Buying Your First Home for Less: A Guide to the First Homes Scheme in England

Thinking about taking that leap onto the property ladder but worried about affording it? If you’re a first-time buyer in England, the First Homes scheme could be your chance to snag a brand new home for a fraction of the price. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the scheme, from eligibility and application to owning and selling your discounted property.

What is the First Homes Scheme?

This government-backed initiative offers first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase new-build homes at a discount of 30% to 50% off the market value. That’s right, you could save tens of thousands of pounds on your dream home! However, there are some eligibility criteria you’ll need to meet.

Who is Eligible?

  • You must be 18 or older and a first-time buyer.
  • Your annual income (before tax) can’t exceed £80,000 (£90,000 in London).
  • You must be able to secure a mortgage covering at least half the discounted purchase price.
  • Local councils may also set their own eligibility criteria.

How Does it Work?

  • Find new-build homes advertised through the scheme by developers or estate agents.
  • Apply directly to the developer or agent, who will submit your application to the local council.
  • If approved, you’ll need to arrange a mortgage and hire a conveyancer.
  • Once all legal formalities are complete and your mortgage offer is approved, you can exchange contracts and move forward with the purchase.

What are the Key Points to Remember?

  • The maximum price for a First Homes property is £250,000 (£420,000 in London) after the discount.
  • You can decorate and improve your property, but renting or selling it comes with specific rules.
  • You can usually only sell your property to another eligible first-time buyer at the same discount you received.
  • Under certain circumstances, you may be able to sell on the open market but might need to return the discount to the council.

Ready to Take the Plunge?

If you meet the eligibility criteria and the First Homes scheme sounds like the right fit for you, don’t hesitate to start exploring your options. Remember, this is a great opportunity to own your own home at a significantly lower price, so get researching and make your dream a reality!

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