Tips for First Time Buyers in the UK

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So, you’ve worked and saved and pulled together every penny you can for a deposit, ready to take a big leap and climb on to the property ladder. As with any big step, it is best to be prepared, especially when it comes to parting with large sums of money. Buying a house for the first time is a daunting prospect, not to mention confusing. Below is some advice for first-time buyers to make sure the essentials are covered.


Shop Around for a Mortgage

It’s is probable that to purchase your home, you will need first to secure a mortgage. The more you know about mortgages, the better. Hence, it’s worth reading up and getting as much advice as possible from friends and family, as well as familiarising yourself with the terminology. Banks and building societies offer mortgages, however each lender will only sell you their own product, so it’s important to get quotes from several different companies. You may also want to consider using a mortgage broker, there are a few different types of broker, but the best one to choose is a whole market broker. These brokers will search the market and offer you prices on mortgages from all of the lenders, meaning you’re much more likely to find the cheapest deal.

There are several different types of standard mortgages:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage

  • Tracker mortgage

  • Discount mortgage

  • Standard variable rate mortgage

  • Guarantor mortgage

  • Offset mortgage

An advisor or broker will be able to assist you with, which is best for your situation. Always try to use recommended and reputable professional.

Take a Look at Government Schemes

All parts of the UK have various government schemes, designed especially to help first-time buyers in a number of different scenarios.


Help to Buy – Buyers may be able to secure a mortgage with a smaller deposit (as little as 5%). There are limits on the value of the property you can buy within this scheme.

Help to Buy Equity Loan – If you can secure 80% of the value of the property through a deposit and a mortgage, the government will provide a loan for the remainder of the money. This is only available on new build properties in the UK.

Other useful schemes include:

  • Help to buy ISA

  • Shared ownership

  • Right to buy

  • Right to acquire

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is the tax that is paid when you purchase property or land over a certain amount in all regions of the UK. First-time buyers do not have to pay stamp duty on their property if the cost does not exceed £300,000. Properties up to £500,000 require a stamp duty of 5%, but only on the total that exceeds the initial £300,000. It is useful to bear this in mind when considering a property.

Factor in Other Costs

There are a vast number of additional costs other than the price of the house you are purchasing. Make sure you are aware of these and have a contingency fund factored in for any unexpected expenses. Keep in mind that everyone in the process will charge a fee, including the lender, estate agent and solicitor, as well as other costs and taxes such as valuations and Land Registry fees.

Know What Type of Survey you Need

If you’re spending your life’s savings and a considerable amount more on a property, you’ll want to know exactly what it is you are getting. It is highly advised that you get a report by a qualified building surveyor in Cornwall and the rest of the UK. The age of the property will decide on which survey you should have done, which can range from a full structural survey to a condition report.

Don’t Rush into any Decisions

Finally, while you may be excited to move into your dream new home. Don’t get carried away and make any rash or impulse decisions. Buying a house requires careful consideration and involves big decisions that should be made with a clear head.