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Is the conveyancing process different when buying a home through the help to buy scheme?

View profile for Sara Hughes
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Thinking of buying a new home? Ensure you are covered

‘I am buying my first home through the HTB scheme and I wondered if the conveyancing was any different to the normal conveyancing process when buying on the open market’

So is it complicated? Will it delay things? Questions that we at Stephensons get asked quite a lot by those clients taking advantage of the government’s help to buy equity loan initiative (HTB). True, some of the paperwork might be unfamiliar to you but employing an experienced solicitor to guide you through should mean that the conveyancing process is no more difficult enabling you to meet the 28 day exchange deadline that your developer will have imposed and ultimately allowing you to move into your brand new home.

So what exactly can you expect?

Once you’ve found your new home and reserved it with the developer you’ll start the HTB application process by completing a ‘property information form’. You’ll be asked straightforward questions about the property and about your income (you should have all this to hand as you’ll need it for your mortgage application) and it is at this stage that you should be speaking to a financial adviser who will guide you through your mortgage application.

This is also the time to instruct your solicitor. 

Once you’ve submitted your application and been approved the HTB agent (who administers the equity loan) will issue to you, your solicitor and the developer the ‘authority to proceed’ pack. This is the stage when your solicitor should start to take charge of the process for you.  The solicitor will be asked to complete some additional paperwork on your behalf and they will submit that paperwork together with a copy of your mortgage offer, your valuation and a form that they will have received from your developer disclosing any incentives. 

If the HTB agent is happy your solicitor will be issued with ‘authority to exchange’. This is the green light for the solicitor that the HTB funding is all in place so they are now safe to proceed to exchange for you. Exchange is the legally binding bit (when you can finally take a deep breath and relax – its happening!).

So when will you get your key? Well that depends on how quickly the developer can build. You might be able to move quickly or you might have to wait a little while. Once your home is ready the developer will let you and your solicitor know and at that stage your solicitor will request that the equity loan is released. The loan will be sent from the HTB agent straight to the developer to help ensure things run smoothly.

Happy house hunting!

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