Steve McElroy

Member Article

How to get on the property ladder in the North East

Steve McElroy is the North East sales and marketing director for the UK’s largest privately owned house builder Miller Homes.

Since 1934 it has completed over 60,000 homes, and established itself as one of the top three house builders the North East of England, and top ten in the UK as a whole.

Mr McElroy is responsible for driving the sales and marketing strategies for the company’s 13 developments across the North East.

Miller Homes has been developing land in the North East region since 1997. Its current developments in the North East include:

Greenvale Park in Newcastle, Alexandra Chase in Cramlington, Fairview Gardens in Norton, Kingsmoor in Stockton, Heather Lea Green in Crook, The Meadows in Frawellgate Moor, Cobblers Hall in Newton Aycliffe, The Pastures in Darlington, Miller @Beaumont Court in Pegswood, Miller @ Whitton View in Rothbury, and Miller @Wyedale in Walker, Newcastle. And coming soon are, Mariners Way in Seaham and Bishops Park in Gateshead.

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1. I need a mortgage how do I start?

Despite the Bank of England’s recent figures, which underlines the challenges buyers are currently facing when applying for mortages - mortgage approvals can still be achieved and there are a few simple actions buyers can take to give themselves the best possible chance.

Buyers should remember that using aggregator websites to compare prices for financial products will leave a mark on that all-important credit score. Our advice would always be to contact individual providers directly to compare individual prices or speak to an IFA to find out which mortgage would best suit you as an individual.

It is also important for buyers to ensure that any debts or outstanding bills – however great or small – should be paid off in full as delayed payment can lead to refusal on a mortgage product, which will only delay the buying process further.

Finally, experts are on hand to offer professional advice. Financial advisors can help you understand your credit score and show you how to improve it, which could be the key to helping you achieve your home buying dreams.

2. What help is available out there for first time buyers in the North East?

One of the most recent advancements to help first time buyers in the North East purchase a new build home is the government’s latest purchase assistance scheme, Firstbuy, which Miller Homes is offering at several of its developments. Firstbuy is a scheme designed to help first time buyers into home ownership and is expected to assist around 10,500 buyers onto the property ladder over the next two years.

In one of our recent surveys, 66 percent of potential buyers in the North East said that they were unable to purchase as they haven’t got enough for a deposit, whilst 20 percent of North Easterners couldn’t get a big enough mortgage – both issues that Firstbuy aims to address.

With this scheme, qualifying buyers have the chance to purchase 100% of a new build home by paying up to 80% of the value now, and the housebuilder and the Government equally funding the remaining 20% in the form of an equity loan. Smaller deposits of around 4/ 5% are still normally required.

At Miller Homes we have filmed a special video to guide viewers through all they need to know about Firstbuy, which can be viewed by logging on to - Miller Homes’ very own online TV channel.

3. Other than Firstbuy what else is available?

Miller Homes offers a wide range of innovative incentives to help get people on the property ladder.

We have recently launched MiFamily Deposit that not only helps first time buyers in the North East but also rewards family members that assist with their deposit with an instant windfall. The scheme enables family members to fund deposits of up to 20 per cent of the property purchase price.

Unlike other schemes in the marketplace, the family member will earn the equivalent of five years’ interest at five per cent on their investment, which will be paid in a lump sum to them when the purchaser legally completes the sale.

The new MiFamily Deposit scheme also allows more than one relative to club together to help the new buyer and share the interest paid.

We also have our equity loan scheme called MiWay, which is offered if Firstbuy is not appropriate –The Miway scheme enables buyers to pay for part of their home now (from 80%) with the rest coming in the form of a low interest loan from Miller Homes. Lenders may require a minimum deposit.

4. What options are there for people who aren’t first time buyers but who would still like to move home, for example if have a house to sell?

Part exchange options are popular for people that have homes to sell.

Miller Homes’ exclusive home exchange product Miswap is a unique scheme, which allows buyers to swap their current home for one of Miller’s selected plots, whether they are looking to upsize, downsize or swap like-for-like. No differentials required.

Miswap marks a radical departure from traditional part exchange schemes that usually require a home owner to purchase a property worth at least 30% more than their existing home to qualify.

Miswap offers lots of benefits to help fix people’s move including no estate agent fees, no long chains, a quick and easy moving process and a 10 year NHBC warranty and top customer care record.

But buyers should remember that Firsbuy is not just for first time buyers, but also for families who need more space, so this is still an option to explore.

6. How do I get a solicitor?

The solicitor’s main job is to ensure a smooth transfer of the property and any fixtures and fittings agreed in the sale. He or she prepares the ‘conveyance’, which transfers legal ownership to you.
You should ensure that your solicitor is on the approved Law Society list, a copy of which can be obtained from your Town Hall or Citizen’s Advice Bureau, or at

Often the best way of choosing a solicitor is to ask friends or relatives for recommendations or look through Yellow Pages.

Before you instruct a solicitor we would recommend that you ask for a written estimate of all fees and details of all disbursements payable such as Local Authority searches, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty.

7. What is stamp duty and do I need to pay it?

Stamp Duty is payable on all homes with a purchase price of over £125,000. The amount you will have to pay will be based upon the selling price of your home. Currently the scale charges are as follows:

Up to £125,000 = nil
£125,001 to £250,000 = 1%
£250,001 to £500,000 = 3%
More than £500,000 = 4%

These figures are set by the Government, and are subject to change.

8. Finally, as a first time buyer on a budget, can energy efficient homes really help me reduce my bills?

At Miller Homes we are setting new standards for cost effective, sustainable homes and are now building eco friendly homes in a bid to help buyers reduce their energy bills and meet green regulations set by the government.

We have launched the region’s first ever 100 percent solar panel housing development, which is our Greenvale Park development in Newcastle, which has been very popular witch first time buyers.

Here all homes have a range of eco-friendly features including photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, which generate electricity aimed to reduce bills, higher than standard insulated wall and roof spaces, rotary clothes driers, efficient boilers, low energy lighting, water butts in gardens and sheds for bike storage. This makes the homes approximately 44% more energy efficient than standard new homes.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Steve McElroy .

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