In this brief blog, we are going to discuss how the help to buy ISA bonus request works and how to ensure you make your help to buy ISA bonus request is made the right way to avoid any delays to your home purchase.

What is the help to buy ISA bonus request?

The help to buy ISA bonus request is the request you have to make to the governments help to buy agency in order to get your help to buy ISA government bonus. With the help to buy ISA scheme, you can earn a help to buy ISA bonus of  £3,000 if you save the maximum £12,000 required.

You can only make a help to buy ISA bonus request if you are eligible for the help to buy ISA bonus. To be eligible for the help to buy ISA bonus you must be using your help to buy ISA bonus to buy a property which is less than four hundred and fifty thousand pounds (£450,000) in London and less than two hundred and fifty thousand pounds (£250,000) outside London.  You will need to also sign a first-time buyer declaration stating that you are an eligible first-time buyer and do not own any property anywhere in the world.

How do I get my help to buy ISA bonus?

To get your help to buy ISA bonus you will need a solicitor or conveyancer as you can’t claim for the help to buy ISA bonus yourself. Your solicitor will have to make the help to buy ISA bonus request on your behalf. To make the help to buy ISA bonus request they will need to be registered on the help to buy portal. They should ideally do this at least 5 days before they plan to make your help to buy ISA bonus request to avoid any potential delays.

Your solicitor will have to be confident that you meet the eligibility requirements of the help to buy ISA and are eligible for the help to buy bonus.

To be eligible for the help to buy ISA you will need to meet the below requirements:

You must be over 16 years of age to be eligible for the help to buy ISA

You have not and will not go over your tax year ISA allowance. It is £20k for the 2019/2020 tax year

You cannot have another hep to buy ISA except you are closing your current help to buy ISA and transferring it to your new help to buy ISA account

You must have a national insurance number

You are a resident in the UK or can prove established residency via your tax obligations or through marriage or civil partnership with a UK resident

You cannot have another cash ISA in the same tax year except it is held with the same help to buy ISA provider who holds your help to buy ISA account. 

You don’t own any land or house anywhere in the world

You have not already received a help to buy ISA bonus except you have and it has been paid back to the relevant body due to your home purchase falling through and not being completed.

You cannot use the help to buy ISA if you intend to rent out the property

The maximum property price you can use the help to buy ISA on is £450,000 within London and £250,000 outside London

The help to buy ISA account can only have one holder

If your solicitor or conveyancer is satisfied that you meet the eligibility requirements for the help to buy ISA they will then go on to make your help to buy ISA bonus request. To do this they will need your help to buy ISA closing letter which the help to buy ISA provider will have given to you upon closing your account. This letter will contain your closing balance which is the figure on which your help to buy ISA bonus will be paid on.

Your solicitor will put all these details into the help to buy portal and the help to buy ISA bonus request should be processed within 3 weeks and the funds will be paid into your solicitor’s client accounts before your solicitor’s hands it over to you.

Once this is done your solicitor will need to update the land registry with the necessary information.

Some important information about the help to buy ISA bonus:

The Help to Buy ISA bonus must be claimed by your solicitor before the completion date.

The bonus must be included with the completion monies when the completion of the property transaction takes place.

A help to buy ISA bonus request cannot be made after completion has taken place.

How long does it take for solicitor to claim help to buy ISA bonus?

It can take as long as 3 weeks to claim your help to buy ISA bonus after your solicitor has made a help to buy ISA bonus request. This is due to the amount of time it takes for the help to buy agency to review the request.

Before making a help to buy ISA bonus request your solicitor will need to confirm that you are still eligible for the help to buy scheme. 

Your solicitor or conveyancer will:

Check that the property you are buying is located within a particular region and meets the property price cap for that region. The two regions are broadly defined as inside London and Outside London. They will have to ensure that the value of the property is either below £250k or £450k.

Your solicitor will have to make some checks on the help to buy ISA closing documents you have provided.

Your solicitor will also have to verify that the mortgage you are seeking is indeed a residential mortgage and not a buy to let mortgage.

If your conveyancer believes that you are not eligible for the help to buy ISA bonus they will not make a help to buy ISA bonus request and will inform the help to buy agency of this.

Based on guidance and rules set out by the government your conveyancer may charge you up to £50 for fulfilling their role in regards to making the help to buy ISA bonus request on your behalf.

Once the help to buy agency has received your help to buy ISA bonus request they will then verify the conveyancer’s identity, account details etc

There are one of three things that could then happen

“   If the information matches then the Scheme Provider will issue an Approved

Bonus Request Notification to the Eligible Conveyancer.

If the information does not match then the Scheme Provider may contact

The Eligible Conveyancer directly to resolve the issue.

 If the information discrepancies cannot be reconciled then the Scheme Provider will issue a Bonus Rejection Notification to the Eligible Conveyancer, explaining how the Help to Buy: ISA Holder can review the reasons for the rejection. “

Can you use help to buy ISA bonus for solicitor fees?

No, you cannot use the help to buy ISA money for your solicitor fees. The help to buy ISA money cannot be used for any indirect costs of purchasing the property. The money must be included in the completion money which is sent over to the seller’s solicitor.u003cbru003e

Do you have to pay back help to buy ISA bonus?

No, you do not have to pay back the help to buy ISA bonus. 

Can you re-instate your Help to Buy ISA?

If your property purchase fails after you have obtained your Help to buy ISA Closing Letter from your provider, your conveyancing solicitor must provide you with a Purchase Failure Notice within 10 Business Days. This letter is sent to your provider and then the Help to Buy ISA is reinstated and ready for you to carry on saving for a future home purchase.

Is there a faster service to get your Help to buy ISA bonus?

If you need to get your help to buy ISA bonus faster then your solicitor can make an urgent bonus request via the help to buy online portal and include a payment date of no less than 24hours.

If your help to buy ISA bonus Request needs to be processed immediately and the help t buy ISA closing letter and statement are not immediately available then your solicitor can use an up-to-date account statement. This must detail your current balance, name, account number and product name. The statement may take the form of an online banking printout.

Alternatives to the help to buy ISA

There are other government schemes which may be able to help you get on the property ladder aside from the help to buy ISA. They are listed below.

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Help to buy equity loan- gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
  • Shared ownership– You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy– similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy– This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy– allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy- same as above.
  • Right to acquire- same as above.

In this brief guide, we discussed the Help to buy ISA bonus request. If you have any comments or questions please let us know.