A simple guide to buying your first home

The Bank of Mum and Dad is spending data quantities on serving to their youngsters get on the property ladder. But not everybody has that additional monetary assist, so right here we stroll you thru how to purchase your first home, together with what authorities schemes there are to allow you to afford it.

First-time consumers have confronted hovering property costs over the previous few years, a hike in mortgage charges and a value of dwelling disaster.

Without assist from members of the family, many wouldn’t find a way save sufficient for a deposit. This yr alone, dad and mom, grandparents, siblings and associates are anticipated to assist virtually 50% of property purchases this yr, in accordance to analysis from Legal & General.

In this text, we clarify:

Read extra: What is a 100% mortgage and may I get one?

Table of Contents

Can I afford to purchase a home?

The first step is to contemplate how you’re going to afford to purchase a property. Average property values are actually round 6.7 occasions the typical UK wage and the typical deposit wanted to purchase a home reached virtually £62,500, in accordance to Halifax.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of first time purchases are actually in joint names, that means that buying a home as a single particular person is much more troublesome.

While the deposit is probably going to be your largest outlay, there are additionally loads of different charges to pay when buying a home. We have extra on the hidden prices of buying a home.

Once you will have your deposit, a financial institution or constructing society will then lend you the remainder of the cash within the type of a mortgage in the event that they imagine that it is possible for you to pay it again over a set variety of years.

A typical first-time purchaser deposit is round 10% of the property’s worth, that means that they may borrow 90% from the lender.

A free on-line mortgage calculator provides you with a guide of how a lot lenders might give you and subsequently how a lot you have to to save for a deposit

Try out Times Money Mentor’s free mortgage comparability instrument to uncover present offers and the rates of interest you might need to pay

If all of it appears too costly, you would possibly want to ask your self whether or not buying is the precise resolution for you now, or in case you may compromise on the world you reside or the dimensions of the home you need to purchase.

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How to enhance your probabilities of getting a mortgage

It might really feel like a frightening prospect however there are a variety of actions you could take to improve your probabilities of getting a mortgage:

1. Check your credit score rating

There isn’t a minimal credit score rating required for buying a home. However, the upper your credit score rating is, the higher your chances are high of being supplied a greater mortgage deal.

It’s a good suggestion to test your rating (without spending a dime) with the three primary credit score companies a few yr earlier than you propose to purchase. The primary companies are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. We clarify how to test these scores without spending a dime right here.

Understanding your credit standing can assist you’re employed out in case you want to enhance it earlier than making use of for a mortgage.

2. Use a mortgage dealer

Using an unbiased mortgage dealer can assist you to wade via the jungle of accessible mortgage merchandise. This could possibly be particularly helpful for the self-employed or these with variable earnings.

We define the professionals and cons of utilizing a mortgage adviser right here.

3. Use a authorities scheme

There is assist on the market, even when it doesn’t come within the type of the financial institution of mum and pa.

We define the assist out there to first-time consumers later on this guide, such because the lifetime ISA and the mortgage assure scheme.

4. Save a giant deposit

A substantial deposit can provide you entry to among the greatest mortgage offers and the most cost effective mortgage charges.

It is feasible to discover a mortgage with a deposit of simply 5% however these offers have a tendency to have the very best rates of interest and have stricter standards for eligibility.

Times Money Mentor can assist you select a mortgage with this comparability instrument.

What are the primary prices of buying your first home?

Home-buying doesn’t come low cost. Saving for the deposit is the most important hurdle for first-time consumers.

You will usually to lay down no less than 5% of the property worth as a deposit. The common determine was 21%, in accordance to Halifax’s newest knowledge. But there are many different prices to contemplate too.

Before you begin viewing properties, it’s a good suggestion to know what charges you can be anticipated to pay alongside the way in which so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.

1. Conveyancing charges

You will usually want a solicitor or conveyancer to allow you to purchase the property.

Expect to pay between £500 and £1,500.

