Stepping onto the housing ladder

If you’re thinking of starting a new chapter in your family’s life and buying your own home, planning is key.

Forces Help to Buy

To help you onto the housing ladder, you could take advantage of the Forces Help to Buy scheme. All regular serving personnel who have completed 12 months’ service are eligible to apply, so this might be something to think about.

The scheme allows regular serving personnel to borrow an interest-free deposit of up to half their annual salary. The loan, which has to be repaid over 10 years or when you leave Service, is capped at £25,000.

More information is available on Discover My Benefits which is also a one-stop shop for info on all the benefits, allowances and support available to your family – all in one place.

Start saving early

Whatever your plans, saving early will help. Whether you’ll need the money for a deposit or furniture, start growing your savings sooner rather than later.

If you are under 40, you could consider opening a Lifetime ISA – see gov.uk/lifetime-isa

You could also get a low-interest loan from the Government to help buy a home or look into shared ownership schemes. There is some great info here.

Also think about saving with credit unions, which can take savings direct from pay.  Joining Forces is a partnership made up of three independent credit unions.

Get help online

Did you know that you can access free online civilian housing briefings through the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)? These sessions aren’t just for the soldier but for the whole family. You can log on to these briefings at any point, there’s no need to wait until your soldier is in their resettlement period. To find out more, visit GOV.UK and search ‘JSHAO’.

Don’t forget about bills

It’s important to factor in the bills that come with owning your own home that you were not responsible for in SFA, such as water bills and council tax. Also consider any charges you might incur for Single Living Accommodation (SLA) if your soldier chooses to serve unaccompanied.

On the other side…

Once you’ve moved into your own home, make sure the suppliers you’re with know your new address. You could also sign up to have your post redirected for a while to ease the admin burden.

POSTED ON 8 JANUARY 2021

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