First time buyer mortgage

We’re here for you every step of the way

Let’s start the journey together

Buying your first home is an exciting time. And we know that it can also be pretty daunting. Our job is to take as much of the stress away as possible. You’ll have your own personal advisor who will help you navigate the entire purchase process – on hand to answer any questions.

Our step by step guide on
how it all works

Find out how much you can borrow

Put bluntly, it depends on what you can afford.

That’s why we start with a review of your current finances, and we talk you through the various costs of buying a property. Before you start browsing the property pages, you need to know your budget, including how much deposit you should have available.

We will let you know what documentation is required.

Step 1
Get a Mortgage in Principle

A mortgage in principle is not a guarantee, but it does show that a lender is willing in principle to financially support your property purchase.

When you start viewing properties, this makes you look like a serious buyer.

Step 2
Start house hunting

Know what you’re looking for (including your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers).

Then you need to know where to look, including websites, estate agents, property developers, and auctions.

Step 3
Contact your mortgage broker

As soon as you’ve found your perfect place, put in an offer and wait for it to be accepted. Contact us to let us know and we’ll start to get the wheels in motion for you.

Step 4
Find a solicitor

You’ll need a solicitor to take care of the legal work involved in purchasing a property.

1) They understand the property sale and purchase process
2) They handle the various pre-purchase searches so that there are no surprises
3) They take care of the contracts
4) They will register the property in your name

Step 5
Apply for a mortgage

Now it’s time to get back in touch with your mortgage broker and make a detailed mortgage application.

You won’t necessarily apply to the lender you have the agreement in principle with, your adviser will assess the most suitable options available at the time of application.

Step 6
Get a valuation

As part of the application process, the mortgage lender will carry out an independent valuation and survey of the property.

The minimum requirement is a ‘basic’ or ‘mortgage’ survey which is a relatively simple price appraisal, but you have the option to go for a more detailed survey that examines the building’s structure and flags up any possible long-term issues.

Step 7
Receive a mortgage offer

Following the lender’s credit check, an examination of your financial details, and valuation of the property – and assuming everything is okay in that it falls within their lending terms and conditions – they will offer you a mortgage.

Step 8
Exchange contracts with the seller

Exchanging contracts usually takes place 7-28 days before the date of completion (when the property becomes yours!) and involves the lawyers on both sides confirming that both seller and buyer are ready to proceed (for you as a buyer, that usually means the mortgage offer has been issued, having a signed contract, transferred deposit funds and a buildings insurance policy is in place.

Step 9
Move into your new home

Once contracts have exchanged and completion has taken place, you’ll be given the keys and can move in when you want – it’s yours now!

Step 10

Helping to find you the best
possible mortgage

We deal with hundreds of lenders offering the best mortgages on the market

Talk to an expert advisor today
020 3102 9545

Too busy to talk now? Find a convenient time for you Arrange a callback

Commonly asked questions

How does the buying process work?

The basic steps are as follows (see our First-Time Buyers Guide for more detail):

  • Establish your budget and understand the costs involved when buying your property
  • Apply for an agreement in principle
  • Once you have a budget, decide on your property criteria and start house-hunting!
  • Make an offer on your property of choice
  • Your offer is accepted (if it isn’t, return to house-hunting)
  • Choose the best mortgage options for you
  • Instruct your solicitor
  • Submit a full mortgage application, with underwriting and valuation started
  • Your solicitor carries out the necessary searches
  • Receive your mortgage offer (assuming your application is accepted; if not, depending on the reasons given, rethink your financial circumstances or property criteria)
  • Agree to a completion date
  • Pay the deposit via your solicitor
  • Sign the mortgage deed and exchange contracts
  • On the day of completion, your solicitor draws down the funds from your lender and sends them to the vendor. Your solicitor will usually also pay the stamp duty at this point
  • Your solicitor will register you as the new owner of the property
What is the minimum deposit for a residential mortgage?

Most lenders ask for a minimum of 10% of the purchase price as a deposit, although using a scheme such as Help to Buy could reduce that to 5%.

The ‘minimum deposit’ tends to change depending on the current state of the housing market (i.e. the amount of risk that mortgage lenders associate with lending you money to buy your home).

What is the definition of a first-time buyer?

If you’ve never owned a home before – then you’re a first-time buyer. However, some mortgage lenders use slightly different definitions – such as, someone who has not taken out a mortgage in the last three years – which means any first-time buyer mortgage deals and offers may apply to you, even if you have already been a homeowner.

The complete guide to buying your first home

Buying your first home is exciting! It’s also stressful, with plenty of ‘traps’ for the unwary.

Expert advice and guidance is essential, and we lay out the whole process – step by step and jargon-free – in our complete mortgage guide for first time buyers.

First time buyer - case study

Learn how Mai’s personalised experience saved her time and money, giving her the mortgage she wanted.

Read Mai's story

Hear what our customers think

Anthony & Victoria
Amazing. Cannot recommend enough. Tom & Louise were fantastic advising and supporting every step of the way. Professional, informative extremely helpful.
Tom was very clear and helpful throughout. Explained options very well and kept us updated promptly.
Vincent Moffat
This is the second property purchase I have had the benefit of Tom Knee of Caenstones invaluable expertise with a property purchase, not to mention remortgaging. I can't recommend Tom enough and I hope to avail of his services again in the future. Its really important especially in a fast moving market like London to have someone you can trust and depend on to help you with your next step on the ladder! Onward and Upward!
Meg Stephenson
My broker at Caenstone is Tom, and I’ve had an all round great experience! I’m a first time solo buyer so needed a lot of support which I received tons of throughout the entire process. The communication from Tom was brilliant every step of the way and I felt very looked after. My case was a little complicated and finding the right lender wasn’t straight forward, but Tom pushed forward and found the best option for me. I’d highly recommend this firm, and Tom in particular.
Rebecca Parry
Absolutely brilliant! Tom was there every step of the way and got back to any and all queries immediately. We changed purchase properties part way through the process and had an MIP within the hour. Went above and beyond to help us, changed to better deals without asking and have recommended to family and friends.

Talk to an expert advisor today
020 3102 9545

Too busy to talk now? Find a convenient time for you Arrange a callback