Posts filed under ‘Advice’
Dave Hesson, Regional Managing Director at Morris Homes, explains the new government Help to Buy scheme and how it will help househunters across the UK.
The government recently announced the launch of ‘Help to Buy’ in the recent budget – its new initiative for homebuyers.
It has been designed to support those who have a five per cent deposit buy their first home or move up the property ladder, improve the availability of new homes and increase the supply of low-deposit mortgages.
There are two ways to benefit from Help to Buy: Equity Loan and Mortgage Guarantee.
Equity Loan is already accessible across the UK from housebuilders like Morris and it is available for the next three years. Mortgage Guarantee won’t be available until January 2014.
New schemes like these can often be very confusing to buyers so we wanted to cut through the jargon and make it easier to understand.
This effectively replaces the FirstBuy scheme that was previously available. It is open to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners as long as they buy a new build property up to the value of £600,000.
It means buyers only need to have saved a five per cent deposit to benefit from a 75 per cent mortgage which significantly reduces their monthly repayments.
This is because the government will supply the additional 20 per cent through an equity loan. The loan is interest free for the first five years and can be repaid at any time or on the point of sale.
The good news is that this means that on a Morris home worth £124,750 the figures stack up as follows*:
• Five per cent deposit required: £6,238
• Government loan: £24,950
• Mortgage amount: £93,562
• Monthly repayments could be: £473* (see below)
The Mortgage Guarantee option is available from January 2014 and includes both new build and existing homes. Again, only a five per cent deposit is needed but rather than getting a loan, the government will instead guarantee a portion of the mortgage.
This security will encourage lenders to offer more low-deposit mortgages so that it’s possible to buy immediately instead of having to wait and save.
The Help to Buy scheme means that buying a new home is now affordable for millions of people across the UK. Housebuilders and the government will work together to ensure it helps as many people as possible make buying that dream home a reality.
*Monthly repayments: Monthly payment based on a 25 year repayment mortgage with Halifax borrowing £93,562.00 on a fixed rate of 3.59% until 30/09/2015 with 28 payments of £472.92 followed by 272 monthly payments of £491.72 at a standard variable rate currently 3.99% to give an APR of 4.1%. The valuation fee is £315.00 payable up front. There is no product arrangement fee to the lender. This is based on the 80/20 Help to Buy shared equity scheme and requires a 5% deposit of £6237.50 from the buyer. Please note these deals could change at any time.
Did you know that the contents of the average garden are now worth nearly £2,000 with home owners splashing out on £894 alone in the past 12 months on the likes of outdoor furniture and decorations.
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But if you have your eye on something it’s best to set a goal. The Money Advice Service guide How to set a savings goal could help.
One in ten homeowners recently admitted in a report that they have spent money on their garden as they can’t afford to move home, while one in three say that spending a lot of time outside (weather permitting) is the main reason for upgrading their outdoor spaces.
Despite this hefty investment, 12.5 million (or more than two in five) of homeowners are leaving their gardens unprotected, by not checking whether their items are covered under current policies, or by having no insurance at all.
It’s all the more worrying in light of the fact that 1.4 million thefts from gardens and outdoor spaces were recorded last year, marking a 17% increase over the last five years.
Follow these handy tips from the Money Advice Service for keeping your gardens safe:
1. Check your contents insurance documents to see what you are and are not covered for. If you have no contents insurance, it might be an idea to get some.
2. When possible, keep expensive tools, lawnmowers and bicycles out of sight and locked away.
3. Don’t forget about tools and ladders that could be used to break into your home too.
4. Make sure garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings remain bolted with a secure lock.
5. Plug gaps in fences or bushes to stop opportunistic thieves slipping through.
6. Use landscaping to your advantage. Try to plant some thorny plants and shrubs with prickly leaves as a natural barrier to deter the thieves.
7. Shrubs and overgrown trees can prove to be an asset to burglars. Make sure you prune overgrown and large trees.
8. Mark valuable items, such as patio furniture and ornaments, with your postcode, and keep photos of your garden valuables for your claim in case anything is stolen or vandalised
9. Keeping your driveways or front paths updated with pebbles or gravel can help you to hear someone approaching your property.
10. Look into joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme in order to help protect yours and your neighbours’ properties
As anyone who lives in a town or city will tell you, neighbours make noise. And when that noise is at 3am and you’ve got work the next day, Jessie Hewitson say’s it’s time to consult our checklist of what to do when you’re living next to a noisy neighbour.
1. Know your tolerance to noise and make appropriate decisions. If you need a monastic hush to sleep at night, live on the top floor or in a well insulated newbuild.
2. It’s best to speak to the neighbour face to face about the problem first. Employ all your powers of gentle persuasion and frame the conversation in a non-confrontational way: invite them for a cup of tea and ply them with biscuits and compliments before the noise chat. Basic psychology dictates that someone is more likely to do something for you if they are not feeling ordered to do it.
3. If your neighbour is a tenant, inform their landlord and see if that does the trick.
4. If the pesky neighbour ignores you – or you feel uncomfortable speaking to them in person – then do the old fashioned thing and write them a letter. Your council website can provide you with a template for this letter, such as this one. This is more formal, so may be taken more seriously – and will also provide you with evidence should the authorities get involved.
5. If this all fails, contact your local council’s Environmental Health team, who will ask you to keep a diary of the noise and then….not do much about it, until you pester them repeatedly and they come out and measure the sound disruption. If it is considered too high the local authority can then issue a notice and your neighbour can be fined or prosecuted if they ignore this.
6. Speak to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for free advice.
7. Video or record anything that might prove your point.
8. If you are a home owner, bear in mind that any protracted dispute with your neighbours could have an impact on the sale of your house. Seek advice from a friendly solicitor or friends of friends who have been through this.