Expert advice from our first time buyer mortgage broker

Your first step on the property ladder

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Getting your first home is simple with a first time buyer mortgage

Like many, you’re dreaming of owning your own home. But like most, you won’t be able to get yourself onto the property ladder without borrowing towards your new purchase.

Finding and arranging a mortgage as a first time buyer can feel like a daunting process. Not only are you having to make big decisions about where and how you want to live, but you’re also having to get to grips with the loans market and the myriad processes that are involved in financing your property.

Because a mortgage is such a massive commitment, signing up for the wrong deal could spell disaster for your future finances. This is why it’s so important to get advice from an expert mortgage broker as soon as you start your search for the perfect property.

A good advisor won’t just be on hand to introduce you to competitive deals from providers who specialise in mortgages for first-time buyers – he or she will also be able to help you weigh up your options, choose an arrangement that’s going to benefit you in the long term, and, of course, budget for the various costs involved in buying a home.

At CLS Money, we’re committed to delivering a truly comprehensive service to our first time buyer customers. We won’t find you a deal and simply send you on your way; we’ll work with you closely from your initial enquiry to completion, explaining each stage of the process as we go and updating you on the status of your application as regularly as we can.

What’s more, if you’re having trouble finding the right deal from the High Street banks and mainstream lenders, we’ll be able to comprehensively search the market for a deal from a more niche lender who may be able to help.

Read on to learn more about first time buyer mortgages and discover what you can expect from the mortgage application process.

What is a first time buyer?

You are a first time buyer if you are looking to purchase your first home or investment property.

You do not qualify as a first time buyer if you have owned a property in the past, or if you have inherited property from a friend or family member. Similarly, if you own a house or flat but your partner does not, and you want to purchase somewhere new together, you will not be eligible for first time buyer mortgage schemes.

If I am a first time buyer, can I get a mortgage?

Mortgage providers are sometimes warier about lending to people who have never had a mortgage before. But these companies also recognise that everybody has to start somewhere and will normally be happy to offer you a loan as long as you meet their eligibility criteria.

Typically, a lender will want to see that:

  • You earn enough to cover your monthly mortgage repayments (and then some)
  • You have saved a reasonable deposit
  • You have a good credit history, and your credit file doesn’t contain any recent evidence of defaults, CCJs, IVAs or bankruptcies

We’ll talk about each of these criteria in more detail shortly. But for now, rest assured that, as long as you have a regular income and can demonstrate that you can manage your money, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to secure a mortgage.

Does being a first time buyer put me in a better position than someone who has been in the property market for some time?

Estate agents and vendors often dream of receiving offers from first time buyers like you!

You have no property to sell, so you’re probably going to be the person who completes the chain. You’re likely to be more flexible with move-in dates, too. All these factors combined mean that you’re a much more attractive choice to a seller than somebody who is waiting for a buyer of their own – and you can often use this unique position to your advantage when putting in an offer.

How much deposit will I need?

The more you can save for your initial deposit, the less you’ll need to borrow towards your purchase – and the better chance you’ll have of securing more competitive mortgage rates.

The minimum you will need is 5% of the price of the property you want to buy. This will leave you with a loan to value (LTV) ratio of 95% - the lowest accepted by most lenders. However, if you only have this relatively low amount to put towards your purchase, the range of mortgage deals that you qualify for will be limited.

If you can save 10% or even 15% of the purchase price, this will stand you in much better stead with a wider pool of lenders.

If you can save 20% or more, you will have access to some of the best rates on the market, which means you will pay considerably less in interest to your lender over the course of your mortgage term.

It is sometimes possible to buy a property without a deposit. In this case, the lender will need to agree to let you borrow this amount on an unsecured loan. But the problem with this arrangement is you will essentially be signing up to two separate loans and will need to prove that you have the means to cover both repayments every month for the length of the term.

What is your loan to value (LTV)?

To work out your LTV, input your figures below.

How much will I be able to borrow?

The amount you will be able to take out on your mortgage will depend on a range of factors, which are often referred to as eligibility or affordability criteria. These include:

Your income:

You will need to tell your lender how much you earn – including how much you receive in government benefits, overtime payments, bonuses, holiday pay, investment income and/or pension payments – and provide evidence in the form of wage slips and bank statements.

If you are self-employed, you may also need to provide at least 12 months’ worth of accounts, along with SA302 forms from previous tax forms.

Your mortgage provider will then take your annual income and use it to determine how much you can feasibly afford to borrow. Most lenders will multiply your earnings by 4 or 5 to reach your maximum borrowing limit. So, for example, if you earn £30,000 per year, you will be able to apply for a £120,000 mortgage with a lender that uses income multiples of 4, and £150,000 with a company that will stretch to an income multiple of 5.

Your outgoings:

In order to calculate how much you can afford to set aside for your mortgage on a monthly basis, the lender will want to take a look at your bank statements to see how much of your income goes towards bills, groceries and other expenditures.

