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First Homes scheme

If you're a first-time buyer, you may be able buy a home for 30% less than its market value. This offer is called the First Homes scheme.

These homes will be sold by developers  on developments in our district. Any purchaser (or, if a joint purchase, all the purchasers) of a First Home should be a first-time buyer

We have prepared a first homes advice note to address government requirements set out in it's  Planning Practice Guidance.

We currently have one development under construction in our area which includes First Homes in Fordingbridge. 

You can view further details on our strategic housing sites and their planning progress page

These homes are being directly marketed by developers who will also guide prospective purchasers through the application process.  There is no need to register on any waiting list.

First Homes process

Buying a First Homes property is like buying a normal market home.

The main difference is that your eligibility must be confirmed by us near the start of the purchase process. 

If approved, the sale can continue, and we will notify:

  • you
  • your solicitor or conveyancer
  • the home seller (the developer and future vendors)
  • the mortgage company

At a later stage, once your conveyancer has confirmed that the purchase is fully compliant with the First Home requirements, the formal approval to exchange contracts with us will be issued.

The buying process

The steps set out below would be taken to buy a new-build First Homes property from a developer. 

If you're looking to buy a First Homes property from a current First Homes owner, their estate agent replaces the role of the developer in guiding you through the process.

Find a property and check your eligibility

Visit the developer selling First Homes properties to see what is available to buy.

If there is a First Homes property that you would like to buy, the developer, and probably a mortgage advisor, will initially check your eligibility against national criteria and our local criteria.

Seek financial advice about mortgage availability

If you have not already done so, it's strongly recommended that you seek financial advice about mortgage availability from a mortgage advisor.

You should also:

  • get a 'decision in principle' from your preferred mortgage lender at this stage, confirming that a mortgage product is available for you to purchase a First Home
  • have a solicitor or conveyancer to advise you on the purchase

Fill in the application form with the developer

If you think you could be eligible, the developer will help you to complete an application that will be sent to us.

The developer and mortgage advisor will need information and evidence from you to:

  • check eligibility;
  • check household income; and
  • determine whether you're likely to be able to get a mortgage, through for example a 'decision in principle'.

Your application is submitted to us by the developer

The completed application is then sent by the developer to us.

Application check

We'll check your application.

If the developer did not submit supporting evidence with your application, we'll go back to the developer who will ask you to provide it to us.

If you meet all the requirements, we'll issue a First Homes 'Authority to Proceed and Eligibility Approval' to:

  • you
  • the developer
  • the mortgage advisor
  • your conveyancer

Your conveyancer will also receive instructions from us.

Mortgage application

You can now apply for your mortgage.

Submitting a full mortgage application will likely incur costs and you must not do this until you know you are approved to buy.

Further work and declarations

Your conveyancer will work on your purchase and follow instructions specific to first homes.

You will have to make a further legal declaration that you are eligible and understand the terms of the scheme and that you can only resell the home in the future to another eligible First Homes buyer.

Request approval to exchange contracts

Once your mortgage offer is made and the contract agreed with the developer, your conveyancer will request approval to exchange contracts from us.

We'll check the conveyancer's request. If it's a compliant sale, we'll issue an 'Authority to Exchange and Compliance Certificate' to your conveyancer.

Keep the Compliance Certificate. This shows you are eligible and entitled to be a First Homes owner.

Pay your deposit and exchange contracts

With the 'Authority to Exchange', you must pay your deposit and exchange contracts to buy. At this point you are legally committed to buy.

At the point of exchange your developer will have confirmed how long it will take to complete your home so that you can move in.

Restriction on the title

A First Home restriction on its future resale will be registered on the title of the property by your conveyancer.

This means you can only sell in the future to another qualifying First Homes buyer at the same discount to the market value.

This ensures that the First Home continues to benefit others when you have moved on. 


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