Buying a First Homes property is like buying a normal market home. The main difference is that your eligibility must be confirmed by us near the start of the purchase process.
If approved, the sale can continue, and we’ll notify:
- your solicitor or conveyancer
- the home seller (the developer and future vendors)
- the mortgage company.
At a later stage, once the conveyancer has confirmed that the purchase is fully compliant, we’ll issue the formal approval to exchange contracts.
The buying process
The steps set out below would be taken to buy a new-build First Homes property from a developer.
If you're looking to buy a First Homes property from a current First Homes owner, their estate agent replaces the role of the developer.
Find a property and check your eligibility
Visit the developer selling First Homes properties to see what is available to buy.
If there is a First Homes property that you would like to buy, the developer, and probably a mortgage advisor, will initially check your eligibility against national criteria and any local criteria.
Seek financial advice about mortgage availability
If you have not already done so, it’s strongly recommended that you seek financial advice about mortgage availability from a mortgage advisor.
You should also:
- get a decision in principle at this stage
- have a solicitor or conveyancer to advise you on the purchase.
Fill in the application form with the developer
If it looks like you could be eligible, the developer will help you to complete an application that will be sent to us.
The developer and mortgage advisor will need information and evidence from you to:
- check eligibility
- check household income
- determine whether you're likely to be able to get a mortgage, through for example a ‘decision in principle’.
Once the application information has been completed you will then:
- sign the legal declarations on the application form, including confirmation that you and anyone you are buying with are first-time buyers
- reserve the home from the developer and pay a reservation fee (maximum of £500 permissible). This is refundable if you are found not to be eligible.
It's important that all buyers make this reservation commitment with their application. We cannot consider applications if you have not reserved your First Home, or if any required information is missing.
Your application is submitted to us by the developer
The completed application is then sent by the developer to us.
We’ll check your application.
If the developer did not submit supporting evidence with your application, we'll ask you to provide it to us.
If you meet all the requirements, we’ll issue a First Homes ‘Authority to Proceed’ and 'Eligibility Certificate' to:
- the developer
- the mortgage advisor
- your conveyancer.
Your conveyancer will also receive instructions from us.
You can now apply for your mortgage.
Do not submit your full mortgage application until you have the 'Authority to Proceed' (step 5).
Submitting a full mortgage application will incur costs and you must not do this until you know you are approved to buy.
Further work and declarations
Your conveyancer will work on your purchase and follow our instructions.
You will have to make a further legal declaration that you are eligible and understand the terms of the scheme and that you can only resell the home in the future to another eligible First Homes buyer.
Request approval to exchange contracts
Once your mortgage offer is made and the contract agreed with the developer, your conveyancer will request approval to exchange contracts from us.
We’ll check the conveyancer’s request. If it’s a compliant sale, we’ll issue an ‘Authority to Exchange’ and 'Compliance Certificate' to your conveyancer.
Keep the Compliance Certificate. This shows you are eligible and entitled to be a First Homes owner.
Pay your deposit and exchange contracts
With the Authority to Exchange, you must pay your deposit and exchange contracts to buy. At this point you are legally committed to buy.
At the point of exchange your developer will have confirmed how long it will take to complete your home so that you can move in.
This is usually done by agreeing a short period of notice that they will give you. In any event, the time between exchange and legal completion (when you move in) should be no more than 6 months.
Legal completion and moving day
Once the developer has given notice of legal completion, your conveyancer will get your mortgage money from your lender to pay the developer.
On the date of legal completion, you will get the keys and can move into your First Home.
Restriction on the title
A First Home restriction on its future resale will be registered on the title of the property by your conveyancer.
This means you can only sell in the future to another qualifying First Homes buyer at the same discount to the market value. This ensures that the First Home continues to benefit others when you have moved on.