy Conveyancing Today

Ready to secure your dream home? It’s time to get moving! Say goodbye to hidden costs, lengthy waiting periods, and complicated legal jargon. Entrust your property purchase to a top conveyancing solicitor like My Conveyancing Specialist who offers a tailored, transparent, and efficient service. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned property investor, we are committed to making your property purchase a seamless, stress-free experience.

Take the first step now! Whether you’re buying, selling, or remortgaging, get your free online conveyancing quote in less than 30 seconds. Discover how you can save time, money, and unnecessary stress with our dedicated team of property professionals. Don’t let your property purchase be a daunting task. With our bespoke services, you’re not just a client; you’re a valued partner in a pivotal chapter of your life.

So why wait? Start your property journey with us today.