Can I remortgage my Help to Buy house using Buy-to-Let?

Q: At age 22, I moved out of my parents’ house to pursue a career in a different city. Things were going well, and a year later, my parents convinced me to invest in a home, using the Help to Buy scheme.

They assured me that I would get the money I spent back from the sale of the property, but I’m concerned that the choice has fixed me in one spot, and that it’s hampered my career choices.

If I wanted to move jobs, but still retain my house where I currently live, could I remortgage from my Help to Buy mortgage to a buy-to-let? KP

A: Buying somewhere in the city where you currently work hasn’t in itself hampered your career choices or rooted you to your current location as you are free to sell up and move on whenever you want. However, as a general rule, because of the costs involved in buying – and selling – property, if you don’t plan to stay in the same place for at least two years, you are probably better off renting. If you do decide to sell, and if you are to recoup your buying costs, your property will have to have gone up in value by at least that amount plus a bit more to cover the costs of selling it.

As far as remortgaging to a buy-to-let mortgage goes, the answer would be an emphatic no if you planned to move jobs to a new city and buy another property there while letting the one you bought with the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

The Help to Buy guidelines make it very clear that “Help to Buy is not available to assist buy-to-let investors or those who will own any property other than their Help to Buy property after completing their purchase [of the Help to Buy property]”. The guidelines also make it clear that you can’t sublet a Help to Buy property. However, providing you do not intend to buy a second property, you may be able to re-mortgage. It all depends on the view of your “Post sales homebuy agent” to whom your details will have been passed when you bought your property and who can provide advice and approval for exceptional cases relating to sub-letting, remortgaging and requests for additional borrowing.