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The Help to Buy: ISA Scheme

If you are saving to buy your first home, save money into a Help to Buy: ISA and the Government will boost your savings by 25%. So, for every £200 you save, receive a government bonus of £50 up to a maximum of £3,000.

But ending 20 November 2019!

This popular scheme however is due to come to an end this year so accounts can only be opened until 20 November 2019. Once opened savers can continue to add to the account up to 10 November 2029 but the government bonus must be claimed by 1 December 2030.

Using Wards Solicitors

Wards Solicitors, in all our offices, are registered under this scheme to claim your government backed bonus. Wards Solicitors are registered 'eligible conveyancers' meaning the claim process is shorter than it is for 'ineligible conveyancers'.

What is the bonus

The bonus is calculated based on 25% of your Help to Buy ISA balance (HTB ISA) subject to a minimum £1,600 investment and a maximum £12,000 investment. The bonus is a minimum of £400 and a maximum of £3,000. If you have less than £1,600 saved then you will not be eligible for the bonus. If you have more than £12,000, then the maximum bonus is still £3,000.

What property will qualify?

Your purchase to qualify must be a residential property costing up to £250,000, or £450,000 in London. It must also be being purchased with the assistance of a residential mortgage. That is, not one on buy to let terms.

Are you a first time buyer?

You must be a first time buyer, which has a special meaning. You will need to sign a detailed declaration to confirm you do not own, and have never owned any interest in land anywhere in the world. This means in your own name, or jointly with any other. If you have any doubts or concerns in this respect you should seek advice from your conveyancer.

You must intend to occupy the property you are purchasing as your only or main residence (unless you are a member of the armed forces where an exception applies) and give a declaration to this effect. So an investment property would not qualify.

How is the bonus claimed?

Before the bonus can be claimed you will need to close your HTB ISA. Once your HTB ISA has been closed you have up to 12 months to make a bonus claim. You will need to provide the closing statement to your conveyancer and they will deal with the formalities. Your conveyancer would provide you with more detailed advice about this at that time.

When is it claimed and can it be used towards a deposit on exchange?

The bonus when paid to your conveyancer remains the government's money until used to complete the purchase as part of the purchase price paid. So it is only used on completion, and cannot form part of your deposit paid on exchange of contracts. We do not have to wait for exchange of contracts however to receive the bonus on your behalf. It must however be received prior to completion.

Does this cost anything extra?

Conveyancers may charge an additional fee of £50 plus vat for the work in this respect and this charge will be included in your final completion statement from us.

Any questions?

Please refer to your conveyancer.

But note your conveyancers role is limited to making the claim for your bonus and complying with the requirements relating to this under our agreement with the government. Your conveyancer cannot give you any advice as to any of the formalities or rules relating to investing in, closing or re-opening of a HTB ISA, or the eligibility or continued eligibility of your account under this scheme. Wards Solicitors are not authorised to give investment advice.

This article is published on 28.1.2019 and the information may be subject to change. It should not be taken as a definitive or as a substitute for legal advice.