In September 2013, the Scottish Government launched the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme, which aims to help potential buyers purchase a new-build home from a participating home-builder, without having to fund the entire purchase price.
Here's a short summary of how Help to Buy (Scotland) works:
- The scheme is only available on new build homes from participating home builders and on homes up to a maximum value of £400,000
- The mortgage lender is likely to require a contribution to a deposit of around 5% and the mortgage and deposit must cover a combined minimum 80% of the total purchase price. The mortgage from a qualifying lender must be a repayment mortgage and buyers are not permitted to buy a Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme property with an interest-only first mortgage.
- The Scottish Government will help buyers to purchase the property and will take an equity stake of up to 20% of the value of the property.
- The home must be a buyer’s only residence and they must not own another home.
- The Scottish Government’s equity stake can be repaid at any time
RICS was approached by the Scottish Government seeking a Letter of Reliance from RICS members (similar to the one we issued for the LIFT scheme) for the Help to Buy scheme.
We have since received legal advice on this issue as we were initially concerned about the additional liability that this may place on our members. It has been confirmed that no additional liability will be extended to RICS members who provide a Letter of Reliance under the scheme.
Our Residential Board debated this issue at length and concluded that a general Letter of Reliance can be given by the valuer to the Scottish ministers. The Scottish Government will maintain a spreadsheet of all Help to Buy properties and contact each surveying firm quarterly to seek a Letter of Reliance covering all of those properties on the list which the surveying firm has provided a survey.
Members should sign and return a copy of the Letter or Reliance to the Scottish Government. Members can download the letter below.
For more information and/or a copy of the letter please contact: Zara Kemp, Member Services Co-ordinator, RICS Scotland (e: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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