Your debts:

Be prepared to provide more information on your outstanding debts, including credit card bills and student loans. The lender will use your outgoings to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which essentially tells them how much debt you have as a percentage of your total income. The lower your DTI, the better chance you have of finding a good mortgage deal (or any deal at all).

Your age:

In the UK, you will normally be able to apply for a mortgage from the age of 18, although in exceptional circumstances lenders may require you to be over 21 or 25 years old. You may struggle to borrow towards a property if you are aged over 65, or if your mortgage term is due to end after you have turned 75. That said, there are some more niche lenders that specialise in lending to would-be homeowners in later life – so don’t assume that a mortgage is out of reach if you are keen to become a first time buyer in your twilight years!

Your credit history:

Most lenders will want to see that you can handle your financial affairs responsibly. When assessing your suitability for a loan, they will take a look at your credit reports for information on the credit accounts you have taken out in the last six years, and whether or not you have managed to meet all of your payments on time and in full.

The three main credit agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – produce their own versions of your credit report and use your report to generate your credit score. Each of these agencies will calculate your score in different ways, but generally, if you have maintained all repayments and have no evidence of any money troubles in the last six years, you will be given a healthy credit rating.

If your credit report is scattered with evidence of defaults, County Court Judgements (CCJs), individual voluntary agreements (IVAs), debt management plans and/or bankruptcy, your score will be considerably lower.

Every mortgage company will assess your suitability in different ways. Some will be more concerned with your annual earnings, while others will base their decision largely on your credit score. If you’re concerned that previous mistakes with money might hold you back from securing a mortgage, check out our advice on adverse credit mortgages.

The type of property you want to purchase:

Many companies will also want to know what kind of property you are looking to buy and where it is located. It is generally trickier to get a mortgage on a property that is in considerable disrepair or does not have a functioning kitchen and/or bathroom. Mainstream mortgage companies might also be dubious about lending on properties that are not of standard construction, that have thatched roofs or that are considered listed buildings (though some more niche lenders may be prepared to offer you a deal).

How much will I need to pay every month towards my mortgage?

The size of your monthly mortgage repayments will depend on three key things:

  • How much you borrow
  • The interest rate you have been offered
  • The length of your mortgage term

You will also need to consider any additional fees that will be added to your mortgage product. We’ll explain these in more detail later.

The average length of a mortgage term is 25 years, but these days many lenders are willing to extend this to 30 or 35 years if you will still be under retirement age when the agreement comes to an end. Extending your term can result in lower monthly payments, but you will usually end up paying more in interest.

You can use a mortgage calculator to work out how much you can afford to pay back towards your mortgage every month, and how long your term will need to be to keep these repayments manageable. Alternatively, you can contact one of the expert first time buyer mortgage brokers here at CLS Money, who will do all the hard work for you.

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Should I choose a repayment mortgage or an interest-only mortgage?

With a repayment mortgage, you will be paying back some of the loan itself, along with the lender’s added interest. At the end of the term, you will have paid off all your debt, and you will own the property outright.

Choose an interest-only mortgage, and your monthly repayments will only cover the interest on your loan. You will need to use other funds to pay the mortgage balance when your term finishes.

Repayment mortgages are usually cheaper overall, and the interest rates on these kinds of arrangements are much lower. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind that you are slowly but surely chipping away at your loan. However, interest-only mortgages do suit some first time buyers who want to keep their monthly outgoings to a minimum.

What are the different kinds of mortgage products for first time buyers?

Fixed rate mortgages

Some homeowners find it helpful to know exactly how much they need to set aside for their mortgage repayments every month. Fixed rate mortgages enable you to lock in a set interest rate for a certain amount of time – often 2, 3, 5 or 10 years. Some homeowners find it helpful to know exactly how much they need to set aside for their mortgage repayments every month.

Tracker mortgages

Tracker mortgage interest rates will fluctuate according to the Bank of England’s base rate. Opt for this type of product, and your interest rate will be set at a margin above the base rate. It will go up and down depending on across-the-board interest rate changes, which means your repayments may frequently change.

Offset mortgages

By offsetting your savings against your mortgage, you can use your own money to reduce the balance on which interest is charged.

If you have chosen an interest only deal, you can use an offset mortgage arrangement to lower your monthly mortgage payments; if you are on a repayment mortgage, you can use your savings to reduce the length of your term.

What if I have a poor credit score?

As a first time buyer, you may still be able to find a mortgage company that is willing to lend you the amount you need to purchase your home. However, if you have a less-than-desirable credit history, we would always recommend taking active steps to improve your credit score before starting the mortgage application process.

You can watch our video on how to improve your credit score, read our page about bad credit mortgages and even access your free credit report (Try it FREE for 30 days, then £14.99 a month - cancel anytime) to help you better understand and improve your chances of getting a mortgage, no matter your situation.

How long will it take to get a mortgage as a first time buyer?

