Why mortgages

A mortgage is often the biggest financial commitment of a person's life. These are the top 3 questions first time buyers often ask us - and our answers - so you can get started.

1 How much can I borrow?

Whether you’ve found your dream home or are just starting your search, you need to know how much you can afford. Our calculator gives you a rough idea of the amount you can borrow, the deposit you’ll need, and the monthly payments you’ll be making.  The mortgage product you choose will change these numbers dramatically, so exploring your options and making the right decision is crucial.

Mortgage loan calculator
First applicant

First applicant

* £
Second applicant

Second applicant


As a guide, you could potentially borrow around:


Want to find out more? Call us or Email Us

2 How do I choose a property?


  • Start with choosing your area.
    Your criteria might include having a good school nearby, local transport links and convenient shops or restaurants.
  • Be clear on what you want.
    House or flat? How many bedrooms? Being clear on your requirements will help you narrow your search and help estate agents be more specific
  • Contact as many estate agents in your desired location as possible.
    Ask them to send you details of suitable properties on their books on a regular basis.
  • Keep records of the properties you have visited.
    You’ll see a lot of properties in a short period of time, so keep notes of their good and bad points to make sure they are fulfilling your requirements.
  • Get to know an estate agent more closely.
    By calling once a week to reaffirm your interest, they’ll know you’re a serious buyer and ensure you get an early look at their best new properties.
  • Stay competitive.
    If you know that many people will be interested in the property and you are really keen on it, you might consider offering the asking price up front to avoid a 'bidding' war.


  • Forget to consider the additional costs. 
    On top of mortgage payments, make sure you consider your utility bills, maintenance bills, Council Tax, any renovation work and other property bills.
  • Be inflexible. 
    Be prepared to trade off one factor for another as you look around, e.g. you might be prepared to live in a cheaper area if that means having a garden.
  • Keep a short-term view. 
    Your job might change and your friends might move, so don’t use these as a basis for making decisions about where to buy your long-term home.
  • Neglect family matters. 
    If you’re starting a family, is there room for your family to grow? Are the local schools any good? Are there the right services for a young family? Is it a safe area?
  • Immediately offer the asking price. 
    Most sellers inflate their price, so it is usual to offer up to 10% less than the asking price, especially if the property requires building work or redecoration.
  • Assume an accepted offer is set in stone. 
    The acceptance of your offer is not legally binding until you and the seller exchange contracts. Watch out for gazumping, where a seller accepts an offer then takes a higher bid.

These are popular property search websites

3 What is the process for getting a mortgage

1) Making Choices

Choosing a property

Your criteria might include having a good school nearby, local transport links and convenient shops or restaurants.

Choosing a mortgage

John Charcol will manage your entire application, taking you through the whole process from start to finish. 

Call us on 0344 346 3672 or send us your requirements

Alternatively, our Best Mortgage Rates] page lists a selection of the best mortgage products on the market for first-time buyers. You can sort and filter these based on your criteria to find the right lender and product for you. Once you’ve chosen, you will need to make an initial application with the lender, who will invite you for an interview and start the process of credit scoring by reviewing your supporting documentation (e.g. recent pay slips, bank statements, proof of identity.) If your credit score is deemed sufficient, you are ready to move on to surveying the property.

Average time: 3 Weeks.    Average cost: 0.

2) Deposit

You will need to provide a deposit and more attractive mortgage deals can be obtained with larger deposits. Although the deposit does not need to be paid until exchange of contracts, you will probably need to prove that you have these funds at the outset, to show the lender you are not borrowing the money from elsewhere and therefore increasing your monthly outgoings. When considering the level of deposit you should bear in mind the other costs associated with buying a property, such as valuation costs, solicitor’s fees and potentially stamp duty.

Average cost: from 5% of purchase price upwards. So for a £250,000 property, you would need £12,500 for a 5% deposit

3) Making an Offer

Armed with the knowledge of how much you can borrow, it is easier to select a property when you have a price range to work within. Once you have found somewhere, you need to make a formal offer to the vendor confirming the price you are willing to pay (this is usually carried out via an estate agent). If the vendor accepts your offer, you can move on to the next stage.

Average time: 2-4 weeks for an offer from lender, provided you have submitted all required information

4) Mortgage Advice

When your offer has been accepted, you can return to your consultant to talk more specifically about the mortgage repayment type and products you require. This is a detailed process where a great deal of information is taken to assess your financial circumstances and objectives as well as your ability to support the loan. As an independent mortgage consultant, John Charcol is able to search the mortgage market and the large number of products available to select the best option for you.

4 How can John Charcol help?

We save you the hassle

Our highly trained, professional advisers work with you every step of the way to make the mortgage process simple, saving you time and effort on one of life’s biggest decisions.

We’re independent

Going to a bank or estate agent limits your options and leaves you at risk of getting a bad deal. We have access to hundreds of products across the whole mortgage market and can find you the ideal product for your needs.

We can save you money

By hand-picking the best mortgage and negotiating the best rates on your behalf, we can save you up to tens of thousands throughout the term of your mortgage.

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