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First time buyer pros and cons


  • You own a property – you become the property owner for the first time.
  • No need pay rent – paying rent is in away wasting money and coould be used as repayments.
  • Freedom – no more restrictions and rules to follow. You can decide they way you prrefer your home.
  • Excitement - owning a first property means steps on property ladder.


  • Financial commitments – When gettig a property you are making logest and biggest finance commitment. Your mortgage can last up to 30 years (Uks average mortgage terms is 25 years)
  • Household bills – you wil be responsible for utility contracts and bills which can add up a lot to yor monthly outgoings if not manged corretly. If you have previously rented some of these bills might have been included in your rent but now water, energy and if you own a leasehold property then ground rent and maintenance become your responsibility
  • Mortgage fees – As a first time buyer you should look at extra costs such as valuation fees, broker fees, local authority checks.

What is a First Time Buyer Mortgage?

First-time buyer mortgages, also referred to as first buyer mortgages, 1st time buyer mortgages, or first time mortgages, are home loans specifically tailored for individuals who are purchasing their first property. These mortgage products are designed to help young, first-time buyers get onto the property ladder sooner by offering favourable interest rates and terms. However, the mortgage application process for first-time buyers may differ from that of regular mortgages, and there are certain key factors to consider when exploring this type of mortgage.

Lower down payment: One of the main benefits of a first-time buyer mortgage is the opportunity to secure a mortgage with a lower deposit, often as low as 5% of the property's purchase price. This can be a significant advantage for young buyers who may not have had the time to save a substantial amount.

Government schemes: first-time buyer mortgages often come with government schemes, such as the Help to Buy scheme, which can provide additional financial support. These schemes may offer equity loans, where the government provides a loan to cover a percentage of the property's value, or mortgage guarantee schemes, which provide lenders with a guarantee for a portion of the mortgage.

What is a First Time Buyer Mortgage

Flexible repayment and interest: first-time buyer mortgages typically offer more favourable interest rates and terms compared to regular mortgages. Lenders understand the importance of supporting first-time buyers, and as a result, they may offer more flexible repayment options and lower interest rates to help ease the financial burden of purchasing a first home.

Stamp duty: first-time buyer mortgages often come with reduced stamp duty costs, or exemption from stamp duty altogether. Stamp duty is a tax that buyers are required to pay when purchasing a property, and the cost can vary depending on the property's value. The reduced or exempt stamp duty for first-time buyers can help make the home buying process more affordable, allowing young buyers to enter the property market sooner.

Flexible Credit Requirements: Establishing a credit history can be challenging for first-time buyers. However, lenders may consider other factors like employment history and income stability when assessing eligibility for a mortgage. Research and compare lenders' requirements to find the best fit. Building a positive credit history through responsible borrowing and timely payments improves future loan prospects.

How Does it Differ from Regular Mortgages?

First-time buyer mortgages, also known as first home buyer mortgages, differ from regular mortgages in several ways. These differences can impact the mortgage application process, eligibility criteria, and the overall financial implications for the borrower.

One of the main differences between first-time buyer mortgages and regular mortgages is the availability of special products and government schemes. First-time buyer mortgages often offer specialised products, such as equity loans, where the government provides a loan to cover a portion of the property's value. These products can help first-time buyers secure a mortgage with a lower deposit, making the home buying process more accessible.

First-time buyer mortgages often come with government schemes, such as the Help to Buy scheme, which provide additional financial support. These schemes may offer equity loans or mortgage guarantee schemes, making it easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.

Another difference between first-time buyer mortgages and regular mortgages is the monthly repayments. First-time buyer mortgages often offer more affordable monthly repayments, allowing young buyers to manage their finances more easily. This can be especially beneficial for those who are just starting their careers and may have a limited income.

The land transaction tax, which is a tax buyers are required to pay when purchasing a property, may also differ for first-time buyer mortgages compared to regular mortgages. Some jurisdictions offer reduced or exempt land transaction tax for first time buyers, helping to make the home-buying process more affordable.

The cost of the property can impact the eligibility for first-time buyer mortgages. Some lenders may have specific criteria regarding the maximum purchase price for first-time buyer mortgages, so buyers need to consider the affordability of the property they are interested in.

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Preparing for Your First Mortgage

Before applying for your first mortgage, it's important to take the time to prepare and ensure you are in a strong financial position. This includes assessing your credit score, building a savings account, and understanding the steps involved in the mortgage application process.