This really depends on how quickly you can gather the information you need to satisfy a lender.

As long as you have all the necessary documents to hand, you can answer the lender’s questions without hesitation, and the owner of the property you wish to buy allows the lender to carry out a valuation or survey in good time, you should expect the mortgage application process to take between 4 to 6 weeks.

How could a mortgage broker help me?

An experienced mortgage advisor will gain an understanding of your current personal and financial situation, then find quotes from lenders who are likely to make you a mortgage offer based on their current eligibility criteria.

You could do this yourself by using online search engines, or approaching your current bank or building society – but by taking this approach, you won’t be able to take advantage of direct-to-broker deals, and you won’t find some of the more specialised mortgage companies that cater for borrowers with low income, low deposits and a history of adverse credit. A professional mortgage broker can help you find the perfect deal at the right rate, regardless of your circumstances, because they have got comprehensive access to the market!

What’s more, a mortgage broker can help you navigate your entire purchase by answering any questions you may have, and liaising with accountants, solicitors, conveyancers and everyone else involved to make sure you are on track for completion. This kind of support can be invaluable if you’re new to homeownership, as there’s a lot to consider and the process can often seem overwhelming. Watch our quick video explaining the pros and cons of using a broker vs a bank.

Will I need a solicitor?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and the answer is always a resounding ‘yes’. we would recommend contacting one of our brokers so they can instruct a qualified solicitor to assist you with your purchase.

Your solicitor will be on hand to handle contracts, carry out all the necessary searches on your new home, liaise with the Land Registry and manage the fund transfers on completion. If there’s a bump in the road during the application process, or the searches throw up concerns with the property, he or she will be able to advise you on the best way forwards (and potentially prevent you from making the wrong commitment at the wrong time).

You will need to pay for a solicitor’s services, and you will also need to set aside some money to cover the necessary searches and Land Registry fees. Some solicitors will charge by the hour; others will charge a fixed fee. Be sure to confirm costs with your chosen conveyancer before you ask them to start work.

It’s often best to ask your friends, family members or financial advisor for recommendations. But if you need help sourcing a good solicitor, let us know and we’ll happily introduce you to someone with lots of experience in helping first time buyers buy their first home.

What are the costs involved in purchasing a property?

As well as making sure you have enough to cover your initial deposit, you will need to factor the following fees and charges into your house buying budget:

Stamp duty

Whenever you purchase a new property or a piece of land for more than £125,000 in England or Northern Ireland, you need to pay stamp duty. You will need to pay this type of property transaction tax regardless of whether you’re buying a home outright or with a mortgage.

The tax requirements are slightly different in Scotland and Wales.

The rate you pay will depend on which price band your property falls into:

  • Less than £125,000 – 0%
  • £125,001 to £250,000 – 2%
  • £250,001 to £925,000 – 5%
  • £925,001 to £1,500,000 – 10%
  • Over £1,500,000 – 12%

So, as an example, if you want to buy a house for £200,000, you will need to pay 2% of £75,000 (£1,500).

Stamp duty rates are slightly higher for Buy to Let properties, and you will need to be purchasing a property for less than £40,000 if you want to avoid stamp duty charges on a second home.

Solicitors’ fees

We covered these briefly earlier in this article. In terms of costs, you’ll need to determine whether your solicitor charges by the hour or whether he or she is willing to carry out the work for a fixed fee. You will also need to factor in charges for searches and Land Registry fees.

Mortgage brokers’ fees

You should expect to pay for professional mortgaging advice. Contact us for more information on our charging structure.

Mortgage booking fees

Some mortgage lenders will take a non-refundable booking deposit to ensure you are serious about proceeding with the deal.

Mortgage arrangement fees

Lenders will often charge a fee on completion. Sometimes, you will be able to add this fee to your first time buyer mortgage to avoid paying extra costs upfront – but doing this will increase the amount you owe.

Valuation fees

Your lender will want to check that the property is worth the price you are willing to pay for it. Some will carry out the initial valuation for free, as part of their deal – but others will charge a fee.

If you have concerns regarding the condition of your property, you may want to arrange a homebuyer survey or a RICS survey. These reports don’t come cheap, but they do go into more detail about any structural and maintenance issues, and what you’ll need to do to fix them.

What happens if your lender finds your property to be worth less than your offer? Well, you have two options: you can contest their opinion and instruct another independent surveyor, or you can go back to the vendor (or their estate agent) with a lower offer and see if they accept it.

How does the Help to Buy scheme work?

The Help to Buy initiative, introduced in April 2013 in England and Wales, is designed to help first time buyers take the plunge into home ownership without having to put down an initial deposit of more than 5%.

With the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, the government will lend you up to 20% of the cost of a new build property that costs no more than £600,000. You will need to pay back this loan no later than 25 years after its start date, but you won’t be charged any fees on it for 5 years. In the 6th year, you will need to start paying interest at a rate of 1.75%, and in future years this rate will rise according to inflation in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI), plus an additional 1%.

