Find the Best Mortgage Deals for First-Time Buyers

Buying your first home should be fun – not frightening. It’s easy to see why some people can feel overwhelmed though.

There are a lot of different terms thrown at you from the second you start looking at mortgages – repayment mortgage, fixed rate, standard variable rate, etc. - not to mention the fact that you might not know much about the property-buying process in general.

You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. Not only do we find you the best mortgage deal for your situation, we explain the different mortgage options available to you as a first-time buyer and assist you at every stage of your home buying journey.

First-Time Buyer Mortgage Advice

Ready to become a homeowner? Here's some first-time buyer mortgage advice to get you started.

How Mortgages Work

  • A mortgage is a loan you take out with a lender for a number of years
  • The length of time over which you have a mortgage is called your “mortgage term”
  • Mortgage terms can be anywhere between 5 and 40 years
  • A mortgage is a type of secured loan, which means it’s secured against a property - usually the property you want to buy with the mortgage
  • Using a property as security for a loan means that the lender can repossess it if you don’t keep up the mortgage payments
  • To take out mortgage, you must put down a mortgage deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price – the mortgage itself makes up the rest

About Mortgage Interest Rates

  • When you take out a mortgage, you’re given an introductory interest rate for the first few years – typically between 2 – 5 years
  • A popular kind of interest rate for first-time buyer mortgages is a fixed rate, which is where interest is charged at a set rate for a certain period.  Fixed rates are particularly good for those who like to budget and favour stability in their monthly payments
  • After the introductory period ends, you’re transferred onto your lender’s SVR (standard variable rate), which is the interest rate they set themselves
    • The lender’s SVR is normally higher than the introductory rate, so you would often remortgage onto a new product with a new lender when your introductory deal ends or take a new product with your existing lender

Paying Back Your Mortgage

  • You pay back your mortgage with interest
  • There are 2 main types of mortgage which determine how you pay the lender - repayment and interest-only:
    • With a First Time Buyer repayment mortgage, you pay back a bit of the outstanding mortgage balance – i.e. the amount you borrowed -  each month alongside interest payments
    • With an interest-only mortgage, you only make interest payments each month and repay the full mortgage at the end of the mortgage term

Choosing Your First-Time Buyer Mortgage

When choosing your first mortgage, there are various elements that you need to factor in:

  1. You must find how much you can borrow. The amount that you can borrow will depend on your income and outgoings and the deposit you have to put down. Our first-time buyer mortgage calculator will give you an idea of how much you can borrow.
  2. Calculate the deposit you can afford. A typical deposit will be at least 5% of a property’s value. However, if you’re able to save more than this, it can open up mortgages with competitive rates as you’ll be considered a lower risk. How to buy your first home with a small deposit.
  3. Don’t forget other costs. Alongside saving for a deposit, you’ll also need to save up for other costs - including legal fees and moving costs. 
  4. Understand different mortgage types. It’s important to understand the different types of first-time buyer mortgages and how they work to ensure you pick the best deal for you and your needs. If budgeting is important to you, a fixed rate mortgage could be the best option. If you’re not adverse to mild monthly payment fluctuations and you favour flexibility, you might prefer a variable rate deal.
  5. Calculate how much repayments will be every month. The mortgage you choose must be affordable, so you’ll need monthly payments that don’t stretch your finances. The longer your mortgage term, the less you’ll pay each month, but the higher the interest you’ll end up paying and vice versa.

Keep reading to compare the best mortgage deals for first-time buyers that are currently on the market, find information on the homebuying process and for answers to some of your main FAQS.

Or, see our First-Time Buyer’s Guide if you need a little more help understanding mortgages and how they work for first-time buyers.

You can also learn about the different types of mortgages and interest rates in our guide.


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How Can John Charcol Help First-Time Buyers?

We Take Care of Everything

With over 45 years of service, we've seen it all. We can save you money, time and make buying your property easy.

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We Give Personal, Expert Advice

We work around your schedule to help you arrange a mortgage that suits your circumstances, no matter how complex.

