Can You Be a First-Time Buyer Again?

Answered on 5 March 2024 by

After separation, what am I classed as for mortgage purposes? Am I a first-time buyer, even though I'm not? My partner has had my name removed from our joint mortgage.

Nicholas Mendes

Am I a First-Time Buyer Again?

If you have owned a property in the past at any point then lenders will tend to class you as a homemover, not a first-time buyer.

Who Is Classed as a First-Time Buyer?

A first-time buyer is someone who has never owned or required a major interest in a residential property or area of land in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

This means, if you have ever owned a property at any point, even if it was decades ago or a property you inherited, you will not be eligible for the first-time buyer Stamp Duty exemption. You will instead pay Stamp Duty Land Tax at the standard rates as you can’t technically be a first-time buyer twice.

Interestingly, some lenders may give previous homeowners access to first-time buyer products under specific circumstances.

When Are You Considered a First-Time Home Buyer Again by Lenders?

Although not technically a first-time buyer, some lenders may treat you as a first-time buyer if you have not owned a house for the last 3 years. This means you may be eligible for some of their first-time buyer mortgage deals that come with certain benefits like cashback or free legal services.

Nonetheless you still won’t be eligible for the first-time buyer Stamp Duty exemption as you have owned a property at some point in your life.

Don’t be too concerned if lenders don’t consider you for first-time buyer products as most lenders offer the same (or very similar) products to both first-time buyers and previous homeowners.

Am I Classed as a First-Time Buyer if I Have Had a Mortgage in the Past?

If you have had a mortgage in the past it’s likely you will have been on the title deeds of the property and therefore won’t be classed as a first-time buyer and qualify for the first-time buyer Stamp Duty exemption.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve since been removed from that mortgage and the title deeds, you still will be a previous homeowner.

Can a First-Time Buyer Buy with a Second Time Buyer?

A first-time buyer and second time buyer can take out a joint mortgage and purchase a property together, but as a couple you won’t be eligible for the first-time buyer Stamp Duty exemption.

It is possible to qualify for the Stamp Duty exemption if only the first-time buyer(s) goes onto the title deeds of the property, even if you’re both on the mortgage. This is called a joint borrower sole proprietor mortgage.

What to Consider When Buying a Home Again?

Income and Affordability Changes

If your circumstances have changed, like you've taken a different job or you now want to buy a property based on your sole income, this will impact your mortgage affordability in terms of your maximum borrowing. Therefore, it’s worth speaking to a mortgage broker about your circumstances and needs so they can find you the best deal.

Buying Later in Life

If you've separated from your partner later in life, and you're concerned age may be a barrier to securing a mortgage deal, speak to a mortgage broker. We know which lenders have more flexible lending criteria including maximum age limits for mortgages, so will be able to secure you a competitive deal.


Once you have bought a property, you technically lose the status of being a first-time buyer. However, there are circumstances and conditions under which you may be considered a first-time buyer again from the perspective of a lender or Government scheme (note: not from a tax point of view).

  1. No Longer a Homeowner
    • If you have sold or are otherwise no longer on the titles of your previous property and are no longer a homeowner, you may be eligible for first-time buyer benefits with lenders. This could include certain financial incentives such as cashback or free legals
  2. Time Lapse
    • Some lenders may consider you a first-time buyer again after a certain period has passed since you last owned a property. The specific time frame can vary, so it's essential to speak with a broker who will be aware of the different criteria amongst lenders
  3. Divorce or Separation
    • If you owned a property with a partner, and through divorce or separation, you are no longer a homeowner, you might be considered a first-time buyer again by some lenders
  4. Government Schemes
    • Government schemes or initiatives aimed at supporting first-time buyers may have specific criteria and definitions. Some programs may consider individuals as first-time buyers if they meet certain conditions, such as not having owned a property in the past 5 years

It's important to note that the eligibility criteria for first-time buyer can vary between lenders. If you're in a situation where you no longer own a property and are considering buying again, it's best to speak with a mortgage broker who can discuss all the options based on your circumstances.

Please contact one of our mortgage experts on 0330 433 2927.

Ask The Mortgage Experts answers are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them. We recommend you seek professional advice with regard to any of these topics where appropriate.