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Help to Buy application deadline closes on 15 December

Written by: Owain Thomas
Buyers hoping to use the current Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in England have just over a month to do so as the scheme will close to new applications on 15 December.

Those applicants will then have just over three months to complete their purchases by the 31 March deadline – although many in the property market are warning this could be a challenge given current demand.

Meanwhile, the successor scheme which includes regional caps and is limited to first-time buyers only will start accepting applications from 16 December.

This scheme does not come into effect until 1 April and is currently expected to be open for two years.

The announcement was made by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as it published a guide to the new scheme.

“Applications for Help to Buy: Equity Loan 2013-2021 scheme end on 15 December 2020,” MHCLG said.

“First-time buyers eligible for Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2021-2023) can apply from 16 December 2020, with a homebuilder registered for the scheme.”

The guide which explains how the Help to Buy scheme works includes recommendations to seek independent financial advice when buying the home.

Buyers have three months to exchange contracts once they have received the authority to proceed and must then complete buying the home within six months of exchanging contracts.

Permission needed for alterations

Structural alterations to the property, such as adding an extension or converting a bedroom into a bathroom, are not permitted under the new scheme without permission from Homes England.

It noted that permission will only be given to make structural alterations on medical grounds.

“Help to Buy homes are for first-time buyers, now and in the future. We want to make sure they are always affordable,” it said.

“The equity loan is linked to the value of your home. So, if you make structural alterations without our permission and it increases the value of your home, the equity loan amount you owe will increase.

“If we give permission to make structural alterations and the value of your home increases, we will ignore the value of that alteration when we work out how much you owe on your equity loan.”

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