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First-time buyer mortgages

A first-time buyer is someone who's never bought a home, or inherited a home, before in either the UK or abroad.

Most mortgages aren't specific to first-time buyers, but there are some home ownership schemes available to help you to get on the property ladder.

Our partner Mojo Mortgages has experts who can advise you on your journey as a first-time buyer, and when you're ready, help compare the best mortgage deals for you.

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How to get a mortgage as a first-time buyer

Getting your first mortgage may seem scary, but here's generally what to expect.

  • Save a big enough deposit - you usually need at least 5% of the property price. You can use our mortgage repayment calculator to find out how much you can borrow.
  • Apply for a mortgage in principle (MIP) - also known as an agreement or decision in principle. You usually need this before you start house-hunting so you can get an idea of what kind of houses you can afford. You can get a MIP from a broker like Mojo Mortgages, a bank, or a lender.
  • Make a formal mortgage application - Once you've found a house you're happy with, you need to make a formal application. If you talk to our partner, Mojo, they can take the hassle out and apply for the mortgage on your behalf. They'll also help you find the best first-time buyer mortgage for your circumstances.

If you want to know more, follow our step-by-step guide to buying your first house.

How much deposit do I need as a first-time buyer?

To get a mortgage for your first home, you usually need a deposit of at least 5% of the property value or price (whichever is lower).

The table shows how much deposit you'd need to save on a £200,000 property.

Deposit percentage Deposit amount

The bigger deposit you can save, normally the lower mortgage rates you get access to, because lenders see you as less of a risk. This and the fact you're borrowing less means you benefit from lower monthly repayments.

Putting more money down when you buy your first home also means you have a greater equity share in the property. This means you have less chance of going into negative equity, which is when your home is worth less than what you owe your mortgage provider for it.

First-time buyer mortgages with Mojo

We've partnered with an expert broker to help borrowers save on their biggest monthly expense.

Just answer some questions about your situation and let Mojo's expert advisors guide you to a mortgage tailored to your needs. And the best part of it all is, it’s completely free (yes, really!).

With access to lenders across the whole of the market, Mojo advisors strive to save you money and find your best mortgage for a first time buyer.

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Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio

Loan-to-value (LTV) is the ratio between the house value (or price, whichever is lower) and the value of your mortgage.

For example, if the property you want to buy is worth £200,000 and you have a £40,000 deposit, this amounts to 20% of the property value. You'd then need to borrow the remaining 80% (£160,000) which means you'd need an 80% LTV mortgage.

Lower LTV mortgages tend to offer better rates than higher LTV deals. The lowest rates are usually available for 60% mortgages (which require a 40% deposit).

A breakdown of how loan to value is calculated

What mortgage is best for first-time buyers?

There's no 'best' first-time buyer mortgage, as it largely depends on your personal circumstances. But there are different types of mortgage rates you choose that may best suit you.

  • A fixed rate mortgage - this type of mortgage locks in the interest rate for a set amount time – the most common deals last for 2 or 5 years. But you can get fixed rate mortgages for 1, 3, 7 or 10 years, or even longer. Your rate remains the same for the duration of the deal so you don't need to worry about your monthly payments increasing for this time. But if interest rates fall, you also won't benefit from a decrease in payments.
  • A variable rate mortgage - This is when the rate is likely to change during your deal period. If rates fall, you could benefit from lower payments during your deal. But you must make sure you can afford higher monthly repayments if rates rise. Lenders can sometimes put floors or caps on a variable rate deal. A floor means your rate never falls below a certain level, while a cap (which tends to be more unusual) means it won't rise above a certain amount. 

What other costs do I need to consider before buying my first home?

  • Stamp Duty - In England and Northern Ireland first-time buyers pay no stamp duty on the first £425,000 of a house worth less than £625,000. In Scotland, there's no stamp duty on the first £175,000 of a first home purchase. In Wales, it's the first £225,000. You can use our stamp duty calculator to work out how much you might need to pay.
  • Surveyor - You can choose to pay for a qualified surveyor to check the condition of your property before you buy. You can choose how detailed you want the survey.
  • Valuation fees - Some mortgage lenders charge a valuation fee to check the property is worth the amount you're looking to borrow.
  • Solicitor fees - You'll need a solicitor to help exchange contracts, register your property with the land registry, pay stamp duty tax and organise the conveyancing.
  • Booking fee - Some lenders charge a booking fee of roughly £100 upfront for applying for one of their mortgages.
  • Arrangement fee - Also known as a completion fee, this is the money you owe to a lender after accepting a mortgage. You can either pay this straight away, or add it onto your mortgage. But remember, if you add it on to your loan, this means you pay more in interest. 

What schemes are available for first-time buyers?

  • First Homes scheme - Only available in England, this scheme allows you to buy a home for 30% to 50% less than its market value. The homes must either be a new build or one that was originally bought as part of the scheme. You must be 18 or older, a first-time buyer, able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home and have an annual household income of £80,000 or less (£90,000 in London).
  • Mortgage Guarantee scheme - Aims to increase the number of 95% mortgages available in the market. Through it, the government offers lenders the financial guarantees they need to provide these higher LTV deals for properties up to £600,000. This scheme ends June 2025.
  • Lifetime ISA - Offers a 25% tax-free bonus to savings to help you build a deposit for your first home. You can save a maximum of £4,000 a year (meaning the maximum bonus available is £1,000 per year). You need to have had it for a year before using the money to buy your first home, and it's only available on homes worth up to £450,000. If you don't use the funds for your first home, you can also use them for retirement. But if you withdraw the money for any other reason then you may lose the bonus amount and face penalties on your savings as well.

What other schemes are there?

What our mortgage expert says

"Buying your first home can be an exciting but stressful experience, so it's important to get as much expert help as you can. Speaking to one of our Mojo mortgage experts can help take the hassle out of the home buying process and get you the right deal for you and your circumstances."

Claire Flynn, Senior Content Editor at Mojo
Senior Content Editor | Mojo, Mortgages Expert | Confused.com Mojo logo

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