Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. I’m a first-time buyer. How much deposit should I save?
A. Generally a 25%+ deposit will secure you the best rate of repayment interest as mortgages work on the basis that those with the biggest deposit get access to the more affordable mortgage rates.
However, the Government’s Help To Buy Equity Loan scheme – where a buyer puts forward a 5% deposit and the Government loans the buyer a 20% deposit for the purchase of a new build property – is an option for first-time buyers buying some brand new properties. The remaining 75% of the purchase price must be funded by a mortgage, and the Government loan will need to be paid back.
Help To Buy also has a Mortgage Guarantee element, which applies to first-time buyers purchasing resale homes as well as new builds. Under the new Mortgage Guarantee scheme, the buyer would only need a 5% deposit. The Government and the bank then jointly guarantees up to the next 15% of the property’s value, in return for a fee paid for by the lender. This takes the risk away from the banks, making them more inclined to lend money. We will see a return of the 95% mortgage and lower rates of interest on other high loan-to-value lending.
There are some conditions, however: the purchase price must be under £600,000; the property must be the only home the buyer owns and the property being purchased should be their primary residence and not let out. Mortgage ‘stress tests’ will be used to ensure the purchasers can afford the mortgage repayments and anyone with historical difficulties relating to debt repayment maybe refused participation.
There is other good news: mortgage lending has become much easier, with lenders relaxing their criteria and releasing better-value loans for those with deposits of less that 20%, even outside of the Government-run Help To Buy initiatives. Chris Hall
- Q. Can I benefit from Help To Buy even though I’m not a first-time buyer?
A. The good news is yes, you can apply for both of the Help To Buy initiatives.
The Equity Loan scheme has expanded to include all buyers – whether it’s your first or fifth property move. This equity loan element is reserved for the purchase of new build homes only.
However, the new Mortgage Guarantee element of Help To Buy is open to all home movers, whether they are first timers, moving up the property chain, buying a new build or buying a resale property.
The Help To Buy Mortgage Guarantee element involves a buyer putting forward a 5% deposit. The government and the bank then jointly guarantees up to the next 15% of the property’s value, in return for a fee paid for by the lender. This takes the risk away from the banks, making them more inclined to lend money. We will see a return of the 95% mortgage and lower rates of interest on other high loan-to-value lending.
It’s worth remembering that there are some conditions attached to both elements of Help To Buy: the purchase price must be under £600,000; the property must be the only home buyer owns and the property being purchased should be their primary residence and not let out. Mortgage ‘stress tests’ will be used to ensure the purchasers can afford the mortgage repayments and anyone with historical difficulties relating to debt repayment maybe refused participation. Chris Hall
- Q. Are there lots of buyers looking for three-bedroom homes?
A. If you have a three-bedroom house in Newbury, Didcot, Thatcham, Hungerford or elsewhere in West Berkshire, now is an excellent time to sell your property. There is always a demand for good quality family-sized housing, and many people looking to take the next step up the property ladder request three bedrooms. The Help To Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme will also help current homeowners move up to a bigger property, so there will be people looking to upgrade from one or two bedrooms to three. Jones Robinson already has a list of buyers looking for three-bedroom houses, so please contact us to discuss a free appraisal and the marketing of your property. Charles Robinson
- Q. I am thinking of selling my house but am not sure if there is a market for my type of property?
A. The housing market is at its most stable for six years so there’s lots of moving activity. Better mortgage availability (especially now the Help To Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme is in place) and low interest rates mean everyone, including first-time buyers and those with low deposits, can now make a property move. There is a supply and demand problem in West Berkshire – we simply have more buyers looking than houses for sale, so please contact us today to book a free appraisal for your property. Charles Robinson
- Q. What are the advantages of buying a brand new home?
There are many advantages of buying a brand new home. Some of the most important are:-
- Modern methods of construction – using sustainable practices and professional builders. Today’s house builders use efficient and durable materials when building new homes.
- Fantastic levels of insulation for lower energy bills – some new homes are even built ‘air tight’ with heat recovery systems so they are as close to carbon neutral as possible.
- Warantees that usually last 10 years – normally offered via the NHBC, so any major structural issues will be covered during the first decade of the property’s life
- A blank canvass on which to make your mark – the walls will be freshly plastered and painted a cream colour, ready for you to move in and decorate straight away.
- Low running costs and little initial maintenance – because a new build is brand new, there are none of the niggles and DIY chores associated with buying an older property. The kitchens, bathroom suites, central heating and windows will be newly fitted with a long life ahead of them.
- A choice of plot and specification if you reserve off plan – if you choose to buy at a development before it has been built, the site staff will be able to show you the plots that are available to purchase on a site map. You can choose a plot that suits you needs best – maybe that’s a ground floor apartment or a corner plot.
- Q. Do your branches open at the weekend?
A. Jones Robinson’s branches are open seven days a week! We’re open 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10am to 4pm on Sundays. All of the properties that we are marketing are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on www.jonesrobinson.co.uk, as well as on all of the major property portals. Find out our full opening hours, including weekday times, and our locations by visiting http://www.jonesrobinson.co.uk/contact.html Charles Robinson
- Q. Is Jones Robinson affiliated with any industry bodies?
A. We are proud to be a professionally-accredited estate agent. We are associated with National Federation of Property Professionals, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Deposit Protection Scheme, for your peace of mind. Director David Jones is a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – one of the most respected property memberships you can hold. Charles Robinson and Paul Broomham are individual members of ARLA. Paul Broomham
- Q. What does a fully managed tenancy agreement mean?
A. A fully managed tenancy agreement means the landlord has minimal involvement in a rental property he owns, with the appointed lettings agent undertaking all the hard work. There is a monthly fee paid to the letting agent for this service. The agent will become responsible for almost every element of the rental property, from finding tenants and carrying out reference checks, to booking inventories, organising repairs and rent collection. The Jones Robinson fully managed service is chosen by the majority of our landlords, including first-time landlords, institutional investors who own multiple rental properties and landlords letting their own home for the first time. Our Lettings Team will provide you with regular updates on the property and the tenancy, managing it for you so it is a ‘hands off’ investment. Paul Broomham
- Q. What am I legally responsible for as a landlord?
A. As a landlord there are a number of areas that you will be legally responsible for and this can be a minefield without professional guidance. Legal obligations range from gas safety certification, health and safety legislation, to deposit protection and ensuring the correct wording is used on clauses within the tenancy agreement.
It can be confusing and time consuming to get your head around all the legal nuances associated with property investment but Jones Robinson can look after all the legalities for you. Regardless of the management level you require, the Jones Robinson team will guide you through everything and make sure your rental property complies with every letter of the law. You might like download our free landlords’ services guide for more details by following http://www.jonesrobinson.co.uk/landlords.html Paul Broomham
- Q. Are you a member of a tenancy deposit scheme and any industry governing bodies?
A. We are associated with National Federation of Property Professionals,the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Deposit Protection Scheme, for your peace of mind. A tenancy deposit scheme means your deposit will be bonded and protected throughout the tenancy. It also means you will receive your deposit back if you have meet the terms of the tenancy agreement; have paid any bills relating to the rental property , returned the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy and haven’t inflicted any malicious damage to the property or made alterations outside of the tenancy agreement. A Tenancy Deposit Scheme also offers a free dispute resolution service if you disagree with your landlord about how much deposit should be returned. Paul Broomham
- Q. Can I change the day my rent is paid?
A. If there is a particular date you would like your rental standing order to be on, please let us know before you enter into and sign the tenancy agreement. If, during your tenancy, you need the date to be altered, please let us know. We can contact the landlord and seek agreement for the change to be made. Paul Broomham