First Time Buyers FAQs

How much of a deposit will I need for my first home?

There are a small number of mortgages occasionally available with zero deposit. However these would only be for shared ownership or if a family member would allow a mortgage lender to put a charge against their home.

Besides that 5% is the minimum. Again, shared ownership means you would only need 5% of your property share, making the deposit required smaller still.

Can I get a mortgage as a single, first time buyer?

Yes. You will be using one person’s income instead of two, so will result in a proportionally lower mortgage and in turn a lower property price. On the plus side, you get to sleep like a starfish, worry free.

Can I still get assistance on the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme?

Not for much longer at all. The last date you can apply for the Help to Buy equity loan is 31 March 2023.

However there are already a number of private companies stepping into that space offering equity loans on more varied property types than HTB has done.

Do I need a mortgage broker?

You need a mortgage broker as much as you need Contents insurance when you move. Not a requirement, but very much advisable.

How much does a mortgage broker cost?

This depends. On average a broker charges around £500.  Some brokers charge more dependent on your circumstances, other charge nothing. The key is making sure you are getting good value for money.

A free broker doesn’t guarantee a better overall outcome just because you are saving some money, particularly when you consider how many more mortgages they will need to arrange to make up for the lack of fee. This becomes more important if you have tricky circumstances which requires a broker to spend time checking things in great detail. Similarly, paying a broker a fee isn’t a guarantee of superior knowledge service or outcomes.

What is the mortgage application process?

We have a super helpful article on the mortgage process here.

What is a Freehold and what is a Leasehold property?

Freehold means you own the land. Leasehold means you don’t and you essentially rent the land off the land owner, generally with an agreement to guarantee you can do this for 100 – 999 years. When the leases on older properties run out you can negotiate a lease extension with the freeholder (land owner).

What is Stamp Duty and do I have to pay it?

Stamp Duty is a tax paid on buying a property, because we are taxed on absolutely bloody everything. Stamp duty land tax receipts in the United Kingdom amounted to approximately 14.1 billion British pounds in 2021/22.

If you are a first time buyer you will be exempt from stamp duty as long as the property purchase price is below £300,000. Above that stamp duty is payable on a tiered basis like income tax. You can use our stamp duty calculator available on our Home Page to get an approximate idea of how much you may need to budget for.

What is an ‘agreement in principle’?

A little certificate estate agents and house builders ask for to prove you have your mortgage agreed, which doesn’t actually mean you have had your mortgage agreed.

It basically means you have passed the lenders own internal credit scoring process, unhelpfully they don’t use the number on your credit report and have set up their own systems as lenders have different assessments and have different things they do and do not worry about as much (amount of unsecured debts, missed payments etc).

It is entirely possible to obtain an agreement in principle certificate but then be declined at full mortgage application stage because of your documents, the property to name a couple of issues.

Any agreement in principle is only as good as the documentation it has been based on.

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