2. Land Registry price

The Land Registry retains data of all registered properties in England and Wales. You solicitor would possibly embrace this price as a part of your conveyancing bundle nevertheless it’s value checking.

Fees will differ relying on the acquisition worth to between £90 and £140.

3. Stamp responsibility

Stamp responsibility is what everybody has to pay once they purchase a home above a sure worth or threshold. You pay additional relying on how costly the property you need to purchase is.

This stamp responsibility calculator will inform you how a lot to anticipate to pay. (Scotland and Wales have totally different guidelines).

First-time consumers have the next stamp responsibility threshold which you could find out about right here.

4. Homebuyer survey

A homebuyer survey offers you an concept of the situation of the property. It’s a good suggestion to get a radical one achieved so that you’re conscious of any points before you purchase. It can be a helpful bargaining instrument.

There are several types of surveys, costing between £400 and £1,500.

5. Mortgage price

Sometimes generally known as an association price, that is the associated fee the lender will cost you for organising the mortgage.

This price is often between £1,000 and £2,000, although you would possibly find a way to add this to the price of the mortgage.

6. Valuation charges

This is charged by the mortgage lender to test the property is value roughly what you might be planning to pay for it. 

You can anticipate to pay between £160 and £600, relying on the dimensions and kind of home.

7. Mortgage dealer

You would possibly profit from utilizing an unbiased mortgage dealer. Nearly all mortgage brokers will earn fee from the lender, however some will cost you a price on prime, often between £300 and £2,000.

You may benefit from the fee-free advisers so it’s value contemplating this feature to save your self some cash.

8. Indemnity insurance coverage

Your solicitor can organize indemnity insurance coverage, which is a one-off cost for a coverage that lasts perpetually. It can cowl an issue with the property that might lead to council or authorized motion in future. For instance, if your home had a loft conversion however the vendor didn’t have the proper constructing regulation certificates.

Most value no quite a lot of hundred kilos.

9. Electronic switch price

Large quantities of cash will change arms inside a brief time period if you purchase a home.

Same-day financial institution transfers value round £30. 

10. Removal prices

Removal prices rely upon what furnishings you personal and the space to journey to your new home.

The common elimination firm prices for a 3-bedroom home travelling 50 miles are £1,181, in accordance to comparemymove.com.

11. Building insurance coverage

Most mortgage lenders require you to get constructing insurance coverage.

It prices £110 a yr on common. 

12. Reservation settlement

You could be requested to pay the reservation settlement. The intention is to lock individuals into the buying course of to stopping gazumping. This is when somebody makes the next provide after yours has been accepted.

Both purchaser and vendor would put down £1,000 and if both facet pulls out, they may forfeit their cost. Some causes for withdrawing could also be allowed, akin to a bereavement, shedding your job or an incapability to get hold of a mortgage.

We have tons extra element about these charges in what are the hidden prices of buying a home?

What is a mortgage in precept?

A mortgage in precept, generally generally known as an settlement in precept, is a doc from a lender which can provide you a sign of the utmost quantity it might allow you to borrow based mostly on your earnings, spending and money owed.

You can often get a mortgage in precept on-line on lender web sites or by going via a mortgage dealer. It may be useful to have this doc earlier than you begin viewing properties in order that property brokers know you’re critical about buying.

When getting a mortgage in precept, lenders would possibly want to do what’s generally known as a “gentle search” on your credit score file to resolve how a lot to lend.

If you resolve to apply for a mortgage, the lender will most likely ask you extra detailed questions and ask you to ship proof of earnings, deposit and your handle to resolve how a lot to allow you to borrow.

When you apply for a mortgage it would do a “heard search” on your credit score file, which may have an effect on your credit score rating.

What ought to I search for when buying my first home?

Once you are feeling assured you could afford to purchase, you need to contemplate what sort of property you need and the world the place you need to stay in.

Be sensible: there’s no level in dreaming up a three-bed indifferent home in central London in case you gained’t find a way to afford it.