If you want to buy a new home in a London borough, you could be eligible for an equity loan of up to 40% of the property price.

To finance your purchase, you will need to arrange a repayment mortgage; interest-only mortgages are not allowed in this instance.

The Help to Buy Shared Ownership scheme enables you to buy a newly built leasehold property (or an existing one) from a housing association. The idea is, instead of buying the home in full, you buy a share of it that amounts to between 25% and 75% of its total value. You pay rent to the association or developer on the remaining share, but you can purchase a bigger share further down the line when you can afford to.

It’s ideal for first time homeowners who could not otherwise afford the mortgage on their dream property, or those who want to purchase a home in London, the South East, or other high priced areas. Bear in mind, however, that you will only be eligible for the Help to Buy Shared Ownership programme if your household earns less than £80,000 per year (or £90,000 per year if you’re in the capital).

The government has confirmed that these two remaining components of its Help to Buy scheme will remain in place until at least 2023 – so it’s not too late to see if it would work for you. Get in touch with our mortgage advisors for more information on the government help that could be available.

What other schemes are available for new property owners?

Another useful tool is the Right to Buy mortgage, which enables council tenants in England to buy their main place of residence, often at a substantial discount and sometimes without an initial deposit. Applicants will need to meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for this type of home loan, but it’s an attractive option for secure tenants already living in a self-contained property.

What if I’m having trouble getting together my deposit?

It’s no longer possible to arrange a mortgage without a deposit. All lenders will require you to put down some capital towards your purchase. However, some providers will accept a gifted deposit from a family member, and/or consider adding a guarantor to your application, you can also look into a concessionary purchase.

There are also lots of bank schemes out there for first-time buyers. Speak to the advisors at CLS Money to learn more about the programmes that might be available to you.

What insurance will I need?

To protect your new home – and everything in it – we would recommend taking out buildings and contents insurance cover, which will typically cover any damage to the building itself, along with damage to and theft of your belongings.

The price you pay for home insurance will ultimately depend on where you live, how much you paid for your property, and whether you want to add any extras to your policy, such as accidental damage cover. As with mortgages, it’s best to shop around to find a provider that meets your requirements at the right price and consider approaching more specialist underwriters if your property is of unusual construction or has conditions of use, such as a flying freehold.

To protect your investment in the case of you becoming ill, being unable to work or passing away, you should also take out some kind of mortgage protection, or critical illness policy.

Ask our advisors to help you find and secure adequate protection insurance before you complete on your mortgage. Speak to them today to learn more about the different types of insurance policies that are available, and which ones you’ll need to consider for complete peace of mind.

Can I get a Buy to Let mortgage if I don’t have a residential mortgage?

If you would rather purchase a property as an investment opportunity instead of living in it permanently, getting a Buy to Let (BTL) mortgage as a first time buyer isn’t completely out of the question.

Your case may be automatically dismissed by the High Street banks and building societies, though, as they will consider you to be too high risk. You will need to approach the smaller, more specialist lenders that offer a limited range of products for would-be BTL landlords who have never owned their own home or applied for a mortgage before.

You will need to provide a deposit of at least 25%, and you will also need to prove that your expected rental income will cover your monthly mortgage repayments, plus 45%.

For more information on Buy to Let mortgages, click here.

Getting a mortgage as a first time buyer: your checklist

  • Book in for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced first time buyer mortgage brokers and get expert advice from day one!
  • Decide what and where you want to buy
  • Work out how much you would be willing to set aside every month for your mortgage payments
  • Collect your documents including, proof of your income, including payslips and accounts/SA302s if you are self-employed
  • Print off your most recent bank statement(s) so your broker can assess your monthly expenditure
  • Tell your broker about any outstanding debts, click here to access your free credit report and see any outstanding debts (Try it FREE for 30 days, then £14.99 a month - cancel anytime)
  • If you have a history of poor credit, take steps to tidy up your credit file and improve your credit score
  • Save as much towards your deposit as you can – at least 5% of the property price, and more if possible
  • Budget for the other costs involved in mortgaging and purchasing a new home
  • Consider if you are eligible for the government’s Help to Buy scheme
  • Find a good solicitor or specialist conveyancer
  • Choose your protection insurance products ahead of completion

For help arranging your first ever property purchase, contact CLS Money today.

When the time comes to pick up the keys, you want to be 100% confident in not only your choice of property, but the mortgage you have chosen to finance your purchase.

Our mortgage advisors can talk you through all your affordability options and find you a product that won’t overstretch your budget.

Their work doesn’t end once they’ve found you the best deal, though. Our brokers will manage the entire mortgage application process for you; they will answer any and all of your questions, and they will regularly catch up with your accountants, solicitors, surveyors and everyone else involved in the purchase to make sure everything is on track and you reach completion as quickly as possible. Best of all, they will be available for a chat 7 days a week between the hours of 8am and 8pm – so you can check in on the status of your application during evenings and weekends if you want to.

