What is the First Home Scheme?
- Launched in July 2022, the First Home Scheme (FHS) provides financial support to First Time Buyers so that you can bridge the affordability gap between your deposit and mortgage, and the price of your new-build home.
- The FHS can fund up to 20% of the purchase price of your new home if you are availing of the Help to Buy Scheme OR 30% if you are not availing of the Help to Buy Scheme.
- When you avail of the FHS, the Government will provide financial support and in return they will get an equity share in your home equal to the percentage of the funding they have provided (i.e. up to 30%).
Who is eligible for the FHS?
To be eligible for the FHS, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Be a First Time Buyer
You may also be eligible for the FHS if you have previously purchased or built a home –
- With a spouse, civil partner, or partner, and that relationship has ceased. Note: you must not retain a beneficial interest in that home; or
- If you have sold that home as part of a personal insolvency or bankruptcy arrangement, or other legal processes as a result of insolvency.
In addition, you will also have to meet the following criteria:
- You must have mortgage approval with a participating lender. The current participating lenders are Allied Irish Bank plc (including AIB, Haven Mortgages and EBS), Bank of Ireland Group plc, permanent tsb plc; and
- You must borrow the maximum mortgage amount available to you from a participating lender; and
- You must not be availing of a mortgage exception with a participating lender; and
- You must have a minimum deposit of 10% of the purchase price of the home. This can be fulfilled by availing of the Help to Buy scheme.
How does it work?
The FHS allows you to purchase a newly built house of apartment in a private development.
Property price ceilings per local authority area apply to both houses and apartments. This means that you cannot avail of the FHS if the cost of your home is above the price ceiling for that local authority area.
For more information on property price ceilings, visit https://www.firsthomescheme.ie/media/3fidiubp/first-homes-brochure-2023.pdf
In the above example, you will receive funding of €100,000 (or 20% of the property price) and the Government will receive a 20% share in your home in return for the funding.
What are some of the costs involved with the FHS?
- Service charge: this is an annual charge you will have to pay for services related to the provision, maintenance and servicing of the equity facility. The charge only becomes payable from the start of the 6th year after you purchased your home.
- Legal fees: you will require the services of a solicitor for legal advice and to arrange for the completion of the required documents. You should check with your solicitor what their fees and charges for these services are.
How do I apply?
Check your eligibility
Visit https://www.firsthomescheme.ie/eligibility-calculator/ and use the FHS Eligibility Calculator to see whether you are eligible for the Scheme. A screen print of the Eligibility Certificate will be required when applying for your mortgage.
Register and apply
If you are eligible, you can then register with the FHS and submit your application online.
The information you will need to provide
You will be required to provide certain information during the application, such as:
- Your personal details (e.g. your full name, current address, date of birth, occupation, etc.)
- Qualification details (e.g. whether you are a First Time Buyer; whether you are availing of the Help to Buy Scheme, etc.)
- Property details such as the type of property you are looking to buy, the purchase price and location of the property
- Your solicitor’s details, e.g. name and address
The supporting documents you will need to provide
When submitting your application, you will be required to upload the following documents:
- A copy of your Approval in Principle (AIP) from a participating lender (this must be valid for at least 8 weeks from the date of submission)
- Photo ID for all homebuyers, valid for at least 6 months (e.g. passport, driver’s licence)
- Current address verification (dated in the last 6 months) e.g. bank statement, recent utility bill (gas, electric or landline bill).
For more information on the FHS, visit https://www.firsthomescheme.ie/.