Welcome to the Financial Advisor page
Here you will find the information and documents you require to get your Help to Buy case running smoothly.
Information for IFA’s
It is at the applicant’s discretion whether or not they use an Independent Financial Advisor. If he/she has selected you to support them in their application, it is important you assess their long term sustainability. This should be done in line with the calculator used by the Agent and the associated policy. More details and affordability guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.
If you are completing the Help to Buy application on behalf of the applicant we would encourage you to use our Online Application Form as this improves accuracy and processing times.
You can also download our Help to Buy Application Submission Checklist.
What area does Help to Buy NW cover?
We are responsible for all Help to Buy applications for sites in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire. If you’re unsure which county or Local Authority a particular development falls into, you can check on the National Help to Buy website.
What documents do I need to submit?
We request a fully completed Property Information Form, signed by all applicants, along with a copy of the reservation form from the developer and a completed Direct Debit mandate form. Any applications we receive which are incomplete or unclear will not be processed until the required information is sent in, and they are then subject to the standard working timescales.
What sort of reservation form do I need?
This needs to be an official document from the developer, signed by their representative as well as all named applicants, and also needs to state the purchase price and property address. Please note we cannot accept a memorandum of sale or a letter confirming an acceptance of the buyer’s offer. We do have a template available on request if the developer doesn’t have a standard form.
How do I check the developer is registered as part of the Help to Buy Scheme?
The developer should be aware, but we have a regularly updated contract list, so we’ll be able to confirm either way.
Can the applicant be gifted a deposit?
Yes. This amount just needs to be included in the total deposit figure stated on the PIF.
If any of the deposit is provided by someone else, it must be as a non-repayable gift, otherwise the amount will be treated as a debt. The person gifting the deposit must also hold no interest in the property.
If the gifted deposit is being supplied by the developer as part of the sales agreement, it will need to be included with any other financial incentives on the CML form all incentives combined must not represent more than 5% of the full purchase price. Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
Can the Equity Loan scheme be used in conjunction with the Help to Buy ISA?
Yes. We can accept funds from an ISA as deposit, but we are not involved in the administration of the Help to Buy ISA scheme. The buyer’s solicitor will need to be registered to claim the ISA bonus, and will access an online portal to draw down the funds on behalf of the buyer before completion. More information can be found here https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/how-does-it-work/
What is the maximum deposit?
There is a requirement that the mortgage taken out from the lender must be equivalent to at least 25% of the total purchase price, which subsequently limits the maximum amount of deposit permitted. For example if the buyer is taking a 20% equity loan, the deposit wouldn’t be allowed to exceed 55% of the purchase price. (e.g. a £200,000 house would need a minimum of £50,000 mortgage, an equity loan of £40,000, meaning the largest possible deposit would be £110,000.) Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
Can I have a copy of the calculator/buyers guide?
All the documents you’ll need are downloadable from our website. Please see the Information for IFA's or the useful downloads below.
Can I appear on your panel?
We have lots of requests to be included on the list of IFAs we feature on our website, but we have a responsibility to our applicants to ensure we only include those we know to be proficient and experienced in the scheme. We ask anyone wishing to be included on our list to send over the details of multiple Help to Buy cases they’ve worked on so we can check the required standards have been consistently met before adding them to our site.
Can my client apply when they already own a property?
Help to Buy applicants may not own another property at the same time as the Help to Buy property. An existing homeowner can apply for the Help to Buy scheme, but they will need to have a firm interest in the sale of their current property and be in a position to complete the sale before completion takes place on the Help to Buy property. Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
What if my client owns a commercial property?
Any type of property registered in the applicants name is seen as an asset and must be sold before completion of the Help to Buy Property. If the commercial property is registered under a company name the asset belongs to the business and this is acceptable. Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
What if my client owns a property abroad?
Property owned outside the UK is still subject to the same rules we apply to properties owned here, and will need to be sold prior to completion. The rules relating to commercial properties abroad are also the same (see above). Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
What are the normal timescales for an application?
From the time we receive a full and complete application; we will process it and issue a response within 4 working days. Please also take note of our opening hours as any documents received after 5pm will automatically fall into the next working day.
How do I check the progress of my client’s application?
We politely request that you allow the 4 working day turnaround time to elapse before chasing up any applications. After this time, please contact your client who will have received the ATP and all accompanying documentation, or a response from us outlining any issues or missing information. Please note that we are unable to send any documents directly to the IFA.
Why hasn’t my client been accepted on to the scheme?
There are various reasons we may be unable to process or approve an application, but we’ll always make the reasons clear to the applicant and do our best to suggest a resolution wherever possible.
What are the affordability parameters?
The general affordability criteria for the scheme includes:
- The mortgage loan is no more than 4.5x gross household income
- Minimum deposit 5% of the full purchase price
- Debt to household income must be no more than 45%
We’re aware this may differ from the rules set out by various lenders, but this is a fixed calculation and applications outside of this limit will not pass through our affordability calculator.
However these aren’t the only factors taken into consideration, so it’s better to run your figures through the calculator first, before submitting the PIF. The calculator and guidance documents can be found on the GOV.UK website. This will avoid delays as we try to resolve any problems, and prevent any potential disappointment for the applicant(s). Please see Buyer's Guide (downloadable below).
When should I submit the mortgage application to the lender?
As having a mortgage is a requirement of the scheme, it may be worth obtaining an offer in principle before applying but we expect you to be in receipt of our Authority to Proceed (ATP) before submitting the official mortgage application. Some lenders will require this for a Help to Buy mortgage anyway, but it also reduces the risk of having to wait for amended documents should the ATP require different figures from the lender’s offer.
What should I do if something changes with the application after I’ve submitted the PIF?
This will vary depending on the changes that need to be made and when they emerge. If we haven’t yet processed it to issue ATP, we should be able to update the application without losing its place in the queue. However, if it’s already been processed it will be subject to normal turnaround times.
While we expect all amendment requests to be made in writing and submitted to the team inbox -firstname.lastname@example.org - we may also require updated versions of the PIF or reservation form too. If you’re unsure, call the office and we’ll let you know what’s needed.
If you need further information you can call us on 0300 790 0570 or email email@example.com