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Do you need help making your first step onto the property ladder? 

If you’re a first-time buyer wondering what you need to buy a house or flat, you’ve come to the right place. This guide takes you through the process of buying your first home, including saving your deposit and applying for a mortgage. 

What deposit will I need? 

Before going to purchase your new property, you will need to save for your deposit.  

The amount you can save for a deposit directly affects the price of the property that you can look at so the more you can save, the better.  
The usual amount is between a minimum of 5 and 20% of the cost of the property that you’re looking at.  
For example, if the property that you wanted to purchase was £100,000, you would need a minimum of £5,000 as a deposit.  
The bigger the deposit you have, the wider the range of lenders that will consider your application will be.  

Will there be any other costs? 

You should also bear in mind that, on top of your monthly mortgage payments, there are a number of other costs involved with buying your property. 

These include: 

  • Survey costs 

  • Solicitor’s fee 

  • Removal costs 

  • Buildings insurance 

  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees 

  • Stamp Duty (or Land and buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland)* 

*You won’t have to pay Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of your property if your property if worth less than £500,000. 

Affordability is priority - it’s what lenders will base their decisions of your application on so it’s imperative that you’re certain you can afford to buy a home. 

Lenders will also do what are known as stress tests to look at your affordability if interest rates were to rise.  

As part of the mortgage application process you’ll need to show the lender evidence of any outgoings you have and prove your income. 

Are there any schemes that could help me? 

There are a number of government-backed schemes available aimed at giving first-time buyers the help that they need in getting onto the property ladder.  

  • Affordable housing schemes 

  • Help to Buy 

  • Shared Ownership 

The mortgage world is extremely varied, and it can be a minefield for buyers. A ‘whole of market’ adviser will be able to scour the entire market for lenders that will suit your specific circumstances, some of which won’t be available on the high street.  

The application  

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide evidence of your income and outgoings, including: 

  • Debts 

  • Household bills 

  • Other costs, such as childcare or travel 

It’s likely that your lender will want to see proof of income via payslips or bank statements, and if you’re self-employed, then you will need to provide your tax returns and business accounts that have been prepared by a recognised accountant. 

What if I can’t get a mortgage? 

If you’ve got a bad credit rating or are on a low income, there are specialist lenders that will still consider your application.  
You can also look at getting a guarantor mortgage which will mean that a parent or close relative will be responsible for paying the mortgage if you can’t.  

You’ll need to talk to a mortgage broker to find out more about which lenders offer guarantor mortgages. 

For advice on getting your first mortgage mortgage, speak to one of our expert advisers who will be able to help you with the next steps.