The only thing to watch is that this is by banking institution, not per account. So you could put in just a small amount a month and take years to build up your bonus.
However, you risk a future Government changing the rules before , meaning it'll stop paying bonuses. Yes, definitely. Even if you won't get the maxed-out bonus as you're buying sooner, the Help to Buy ISA is still worth getting. The truth is, property prices can always change, which could negate the benefit of the state bonus anyway. Anyone can get one, as long as you're a first-time buyer or plan to be in the future and frankly even if you've only an inkling you may buy a home, it's worth starting it off. You can open one anytime until 30 November and you'll be able to save in it until 30 November The bonus will be added as long as you use it for a deposit by 1 December As for what a first-time buyer is — the definition is strict.
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It's someone who doesn't own and has NEVER owned an interest in a residential property, inside or outside the UK, whether it was bought or inherited. Once children are 16 they can get a Help to Buy ISA and, if you're looking to help them in future, it's a potentially lucrative way to do it. But they must open the account, not you. Help to Buy ISAs are for individuals. It's not about who's buying the property, it's simply about whether you're a first-time buyer. To make it plain:. Unlike some other Government schemes, you're not restricted to buying a new build; any property works — provided you're buying with a mortgage you won't get the bonus if you're a cash buyer.
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When you use a Help to Buy ISA to buy a home, you sign a declaration saying that you won't rent the property out — the Government's idea is to encourage homeownership, not help people start burgeoning property empires. But this was such a restriction, we queried it with the Treasury — what happens if people's circumstances change?
For example, if you had a job abroad for a couple of years, but wanted to keep the home and move back in when you came back to the UK — would you have to sell the property? The Government saw the sense in the question, and has now partly relented However, if you're buying the property with the sole intention of renting it out, this still isn't allowed.
If you're caught, the Government would seek to get its bonus money back from you. But you can continue to add to it each tax year.
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And although you're only allowed to get one Help to Buy ISA, you can transfer it between different providers to chase the best interest rates. We've checked with the Treasury, which says that even after 30 November, when newbies will no longer be able to open a Help to Buy ISA, existing customers will still be able to open a new ISA for transfers, to up the rate. It remains to be seen which providers will offer this, and we'll update this guide when we know more. It's important to monitor the interest rate you're getting and, if it drops, find a new Help to Buy ISA provider paying a better rate that allows transfers you'll need to ask it to transfer your existing one when you open your new account — don't take the money out yourself.
Yet there is a way round this. Doing this is great for those who have already opened a cash ISA this tax year, as you can transfer it in and use some of your allowance for Help to Buy. If it's more…. Normally you can only pay new money in to one cash ISA per tax year Help to Buy counts as a cash ISA , but a little-known exception to the rule is that you're allowed to pay into a second but no more , if you've fully closed the first, not just emptied it.
When you're ready to buy, to get the bonus, you let your ISA provider know that you're closing down your Help to Buy ISA account, and transfer the funds into another account or your solicitor's account. You'll then receive a closing letter from your ISA provider, which you need to give to the solicitor who is doing your conveyancing house-buying work for you.
The solicitor then uses the letter to apply online for the Government bonus, between the stages of exchanging and completing on your home purchase. When you buy a home there are two types of deposit though the same money's generally used for both. And, as the Government decided you'd only get the Help to Buy ISA bonus at completion so no one could get it if they pulled out of a property sale , it only helps you with one of these types, and it's important to understand the difference.
After that no one else can trump you as you and the vendor are committed to the sale. However, in most cases, it'll be worth trying to negotiate with the seller probably via your solicitor on this. Most vendors are unlikely to pull out of a sale because of a small shortfall which will be made good in just a matter of days when you finally complete.
That helps to reduce the amount you need to borrow and cuts the cost of your mortgage rate too.
If you decide not to buy your first home or to buy one costing more than the qualifying amount you don't lose the money. It'll still be tax-free and you'll still get the interest you're due. The rules also allow you to make partial withdrawals, while keeping the Help to Buy ISA open though withdrawal rules will depend on your provider. You won't be eligible for the bonus on the amount withdrawn, but you can still keep contributing afterwards and will still get the bonus on whatever is in the account when you use it for a deposit. So you can put your cash in IN CASE you may buy a home with it, and there's little downside if you don't and a huge upside if you do.
Yet as a month is a calendar month, in reality you may be able to do this far more quickly, if the dates fall for you.
Therefore, assuming you're eligible, even if you have savings elsewhere, if you won't be completing within the next month, it's worth moving what you can into the Help to Buy ISA to get the bonus. Do check that your bank allows this — some have a cut-off date each month for paying in. The LISA is designed to help you buy your first home, and to save for retirement, and can be opened by anyone aged 18 to The bonus is also paid differently — with a Lifetime ISA it's paid monthly. Plus, with a LISA, you need to wait a year before using it to buy a home, and there's a penalty for early withdrawal.
Quite simply, you want to put your cash in the account paying the highest after-tax interest. So here are our top tips:. Have a question we've not answered? The rate is variable, so keep an eye on it in case it drops. Payments must be received by the end of the calendar month.
Rate: 2. Allows previous ISA transfers? Yes ISA split allowed? Nationwide - 2. Yes Linked benefits? None Withdrawal penalty: None.
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It's possible to beat the accounts above on rate, though you'll need to live in a certain area. Here are the providers that offer this:.
Help to Buy ISA. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site.
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