Help to Buy Staircasing with SAM Conveyancing
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Help to Buy Staircasing: Pay off your Equity Loan

(Last Updated: 21/12/2023)
5 min read

Key Takeaways

What are the requirements to Staircase a Help to Buy Equity Loan?

  • The minimum amount you can staircase at one time is 10% (of the total market value of the property at the time you staircase);
  • The above requirement means that when the lenders’ equity in your property is less than 20%, you can only repay the loan in full;
  • You may only staircase in multiples of 10%, that is 10%, 20%, 30% etc; and
  • You cannot staircase if there are any arrears of interest payments and/or management fees on your mortgage account. Any arrears must be cleared before a staircase transaction can proceed.

What is the Staircasing Process?

  • 1Obtain a RICS valuation for the property

Read more - How do I get a RICS property valuation?

  • 1Send application form to Help to Buy

Send Help to Buy Repayment Application form to the Administrator, including your RICS valuation, solicitor's details, confirm the % you are staircasing and pay your Administration Fee.

  • 3Help to Buy Administrator responds to you/your solicitor

The Help to Buy Administrator confirms in writing whether they approve the valuation and how much you'll need to pay to settle the agreed share of the loan.

You/your solicitor should receive a reply from the Help to Buy Administrator within 10 working days. If your valuation isn't approved, they will contact you and may also wish to speak to your RICS valuation surveyor. This may result in a revised market valuation.

Picture of solicitor inspecting a Help to Buy Staircasing Authority to Complete sent from Targe
  • 4Solicitor carries out the remaining staircasing legal work

This includes, among other things, ID checks and obtaining the redemption statement (if you're remortgaging to pay). Your solicitor has to email Target the statement that they will be passing over the full sum of money required for your staircasing on an agreed date falling before you intend to complete it.

This statement is known as an undertaking. Your solicitor must email the undertaking to Target at least 15 working days before the expected completion date.

  • 5Authority to Complete

The Help to Buy Administrator issues the Authority to Complete within 5 working days of receiving the undertaking from your solicitor. Your solicitor can then pay over the funds on the date stated in the undertaking. When Target receives the cash, the amount is then validated against the figures stated on the Authority to Complete.

If this matches, the memorandum of staircasing is issued confirming your new - reduced - equity loan percentage, and you can then complete it on the date agreed and start to benefit from having to pay less interest on your equity loan.

What if completion is delayed?

If the completion date stated on the legal undertaking doesn't take place and is delayed by more than one week, your solicitor has to issue a new undertaking.

Are you ready to repay some of your equity loan?

Our panel of RICS Surveyors and Help to Buy Staircasing solicitors can handle the process from start to finish. Get a free call back to discuss your needs and get a tailored quote:

Two ways you can Staircase your Help to Buy Loan

You either opt to pay for your staircasing:

a) With a lump sum

Usually a gift, inheritance, or savings. You simply follow the procedure outlined in sections 1 and 2 above.

b) With another loan secured on your property

In this scenario, when you liaise with the Help to Buy Administrator, they provide a Guidance Pack to your solicitor, who processes the Deed of Postponement document required by your main mortgage lender for this transaction. The Deed of Postponement ensures your lender is ranked as the first charge on your home.

The amount of other-lender borrowing permitted is restricted to the amount you must pay for your staircasing transaction. For example, if you are looking to staircase 10% and your property is worth £200,000, you will need to pay £20,000. In this example, the further borrowing you can take out is restricted to £20,000 – you may not exceed this amount.

Target cannot confirm the exact amount of alternate borrowing you can obtain until they have the required information. You should not arrange alternate borrowing before they send you confirmation of the amount you can borrow. However, you may contact your lender to ensure you can obtain the amount you estimate that you will require.

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written 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.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed 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.

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