First Home Government Scheme: What is it?

Launched in July 2022 as part of the Government’s Housing For All strategy, the First Home Government scheme was introduced to help first-time buyers bridge the gap between their deposit, their mortgage and the price of their new home.

The First Home Government Scheme will provide assistance to first-time buyers and other eligible homebuyers who plan to purchase a newly built home in the Republic of Ireland.

First Home Government Scheme vs Help to Buy Scheme

If you are already availing of the Help to Buy Scheme, then the good news is that you will still be eligible to apply for the First Home Government Scheme. The Help to Buy Scheme was introduced in Ireland in January 2017 to help eligible first-time home buyers with the required deposit to purchase a new home or new apartment, for a purchase price of €500,000 or less.

Whilst both the First Home Government Scheme (FHS) and the Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) can be used together, it is important to note that eligibility for both schemes is assessed separately. If you are planning to apply for the First Home Government Scheme, and are already availing of the HTB Scheme, then the maximum amount you may be eligible for under the FHS will be 20% of the property value. 

How to apply for the first home government scheme

Step one – start the process

If you have been busy saving your deposit but are still finding that you have less than what you need, then log onto www.firsthomescheme.ie and input your details into the eligibility calculator to determine the minimum and maximum amount of support that you may be able to qualify for through the FHS.

To use the eligibility calculator, you will need to have an idea of the local authority area in which you want to purchase your first property. Check out the interactive map on the First Home Scheme website to find out more.

Step two – begin the application

If you already have your Mortgage Approval in Principle (AIP) from a participating lender then you can go ahead and start your application. You must have your AIP to be able to apply. Participating lenders in the First Home Mortgage Scheme include:

  • AIB
  • Haven Mortgages
  • EBS
  • Permanent TSB
  • Bank of Ireland

Before you start your application on the First Home Mortgage Scheme customer portal, you will need to make sure you have the following supporting documentation:

  • A copy of your Approval in Principle which is valid at least eight weeks from the date of application
  • Photo ID for each homebuyer which is valid for at least another six months following your application
  • Proof of address for each homebuyer which is dated within the last six months. This can include recent utility bills or bank statements. For phone bills, only landline bills will be accepted.
Step three – your Eligibility Certificate

Once your application and documentation have been reviewed and approved, you will then receive an Eligibility Certificate. This certificate is not an offer from the FHS. It is an estimate of the minimum and maximum amount of equity you will qualify for. Once you have your Eligibility Certificate, you can then present this to your lender who will consider the FHS when working on your mortgage application.

Step four – Customer Contract

If your mortgage application has been approved, your lender will provide you with what’s known as a ‘Mortgage Letter of Offer’. Once you receive this, upload it to your FHS customer portal for assessment. If your FHS application is approved you will then receive a copy of your Customer Contract. A copy of this document will also be sent to your solicitor to be signed by you and witnessed by your solicitor.

Step five – your first home

All required documents and signed forms must be sent to the FHS by your solicitor for your application to be completed. Once the FHS release funds, they will be sent to your solicitor who will finalise the property purchase. At this stage, the FHS will set up your equity facility and send you a welcome letter. From then on, you will receive a statement every year which will provide you with the most recent information on the FHS equity facility.

keys first time buyer

Still have questions about the First Home Mortgage Scheme? Contact our experts at Irish Mortgage Corporation today by calling 1850 444 474 or 01 669 1000 or by emailing info@irishmortgage.ie – or use the form below – the quickest, simplest way to speak to an Advisor.