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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about moving house? What about shared ownership or stamp duty? See below list of the questions we are asked most often to help you on your new home journey.

Property Information

What is the difference between leasehold and freehold?

When you buy a freehold property, you own the building as well as the land it sits on. If you buy a leasehold property, you are renting the land, and will likely, but not always, have to pay ground rent and maintenance fees to uphold this land. You still own the property in its entirety, unless you have bought a property through Shared Ownership.

What will my new build property include?

Depending on the developer, and the stage of building of the property, will depend on what your property comes with. When buying off-plan, you will be able to put your own touches on the property, such as kitchen colours and flooring. Some homes will come without flooring or garden landscaping, and some will be ready to move into straight away. Make sure you are in contact with the developer at every stage so you know what to expect.

What does buying off-plan mean?

Buying off-plan means purchasing your new home before the developer has finished building it. You can even buy a property before the construction has started, allowing you to add personal touches to the property.


What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan agreement between an approved lender (bank, building society) and a person wanting to purchase a property. The lender will provide the funds to purchase your home at interest in exchange for title of the debtor of the property – which will become void when the debt is fully repaid. A mortgage usually runs for 25 years – however, some can be longer and some can be shorter depending on your needs.

Find out more about mortgages here.

Home Buying Schemes

What is Shared Ownership?

Also known as “part buy, part rent,” Shared Ownership allows the purchaser to buy a percentage of a new build property, usually between 25%-75%. You then get a mortgage on your own share, and pay rent on the remaining percentage. Over time, you can “staircase” by buying more shares in the property, until you own it in its entirety. Learn more about Shared Ownership here.

What is Help to Buy?

Help to Buy is a loan you receive from the government to help you purchase a new build home. You can borrow between 5% and 20% (40% in London) of the value of the property, and pay it back interest free for the first 5 years. Applications for Help to Buy close at 6pm on 31st October 2022. Help to Buy England has price caps on properties across the different regions. Learn more about Help to Buy price caps in your area here.

What is Part Exchange?

Part exchange is the process in which the developer from whom you are buying a property will buy your current home from you. This will make the buying and selling process easier for you as it will mean you are not in a chain. Terms and conditions apply to this scheme that are tailored to each developer.

Costs and Budgeting

What is a Credit Report?

A credit report is a record of a borrower’s responsible repayment of debts. Your report will be shown as a number, which is why it is often referred to as a credit score. There are many things that can affect your credit score, so it’s important to understand what these are and how to improve yours if it’s not high enough.

What is Stamp Duty?

If you buy a property over a specific price, you will need to pay tax. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) applies in England and Northern Ireland, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies in Scotland and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) applies in Wales.

Calculate stamp duty here.

The rates for each tax vary by country, and by price bracket. Use the Stamp Duty Calculator below to work out how much you will need to pay. First time buyers in England and Northern Ireland will pay less or no tax if the property price is less than £500,000. In Scotland this is £175,000.

What are the costs incurred when buying a new build home?

There are no extra costs when buying a new build than buying a second hand property, which is likely to include solicitors fees, survey costs and potential Stamp Duty (not applicable to First Time Buyers.)

Depending on whether your property is freehold or leasehold depends on whether you will pay an annual service charge or ground rent, and leasehold properties will also incur additional solicitors fees. Conversely, with the variety of special offers available on many new build properties, you are likely to save money too.

How much can I afford to spend on a new home?

Firstly, you need to know how much money you have available for a deposit. Then, work out your household income and multiply by 4.5. Add these numbers together and you will have your estimated budget for a new home.

Alternatively, you can use our easy new home budget calculator to estimate your budget.

How much should I put down as a deposit for a new home?

The minimum deposit that lenders will usually accept is 5% value of the property, but most will prefer at least 10%. To gain additional benefits on your mortgage, such as lower monthly payments, increase your deposit amount.