Look on property portals like Rightmove or Zoopla to get an concept of the properties out there and the value.

Make a listing of priorities beginning with crucial. For instance:

How many bedrooms and bogs would you like?

Do you need to be close to native outlets and parks?

Are faculties necessary to you?

Bear in thoughts that you just might need to compromise on among the issues on your want listing.

If you need to purchase in an costly space, you may want to contemplate a fixer-upper. But do not forget that you’ll have to account for the additional prices related to renovating the home.

While you don’t essentially want a mortgage in precept to view properties, some property brokers need this doc as proof that you just’re a critical purchaser.

What questions ought to I ask when viewing properties?

Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Here are some ideas:

How lengthy has it been available on the market?

What renovations have been achieved?

How many viewings has it had?

How many gives has it had?

How outdated is the boiler and when was it final inspected?

Are white items and curtains included?

Also contemplate the re-selling potential. It could also be your dream home however will others be doubtlessly postpone by the stroll via the kitchen to get to the lavatory?

Read extra about the most effective methods to add worth to your home right here.

What are the steps to buying a home?

It can take months from discovering your personal home to transferring into it. We provide you with a really temporary define of all of the steps to buying a home on this part, however you may want to learn our step-by-step guide to buying a home.

It’s good to get a tough concept of what’s in retailer earlier than you begin the method of on the lookout for a property.

Before you begin viewing properties, you may:

Think concerning the form of property you need and another necessities

Compare quotes from conveyancers (that is the solicitor who handles the authorized facet of your property buy)

Decide what kind of mortgage you need (right here’s a free comparability instrument to allow you to)

Pick a mortgage adviser (if you would like to use one)

Get a mortgage in precept (the property agent would possibly need to see this to know that you just’re a critical purchaser)

Then you can begin viewing properties. We advocate seeing just a few locations earlier than placing a proposal in as a result of this offers you a superb perspective of what you will get for your cash.

How to make a proposal on a home

Once you will have considered just a few homes and have discovered one that you just actually like, you may contemplate making a proposal. But how have you learnt what sort of provide to make?

Here are some ideas:

Do your analysis: take a look at how a lot comparable properties in the identical space have just lately bought on property web sites. You may look on the Land Registry’s web site.

Unless you’re competing with different consumers, contemplate entering into barely decrease, maybe 5% under the asking worth. If that is rejected you may all the time return with a second provide.

If you might be renting and may transfer rapidly, point out this to the property agent as this generally is a helpful bargaining instrument.

You may additionally say that you just’re glad to be affected person whereas the proprietor finds home to purchase, which is also a priceless perk to the vendor.

If it seems like different potential consumers are additionally within the property, you could possibly make your first provide your greatest provide. This may encourage the proprietor to take the property off the market as fast as doable and would possibly allow you to keep away from a drawn-out negotiation course of.

If the bidding course of goes to “greatest and remaining gives”, this often signifies that no less than one different purchaser has put in a proposal too. You ought to contemplate absolutely the most you might be prepared to pay, however keep away from paying greater than you suppose a property is value.

If your provide is accepted then congratulations! Get the bottle of champagne out, you might be one step nearer to changing into a home-owner.

You ought to have a good time the wins however there’s nonetheless a great distance to go but earlier than you may name the home your home.

Once you will have had a proposal accepted:

Instruct your solicitor to act on your behalf (they could ask you to pay a small deposit upfront)

You can ask your mortgage dealer to allow you to apply for a mortgage (or go immediately to the lender): you’ll have to present plenty of paperwork to show your earnings and outgoings

Your lender will perform its personal checks on the property (and on you) to be certain that it’s glad lending you the cash secured in opposition to your new home. It would possibly resolve you’re paying an excessive amount of, wherein case you might need to stump up an even bigger deposit or renegotiate the value with the vendor 

Your solicitor will perform searches on your behalf

Hire a surveyor to perform a property survey on the home you need to purchase (if there are any evident points, you may want to renegotiate with the vendor on the value of the property)

Your mortgage provide is (hopefully) accepted. Make certain all the things in your mortgage paperwork is right.