We’ve helped hundreds of first time buyers side-step the hassle and enjoy a smooth, fuss-free home buying experience. Book your free consultation now to see how we can help. All our initial advice is free of charge, and we’ll even provide you with an agreement in principle so you can search for your first home with confidence.

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  • Complete our quick and easy form to see the available mortgage products that suit you

  • We will handle all the necessary paperwork and manage your entire mortgage application

  • Start enjoying the benefits of your new mortgage

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Getting a mortgage FAQs

Still have a question?

Our friendly advisors are always happy to help with your mortgage enquiries, so call us for a no-obligation chat.

We can even provide you with the advice you need to secure an Agreement in Principle, so you can move one step closer to securing your dream home.

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What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan from a bank or building society that enables you to purchase property. The loan is repaid with interest over a number of years, with the term for doing this dependent on your personal financial circumstances.

A mortgage can be held by an individual or jointly between one or more people, but if you do not keep up your repayments, your home could be repossessed by the lender.

Will I be accepted for a mortgage?

All mortgage lenders have their own criteria. The following factors all play a part in determining their mortgage offer and how much they are willing to lend to you:

  • Amount you wish to borrow
  • Size of your deposit
  • Employment status and income
  • Credit rating
  • Outgoings
  • Existing debt
  • Your age
  • Length of the mortgage term
  • Your credit status
  • If you are applying solely or jointly

In order to be accepted, you need to convince lenders that you are able to repay your mortgage. To do this, lenders typically use your credit report to check your repayment history. Your credit file will contain current and existing records on items such as credit cards, loans, overdrafts, mortgages, mobile phone/s, some utilities payments and all accounts opened in the past six years. If you have had arrears, defaults, CCJs, debt management plans or previously been made bankrupt, there are mortgage options available which we can help you with.

How does the mortgage application process work?

To get a mortgage, you will need to save a deposit of at least 5%. However, the more you can save, the better your rate will usually be. If you already own your own home, you can use the equity in your property for this. Our expert mortgage advisors can talk you through the benefits and the difference in your monthly payments by increasing your deposit.

Once you have found the property you want to buy, our mortgage advisors will assess your personal needs and circumstances and recommend a mortgage product that is right for you. They will compare hundreds of mortgage quotes, including a number of exclusive products that cannot be found on the high street or comparison sites, and ensure that you get the right deal at a great price.

If you are happy with the mortgage product your advisor recommends, you will pay an upfront fee to receive your Agreement in Principle (AIP). This will give you an approximate sum of how much the lender is willing to let you borrow, and enable you to put an offer in on your dream home.

If your offer is accepted, you will need to appoint a solicitor to handle searches, surveys and contracts, which we can arrange for you. We handle the entire mortgage application process through to completion, liaising with your solicitor and lender to ensure that your application is a success.

If you are looking to remortgage, then we recommend looking for a new mortgage deal around 3 months before your current deal expires. Starting early will give you plenty of time to compare all the available mortgage products and submit your application. If your mortgage is approved early there's no need to panic, as we will ensure that the completion date corresponds with your current deal's end date.

How much can I afford to borrow?

Most mortgage lenders will lend you up to five times your salary. However, this is dependent on a number of factors including your age, number of dependants and current financial commitments. Lenders generally work out how much they will lend you based on what you can realistically afford each month after you have paid your bills, credit cards, loans etc.

Our mortgage advisors can help you understand how much you can realistically borrow before an application or credit search is completed, by assessing your individual needs and circumstances. If you choose to proceed with an application, then our advisors will know which mortgage lenders to approach to ensure you get the required loan amount.

What are the associated costs with buying a house?

When buying a home, you will need to not only have enough money saved for your mortgage deposit, but also your mortgage fees, moving costs and legal expenses. We have compiled a handy list below of all the possible purchase and moving expenses you may have to pay, to help you with your budgeting. The exact fees and amount you will pay, is dependent on the value of the property you are buying and your chosen mortgage lender.

Mortgage booking fee: Some mortgage lenders will charge this to secure a fixed-rate or tracker deal.

Cost: £99 - £250

Mortgage arrangement fee: Some mortgage products will incur a mortgage arrangement fee, in addition to the mortgage booking fee. This fee is either paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. If you chose to add it to your mortgage, the cost will increase over the lifetime of your mortgage.

Cost: £1,000 - £2,000

Telegraphic transfer fee: Needs to be paid to the lender to transfer the amount you are borrowing for the mortgage to the seller's solicitor.

Cost: £25 - £50

Mortgage broker fee: If you use a mortgage advisor to arrange your mortgage for you, you will need to pay a fee or commission, depending on the value of your mortgage.

Cost: £95 - £495. However, this may vary if you need to use a specialist lender

Valuation and survey fees: Charged by the lender to value the property you are buying. The cost varies according to which survey you choose:

Home condition survey: Most basic and cheapest of all the surveys and often used for new-builds.

