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Our first time buyer guide

Making your first mortgage less stressful

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Getting started

Once you decide you’re going to buy your first home you can’t wait to get started. We’ve put together articles, guides and calculators to help your journey go as smoothly as possible.

Our mortgage jargon buster helps you understand what everyone’s talking about.

It’s worth thinking long and hard if it’s the right time for you to buy. Find out what to consider before you commit to buying a home.

Have a look at our house buyers and change of circumstances guides to see what’s involved in buying a property and make sure you're as prepared as you can be.

We’ve created an overview of the key stages of buying your own home. Each stage is explained for you and we’ve included links to articles that can help you learn more.

What’s affordable?

It’s often the first question that people ask: ‘How much could I get a mortgage for’?[1]

The best way to look at it is to ask yourself: ‘how much can I afford’ rather than ‘how much can I borrow’?

We’re here to help you understand all the things to factor in when you’re working out how much you can afford for your mortgage.

Discover how important having a good deposit is.

Make a detailed budget to really examine your finances and plan ahead. Look at what you can afford, the actual costs of moving home and what to do if interest rates go up.

House hunt

It can be hard to find everything you want in a home in one property. So sit down and think what’s really most important to you. Create a ‘really need' list and a ‘would like' list. Then you can prioritise your needs.

Look as hard as you can and try to keep all your options open. You’re looking to buy a property you’ll be spending a lot of time in, so make sure you’re going to enjoy the time you spend there.

Start your journey now by looking at our ‘Finding the right house for you’ article.

Make an offer

This is an exciting point in your journey – you’ve found the property you want and you’re ready to put an offer in and now you need a conveyancer to take care of this and the other legal work. Your lender will normally arrange to have a basic valuation of the property carried out to make sure it is worth the sale price. With our first time buyer mortgages, we'll pay for your basic valuation fee, provided you use one of our approved valuation experts. For added peace of mind you may also wish to consider a more detailed Homebuyers Report or Structural Survey. Additional costs will apply for these.

Try to get a personal recommendation to help you find a good conveyancer. Should you wish to choose one, this could be a solicitor in Scotland or a solicitor or licensed conveyancer in England and Wales. It is worth noting that lenders generally have a panel of approved solicitors/licensed conveyancers. It may be that you will have to choose from that panel so you should always check this with your lender before instructing any solicitor/licensed conveyancer.

Make sure you understand what services the solicitor will provide and make sure there won’t be any additional costs. You should always get a quote from them up front that includes all registration fees.

Keep an eye out for properties that are similar to the one you're interested in and compare prices. For any that sell, note the price and how close to the asking price.

Your solicitor/licensed conveyancer will handle any negotiations on your behalf with the seller’s solicitor.

Solicitors/licensed conveyancers can help you avoid pitfalls during the house-buying process. They may also have local knowledge that can also be useful in helping you find a property. You can find out more about what they can do to help here if you live in Scotland (opens in a new window) and here if you live in England and Wales (opens in a new window).

Make it official

If you’re getting a mortgage you need to let your lender know the price you are offering and check that, in principle, you can borrow what you need. Then, once your offer has been accepted, let your lender know and ensure you have a formal mortgage offer.

Once your solicitor/conveyancer has received your mortgage offer, in Scotland, they will conclude missives on your behalf, creating a binding contract with the seller. In England and Wales, your solicitor/licensed conveyancer will have you sign the contract, before the contracts are then exchanged, creating a binding agreement between you and the seller.

Where you are taking out a mortgage, you will also sign the security document at your solicitor’s/licensed conveyancer’s offices.

This is the point when you should organise buildings insurance.

Your solicitor will then transfer the funds in exchange for the signed transfer document and title deeds. Where you are taking out a mortgage, they will request the funds from your lender to do this. They will also pay stamp duty (or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland) and registration fees to allow them to register you as the new legal owner of the property.

The big move

This is the day when it all happens. Make sure you’re prepared and you’ll minimise the stress points on the day. The less you prepare the more likely it will be that something will go wrong.

In good time you’ll need to contact the council if you need parking bays suspended for the removal van. Hire a removal firm or organise transport if you're doing it yourself. Plan a route for everyone to follow on moving day that doesn't include narrow roads.

Make sure you have building and contents insurance that covers you on moving day. Take meter readings and send these to the utility companies. Take pictures on your smartphone and you’ll have a record of them too.

Mark each box with its contents and destination room in your new house.

Make sure you have an essentials box with kettle, toothbrush and light bulbs. The kettle will keep your removal men happy and whistling while they work.

Once they’ve got all the boxes into your property you can start to make yourself at home.

  1. Google search term, May 2015

More help with mortgages

Girl planning her new home

Mortgage journey

We’ve created a range of tools and guides to help you understand the mortgage process.

Find out more about the mortgage journey


Financial considerations

Make sure you’re aware of the costs of buying a home and how many factors can influence the mortgage rate you get.

Find out more about financial considerations

North Queensferry

Buy to let considerations

If you’re thinking of buying a property as an investment there are a few important things you need to be aware of.

Find out more on buy to let considerations

Your next steps

Give us a call

  • If you've got any questions, get in touch.

    Mortgage application enquiries

    0800 022 4313

    Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm

    Existing mortgage servicing enquiries

    0800 121 4203

    Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm

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