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Are You Eligible for the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

The Government’s announcement regarding the extension of the Help-to-Buy Scheme means that prospective homeowners can continue to apply for financial assistance in purchasing a new home until the end of 2022.

If you’re thinking of applying, there are a number of eligibility requirements that you will need to bear in mind. To help you understand this process, we’ve put together a short guide which will give you a better understanding of the scheme.

What is the Help-to-Buy Scheme?

The purpose of the scheme is to assist first-time buyers to purchase new residential builds, or to self-build a residential property. The incentive has assisted many prospective homeowners to get started on the property ladder and has encouraged increased activity in the construction industry. 26,744 claims have been approved on the scheme so far. (Source)

During the unveiling of Budget 2022 on 12th October, the government announced that present scheme rates will remain until the end of 2022.

What are the requirements?

To be eligible for the scheme, you must be a first-time buyer of a newly built apartment or house, or you must be undertaking the self-build of a residential property. The purchase or build must take place between 19th July 2016 and 31st December 2022. As of 1st January 2017, the help-to-buy incentive has applied to properties worth €500,000 or less (Source). Investment properties do not qualify, nor do cash-bought properties. However, properties that are inherited or gifted are eligible. (Source)

Under the scheme, if you are purchasing a new build, you must take out a mortgage of at least 70% of the buying price. If it is a self-build, the mortgage must be 70% of the mortgage provider’s valuation. The purchaser must also reside in the property for a minimum of 5 years after it is bought or built. Revenue has provided a list of developers and contractors that are approved for the scheme.

In July 2020, the maximum refund amount was increased, and this will now be extended until 31st December 2022. To qualify for this enhanced relief, you must have either signed a contract for the purchase of a new house or have drawn down a mortgage for a self-build between 23rd July 2020 and 31st December 2022. (Source)

If you qualify, you can claim a rebate on your income tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) for the previous four tax years. Successful applicants will receive 10% of the property value, or €30,000, whichever is the lower amount. (Source) (Source)

How do I apply?

You can apply online through myAccount or Revenue Online Service, where you will have to fill out a Form 12 Tax Return. As part of your application, you will be required to provide the contract for your new home, which you can acquire from your solicitor. You will also need to provide details of the property, including its purchase price and completion date. Details of your mortgage lender, your mortgage, and your property developer should also be submitted with your application. If your claim is approved, the refund will be provided to the developer, and then deducted from the price of the property. (Source)

If you would like a personal consultation regarding your application for the Help-to-Buy Scheme, our experienced team would be happy to help. Contact us by calling 021 427 1006, freephone 1800 396396, or email maharvey@martinharvey.ie.

Buying a home? Here’s what you need to know

If you’re actively looking to buy a new home, now’s the time to seek out a property conveyancing solicitor — they handle the legal transfer of property ownership. A solicitor works in your best interest to oversee the legality of the sale and to ensure the protection of your legal interests during the entire transaction. For many people, this will be their first real experience of engaging with a solicitor. Here’s what you can expect.

Agree of sale

The conveyance usually begins at the office of the auctioneer. As a purchaser, you will be required to pay a booking deposit for the house to an auctioneer. As this is not a binding agreement, the deposit is fully refundable. Your next step is to instruct a trusted solicitor like Martin A Harvey & Co. Solicitors to act on your behalf in the sale of the property. If the property is not new, your solicitor should advise you to have a full structural and planning survey carried out by a qualified architect or engineer. This is an essential step as ‘Buyer Beware’ still operates as the law today. So once the contracts are signed, you agree to take the property as it was at the time of the sale.

Dealing with your bank

The seller’s solicitors will draft Contracts for Sale for the property and send them, along with the Title Deeds, to your solicitor. If you’re taking out a mortgage, the financial institution will generally require you to instruct a solicitor as the bank will send the mortgage documents directly to them for review and your signature.

The pre-contract enquiries

Your solicitor will then investigate the title documents for issues relating to planning and environment searches, rights of way, or the responsibility for maintaining the property’s roads and services. Once the contracts are signed, you will obtain a ‘good marketable title’ to the property. This is a key condition of the financial institution for their loan offer as it means there will be no issues if you wish to sell the property later.

Contract of sale

The solicitors on both sides of the sale help negotiate the terms of the contract. After all terms have been agreed to and the title to the property thoroughly investigated, then the contract is signed. Now both parties are bound to complete the sale. This is when you pay a ‘contract deposit’— generally agreed as being 10% of the purchase price of the property less the booking deposit. A closing date for the sale will be agreed between the parties. In addition, your solicitor contacts the lending institution on your behalf for the drawdown of the loan funds. Note, the financial institution will often require you to take out life and home insurance policies before releasing the funds.

Closing the sale

On closing day, the seller’s solicitor will carry out ‘closing searches.’ These are Judgement, bankruptcy, Revenue and Sheriff searches which are carried out on both you and seller. Once satisfied with the results of the searches, your solicitor will release the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor. Then you’re given the keys, and you can now officially move in!

Stamp Duty & Registration of Title

The final stage of the conveyancing process involves the stamping of the Transfer Deed and registering the title with the Property Registration Authority. If you are in need of a trusted property conveyancer, call Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors at 021 496 3400 or email at maharvey@martinharvey.ie. We will be happy to assist you.

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