Cost: £250

Homebuyer's report: More in-depth survey, assessing the inside and outside of the property, and also includes a valuation.

Cost: £400

Building survey: A complete survey generally used for older or unconventional properties. Although they are the most expensive, they are certainly worth considering, as it could potentially save you a lot of money if any structural problems are found with the property.

Cost: £600

Higher lending charge: Can be charged by lenders if you borrow most of the value of the property.

Cost: Approximately 1.5% of the amount you borrow

Searches: Your solicitor will arrange for the local authority to check whether there are any issues that could affect the property's value. The local council can charge a fee for carrying out these searches and may also request that a drains search be done at the same time.

Cost: £250 - £300

Legal costs: You will need to instruct a solicitor to carry out the necessary legal work for you.

Cost: £850 - £1,500 plus VAT

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): Charged on all purchases of UK land and property over £125,000. However, the amount you will pay is dependent on the purchase price of the property you are looking to buy, and whether you have owned a home before as follows:

First home: First-time buyers are exempt from paying SDLT on the first £300,000 of the purchase price of a property up to the value of £500,000. All purchases in excess of £500,000 will pay the standard stamp duty rates as follows:

  • £0 - £300,000: 0%
  • £300,001 - £500,000: 5%

Next home: If you are currently or have previously been a homeowner, you usually pay SDLT on increasing portions of the property price:

  • £0 - £125,000: 0%
  • £125,001 - £250,000: 2%
  • £250,001 - £925,000: 5%
  • £925,001 - £1.5 million: 10%
  • £1.5 million+: 12%

Second property: If you are looking to buy an additional property, you usually have to pay 3% on top of the normal SDLT rates as follows:

  • Less than £125,000: 3%
  • £125,001 - £250,000: 5%
  • £250,001 - £925,000: 8%
  • £925,001 - £1.5 million: 13%
  • £1.5 million+: 15%

For example, if you buy a next home for £275,000 the SDLT you owe is calculated as follows:

0% on the first £125,000 = £0

2% on the next £125,000 = £2,500

5% on the final £25,000 = £1,250

Total SDLT = £3,750

Information correct as of December 2017 - Source: costs: Paid to the removal firm (if you choose to use one) to pack, transport and deliver your possessions to your new home.

Cost: £300 - £600

What type of mortgage do I need?

For the majority of mortgages, you borrow money from a lender to buy a property and pay interest on the loan until you have paid it back. The only exception are interest-only loans. Here are the different types of mortgages available:

  • Repayment
  • Interest-only
  • Fixed rate
  • Variable rate
  • Tracker
  • Discounted rate
  • Capped rate
  • Cashback
  • Offset
  • 95%
  • Flexible
  • First time buyers
  • Buy to let

Repayment mortgages: Every month you make a payment which is calculated so that you pay off some of the capital you have borrowed, as well as the interest. By the end of your mortgage term, you would have repaid the entire loan.

**Interest-only mortgages: **Each month you pay only the interest on your mortgage and repay the capital at the end of your mortgage term. This option will not suit everyone, as you will need to guarantee that you can find the money when the time comes. If you don't, you risk having to sell your property to pay off the mortgage. Lenders can also insist that you provide evidence on how you intend to do this.

Fixed rate mortgages: Popular with first time buyers, as you know exactly how much you'll be paying each month for a particular length of time.

The disadvantages are that you may have to pay a higher rate if the interest rate falls, and a repayment charge if you either switch or pay off your mortgage before the end of the fixed term.

The lender will also automatically place you on a standard variable rate (SVR), which will probably have a higher interest rate, in which case you will need to apply for another fixed rate deal.

**Variable rate mortgages: **Also known as a Standard Variable Rate (SVR) and are every lender's basic mortgage. The interest rate fluctuates, but never above the Bank of England's base rate and is determined by your mortgage lender.

Tracker mortgages: Vary according to a nominated base rate, normally the Bank of England's, which you will pay a set interest rate above or below.

Discount rate mortgages: Some of the cheapest mortgages around but, as they are linked to the SVR, the rate will change according to the SVR and are only available for a fixed period of time.

Capped rate mortgages: A variable rate mortgage, but there is a limit on how much your interest rate can rise. However, as mortgage rates are generally low at present, many lenders are not offering them.

Cashback mortgages: Lenders typically give you a percentage of the loan back in cash. However, you need to look at the interest rate and any additional fees, as it is very likely that you will be able to find a better deal without cashback.

Offset mortgages: Combines your savings and mortgage together, by deducting the amount you have in your savings, meaning you only pay interest on the difference between the two. Using your savings to reduce your mortgage interest means you won't earn any interest on them, but you will also not pay tax, helping higher rate taxpayers.

95% mortgages: Generally for those with only a 5% deposit. However, as there is a risk that you may fall into negative equity if house prices go down, mortgage rates are usually high.

