Help to Buy — Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply for the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, providing they do not own another property.

For other schemes, such as Shared Ownership, certain key eligibility criteria apply. These may include:

  • Not owning any other property
  • Being in permanent employment
  • Having a household income of less than £80,000 per year
  • Having work and/or family connections to the area in which you want to buy

Some schemes, such as Shared Ownership, give priority to the following:

  • Social tenants
  • Serving military personnel
  • People with local connections
  • First-time buyers (although some buyers who have owned a home before, for example who have sold their home due to a relationship breakdown, will also be eligible).

Each development has its own allocation policy, so please check the requirements for the specific site you are interested in for full details.

If you already own your own home, including overseas and existing shared owners, you may not be eligible for the Help to Buy Shared Ownership scheme.

However if you need to purchase a larger home and are unable to because of financial constraints then you may still be eligible – we treat every application on a case by case basis. In this instance, you will need to demonstrate that you are in housing need and have the support of your local authority. You will also need to have agreed a sale on your current home prior to applying.

If you have previously owned a home, your application will be based on your current housing situation. However if you have any equity from the proceeds of the sale, these will be taken into account when you apply.

Previously, for Shared Ownership properties, you were allowed one more bedroom than your current need. However, there is no longer any restriction on the number of bedrooms you are allowed to apply for.

You are unable to use Housing Benefit to buy or rent a Help to Buy property.

If you're self-employed, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can afford to maintain the costs of home ownership in the long term. You will usually need to provide three years' past accounts, and speak to one of our Mortgage Advisors for financial advice.

If you buy a Shared Ownership home, you can increase your ownership at a later stage and usually go on to own the property outright. This is called staircasing and many people who buy affordable homes staircase to become full owners. You can find more information on our Staircasing page.

You can get advice on selling your Shared Ownership property from Plumlife’s Resales Team, who can be contacted on 0161 447 5050 and will be happy to advise you on any questions you might have. You can also visit our page on Selling your home for more information.

No, you must live in the home that you purchased. In exceptional circumstances, for example, if you are a serving member of the armed forces away on a tour of duty, then subletting may be considered but written permission from the Plumlife Management Team would be required.

Subletting of a home with an equity loan is not permitted, unless the equity loan has been repaid in full.

This is your responsibility, regardless of the share that you own. Some brand new homes are offered with a warranty (defects) period, which your sales advisor will explain at the time of purchase.

If you have any further questions please get in touch with your local Help to Buy Agent. You can find out who that is by visiting: www.helptobuy.org.uk