Preparing for Your First Mortgage

Preparing for your first mortgage application involves several key steps. First, it's essential to understand your credit score and take any necessary steps to improve it. Lenders use credit scores to assess the creditworthiness of applicants, so a good credit score is crucial in securing a favourable mortgage offer.

Building a savings account is also important when preparing for a first mortgage. Lenders generally require a minimum deposit, and having a savings account demonstrates your financial responsibility. The larger the deposit you can save, the more mortgage options you may have and the better interest rates you may qualify for.

Finally, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the mortgage application process. This process can vary depending on the lender, but generally involves providing financial documents, such as proof of income and bank statements, as well as completing an application form. Understanding the steps involved and gathering the necessary documents beforehand can help streamline the application process and increase your chances of approval.

Steps to Prepare for Your First Buyer Mortgage Application

Preparing for your first mortgage application involves several important steps. By taking the time to complete these steps and gather the necessary information, you can improve your chances of a successful application process. Here are some key steps to help you prepare for your mortgage application:

  1. Organise your financial documents: Before applying for a mortgage, it's important to gather and organise your financial documents. This includes proof of income, such as pay stubs or tax returns, bank statements, and any outstanding loan or credit card statements. Organising these documents in advance will make the application process smoother.
  2. Educate yourself about mortgage products: First-time buyers should research and understand different mortgage products. This includes fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and government-backed loans like FHA or VA loans. Comparing interest rates, loan terms, and lender fees is crucial to finding the right option for your financial situation.
  3. Understand your eligibility: Before applying for a mortgage, it's important to understand your eligibility. This includes considering your income, credit score, and any existing financial commitments. Knowing your eligibility will help you identify any potential obstacles and address them before submitting your application.
  4. Use a mortgage calculator: A mortgage calculator is a useful tool that can help you estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on different interest rates and loan amounts. This can give you a better idea of your budget and affordability when looking for a property.
  5. Look for Pre-Approval: A loan calculator helps you understand the amount you can borrow. It considers factors like income, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. By inputting this information, you can estimate the loan amount and interest rate from different lenders.

Importance of a Good Credit Score

Having a good credit score is crucial when applying for a first-time buyer mortgage. Lenders use credit scores to assess the creditworthiness of applicants, and a good credit score can increase your chances of approval and help you secure a more favourable interest rate.

A good credit score demonstrates your financial responsibility and your ability to manage credit effectively. It reflects your payment history, the amount of credit you have, and your credit utilisation. Lenders consider these factors when assessing your mortgage application, as they want to ensure that you will be able to repay your loan in a timely manner.

A good credit score not only increases your chances of getting approved for a mortgage but also affects the interest rate you may qualify for. Lenders offer better interest rates to borrowers with higher credit scores, as they are seen as less of a credit risk. This can result in significant savings over the term of your mortgage.

Before applying for a first-time buyer mortgage, it's a good idea to check your credit report and credit score. This will give you an indication of your creditworthiness and allow you to address any issues or errors before submitting your application. You can request a free credit report from the credit reference agencies, such as Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax, and review the information to ensure its accuracy.

Maintaining a good credit score is essential throughout the mortgage application process. This means making your monthly credit card payments on time, keeping your credit utilisation low, and avoiding the accumulation of excessive debt. Being proactive about managing your credit will not only improve your chances of mortgage approval but also set you up for financial success in the future.

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The Process of Getting a First-Time Buyer Mortgage

Getting a first-time buyer mortgage involves a specific process that is tailored for individuals who are purchasing their first property. This process includes several steps, from the initial mortgage application to the completion of the mortgage. Understanding the process can help first-time buyers navigate through the requirements and ensure a smooth transaction.

Explaining the Agreement in Principle

An agreement in principle, also known as a mortgage in principle or a decision in principle, is a conditional offer for a first time buyer mortgage. It gives the buyer a better indication of the maximum loan they can qualify for, based on their income, credit score, and existing financial commitments.

Obtaining an agreement in principle is a key step in the mortgage application process, as it provides a clear indication of the buyer's borrowing capacity. It allows the buyer to search for properties within their price range, as they have a better understanding of the maximum loan amount they can secure.

The agreement in principle is typically provided by a mortgage lender, who assesses the buyer's financial details and creditworthiness. The buyer will need to provide information regarding their income, employment status, credit history, and any existing financial commitments. Based on this information, the lender will conduct a preliminary assessment and provide the buyer with a conditional offer.