**Flexible mortgages: **Allow you to overpay when you can afford to. Other mortgages give you this option too, but you can also pay less at particular times or miss a few payments altogether if you have chosen to overpay. This does however come at a cost, as the mortgage rate will generally be higher than other mortgage deals.

First time buyers mortgages: All of the aforementioned mortgages are available to first time buyers, although some are more favourable than others. The government also offers a number of incentives for first time buyers through its help to buy scheme.

Buy to let mortgages: Enables you to purchase additional property for renting purposes only. The amount you can borrow is partially calculated on the rent payments you expect to receive.

How much does a mortgage cost?

The amount you pay each month is dependent on the total cost of your property and the type of mortgage you have. The costs you may need to pay vary but typically include:

Interest: Accrues across the lifetime of the mortgage and is charged as a percentage rate on the amount you owe.

Mortgage fees: A product fee which is charged for taking out the mortgage.

Application fees: Charged on application, regardless of whether you take out the mortgage.

Valuation fees: Can be charged by lenders for calculating how much your home is worth.

Higher lending charges: Can be applied to mortgages that have a small deposit.

**Telegraphic transfer fees: **Charged by the bank for arranging to transfer the money they are lending you (usually to your solicitor).

**Broker fees: **Often charged if you use a broker to arrange your mortgage.

**Early repayment charges: **Can be charged if you repay your mortgage before the end of the agreed term.

**Exit fees: **Lenders can charge these if you move to a new lender.

**Missed payments: **These can be charged by your lender if you fail to keep up your repayments, which can increase the total amount you owe.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

Getting a mortgage application approved is dependant on you, your mortgage advisor, solicitor and lender. At CLS, we handle the entire process for you through to completion, communicating with your solicitor and lender to remove the stress and hassle from you and ensure that your application is a success. Having all the relevant mortgage documentation to hand ready for your mortgage advisor, will also help speed up the process.

Are there any government incentives for first time buyers?

The government has created the help to buy scheme to assist first time buyers in buying their own homes. The scheme consists of two parts; help to buy shared ownership and help to buy equity loan.

Shared ownership gives first time buyers the opportunity to buy shares (between 25% and 75%) of a new or existing property and pay rent on the remaining portion. With equity loan, the government will lend a new home buyer 20% of the purchase cost, which means you will only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to buy your home. If you are looking to buy a property in the city under the London help to buy, the government percentage the government will lend you increases to 40%. However, the cost of the property you can buy is capped at £600,000.

The help to buy initiative also includes a help to buy ISA, which rewards first-time buyers by boosting their savings. If you pay in £1,200 in the first month and then £200 a month thereafter, you will receive the maximum £3,000 bonus from the government when you are ready to buy your home.

The government's latest savings initiative the Lifetime ISA, also aims to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, and is beneficial for those who are looking to buy their first home within the next few years. You can pay in up to £4,000 a year and receive a 25% boost to your savings at the end of the first year and then each month thereafter.

If you would like to find out more about the help to buy scheme and check your eligibility, our expert mortgage advisors are here to help you.

What insurance do I need to buy a home?

When buying a home your mortgage lender will likely insist that you have buildings insurance in place before you exchange contracts.

Whilst it is not compulsory to have any other level of cover in place to buy a property, there are insurance policies that can help you through a rough patch. For example, income protection can pay your mortgage repayments for a fixed period of time, should you unexpectedly find yourself out of work due to an injury or illness, whilst a life insurance policy could completely clear your outstanding mortgage debt, should the worst happen to you.

If you would like to know more about the various protection options that are available, we can help. Our expert mortgage and protection advisors can meet or chat at a time to suit you, and can ensure that you get the right level of cover for your personal circumstances at an affordable price.

What are the different types of survey?

If you need a mortgage to buy your new home, then your mortgage lender will ask that a valuation be conducted on the property, before they determine whether they will approve your mortgage offer or not.

There are three different types of home surveys available. The survey your lender will request to be made, is dependent on the type of property you are looking to buy. For peace of mind, you can however pay to have a full structural survey carried out on your property, before you commit to buying it.

  • Home condition survey: Most basic and cheapest survey, often used for new-builds
  • Homebuyer's report: More thorough, as it evaluates the inside and outside of the property
  • Building survey: A complete survey that assesses the full structure of the property, generally used for older or unusual properties.
How much does it cost to move?

When you move home, there are quite a few expenses involved which you may not have considered, especially if you change your mortgage lender. We have put together a handy list of all the associated costs when moving home below for your guidance. The precise fees you will need to pay are determined by the value of the property you are buying and your mortgage lender.

Mortgage booking fee: Some mortgage lenders will charge this to secure your mortgage deal.

Cost: £99 - £250

Mortgage arrangement fee: Some mortgages products charge a mortgage arrangement fee and a mortgage booking fee, which is either paid upfront or added to your mortgage debt. Remember, if you choose to add this cost to your mortgage, it will increase over the lifetime of your mortgage.

