First-time Home Buyer Guide

We want to make your house-buying process as straightforward as possible. That’s why we’ve created this first-time buyers’ guide using the information provided by the Money Advice Service.

This guide takes you through the process of buying your first home, including saving for your deposit and applying for a mortgage. Remember, we’re on hand to offer advice and support at every stage of your home buying journey. If you have any questions after reading our guide, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

Before looking at properties, you need to save for a deposit.

Generally, you’ll need to save a deposit of at least 10% to 20% of the cost of the home you would like.

For example, if you want to buy a home costing £150,000, you’ll need to save at least £15,000 (10%).

Saving more than 10% will give you access to a broader range of mortgages and may even help you get one of the cheaper mortgage options available on the market.

Budgeting for the other costs of buying a home

Apart from your monthly mortgage payments, there are additional costs you’ll need to consider when purchasing a home.

These include:

  • Survey costs
  • Solicitor’s fee
  • Removal costs
  • Buildings insurance
  • Initial furnishing and decorating costs
  • Mortgage arrangement and valuation fees
  • Stamp Duty (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland, or Land Transaction Tax in Wales).

First-time-buyers don’t need to pay Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 for properties worth up to £500,000. Please see this link for more information on the new Stamp Duty holiday the Chancellor has outlined which will run up until 31st March 2021.

Making sure you can afford your monthly payments

As a first-time homebuyer, an essential thing to bear in mind is whether you can afford to take this step.

It’s wise to put together a budget before you start looking for a property so that you know exactly what you can afford to spend on both your initial deposit and your monthly mortgage payments.

The mortgage application process

As part of your mortgage application, lenders will check you can afford the mortgage. They’ll also ‘stress test’ your ability to make your payments if interest rates were to rise or if your circumstances changed, such as a planned retirement date or if you started a family.

When you apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide evidence of your income and any regular outgoings. This will help to show the lender what you can afford and confirm that you have a steady source of income to support your mortgage payments. You’ll need to supply evidence of the following:

  • Debts
  • Household bills, and
  • Other costs, such as clothing, childcare and travel

To prove your income, you might have to produce payslips and bank statements.

If you’re self-employed, you could be asked for tax returns and business accounts prepared by an accountant going back two tax years.

Affordable homebuyer schemes

Several government-backed schemes give home buyers a helping hand onto the property ladder. These include:

If you can use one of these schemes, lenders will still want to ensure you can afford to pay your mortgage.

Finding a mortgage

There are many mortgage deals to pick from, so choosing the right one for you can be tricky. The right mortgage deal for you will depend on several things, including your monthly income, regular outgoings and personal circumstances.

It’s a good idea to do some research and talk to experts such as mortgage brokers – Samuel Estates can put you in touch with some Independent Financial Advisors (these are known as ‘IFAs’). 

Freehold or Leasehold

If you want to buy a house, you’ll likely buy the freehold, meaning you own the property and land it sits on.

If you’re buying a flat, you’ll be buying leasehold, or buying into a share of the freehold.

If you have any questions over whether your property is a freehold or leasehold, ask a member of our team. We’ll be able to talk you through the ins and outs and help you understand the property-buying process.

Someone else can guarantee your mortgage

If you’re struggling to get a mortgage to buy your first home, you might want to consider a guarantor mortgage.

This means a parent, guardian or close relative takes responsibility for paying the mortgage if you can’t.

Guarantor mortgages shouldn’t be entered into lightly. They’re legally binding arrangements.

Your guarantor needs to be able to afford to pay your mortgage if you get into difficulty.

You’ll need to talk to a mortgage broker to find out more about which lenders offer guarantor mortgages. Samuel Estates can put you in touch with some Independent Financial Advisors (these are known as ‘IFAs’).

Our latest properties

What our customers think

  • Shameem Bhyat

    Paul at Samuel Estates has been exceptional. His no-nonsense attitude helped enormously with the sale of my house. At a time when good conveyancers are hard to come by, Paul made great recommendations and facilitated communications with all parties with speed and efficiency, always keeping me in the loop at every stage of the process. It can certainly be challenging when it comes to selling your home but Paul really made the process easy. Thank you so much.

  • Kayley Donnelly

    This was the smoothest experience I've had moving to a new flat. Daniel was really helpful and very accommodating when we tried to arrange a second viewing. He was very responsive to emails which I really appreciated, and unlike other agencies I was not harassed with lots of phone calls! Very happy with the flat and the service received.

  • Bel Vita

    The worst agency I've ever rented in, they don't care about the tenant's welfare, no repairs are done, they want to hold the tenant responsible for everything, I do not recommend it!

  • David Evans

    We had a great experience with Samuel Estates. Bilal was our estate agent and he was a great asset to us getting the property we loved. Thanks so much and we would definitely use these guys again!

  • raj kumar

    special thanks to Daniel. he has been very kind and helpful. he made that whole thing very easy. very professional and friendly agent.
    Lina Svegzdaite is an AMAZING property manager. very professional and very friendly. Highly experienced. i am very happy and thank her for giving the wonderful experience when it comes maintenance issues.

    thanks SAMUEL ESTATES management team for having Daniel and Lina.

  • Bilge Gündüz

    Top real estate agency. Special thanks to Daniel for finding us a perfect flat that meets all our needs! Highly recommended!

  • Charlie

    I’m not someone to usually write a review, but I was highly impressed with the service I received from Samuel Estates. I would highly recommend Jessica to anyone looking for a new home. I have had to move a few times over the last few years and she was the best estate agent I have ever dealt with. She was helpful, professional and answered any questions we had promptly and efficiently. She made the process stress-free and took care to make sure we was happy every step of the way. I highly recommend.

  • Conor MacLeay

    Jessica was very helpful throughout the process. Would recommend Samuel Estates.

  • Lucy Robinson

    Highly recommend Samuel Estates.Sold & bought properties with them & experienced expertise & efficiency from start to finish.Competitive pricing, highly knowledgeable & know the properties inside & out, providing confidence to both seller & purchaser.

  • David

    Good service no pressure from agent professional and helpful.

Our office locations

Balham

45 Bedford Hill
London
SW12 9EY

Colliers Wood

30 Watermill Way
London
SW19 2RT

Streatham Common

432-434 Streatham High Rd
London
SW16 3PX