Applying for an equity loan
Before you get started, make sure you have the funds to pay for:
- a reservation fee to reserve your home (up to £500)
- a 5% deposit on exchange of contracts (if you have a larger deposit, pay the rest on completion)
- the rest of you deposit, as well as other fees (stamp duty, legal fees, mortgage fees) at compleiton.
Check that the equity loan meets your needs and that you can afford to repay it.
Consider seeking independent advice to help you understand your financial situation.
The 4 stages for buying a home with a Help to Buy: Equity Loan
Stage 1. Applying
Find your new home
Search online for new homes for sale using a Help to Buy: Equity Loan. Look for the Help to Buy logo on homebuilder' websites. You can also use our property search.
Our property search results do not list every home available and are only for the region we cover. If you are searching for something specific please contact us
Reserve your new home
Reserve your home with the homebuilder and pay a reservation fee of more than £500. The homebuilder will refund if you're not approved for an equity loan.
Make sure the homebuilder gives you a signed copy of the reservation form. You'll need it when you apply for the equity loan.
Get financial advice
Buying a new home can be daunting, but there are many organisations that offer free advice. Consider getting independent financial advice.
Apply for your equity loan
If you're eligible for an equity loan and can afford the monthly fee and interest payments on top of your other outgoings, you can apply for the equity loan.
To apply you will need to fill in a Property Information Form. You will need to provide personal and financial information, such as you income and details of the property, your proposed repayment mortgage and you deposit.
The information you provide must be true. Providing false information will lead to delays and could be considered to be fraud, which is a criminal offense.
Help to Buy (2021-2023) ends on 31 March 2023. The final deadline to reserve your home and submit a Property Information Form and apply to the scheme is 6pm on 31 October 2022.
Return your paperwork
Please return your completed and signed Property Information Form and a copy of the homebuilder’s signed reservation form to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stage 2: Authority to Proceed
Know how your finances stack up
We will review the details you provide on the Property Information Form.
We will use our Help to Buy eligibility calculator to check your monthly income and outgoings. This includes household bills and estimated mortgage repayments.
Get Authority to Proceed
If we approve your application, we will issue an Authority to Proceed (ATP).
An Authority to Proceed is an official document which means you're eligible for the scheme and can progress with buying your home.
Once you have the Authority to Proceed, your conveyancer will give you legal guidance and forms for you to fill in.
An Authority to Proceed is valid for three months. If it expires you will need to either make another application for an equity loan or ask for it to be extended.
Apply for a repayment mortgage
You're responsible for arranging your repayment mortgage. Do not apply for the mortgage until you have the Authority to Proceed.
If you apply for a repayment mortgage before then and are not eligible for an equity loan, you may lose money. Your credit rating may also be affected.
Your repayment mortgage should be less than 4.5 times your gross annual income.
If your home is worth less than when you bought it, it may affect your ability to pay off your repayment mortgage. Consider talking to a financial adviser about what you could do if this happens.
Your home could be at risk if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage, equity loan or other loans secured against it.
Get the conveyancer’s pack
We’ll send your conveyancer legal guidance and forms to complete. Please check these forms carefully before you return them to us, as mistakes can delay your completion.
Stage 3: Mortgage offer and exchange of contracts
Your conveyancer will:
- explain the equity loan contract and your legal responsibilities. They will remind you that your application must have been accurate and true, and give you the opportunity to correct any issues. Giving false or misleading information could be fraud. This is a criminal offense and you may have to repay the equity loan
- ask you to sign the sale contract, the equity loan contract, and a declaration to confirm that you and anyone you're buying with are first-time buyers
- make sure your mortgage offer, the property price and your deposit are the same as shown in our Authority to Proceed.
- ask your Help to Buy agent for permission to exchange contracts.
- check the paperwork is correct and send your conveyancer an Authority to Exchange (ATE) so they can go ahead with exchanging contracts.
- pay at least 5% of you deposit
When contracts are exchanged, you will be legally bound to buy your new homes, usually by an agreed date (the completion date). You should speak to your conveyancer about making sure your repayment mortgage offer does not end before the completion date. Once you have exchanged contracts you may have to pay costs if you change your mind about buying the home.
You can visit your new home once you exchange contracts. Your homebuilder will arrange this for you. This will give you a chance to confirm any last-minute details or changes before you move in. Speak to your conveyancer or your homebuilder for more information about home visits.
Pay for your home
- you pay the rest of your deposit (if your deposit is more than 5%)
- your lender pays the homebuilder the full amount of the repayment mortgage
- we pay your equity loan to the homebuilder, and
- you legally own your new home and can move in
Confirm the sale
Your conveyancer will contact us to confirm the sale. We will pass your details to our equity loan administrator to help you manage payments and make changes to your account.
Registration of interest
Your conveyancer will register a legal charge on your home for us. They will also register a separate legal charge for your repayment mortgage lender.
This is recorded with HM Land Registry and will be shown on your property title deeds.
You must repay your equity loan before we can remove our legal charge on the property.