Cost: £1,000 - £2,000

Telegraphic transfer fee: Needs to be paid to the lender to transfer the amount you are borrowing for the mortgage to the seller's solicitor.

Cost: £25 - £50

Mortgage broker fee: If a mortgage broker arranges your mortgage for you, you will need to pay them a fee or commission for doing this.

Cost: £95 - £495

Valuation and survey fees: Your mortgage lender will request a valuation for your new home. The cost will vary according to which survey you choose:

Home condition survey: The most simple and cheapest survey, often instructed for new-builds.

Cost: £250

Homebuyer's report: A more thorough survey, valuating the inside and outside of the property.

Cost: £400

Building survey: A complete survey, commonly used for older or unconventional properties. If you want peace of mind, before you commit to buying your new home, this type of survey is certainly worth considering.

Cost: £600

Searches: Charged by your local council for checking whether there are any problems that could affect the value of the property you are looking to purchase.

Cost: £250 - £300

Legal costs: A solicitor will be needed to carry out any necessary legal work for you.

Cost: £850 - £1,500 plus VAT

Stamp Duty: Paid on all UK land and property purchases over £125,000. The amount you pay is dependent on the purchase price of your property as follows:

£125,001 - £250,000: 2%

£250,001 - £925,000: 5%

£925,001 - £1, 500,000: 10%

£1,500,000+: 12%

If you are buying an additional property, the percentage you will need to pay is calculated as follows:

Less than £125,000: 3%

£125,001 - £250,000: 5%

£250,001 - £925,000: 8%

£925,001 - £1.5 million: 13%

£1.5 million+: 15%

Moving costs: If you need help to pack, transport and deliver your belongings to your new home, you will need to instruct a removal firm.

Cost: £300 - £600

Am I eligible for right to buy?

If you have been a tenant in a council property for 3 years or more, then you may be able to purchase your home at a reduced price through the government's right to buy scheme.

Your eligibility will need to be confirmed by your landlord and right to buy mortgage lenders will need to ensure that you can afford to keep up the monthly repayments, before they approve your mortgage application. But, if you decide that becoming a homeowner is the right path for you, then we are here to help you.

How can I get a right to buy mortgage?

If you have received your right to buy documents from the council and are looking for a mortgage to purchase your home, you are in safe hands with us. As expert right to buy mortgage advisors, we can tell you how much you can afford to borrow and find the right mortgage product to suit your individual needs and circumstances.

When you are ready to process your right to buy mortgage application, we will manage the entire process for you; completing all the necessary paperwork, liaising with your lender and solicitors and keeping your regularly informed on the status of your application, so that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

What's the interest rate for first-time home buyers?

How long is a piece of string? Sadly, as much as we'd love to give you the figure you're looking for, it's an almost impossible practice.

Mortgage interest rates depend on such a wide range of factors we couldn't possibly narrow it down to a specific number for every type of buyer and loan type.

Interest rates depend on all the factors that go into a mortgage application. That includes your income, outgoings, credit score, deposit, mortgage term, and property price.

Current ballpark figures suggest that typical standard variable rates of the high-street banks are around 4% to 5%. For now. Be prepared for them to change depending on the state of the economy.

The same high-street lenders offer fixed rates over 2 and 5 years with interest rates between 2% and 3.5%. But be careful, many of those come with set-up fees of as much as £1000.

You might be better off opting for a higher interest rate option with a zero fee over the fixed-rate term. After all, you can renegotiate a new deal at the end of the fixed-rate term.

When it comes to figuring out the best option for your circumstances, it's worth speaking to an expert. That could be a mortgage broker or a financial advisor; either way, it's their job to help you get what you need.

Fixed-rate and tracker, repayment and interest-only mortgages

Such a simple-sounding heading covers thousands of mortgage options.

As a first-time buyer, you can choose a repayment mortgage, where every month you chip away at the total cost of your home, or an interest-only mortgage, where you only ever pay off the interest on the loan.

Interest rates for both options will vary depending on your LTV (loan to value ratio), determined by the deposit put down against the property. Your interest rate will also vary depending on your credit score, if approved at all.

For example, let's look at the tracker mortgages for one of the major high-street banks. At the time of writing, they're offering a 2.34% variable rate on 90% LTV mortgages, with 1.74% rates available for 60% LTV options. Both have a booking fee of £999, reverting to their (current) variable rate of 4.04%.

Alternatively, a 2-year fixed-rate option comes with a 2.79% rate with a zero fee or 2.44% with a £999 fee at a 90% LTV. Opt for a 5-year fixed-rate, and it's 3.19% with the zero fee and 3.09% with the £999 fee.

There are hundreds of providers with thousands of mortgages. And it could all change month to month. So finding the right mortgage at the best interest rate can prove to be quite the adventure.

We are growing a forest

Planting a tree with every mortgage

THG more trees

Gemma May

Operations Director

Gemma May

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