First Homes Buyer Scheme

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Save 30% on selected new build homes with the First Homes scheme

Getting onto the property ladder can be challenging, especially for first-time buyers. The First Homes scheme is a government initiative that can help you secure a substantial discount on a Mersea Homes' property.

What is the First Homes scheme?

The First Homes scheme is a government-backed initiative aimed at making it easier for first-time buyers to purchase their first property.

Through this scheme, eligible homebuyers can get a discount of 30% off the market value of select new build homes, up to a maximum price of £250,000 (after the discount has been applied). This makes it more affordable to step onto the property ladder, without compromising on the quality of your home.

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Am I eligible for the First Homes Scheme?

The scheme is available to local first-time buyers who meet the following criteria:

  • You must be able to afford a mortgage for at least half the price of the home

  • Your total household income is less than £80,000

  • You meet at least one of the following residency criteria:
    • You or a member of your household has lived in Colchester for at least 6 of the last 12 months

    • You or a member of your household has lived in Colchester for at least 3 years out of the previous 5 years

    • You have an immediate adult relative who is a resident of Colchester

    • You have an offer of permanent employment (for a term of at least 12 months) in Colchester for which personal attendance is required

How does the First Homes scheme work?

Under the scheme, the discount on your new build home is funded by our team at Mersea Homes. This enables you to purchase one of our high-quality homes with a much smaller deposit and reduce your mortgage payments.

For example, if a home is valued at £335,000, with the First Homes discount it would cost you £234,500. While you will still incur legal fees and mortgage fees, more good news is that you won’t have to pay any Stamp Duty.

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How do I apply for a First Homes scheme property?

If you want to purchase a First Homes property, your first step is to speak with a Mersea Homes representative at our show home. They will explain the process and help you complete the application to Colchester City Council, who will check whether you meet the criteria for the First Home scheme.

You will need to pay Mersea Homes a reservation fee for your chosen new build home while your application is being considered. If your application is denied, you will receive a full refund.

How do I know a home is eligible for the First Homes scheme?

Only select Mersea Homes properties are eligible for the First Homes scheme. If they are, they will have the First Homes badge on the property listing on our website.

If you would like to clarify if a property is available on the First Homes scheme, please get in touch.

Is there a price cap for the First Homes scheme?

Yes, a First Homes property can cost no more than £250,000 (after the discount has been applied).

What deposit will I need for the First Homes scheme?

To purchase a First Homes property, a minimum of 5% deposit is typically required. For example, if the property costs £200,000, the deposit would be £10,000.

If I buy with my partner or someone else, do we both need to be first-time buyers?

Yes, both you and your partner or fellow homebuyers must be first-time buyers.

What happens if I decide to sell my property?

If you decide to sell your First Home, you can only sell it to someone who is also eligible to buy a First Home, and offer the same percentage discount based on your property’s market value. This is to ensure the whole community will continue to benefit from our discount homes.

To sell, you will need to have your property valued by a surveyor registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

What happens if I decide to rent out my property?

If you want to let your First Home, you are usually allowed to do so for a total of two years while you own the property, regardless of the number of tenants you have.

Before letting, you need to check if your mortgage agreement permits it and inform Colchester City Council. However, if you sell the property to someone else, the two-year limit resets.