The Process of Getting a First-Time Buyer Mortgage

It's important to note that the agreement in principle is not a guarantee of a mortgage offer, but rather an indication of the maximum loan amount the buyer can qualify for. Once the buyer has the agreement in principle, however, they can proceed with confidence when making an offer on a property.

Next Steps After Receiving an Agreement in Principle

After receiving an agreement in principle, the buyer can move forward with the process of purchasing a property. Here are the next steps to consider:

  1. House hunting: With the agreement in principle, the buyer now has a better indication of their maximum loan amount. They can start searching for properties within their price range, focusing on properties that meet their criteria and budget.
  2. Discuss additional fees: It's important to discuss any additional fees, such as valuation fees, legal costs, and any other fees associated with the purchase of the property. Working with a conveyancer or mortgage adviser can help determine the full cost of the purchase and ensure all fees are taken into account.
  3. Confirm the completion date: The completion date, also known as the move-in date, will be confirmed after the full mortgage application process. It's important to consider any time constraints, such as the end of a rental agreement, and communicate the preferred completion date to the relevant parties.
  4. Consider insurance policies: After securing the agreement in principle, it's a good time to consider insurance policies that can protect the mortgage and the property. These may include mortgage protection products, such as critical illness cover, or home insurance policies to cover the property itself.

Calculating How Much You Can Borrow

Determining the amount you can borrow for a first-time buyer mortgage involves several key factors, such as your income, deposit, and the purchase price of the property.

Factors Influencing Your Borrowing Capacity

Several factors influence your borrowing capacity for a first-time buyer mortgage. These factors are considered by lenders when assessing your application and determining the maximum loan amount you can qualify for.

One of the main factors that influence your borrowing capacity is your credit score. Lenders use credit scores to assess your creditworthiness and determine the level of risk associated with lending to you. A good credit score demonstrates your ability to repay debts and increases your chances of qualifying for a larger loan amount.

Calculating How Much You Can Borrow

Monthly repayments for existing credit commitments, such as credit cards or other loans, also impact your borrowing capacity. Lenders take these repayments into consideration to ensure that you have sufficient income to cover your mortgage repayments in addition to your existing financial obligations.

The purchase price of the property is another important factor in determining your borrowing capacity. Generally, lenders require a minimum deposit, typically ranging from 5% to 20% of the property's purchase price. The larger the deposit you can contribute, the less you will need to borrow, increasing your borrowing capacity. However, it's important to consider the overall affordability of the property, including the costs of stamp duty, legal fees, and any additional expenses associated with the purchase.

Other factors that may influence your borrowing capacity include your income, employment status, and the type of property you are purchasing. Lenders typically apply a loan-to-income ratio, which ensures that your mortgage repayments are affordable based on your income. The type of property, such as a new build or shared ownership, may also impact your eligibility for certain mortgage products or government schemes.

To get a better indication of your borrowing capacity, it can be helpful to use online mortgage calculators. These tools allow you to input your financial details, such as your income, deposit, and the purchase price of the property, to estimate the mortgage amount you may be eligible for.

Using Online Mortgage Calculators

When considering a first home buyer mortgage, it's crucial to use online mortgage calculators to gain insights into various financial aspects. These calculators help estimate monthly payments, taking into account the impact of interest rates, equity loan amounts, and property costs. Additionally, they assist in evaluating buildings insurance costs.

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Programs and Offers for First-Time Buyers

When purchasing your first home, take advantage of various programs and offers tailored for first-time buyers. These programs include government schemes in Northern Ireland and special offers from building societies. Additionally, you can explore Scottish Widows protection products for added security. Consider leveraging these options to help with house prices and cover costs such as removal firms and policy amount. It's also essential to have a home report and your conveyancer to ensure a smooth process. Be sure to explore credit card and body cover options to protect yourself financially.

Current Special Offers for First-Time Buyers

When exploring special offers for first-time buyers, it's essential to consider the range of mortgage products offered by advisers. Look for lenders providing maximum loan options tailored for first-time buyers. Additionally, assess existing home insurance details and seek advice from qualifying protection advisers. Protection products like critical illness insurance policies can provide added security

Government Schemes to Aid First-Time Buyers

To facilitate the purchase of their primary residence, first-time buyers can benefit from the mortgage promise scheme. It's essential to grasp the eligibility requirements for the mortgage guarantee scheme tailored to first-time buyers. In the event of financial challenges, Scottish Widows offer protection products to support first-time buyers. Conducting thorough research on the property's value can provide a clearer picture of the maximum loan accessible to first-time buyers. Additionally, it is advisable for first-time buyers to explore the legal fees associated with their full mortgage application, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of all financial obligations.

