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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’).

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What our customers think

  • Charmaine Cheung

    Rented a place in London through Samuel Estates even when I was still living abroad, thanks to the fantastic Bilal Jamil who was so helpful throughout the whole process, helping arrange the virtual viewing and following up promptly right through to the move in date. Thank you so much Bilal!

  • Kia Wing

    The process right from searching to signing the contract has been smooth and easily laid out. Stefano has been amazing from the beginning of the process. He's been very responsive and understanding of what we needed, going the extra mile to secure us the perfect property. We would 100% recommend Stefano and Samuel Estates to anyone looking for their next property.

  • Natalia Sanchez

    We found a new place to rent through Samuel Estates and our experience so far has been quite positive. Bilal, who has been our main contact responsible for the "onboarding process", signing contracts etc.. has been very helpful and responsive solving all our questions promptly and keeping us updated during the whole time.

  • Lasse Berglund

    Bilal and Aleyna were both extremely helpful during our latest search for a flat.

    Booking viewings via email was painless, and the whole offer and referencing process was very smooth.

  • Brian Sharland

    Dealing with Samuel's Estate Agents has been a real pleasure. Their staff are friendly, courteous and efficient. All our queries were taken seriously and answered usually on the spot. The paperwork was sorted out quickly and the few issues after we had moved in were handled quickly too. Their aftercare is as good as their service.

  • Damir Lipa

    Brilliant service from Lina, my property manager at Samuel Estate in Streatham. Always available, positive attitude, prompt response and follow up to all requests, proactive and professional. Highly recommended!

  • isabela maciel

    Very happy with the services provided. From the lady who picked up the phone and managed to squeeze me into a viewing for 15 minutes after the call, to Stefano who showed the property and assisted me through the offering process with his excellent expertise. Also happy with the post signing service so far, including support for setting up and transferring bills.

  • Ava Chiu

    The whole renting process was very smooth. Agent Stefano is professional and responsive to our queries by providing detailed info every time. We love the property and area but it is a shame that the property is full of heavy cigarette smell in the upholstery which is deep inside and hard to get rid of the smell e.g. leather sofa. The whole experience will be even better if the smell has been removed by professional cleaning before we moved in. Unfortunately, Samuel Estate could not help much on this after we reported. Apart from this, the experience was good and staff are helpful! That's why it's 4 stars. Otherwise, we will give 5 definitely.

  • Christian Larsson

    I have been a happy client for many years and I continue to use Samuel Estates for my property management. Professional, transparent and service minded.

  • Ross Campbell

    My partner and I are a week away from moving in! The staff at Samuel Estates have been very helpful and quick to respond to any quieres throughout the process. Having engaged with almost all agencies within the area by far have found these to have the best properties and the best staff!

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