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 search the whole of the market for a deal from a more niche lender who may be able to help.
- What is a first time buyer?
- If I am a first time buyer, can I get a mortgage?
- Does being a first time buyer put me in a better position?
- How much deposit will I need?
- How much will I be able to borrow?
- How much will I need to pay every month towards my mortgage?
- Should I choose a repayment mortgage or an interest-only mortgage?
- What are the different kinds of mortgage products for first time buyers?
- What if I have a poor credit score?
- How long will it take to get a mortgage as a first time buyer?
- How could a mortgage broker help me?
- Will I need a solicitor?
- What are the costs involved in purchasing a property?
- How does the Help to Buy scheme work?
- What other schemes are available for new property owners?
- What if I’m having trouble getting together my deposit?
- What insurance will I need?
- Can I get a Buy to Let mortgage if I don’t have a residential mortgage?
- Getting a mortgage as a first time buyer: your checklist
- Speak with one of our experts
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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 access to the whole 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 independent 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.