Types of First-Time Buyer Mortgages

When considering first-time buyer mortgages, it's essential to understand the types available. These include fixed-rate mortgages, variable-rate mortgages, and offset mortgages, each with its unique benefits and considerations. Fixed-rate mortgages offer stable monthly payments, while variable-rate mortgages fluctuate with the market. Offset mortgages allow you to use your savings to reduce the interest on your mortgage.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages provide stability by protecting against interest rate increases, offering a predictable monthly payment. Understanding the financial coverage for fixed-rate mortgage repayments is crucial to manage any potential difficulties. When reviewing the mortgage offer's details, pay specific attention to the fixed-rate mortgage completion process and consider the implications at the end of your mortgage deal. Opting for a fixed-rate mortgage provides a clearer indication of your monthly payment, giving you greater financial predictability.

Types of First-Time Buyer Mortgages

Variable-Rate Mortgages

When considering mortgage options, variable-rate mortgages are worth exploring due to their potential for lower initial interest rates. It's vital to understand the event of death cover for mortgage repayments and review the mortgage tracker's details for a seamless completion process. Choosing a variable rate mortgage can provide a better indication of your monthly payment, offering flexibility and potential cost savings.

Offset Mortgages

Offset mortgages present an opportunity to decrease the interest paid on the mortgage amount. Understanding the critical illness insurance policies linked to offset mortgage repayments is crucial. Reviewing the mortgage product details for the offset mortgage completion process is important for a smooth experience. It's essential to consider the end of the mortgage deal when opting for an offset mortgage. Choosing an offset mortgage can provide a better indication of your monthly payment, offering more control over your financial planning.

Mortgage Options for Different Circumstances

When considering mortgage options, various circumstances dictate the most suitable choice. Factors such as location in Northern Ireland or the current state of house prices must be taken into account. Additionally, personal financial details like credit card debts and savings could influence the decision. Different lenders, including building societies, may offer varying policies, and seeking advice from professionals at Scottish Widows Protection Products is advisable. Considering additional expenses such as removal firms, policy amount, and fees for own conveyancer, as well as reviewing home reports and body cover, is crucial before making a decision.

Joint Mortgages for First-Time Buyers

When multiple first-time buyers apply for a mortgage together, they opt for joint mortgages. Lenders evaluate the joint application based on the credit scores and financial details of all applicants, enabling them to combine resources and increase borrowing power. This type of mortgage allows the sharing of financial responsibility for monthly repayments and costs, emphasising the need for joint applicants to comprehend the legal and financial implications. Joint mortgages can significantly benefit first-time buyers seeking to enhance their purchasing capacity through shared responsibility.

Guarantor Mortgages for First-Time Buyers

Guarantor mortgages provide a solution for first-time buyers with limited credit history or small deposits. In this arrangement, a family member or third party guarantees the mortgage repayments, offering support and reducing risk for the buyer. However, it's crucial for all parties to comprehend the financial responsibilities involved. The guarantor must have a good credit score and adequate equity, as their property is at stake if the buyer defaults. Therefore, careful consideration and understanding of the potential risks are essential before opting for a guarantor mortgage.

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Importance of Saving for a Deposit

Saving for a deposit is crucial for first-time buyers. It demonstrates financial responsibility and improves your chances of securing a mortgage. Lenders often require a deposit to mitigate the risk of lending and improve your loan terms. Additionally, a larger deposit can provide access to better mortgage deals with lower interest rates. Saving for a deposit also reduces the amount you need to borrow, leading to lower monthly repayments and decreased interest costs over time. It's an essential step in achieving homeownership and should be approached with careful planning and discipline.

Importance of Saving for a Deposit

Determining the Size of Your Deposit

When planning to purchase a property, one of the crucial considerations is the size of your deposit. Most lenders look for a deposit ranging from 10-20% of the property's purchase price. It's essential to calculate the optimal deposit size, taking into account factors such as mortgage rates, monthly repayments, and eligibility criteria. A larger deposit can provide access to more mortgage options and better interest rates. First-time buyers should carefully evaluate their financial capacity and seek professional advice to determine the most suitable deposit size.

Tips for Saving for Your Deposit

To save for your deposit, allocate a portion of your income to a budget and savings plan. Consider opening a separate savings account for this purpose. Explore government schemes like the mortgage guarantee scheme to boost your savings. Reduce unnecessary expenses and seek alternative sources of income. Regularly review your progress and adjust your strategy as needed to reach your deposit goal.

