A SAM Conveyancing client celebrates receiving his Authority to Complete from Target.
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Authority to Complete When Selling or Paying Off Your Help to Buy

(Last Updated: 03/05/2023)
6 min read
Key Takeaways
  • When repaying your equity loan, often by selling your Help to Buy home, Target must issue your 'Authority to Complete' (ATC) before the transaction can take place.
  • The Authority to Complete is one of the final stages of the process and won't be issued until you solicitor has made a legal undertaking meeting Target's terms.
  • The first step toward getting your Authority to Complete is getting a valuation report .
  • The Help to Buy Administrator will only issue your Authority to Complete if they are happy with the sale price.

How to get Authority to Complete from Target

Start by downloading the Customer Information Pack from Gov.UK.

1. Get a RICS valuation report

You'll need a current market valuation from a RICS Surveyor. They can't be related or known to you and they must:
  • be RICS qualified and registered
  • be independent of any estate agent
  • inspect the inside of the property
  • provide at least 3 comparable properties and sale prices
  • supply the report on headed paper addressed to Homes England
  • provide the report in PDF or read-only digital format
  • sign and date the report themselves
RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

You'll have to pay for this report yourself and send it to Target within 5 days of the date it is issued by your surveyor:

Help to Buy customer services, PO Box 5262, Lancing, BN99 9HE
NP20 9PA

This report is valid for 3 months, so if your sale takes longer than this, you may need a new valuation. However, a 'desktop valuation' will be sufficient to extend the original valuation for a further 3 months, so long as it is from the same surveyor and meets the same formatting and signing requirements as above.

Why RICS for ATC?

Because your Equity Loan is paid as a percentage of your property value price, Target must be sure that it is not being priced under market value. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are a global professional body who regulate and maintain the highest standards from their members (surveyors), protecting clients and consumers with a strict code of ethics and completely impartial guidance and advice. They can be relied upon to provide a true and accurate valuation for Target's purposes.

Target can reject your report if it is not submitted according to their requirements, or if it is too high or low compared to other similar properties. If Target reject your report, you'll have to get another one at your own expense.

2. Instruct your solicitor

You'll need a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer to carry out the legal transaction, whether repayment only or sale and repayment. We provide this service for the sale and redemption from £1,048 INC VAT on Freehold or on Leasehold. Or, repayment only from £333 INC VAT.

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3. Pay the admin fee & settle any arrears

The standard admin fee is £200 (please check the Information Pack for varying fees), which covers Target's costs when reviewing and approving your valuation and issuing your redemption letter and authority to complete. It is sent along with your application form (Step 5).

If you are in arrears or have any outstanding payments due, you'll need to settle these. If you are not able to pay what you owe, your solicitor may be able to make arrangements with Target for them to let you continue with your application, as long as you agree to a repayment plan, or if you can clear the arrears before the repayment process completes. This is one of many reasons you should choose a conveyancing service with plenty of Help to Buy Redemption experience.

4. Complete the Equity Loan Repayment application form

Only once you have completed all of the above, can you complete and submit the application form, making sure to provide your solicitor's details, giving them authority to act on your behalf.

You'll also need to provide a copy of the Memorandum of Sale from your estate agent.

5. Target send your redemption letter

If Target approve your application, they'll send you and your solicitor both copies of your redemption letter, confirming that you can repay your equity loan, what percentage of equity loan you took out and how much your estimated repayment will be, based on the valuation report (plus any outstanding interest, fees and arrears).

6. Target send your solicitor their 'legal undertaking agreement'

Your Solicitor will receive a guidance pack, which sets out the steps they must take on your behalf to repay the loan, and the respective timescales, including a list of what they must include in their legal undertaking. The undertaking will specify a completion date. If the sale completion date on the undertaking is delayed by more than a week, they may need to create a new undertaking and repayment amount.

If you are selling the property to repay and the funds from the sale do not cover the total amount due, you’ll need to make an additional payment.

7. Your Solicitor sends Target their legal undertaking

This must be sent at least 15 days before completion. Target are currently taking 7- 10 working days to deal with initial enquiries. So, if you're selling the property, begin the process toward getting your Authority to Complete as soon as you've found a buyer and are ready to accept an offer.

8. Target issue the Authority to Complete (ATC)

This will be issued no more than 5 days after Target receive your solicitor's legal undertaking. This means your transaction can complete and your Equity loan can be repaid. Hooray!

What happens after I receive Target's Authority to Complete?

Your conveyancing solicitor transfers the funds to repay your equity loan (if you're selling your property this will happen after the buyer's solicitor has transferred the completion monies to yours). The total amount will include any interest, charges, administration fees and arrears that you owe.

Your solicitor sends you the relevant completion documents, Target check these and check the funds they've received match the amounts on your Authority to Complete. As long as this is all in order, they will then apply to the Land Registry to remove the charge on your property.

They also inform your solicitor that the loan is settled, your solicitor certifies this and sends you a ‘completion statement’ on headed paper. Don't stop paying your monthly interest and management fees until this has been received.

Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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