The Ultimate Guide to First Time Buyer Help Schemes in 2024

First Time Buyer Help Schemes

Navigating the world of real estate can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers. Fortunately, there are several schemes to help first time buyers purchase their dream home. This comprehensive guide explores the various first time buyer help schemes available, explaining their benefits, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of which first time buyer scheme suits your needs and how to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Ultimate Guide to First Time Buyer Help Schemes in 2024

Understanding First Time Buyer Help Schemes

First time buyer help schemes are designed to assist individuals who are purchasing their first home. These schemes can provide financial support, tax relief, and favorable loan terms, making it easier for first-time buyers to enter the housing market.

Why First Time Buyer Schemes are Important

Buying a home is a significant financial commitment, and first-time buyers often face challenges such as saving for a deposit, securing a mortgage, and navigating the complex purchasing process. First time buyer schemes aim to alleviate these challenges by providing various forms of assistance.

Types of First Time Buyer Schemes

There are several types of schemes to help first time buyers, each with its unique features and benefits. Let’s explore the most common ones.

Help to Buy Equity Loan

The Help to Buy Equity Loan is a popular first time buyer government scheme. Under this scheme, the government lends you up to 20% (40% in London) of the cost of your newly built home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. The loan is interest-free for the first five years.


  • Must be a first-time buyer.
  • The property must be a new build.
  • The purchase price must be within the regional price cap.


  • Lower deposit requirement.
  • Interest-free loan for the first five years.

Shared Ownership

Shared Ownership is another first time buyer help scheme that allows you to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. Over time, you can buy more shares, known as “staircasing,” until you own the property outright.


  • Must be a first-time buyer, or you used to own a home but can’t afford to buy one now, or you are an existing shared owner.
  • Your household earns £80,000 a year or less outside London or £90,000 a year or less in London.


  • Lower initial costs.
  • Opportunity to gradually increase your ownership stake.

Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime ISA is a savings account that can be used to save for a first home or retirement. You can save up to £4,000 each year, and the government will add a 25% bonus to your savings, up to a maximum of £1,000 per year.


  • Must be aged 18 to 39.
  • The property must cost £450,000 or less.
  • Must be a first-time buyer.


  • 25% government bonus on your savings.
  • Tax-free savings growth.

First Homes Scheme

The First Homes Scheme is a government 1st time buyer scheme designed to help local first-time buyers and key workers purchase homes at a discount. Under this scheme, homes are sold with a discount of at least 30% compared to the market value, making them more affordable.


  • Must be a first-time buyer.
  • The household income must not exceed £80,000 outside London or £90,000 in London.
  • Must have a mortgage or home purchase plan to fund at least 50% of the discounted purchase price.


  • Significant discount on the purchase price.
  • Priority given to local buyers and key workers.

Government 1st Time Buyer Schemes

The government offers several first time buyer government schemes to assist new homeowners. These schemes are designed to make homeownership more accessible and affordable.

Right to Buy

Right to Buy is a government scheme for house buyers that allows council and housing association tenants in England to buy their homes at a discount. The maximum discount is £87,200 (£116,200 in London).


  • Must be a secure tenant of a council property or have a public sector landlord.
  • Must have been a public sector tenant for at least three years.


  • Significant discount on the purchase price.
  • Opportunity to become a homeowner.

Rent to Buy

Rent to Buy is a first home buying scheme that allows you to rent a newly built home at a reduced rate (typically 20% below market value) for up to five years. This gives you the opportunity to save for a deposit to buy the property.


  • Must be a first-time buyer or returning to the market.
  • Must be in employment and meet local affordability criteria.


  • Reduced rent for up to five years.
  • Opportunity to save for a deposit while renting.

Applying for First Time Buyer Schemes

Applying for a first time buyer help scheme involves several steps, including checking your eligibility, gathering necessary documents, and submitting your application. Here’s a general guide to help you navigate the application process.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Each first time buyer scheme has specific eligibility criteria. Check the requirements for the scheme you’re interested in to ensure you qualify.

Step 2: Prepare Your Documents

Gather all necessary documents, such as proof of income, identification, and savings. Having these ready will streamline the application process.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Submit your application through the appropriate channels. This may involve completing an online application form, meeting with a mortgage advisor, or contacting a housing association.

Step 4: Wait for Approval

Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for approval. This process can take several weeks, so be patient.

Tips for First Time Buyers

Navigating the home buying process for the first time can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you make informed decisions and take advantage of first time buyer help schemes.

1. Save for a Deposit

Saving for a deposit is one of the biggest hurdles for first-time buyers. Aim to save at least 5% of the property’s purchase price. Using a Lifetime ISA can help you boost your savings with a government bonus.

2. Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a crucial role in securing a mortgage. Check your credit score early and take steps to improve it if necessary, such as paying off debt and avoiding late payments.

3. Get Mortgage Advice

A mortgage advisor can help you understand your options and find the best mortgage deal for your circumstances. They can also guide you through the application process.

4. Consider All Costs

Remember that buying a home involves more than just the purchase price. Factor in additional costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, and moving expenses.

5. Use First Time Buyer Schemes

Take advantage of the various schemes to help first time buyers. These schemes can provide financial assistance and make the home buying process more manageable.


First time buyer help schemes offer valuable support for those looking to purchase their first home. By understanding the different schemes available and their eligibility criteria, you can make informed decisions and take advantage of the assistance offered. Whether you’re considering a Help to Buy Equity Loan, Shared Ownership, or another government scheme for house buyers, these programs can help you achieve your dream of homeownership.


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