Help to Buy Lending Criteria

Help to Buy mortgages
Minimum loan: £25,001
Maximum loan: £500,000
Loan types: For property purchase only
Payment types: Repayment only
Loan tiers: 95% to £500,000. Fees may be added up to a maximum of 95% Loan to Value (LTV)
Other: No borrower or co-borrower can have an interest in any other property worldwide at the time of completion. The property being purchased must be the sole main residence for the purchaser(s)

The following property types are not acceptable:


Please note: properties with solar panels may be acceptable; please call for more details.

This list is not exhaustive. Some non-traditional forms of construction won’t be accepted. If the property is built from anything other than brick or stone, if the roof is not tile or slate, or if it's a self-built property, please call for further details.

  • Newly built houses and flats or conversions (built or converted within the last 12 months)
  • Properties less than 10 years old that are not covered by an approved new home warranty scheme or Professional Consultant’s Certificate
  • Properties outside Mainland UK. Please contact us if your property is located on any Scottish islands except Skye, Bute, Lewis & Harris, Mainland Orkney, Mainland Shetland, Arran, Mull, Islay, Whalsay, Yell, South Ronaldsay, West Burra, Tiree and Unst which are acceptable
  • Studio flats, freehold flats, flats with unacceptable access arrangements (e.g. rear external staircases) or flats within blocks where our valuer reports inadequate maintenance of communal areas
  • Ex-local authority or ex-public sector flats that are greater than 4 storeys high or that have open decking access
  • Flats converted from office buildings or refurbished ex-local authority blocks
  • Properties in a development which contains mixed residential and commercial use
  • Leasehold terms of less than 85 years at the start of the mortgage
  • Leasehold terms of less than 45 years at the end of the term
  • Properties being purchased under a Right to Buy, Shared Ownership, Shared Equity arrangement, or any other Government assisted scheme
  • Properties which include commercial usage
  • Properties with occupancy restrictions
  • Properties being acquired under an assignable contract
  • Purchases where the vendor has owned the property for less than 12 months (except where we have given consent)
  • Properties with communal heating, hot water or other services where the property is not individually metered
Age: Minimum: 18
Term: Maximum: 35 years or the number of years it will take the (eldest) applicant to reach 70 (whichever is lower). Minimum: 5 years. If term goes beyond anticipated retirement age we may ask for evidence of means to repay until the end of term.

You can overpay at any time during your mortgage term.

If you’re in a promotional period, you can overpay a minimum of £500 and a maximum of 10% of the outstanding mortgage balance (as at 31st March the previous year) without incurring any early repayment or administration charges.

Once the promotional period is over, the amount you can overpay is unlimited, however if you pay off your mortgage in full charges may apply.

Ability to pay A minimum household income of £20,000 is required. We will review your application to ensure we are satisfied with your ability to pay. This will include a review of your overall circumstances including the amount of debt you have in relation to your income. Any income used to assess affordability must be contracted and paid in GBP.
Employment status: Employed or self-employed (3 years minimum trading and the last 3 years accounts required).
General lending criteria
Lending areas: Properties in England, Scotland (including the Scottish islands of Skye, Bute, Lewis & Harris, Mainland Orkney, Mainland Shetland, Arran, Mull, Islay, Whalsay, Yell, South Ronaldsay, West Burra, Tiree and Unst - please contact us to discuss properties located on any other Scottish islands), Wales and Northern Island (unless otherwise stated).
Property owner: Transactions are only acceptable where the seller is the owner or registered proprietor of the property, and has been for at least 12 months.
Nationality: Applicants are normally required to be resident in the UK for the 3 years preceding the mortgage application. Foreign Nationals from within the European Economic Area (EEA) have automatic rights of residency and work, so will be assessed for status in the same way as a British citizen. Non EEA citizens need to demonstrate rights to work and reside in the UK and can apply to borrow up to a maximum of 75% Loan to Value. These rights can be shown by passport stamps or Home Office papers. The right to remain in the UK must be for a sufficiently long period to justify the granting of a long-term loan.
Early Repayment Charge: If you repay all or part of your loan before the end of the early repayment period, you may be charged an Early Repayment Charge to cover any losses that the lender might otherwise incur. When you repay the whole of the loan you must pay the lender any mortgage release fee they charge at the time of repayment. If you have deferred payment of the lending fee you must also pay this. For part repayments, an additional administration fee will apply.
Clean Credit History:

 We will not lend to you if you have ever:

  • been bankrupt
  • been subject to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
  • owned a property which has been taken with possession (including voluntary possession)


We will normally only lend to you, if in the last 3 years you have had no:

  • arrears on mortgages, fixed loans or rent
  • more than two consecutive missed payments on credit or store cards
  • more than one CCJ to maximum of £250, and not within the last 12 months

Missed mail order or telecoms payments are normally disregarded.

Product fees: Payments should not be made at application stage. Bank of Ireland UK will deduct the fee from the loan amount upon completion or add it to the loan amount.


For help with key terms, please see the Definitions tab.




Approval in Principle (AIP): An AIP indicates how much you could borrow based on the information you have provided, it performs various criteria and credit reference agency checks, and gives a conditional decision to lend based on its findings.

APRC: Annual Percentage Rate of Charge - this shows the overall cost of borrowing, taking into account the term, interest rate and other costs.

Fee assisted: Fee assisted products have a free standard valuation and if you're remortgaging, where stated, free standard legal work via the lender's nominated solicitors to help you keep the upfront costs down. You can upgrade to a full HomeBuyer survey for an additional fee - please call for more details.

Higher Lending Charge: A fee which may be charged if the amount borrowed is more than a given percentage of the value of the property. The lender will use the fee for an insurance policy to protect them against financial loss in the event of a borrower not meeting their mortgage payments. The fee is usually payable in full up front. You may be liable for any mortgage shortfall debt if after possession the sale proceeds are not enough to repay your outstanding debt. Choose a Post Office Money mortgage and the Higher Lending Charge is paid by the lender for mortgages above 75% LTV. No Higher Lending Charge is payable for mortgages up to 75% LTV. See the Lending Criteria for more information.

Loan to Value (LTV): It’s the amount of mortgage expressed as a percentage of the value of the property or purchase price, whichever is lower. For example, a mortgage of £80,000 on a purchase price of £100,000 would be 80% LTV. If the valuation of the property is lower than the price you've agreed, the LTV will be based on the valuation.

No product fee: There is no product fee to pay. This is ideal if you do not want to pay a product fee or add one to your mortgage.

Overall cost for comparison: The total cost of a loan, including interest charges and product fees, shown as a percentage rate. The calculation assumes that you keep the mortgage for the full term. APRC is the industry standard calculation and allows you to directly compare mortgages from all lenders.

Product fee: When you apply for your mortgage, lenders may charge you a fee for providing the loan. Our standard products may include a product fee (please refer to individual products for fee details), which can be paid upon completion of your mortgage or added to the loan.

Standard legal fees: If your mortgage states that standard legal fees are paid by the lender, the lender will pay the fees for remortgages via their nominated solicitors. Terms and conditions apply, additional legal work may incur additional fees, please refer to the General Lending Criteria for full details.

Standard valuation: Also known as a lender's valuation, this is a basic assessment that’s carried out on a property to establish its condition and value. This is done so a lender can decide whether to lend on the property.

0800: All calls to 0800 numbers are free of charge whether made from a landline or mobile phone. Calls may be monitored or recorded for training and compliance purposes.

Small print

Please note our online mortgage application is only compatible with Internet Explorer 9+, Google Chrome 34+, Firefox 28+, Safari 5 and 7 web browsers and is not optimised for mobile phones.

Subject to status and lending criteria. Written illustrations available upon request. Borrowers must be aged 18 or over.

Post Office Limited is an appointed representative of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, FRN 512956. You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the website or by contacting the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 0800 111 6768. Bank of Ireland UK is a trading name of Bank of Ireland (UK) plc which is registered in England & Wales (No. 07022885). Registered Office: Bow Bells House, 1 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9BE. Post Office Limited is registered in England and Wales (No. 2154540). Registered Office: Finsbury Dials, 20 Finsbury Street, London, EC2Y 9AQ. Post Office Money and the Post Office Money logo are registered trademarks of Post Office Limited.