First steps on the housing ladder

The financial impact of that first step on the housing ladder is increasing, but joint ownership or the ‘help to buy’ scheme could help soften the blow.

Joint Ownership

Joint ownership can allow a purchase that would otherwise be impossible.  Whether buying with a parent, partner or friend, it’s vital that decisions are made at the outset about how the property will be owned and how the parties will contribute towards the mortgage.  

There are various forms of co-ownership.  Your solicitor will make sure the parties’ intentions and responsibilities are legally documented so that, should the relationship end or the property is sold, both parties will know what to expect.  This is as important for unmarried couples as it is for friends or relatives.  Such an agreement will cost a little more initially but could save a lot of money and heartache in the long run.

Help to Buy

This Government funded scheme will be available until 2020.  First time buyers can buy a brand new property with a 5% deposit; the Government loans up to 20% (or 40% in London) and the buyer must obtain a mortgage for the remaining 75%.  

The home must be your only property, it must not be sub-let and when it is sold – or after 25 years – the loan must be repaid.  After the first five years a 1.75% charge is made, which increases every year.  However, if you are in a position to repay within five years, the loan is effectively interest free.

Buying property is a big decision and never more so than when it is your first home.  Don’t neglect to get expert legal advice – cutting corners is simply not a sensible option.

For helpful advice on buying or selling your home, contact Kurt Goddard on 01206 217391 or

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.