You and the proprietor of the home will resolve on a completion date

At this level you want to ship your deposit to your solicitor and signal the contract

Exchange contracts to finalise the method of climbing the property ladder. This is when the customer and the vendor swap signed contracts. It’s legally binding to trade contracts: as soon as that is achieved the probabilities of something falling via are slim

Your solicitor then sends you a completion assertion which outlines all the opposite prices you will have to pay

The subsequent step is signing of the switch deeds, which wants to be witnessed to acknowledge that you’re taking possession of the property

Your solicitor will then ask your lender for the mortgage cash. This cash is shipped to the vendor’s solicitor after which to their lender. This principally clears the mortgage from their finish, that means the vendor’s lender not for granted to the property

After all that you’ll obtain the title deeds

Hooray! You lastly obtain they keys to your dream home

We go into extra element in our step-by-step guide to buying a home.

How to apply for a mortgage

Make certain you perceive the variations within the kinds of mortgages earlier than you apply. We clarify the professionals and cons of the several types of mortgage.

When you apply for a mortgage, the financial institution or constructing society will ask for lots of knowledge.

A profitable mortgage utility will rely totally on your:




Credit rating

Most mortgage lenders will cap the loan-to-income ratio at 4.5 occasions your earnings. So in case you earn £30,000 a yr, you could possibly be supplied a mortgage of £135,000.

Home loans are usually repaid over mortgage phrases of 25 to 40 years in month-to-month instalments. The financial institution expenses curiosity on your mortgage, so you’ll pay again considerably greater than you borrowed.

Take the time to test the rates of interest being charged as some mortgage lenders provide higher offers than others.

Your mortgage lender will need plenty of info from you to show your outgoings so it may assess how dangerous you might be as a borrower.

Outgoings you might want to present embrace:


Utility payments

Council tax

Travel prices



Debt repayments

Documents you have to for the mortgage utility embrace:

Utility payments

Proof of any advantages acquired

P60 kind from your employer

Your final three to twelve months’ payslips

Passport or driving license (to show your identification)

Bank statements of your present account for the final three to six months

Statement of two to three years’ accounts from an accountant if self-employed

Tax return kind SA302 in case you have earnings from multiple supply or are self-employed

Self-employed individuals ought to look to present info alongside their tax return, which helps what the SA302 says about their earnings, akin to financial institution statements

Read our article for assist: seven tips about how to get a mortgage.

What if my mortgage is rejected?

This gained’t be the information you need to hear however for one motive or one other your lender would possibly reject your mortgage utility.

You ought to handle the potential the reason why you have been refused a mortgage and provides your self the most effective likelihood of getting accredited subsequent time round.

Ask the lender why your mortgage utility was declined. They won’t provide you with reply nevertheless it’s value a attempt.

The subsequent step is to take a look at your credit score historical past to see in case you can see something which will have put the lender off. Read about credit score scores.

Some widespread causes for being refused a mortgage embrace:

Recently missed or made late funds 

Default or a county court docket judgement (CCJ) up to now six years

Too many credit score functions in a brief house of time up to now six months, leading to a number of laborious searches being recorded on your report

You’re not registered to vote on the electoral roll (that is used for proof of your handle and identification)

The lender has calculated you gained’t find a way to make the repayments

Self-employed or are a contract employee and may’t show you will have constant earnings

There are errors akin to incorrect addresses or different errors on your mortgage utility kind

You might not fall into the goal bracket for the kind of mortgage you’ve utilized

If you might be self-employed, learn our article right here on what the mortgage guidelines are and what you want to do to get accepted.

Steps to persuade lenders you’re prepared for a mortgage may embrace:

Keeping up with your common funds akin to cell phone contracts and utility payments

Consider paying off current debt in case you can and decreasing your credit score utilization (keep away from utilizing greater than 30% of your credit score restrict). You can examine that right here.