Process for Buying a Home

1. First Conversation with Adviser

When you phone us, you can either arrange a phone appointment with your adviser, a video call or an in-person – whatever suits you. Your adviser will ask you some questions then go away and find you the best deal for your circumstances and future needs. They’ll organise a follow up during which they’ll present you with what they’ve found.

2. Decision in Principle

Once you’re happy with your adviser's recommendation, they’ll go about securing your DIP (Decision in Principle) - which is basically a promise from the lender that they’ll loan you money on the condition that the information you’ve provided is correct and subject to a valuation of the property.

3. Offer on Property

After you’ve secured a DIP (Decision in Principle), you’ll be in a great position to make an offer on a property. Sellers like DIPs. They show you can afford the purchase. What’s more, the fact that you’ve already started preparing for the transaction highlights to them that you’re serious in your intention to buy.

4. Pre-Application and Submission

Following the acceptance of your offer, we’ll send you some information which explains all the documents we need to submit to the lender. You’ll be assigned a client relationship manager who’ll check and submit certified copies of your documents; they’ll liaise with both you and the lender. Your adviser will then submit the fully packaged mortgage application.

5. Lender Underwriting and Valuation

The lender will underwrite your application; this basically means they’ll verify that the information you’ve provided is correct and review all your documents for themselves. They’ll also instruct a valuation for their purposes on the property you want to buy to make sure there are no significant problems with it.

6. Mortgage Offer

If the lender is happy with everything they’ve found, they’ll send you a mortgage offer. They’ll also send us a copy.

7. Conveyancing

After you’ve accepted your mortgage offer, you’ll go through the legal part of the process, known as conveyancing. This is where the solicitors/conveyancers draw up contracts and organise the actual, legal purchase of the property. You’ll also need to arrange buildings insurance at this stage, making sure it’s in place from exchange. You'll typically need a conveyancing solicitor to help you.

8. Exchange and Completion

Once everything is in place, your conveyancer/solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancer/solicitor. It’s at this point that you put down your deposit and are legally bound to buy the property. You’ll lose your deposit if you pull out after exchange. The purchase completes when money is transferred on an agreed-upon date. This is when you get the keys to your new home.

First-Time Buyer Resources

How Much Can I Borrow?

This mortgage calculator examines your income and works out how much money a mortgage lender might provide you with

Buying Your First Home

From the definition of a first-time buyer, through the steps to buying a property and the costs you’ll face - everything you need to know is in our guide.

Applying for a Mortgage

Applying for a mortgage couldn’t be simpler with our easy and simple guide from application to accepting your offer.

What Is a First-Time Buyer?

Learn all about what it means to be a first-time buyer, how the process works and how the first-time buyer status is determined.

Your First Mortgage Appointment

Your first mortgage adviser appointment can be overwhelming. Learn all you need to know and what you need to be prepared for prior to your first conversation.

Stamp Duty for First-Time Buyers

How does Stamp Duty for first-time buyers work? Learn all you need to know here. We explain what Stamp Duty is, how much first-time buyers pay, rates and more.

First-Time Buyer Costs

Learn about the different first-time buyer costs when buying property and moving house. Start your journey here with our first-time buyer costs checklist.

The Bank of Mum and Dad – How to Help Your...

With many prospective buyers turning to the bank of mum and dad, learn about some of the ways parents can support their children in buying a home.

How to Get a Student Mortgage

Can you get a student mortgage? Here we explain what a student mortgage is, how to get one, whether your student loan affects your mortgage and other options.

House Buying Mortgage Guide

Are you looking to buy your first home? Or perhaps want to move to a new area? Our step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know about buying a house.

JC Legal

With JC Legal, John Charcol can refer you to a solicitor who’ll manage the conveyancing part of the process. We choose from a carefully selected panel of conveyancers and solicitors, giving you access to a variety of quotes, services and options.

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We can help you move into your property, set up utilities, register for Council Tax and more with our Concierge Service – available through Just Move In. They organise everything for you, saving most people around £300 a year and up to 8 hours of hassle.

