First Time Buyers Guide & Tips

Ready to buy your first home? Great news! Moving in is an important milestone, and you deserve to enjoy it fully. We’re here to help you navigate the homebuying process, from understanding the different mortgage types to submitting your application. Read on to learn how to become a homeowner hassle-free.

Who qualifies as a first-time buyer?

A first-time buyer is someone who has never owned a residential property before. This includes leaseholds and freeholds.

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan from a bank or building society towards the total cost of the house you want to buy. Most run for 25 years but can be shorter or longer. This loan is secured against your property’s value until you pay it off.

How much deposit do I need to buy a home?

Most lenders will require a 10% deposit, but some may let you buy with 5%. For instance, if the house you’ve set your eyes on costs £150,000, your deposit needs to be at least £15,000. Your lender will lend you the remaining 90%, known as Loan-to-Value (LTV).

As a general rule, the bigger your deposit, the more mortgage deals you can access.

Learn more about how parents can help first time buyers here.

Things to do before applying for a mortgage

Buying your first home can seem daunting, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a mortgage.

1. Check your credit score

Most lenders will accept your mortgage application if you have a good credit score – a description and prediction of your financial behaviour. It’s a good idea to register on the electoral roll and get a credit card to improve your rating.

2. Ensure you can afford your monthly payments

Once you’ve checked your credit score, you’ll need to understand if you can afford to buy. Consider how much you can pay monthly, including extra costs like bills, food and leisure. A good practice is to put together a budget before you start house-hunting so you know exactly what to look for.

3. Explore the different mortgage types

Finding the right mortgage deal for your unique situation can be tricky, with so many options. Learn more about the different mortgage types in our comprehensive guide to make an informed decision.

4. Factor in the other costs of buying a home

Other costs come with buying your first home, including:

• Conveyancing or solicitor
• Estate agent
• Insurance
• Valuation
• Survey
Stamp Duty
• Removal

Our guide to the costs of buying a home explores each in detail.

Stages of the mortgage application process

Now that you know how much you can afford, it’s time to start the application process. Below are the most important stages:

Task Time
Finding the right mortgage  
1-3 days  
Getting a mortgage in principle  
24 hours  
Applying for a mortgage  
3-6 hours  
Getting your mortgage valuated  
1-2 weeks  
Receiving a mortgage offer  
2-4 weeks  


Our homebuying guide has everything you need to know about the process.

Help for first-time buyers

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be eligible for unique low-deposit schemes.

Deposit Boost

If you have a 10% deposit, we could boost it with an additional 5% of the sale price. This way, you can borrow less from a lender and secure a more competitive mortgage rate.

Deposit Unlock

The Deposit Unlock scheme helps you buy your first home with just a 5% deposit. It’s available on new build properties of up to £750,000.


Kickstart is a shared ownership scheme designed to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder. You can buy up to 75% of a brand-new home and pay rent on the remaining share.

Parent Power

If you expect to receive financial support from your family when buying your new home, our Parent Power scheme can help. We could match your deposit or buying costs by 5% of the property’s purchase price.

First Homes

With this Government-backed scheme, you can buy a home with a 30% discount on the market value. Homes can be up to £250,000 (£420,000 in London) after the discount is applied.

Explore energy-efficient homes across the UK. Our 2 and 3 bedroom new build houses are ideal for first-time buyers, boasting ample space to play, dine and relax.

Contact our Sales Advisers today to reserve your new home.

First Time Home Buyers FAQs

  • There is no single "best" first-time buyer scheme; it depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Popular schemes among first time buyers include; deposit unlock, deposit boost schemeHelp to Buy - Wales and first homes scheme.
  • A first time buyer is someone who has never owned a property before, either in the UK or abroad.
  • Stamp duty for first-time buyers varies depending on the purchase price of the property. As of September 2022, first time buyers do not pay stamp duty on properties up to £425,000. For properties between £425,000 and £625,000 you will pay 5%. No first time buyer relief is available for properties over £625,000.

    Please note: Stamp duty rules vary for first time buyers in Scotland and Wales.

  • The required deposit amount for first-time buyers depends on the lender and the type of mortgage, but generally ranges from 5-20% of the property's value.

Our Offers to Help Get You Moving

Help to Sell

If you’re looking to start your next adventure, but are worried about the hassle of moving, we have a range of schemes available to help you sell your existing home.

Part Exchange

We could be your guaranteed buyer, so no stress or fuss, just an easy move for you and your family. 

Armed Forces Deposit Contribution

We're offering Britain's military servicemen and women a 5% deposit contribution to help them buy a brand-new home.

Own New - Rate Reducer

Own New - Rate Reducer is a brand-new scheme available on new build homes that could mean lower mortgage rates and reduced monthly payments.

Low Deposit Offers

If you have a low deposit, we have a variety of schemes available to help make moving more affordable.

Help to Buy Wales

Whether you're a first time buyer or existing homeowner, you could buy a brand-new home in Wales with just a 5% deposit.

Key Worker Deposit Contribution

As a thank you for the support provided to our communities, we are offering key workers a contribution of £1,000 for every £20,000 spent on the purchase price, plus flooring.

Parent Power

If you’re getting financial support from your family or friends to help you get on the property ladder, we could match it, up to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price.

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