Reconsider the maths of your mortgage utility by growing the quantity you earn every month or reducing your dwelling prices.

You may additionally attempt to decrease the quantity you want to borrow by growing your deposit – for instance, save extra, or use one of many authorities schemes akin to a lifetime ISA.

Do I would like a mortgage dealer?

You don’t have to use a mortgage dealer nevertheless it could be a good suggestion to accomplish that, notably in case you’re inexperienced with mortgages.

Mortgage brokers get entry to loans that aren’t broadly out there elsewhere, in addition to notifications of flash gross sales of mortgage offers out there for individuals with low deposits. Still, some loans are solely supplied by lenders immediately to the borrower, so contemplate on the lookout for these as nicely. 

Still, some loans are solely supplied by lenders immediately to the borrower, so contemplate wanting fort hose as nicely.

Pros of utilizing a mortgage dealer

Brokers will probably be ready to provide you with an image of the mortgage market and advocate what they contemplate to be the most effective deal for you circumstances

Your mortgage utility is much less probably to be rejected

You could have entry to offers which can be solely out there via intermediaries

Cons of utilizing a mortgage dealer

You might need to pay a price (some don’t cost charges although)

If you utilize a mortgage adviser who works for a lender, they may solely have entry to their very own merchandise quite than being an unbiased view of the market as a complete

If you need to know extra, we can assist you resolve whether or not to use a mortgage adviser.

What are guarantor mortgages?

Currently the one 0% deposit mortgages out there are guarantor mortgages. These require an in depth member of the family to agree to cowl the mortgage repayments in case you can’t.

Their home or financial savings are used as safety. As their identify will probably be on the mortgage settlement, ought to they be unable to make your repayments then they threat their home being repossessed or shedding their financial savings.

The cash will probably be held in a financial savings account with the supplier till a sure share of the mortgage has been paid off. Read extra about whether or not it could be a good suggestion to go down the guarantor mortgage route right here.

Can I get a mortgage with out a deposit?

With 0% deposit mortgages, the financial institution or constructing society lends the borrower the complete quantity wanted to purchase your home.

The largest threat was the menace that ought to home costs fall, you’d be left in adverse fairness, that means you owe the lender greater than what your home is value.

Saving up as large a deposit as you may will improve your mortgage choices and make sure you get the most effective mortgage offers.

There are methods to get on the property ladder with a small deposit and many schemes to assist first time consumers. Read our guide to 5% deposit mortgages right here.

Do I would like life insurance coverage to get a mortgage?

You aren’t often obliged to take out life insurance coverage to safe a mortgage.

But in case you have kids or different people who find themselves depending on you then you may want to for peace of thoughts. The concept is that it will cowl your household’s prices ought to the worst occur to you.

This just isn’t a lot of a priority for these with no dependents because the sale of the property after your demise would probably cowl the excellent steadiness on your mortgage.

You may also need to take out life insurance coverage if you would like to depart your home to a pal or charity in your will.

Find out extra about how mortgage life insurance coverage works.

Help for first-time consumers

There are plenty of authorities initiatives designed to assist first-time consumers.

Do I pay stamp responsibility as a first-time purchaser?

One of the large perks for first-time consumers is that they have the next stamp responsibility threshold in contrast to current householders.

Since 2017, first-time consumers in England and Northern Ireland have had from the next stamp responsibility threshold than those that have purchased a home earlier than.

Those getting on the property ladder for the first time don’t have to pay stamp responsibility for a home value up to £425,000.

The charges for first-time consumers are as follows:

Property worthStamp responsibility rateUp to £425,0000% stamp responsibility The portion between £425,001 and £625,0005% stamp dutyOver £625,001No first-time purchaser’s reduction, so that you pay the usual charges

However, the edge at which first-time consumers should begin paying stamp responsibility will fall to £300,000 from 31 March 2025. The threshold at which stamp responsibility reduction ends can even fall, from £625,000 to £500,000.