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Home Insurance

You'll need buildings insurance in place from exchange. We can find you buildings and contents insurance through our partnership with Legal & General.

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We can organise bespoke life assurances for you by selecting from our superb panel of providers. The best part? We charge no arrangement fees for this service.

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First-Time Buyer Mortgage FAQs

Can I Get a Mortgage as a First-Time Buyer with Bad Credit?

It’ll be a lot harder to get a mortgage as a first-time buyer with no credit or a bad credit history unless you have a large deposit. There are ways you can improve your credit score and overall profile though.

Can I Get an Interest-Only Mortgage as a First-Time Buyer?

It is possible to get an interest-only residential mortgage as a first-time buyer, but you must be able to prove how you’ll repay the outstanding mortgage balance at the end of the mortgage term. Also, you’ll need to put down at least a 25% deposit.

How Much in Mortgage Deposit Do I Need to Buy My First Home?

The minimum deposit you need for a mortgage is typically 5% (there are limited "No Deposit Mortgages" which let you borrow the entire cost of the property's purchase price). However, there is a product called a “family springboard mortgage”. With a family springboard mortgage, you can take out a mortgage that’s up to 100% of the property’s purchase price. At the same time, a family member opens a savings account with the lender that’s linked to the mortgage. The family member will then put at least 10% of the purchase price into this savings account as security on the mortgage, thereby essentially providing a deposit.

Several lenders offer similar mortgages under different names.

Are There Any 0% Deposit Mortgages for First-Time Buyers?

The minimum deposit you need for a mortgage is 5%. However, there is a product called a “family springboard mortgage”. With a family springboard mortgage, you can take out a mortgage that’s up to 100% of the property’s purchase price. At the same time, a family member opens a savings account with the lender that’s linked to the mortgage. The family member will then put at least 10% of the purchase price into this savings account as security on the mortgage, thereby essentially providing a deposit.

Several lenders offer similar mortgages under different names.

Do Any Lenders Offer 80% or 90% Mortgages to First-Time Buyers?

Lenders do offer products at 80% or 90% LTV (loan-to-value) to first time buyers as well as all other homebuyers.   

Can I Get a First-Time Buyer Mortgage?

Typically, if you’ve never previously owned a property in the UK or anywhere else in the world, then you can apply for a first-time buyer mortgage. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying alone or as a couple, if neither partner has ever bought a home before, you’ll be counted as first-time buyers. Find out the definition of a First Time Buyer and whether you qualify.

If you’ve inherited property in the past, then you cannot apply for a first-time buyer mortgage. Despite the fact you’d be buying a house for the first time, rules state you must never have owned a property before.

However, if you’re a commercial property owner - such as a shop or restaurant - but never owned a residential property, you’ll still be considered a first-time buyer.

Do I Qualify as a First-Time Homebuyer?

To qualify as a first-time buyer, you must have never acquired a major interest in a residential property or land in the UK or anywhere else in the world. We explain what it means to be a first-time buyer and the benefits in our First-Time Buyer’s Guide.

Does Being a First-Time Homebuyer Affect My Mortgage?

In the past there were special products with extra incentives for first-time buyers. Nowadays, lenders tend to offer their best products to all borrowers, so don’t limit yourself to “first-time buyer products” only.

Who Are the Best Mortgage Lenders for First-Time Buyers?

No one lender is the ultimate first-time buyer mortgage provider. Lenders offer all kinds of products and rates. What suits you best will depend on your situation and needs. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, give us a no obligation call and speak to an adviser on 0330 433 2927.

Why Use a Mortgage Broker for My First-Time Buyer Mortgage?

Finding your first mortgage can be a challenging experience, especially with the various types of mortgages and deals available. Our mortgage brokers can advise you on the available options and will find you the best deal based on your individual circumstances. We’ll also guide you through the application process to ensure a smooth experience. What’s more, we can help you set up utilities and even move into your new home.

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