Tips to Speed Up the Mortgage Completion Process

When aiming to expedite the mortgage completion process, consider using a Northern Ireland building society for better rates. Additionally, obtaining a home report early on can save time. It's important to have all necessary documents organised and readily available. A focused effort on maintaining a good credit score is also crucial to speed up the process. Lastly, consider leveraging the services of efficient removal firms to streamline the moving process.

Organising Your Legal Paperwork

When preparing to apply for a mortgage, it's essential to gather and organise crucial legal documents. These include identification, proof of income, and property details. Additionally, ensure that all paperwork related to the property purchase, such as land transaction tax and building insurance details, is well-organised. Accuracy and accessibility of these documents are vital for a smooth mortgage completion process. Seek guidance from legal professionals to navigate through legal requirements and regulations. Thoroughly reviewing all legal paperwork early in the process helps identify and address potential issues.

Aiding the Contract Exchange Process

Familiarising yourself with the contract exchange process and understanding the legal implications of property purchase contracts is crucial. Engaging with your conveyancer or legal representative will help you navigate this process efficiently. Address any concerns or questions regarding the property contract to avoid delays or complications. Keeping open communication with the seller, estate agent, and legal representatives is essential for a smooth contract exchange process. It's important to confirm all details and terms of the property purchase contracts before proceeding with the exchange.

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Managing Risks as a First-Time Buyer

Assessing your financial standing, encompassing credit score, savings, and monthly repayments, is crucial for gauging mortgage eligibility. It's essential to contemplate potential property purchase risks, such as fluctuating interest rates, stamp duty, and buildings insurance costs. Understanding how your credit rating impacts mortgage offers, eligibility criteria, and monthly payments is vital. Educating yourself about the legal and financial responsibilities of homeownership is paramount for effective risk management.

Managing Risks as a First-Time Buyer

What Should I be Aware of Before Getting a Mortgage?

Before getting a mortgage, it is important to understand the eligibility criteria, mortgage rates, and available products for first-time buyers. Evaluate the financial implications, consider legal costs and valuation fees, and explore government schemes for additional support. Assess your financial readiness and eligibility before starting the application process.

First time buyer Frequently asked questions

  • Start budgeting – Lenders will look at your spend versus your income to see if you can afford to have a mortgage.
  • Start saving up for a mortgage deposit – Usually lenders require minimum of 5% deposit for first time buyers. Typically, with higher deposit you can get better mortgage interest rates.
  • Lower monthly expenditure – By managing your monthly expenditure you can understand how much you can afford to pay as your monthly commitment towards a mortgage.
  • Check and build up good credit profile – It is important to have better credit profile. Lenders will look at your profile and decide whether to lend you or not.
  • If possible, ask help from Mum and Dad or relatives – If you don’t have enough deposit you can ask your Mum and Dad or relatives to be your guarantor in order to get a mortgage. If you default and can’t afford to make the payment, your guarantor will be liable.
  • Familiarise yourself with mortgage rates – Look at different types of first time mortagages and lenders. Compare them to see what rates offered by mortgage lenders.
  • Look for a lender – mortgage lenders have different criteria when it comes to lending. We will go through this on the phone with you and offer you a dedicated broker that you can always contact through your application portal

The minimum deposit you require is 5% of the desired property value which is also known as 95% LTV.

LTV also known as loan-to-value which relates to the loan percentage that you need and compared with the value of the property you own are buying. For example; if you are putting up 10% of the house price, your Loan to Value (LTV) will be 90%. The lower loan to value the better mortgage interest deals you are like to secure.

  • Mortgage application fees – also known as mortgage product fee, can range from £0 to thousands of pounds.
  • Property valuation fees – Can be free if offered by the lender.
  • Solicitor and legal fees – They will charge you to carry our local searches and to complete legal paperwork. These can vary on the price of the property but will be around £850 - £2000+ depending on the property price and survey you undertake
  • First time buyer stamp duty- It can be £0 if the property value is below £300,000. If the property value ranges from £300,000 to £500,000 than you’ll have to pay 5% of the property value above £300,000 only.
  • Contents and building insurance – It is mandatory to buy a building insurance for the mortgaged property.

  • Tracker mortgage for first time buyer
  • Discount rate mortgage for first time buyer
  • Capped mortgage for first time buyer
  • Standard variable rate first time buyer mortgage (SVRs)

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Page last updated on: 18/06/2024

Page reviewed by: Shay Ramani

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