This signifies that in case you’re buying a property for between £300,000 and £425,000, you’ll lower your expenses in case you can full a purchase order earlier than 31 March 2025. 

For extra about stamp responsibility thresholds within the UK, learn our guide right here.

Government schemes for first-time consumers

Lifetime ISA

Anyone aged between 18 and 39 can open a Lifetime ISA and get a authorities bonus of 25%.

If you open this ISA at 18 and make the utmost contribution yearly till the age of fifty (when the bonus stops being paid) you could possibly get a complete prime up of £32,000.

You can solely use the cash to purchase your first home or for retirement from the age of 60.

We clarify how a Lifetime ISA works.

Help to Buy ISA

This is a tax-free financial savings account the place for each £200 you save, the federal government will add 25%.

There’s a most authorities bonus of £3,000, which is paid to your solicitor if you purchase your first home. The Help to Buy ISA most home worth is £250,000 (or £450,000 in London).

This product is now closed to new candidates, however in case you have one already you may proceed saving into it till November 2029.

We define the variations between Help to Buy ISAs and Lifetime ISAs on this article.

Shared possession

Co-owning with a housing affiliation means you should buy part of the property and pay hire on the remaining quantity.

You should purchase something from 25% up to 75% and may improve your stake at a later date.

New shared possession

Announced in September 2020, the minimal preliminary share to purchase in a property is decreased from 25% to 10%.

Additional shares within the home may be purchased in 1% instalments with heavily-reduced charges.

It can even embrace a ten-year interval for homeowners the place the owner agrees to cowl the price of any repairs and upkeep to the property.

Mortgage assure scheme

In 2021 a brand new authorities scheme was launched for properties value up to £600,000 was introduced.

The scheme was designed to encourage lenders to provide 95% mortgage to worth (LTV) mortgages to assist individuals to purchase a home.

Find out extra concerning the mortgage assure scheme.

Starter properties initiative

The authorities is engaged on a scheme that may see 200,000 new-build properties in England bought to first time consumers aged between 23 and 40 with a 20% low cost.

To obtain updates on the progress of those properties you may join to their publication.

What must you not do when buying your first home?

Buying a home generally is a difficult course of with plenty of transferring components.

There are a lot of issues that you need to keep away from when buying your first home, akin to:

Not getting an settlement in precept

Underestimating how lengthy it takes to get a mortgage

Not checking your credit score rating

Not being registered on the electoral roll

Underestimating how a lot it prices to purchase a home

Not understanding the distinction between leasehold and freehold

Not asking sufficient questions

Compare the most effective mortgage offers with our free comparability instrument.

Can I financial institution on home costs falling?

There is a lot hypothesis about home buy costs, it’s one thing of a nationwide pastime.

House costs are presently predicted to fall by between 5% and 10% throughout 2023, due to a drop in demand for brand new properties, attributable to rising inflation and mortgage charges.

While you might be buying a home and never an funding, many potential consumers are biding their time to see if they will lower your expenses by transferring into the market at a later date.

Find out extra about whether or not or not first-time consumers ought to delay buying a brand new home.

If you need to learn extra about home worth predictions over the approaching years, try our article: will home costs drop?

Also check out our free mortgage comparability instrument under.

Find mortgage offers with our greatest purchase instrument

Times Money Mentor has teamed up with Koodoo Mortgage to create a mortgage comparability instrument. You can use it to benchmark the offers you will get — however if you would like recommendation, it could be greatest to communicate to a mortgage dealer.

This is how the instrument works:

You can search and examine mortgage offers
It solely takes a few minutes and no private particulars are required to search
Once you’ve acquired your end result, you may communicate to a mortgage dealer in case you want recommendation

Product info is supplied on a non-advised foundation. This signifies that no recommendation is given or implied and you might be solely answerable for deciding whether or not the product is appropriate for your wants.

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