1 July 2022 by

The end of Help to Buy is looming…

Read more to understand the key milestone dates and handy tips to make sure you can secure your purchase under the scheme before it is too late!

The end of Help to Buy

After eight years, the Help to Buy scheme will end in in March 2023. Anyone wishing to take advantage of the scheme will need to have legally completed on their new build home by 31 March 2023.

Here are the key dates that must be considered by both developers and home buyers utilising the scheme on new developments:

Monday 31 October 2022 – Final date for homebuyers to apply for Help to Buy: Equity Loan (2021-2023)

A homebuyer must reserve their home and submit their Property Information Form to their Help to Buy agent by 6pm on Monday 31 October 2022. This should allow enough time for a homebuyer to legally buy their home before the scheme ends on 31 March 2023. The property must be reserved with the developer by this date.

Saturday 31 December 2022 – Homebuilder Practical Completion

This is the deadline for ‘practical completion’. By this date, the developer must have finished building the home so that it is ready to move into. This means that all legal completion documents must be available. This includes, amongst other things, a building warranty certificate and a building regulations completion certificate.

If at any stage during the process the developer does not think that they can meet this date, then they must inform the homebuyer. The homebuyer will then have the right to walk away and terminate their contract.

Friday 31 March 2023 – scheme ends

Homebuilders must legally complete sales by 31 March 2023.  Again, homebuyers must be advised if this deadline cannot be met and there must also be a right for any buyer to be released from the contract if this completion date cannot be met and the deposit and the reservation fee must be refunded in full.

If you are therefore considering buying or selling under the Help to Buy scheme, then it is crucial to consider these key dates above.  You should seek specialist legal advice to ensure that your contract is well drafted and includes these important safeguards for you.

You should also bear in mind that, whilst every transaction is different, you can expect it to take around 6-8 weeks between draft contracts being issued and the sale/purchase becoming legally binding (i.e. exchange of contracts).  However, you are quite often expected to exchange contracts within a 28 day timeframe!

The timeframe between exchange and completion will very much depend on whether the property has been built yet. Again, it is important that there are key provisions within the contract to ensure you are adequately protected should the construction process be delayed in any way that may jeopardize the sale under the Help to Buy Scheme.

For further advice, please contact Amie Mackay in our Residential Real Estate team.

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