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There are numerous Government Help available if you are planning to buy a property or your first home in the UK. Though they vary from council to council, and city to city, most of them are beneficial. Unfortunately, I was not eligible for any of the Government Schemes as it had been only 1.5 months in the current VISA when I offered to buy the home.
There are loads of options for the people in the UK like Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, London Starter Home Option, Shared Equity Ownership, Right to Buy and Retired/Senior Residents home purchase schemes. I researched Help to Buy option, Shared Ownership option and London Starter Home options before moving forefront in this. I felt that those options had a catch or a trojan in the entire process.
The only privilege I was eligible was the SDLT. You didn’t get it right. Yes, the same way I was also rolling my eyes when I heard it for the first time. Later, I came to know that SDLT means Stamp Duty and Lant Tax to the HMRC. This is a tax amount paid to the UK Government for the property. When I purchased the property, I was exempted for the first £ 300,000 value of the property, and it was 5% for the rest of the amount until £ 500,000 as this would be the primary residence of me.
This had potentially saved around £ 11,400 when compared to the SDLT rates in 2012 or 2014. The ultimate condition for this scheme to be applicable was the intended property should be the Primary Property where you are going to live. There was a catch in the UK Government Policy which claimed that this must be the First Property in the UK. Apart from the declaration form, there were no checks performed (known to me) if I have any other properties. I utilised this privilege and saved around £ 11,400 of the total cost in my case. But there is a catch here too, the maximum savings can be only £ 5,000 in terms of stamp duty.
The UK’s First Home Privilege is available for both Freehold and Leasehold. It is applicable for all Properties without discrimination of type. The rules aren’t straight forward, but a deep analysis on case to case basis could save something. Also, one needs to note that apart from these there are other costs which may surge beyond like Survey Costs, Conveyancing Solicitors Fee, Mortgage Valuation Fee, Buildings Insurance (depends on the type and value), Initial Furnishing / Customizing (as per the Bank Balance weight and Spouse definitions) and other such things. Be prepared for them too.