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Charlotte Griffiths, a conveyancing executive at local solicitors Wiseman Lee, outlines the options available to those hoping to get on – or climb – the property ladder.

For many first-time buyers, the prospect of getting a foot on the property ladder can seem daunting. Equally, families who wish to move to a larger home may find that moving up the ladder appears beyond their reach. However, there are options open to you to make buying your dream home a reality.

Help to Buy: equity loan
This scheme is available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners who wish to buy a newly built property. You can purchase a property for up to £600,000, borrowing up to 40% of the property's value in London and 20% of the value outside of London. Until 2021, the loan will be interest-free for the first five years. After the initial five years, the interest rate will need to be paid in accordance with the relevant legislation. You will need as little as a 5% deposit and a 55% mortgage with a commercial lender to cover the remaining cost of the property.

Help to Buy ISAs
If you are a first-time buyer, you should look into opening a Help to Buy ISA. For every £200 you save in your ISA, the government will give you a bonus of £50. There are, however, a few things to be aware of.

The cut-off for opening such an ISA is December 2019, although you'll still receive the bonus provided you buy before 2030.

You can only pay £200 into your account per month, with a maximum bonus of £3,000.

You must have at least £1,600 in your ISA to claim your bonus.

Available for properties valued up to £450,000 in London (£250,000 elsewhere).

The bonus cannot be put towards the exchange deposit. Although you can use the money you've saved towards this, you will not receive the bonus until completion.

Shared Ownership
Shared ownership gives first-time buyers or somebody who does not currently own a property the opportunity to buy a new build or resale property. You will need a deposit (usually 10% of the value of the share that you are purchasing) and a mortgage. The share you can purchase will be calculated by the Housing Association based upon your affordability. It is important to note that as well as paying your monthly mortgage repayments, you will also need to pay specified rent upon the share that you do not own. During your ownership, you will have the option to increase your share (this is known as staircasing).

If you are considering either a help to buy or shared ownership property, it is important to seek help from a specialist solicitor who has experience of dealing with these schemes.

Wiseman Lee is located at 9–13 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PU. For more information, call 020 8215 1000

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