First-Time House Buyer Guide

First-Time House Buyer Guide

Buying a home is a major milestone, marking a transition towards the future. However, the journey to achieving homeownership can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers. To guide first-time buyers through this process, let’s discuss the essential steps and considerations involved.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

Before someone heads into the property market, it’s vital that they initially assess their financial situation. Three main areas should be analysed:

1. Savings: Buying a property involves two significant costs: the down payment which is typically 5% to 10% of the property’s value and closing costs. Understanding these expenses is vital for setting a realistic budget.
2. Spending Habits: Examine spending habits and track expenses to identify areas for saving.
3. Credit Score: A credit score influences mortgage approval and interest rates. We recommend buyers obtain their credit reports and assess their performance. This will allow amendments to be made to improve the score through methods like:

– Fixing errors
– Registering to vote
– Opening a credit card account

Schemes to Aid First-Time Buyers

Many first-time buyers face financial constraints when considering homeownership. Government schemes exist to support them in achieving this goal. Here are some schemes to explore:

• Help to Buy: This scheme assists first-time buyers and existing homeowners in purchasing a new-build home with a minimum 5% deposit. The government provides an interest-free equity-based loan of up to 20%, or 40% in London, of the property’s value for the first five years.
• Shared Ownership: First-time buyers can buy a portion of a property from a housing association and make rental payments on the remaining share. This option benefits those unable to afford the total purchase price upfront, with the opportunity to increase ownership over time.
• Starter Homes Scheme: Aimed at first-time buyers under 40, the starter homes scheme offers newly constructed properties at a minimum 20% discount below market value. Eligibility criteria include income limits and a commitment to reside in the property as the primary residence for a specified duration.
• First Homes Scheme: Designed for first-time buyers, this scheme offers new-build homes at a minimum 30% discount below market value. Priority is given to local residents and key workers.

Exploring these government schemes can provide invaluable opportunities for first-time buyers to surmount financial barriers and actualise their dreams of owning their first home.

Mortgage Options for First-Time Buyers

Navigating the mortgage options available can be a daunting step toward homeownership. Let’s look at the options available:

• Fixed Rate Mortgages: This mortgage offers stability with a set interest rate for a period, typically two, three, or five years. Monthly payments remain consistent, aiding budgeting. Ideal for those prioritising stability and planning long-term residence.
• Tracker Mortgages: These track interest rate fluctuations. While monthly payments can vary, they often offer competitive rates. Typically lasting two to five years, they suit buyers with shorter-term homeownership plans or a high-risk tolerance.
• Offset Mortgages: Linking savings to the mortgage, they reduce interest by offsetting the balance. Although you won’t earn interest on savings, you won’t pay interest on the portion of the mortgage balance offset by savings. Family offset options allow family savings to offset mortgage debt.

As first-time buyers prioritise stability and risk mitigation, they commonly gravitate toward fixed-rate mortgages, which offer stability amid market fluctuations.

First-Time House Buyer Guide 2

How to Find the Right Property

Embarking on a homeownership journey involves carefully considering numerous features to ensure it meets specific needs and preferences. Here are some suggestions for finding the right property as a first-time property buyer:

1. Make a List of Requirements: Craft a comprehensive list of must-have features, preferences, and deal-breakers, including:

• Location: Proximity to work, schools, amenities, public transportation, and recreational facilities.
• Property Type: Preference for detached house, semi-detached, townhouse, apartment, or condominium.
• Size: Assess spatial requirements in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and outdoor space.
• Renovation Potential: Decide if you’re open to renovation projects or prefer a move-in ready home.

2. Attend Viewings: Evaluate potential properties firsthand by attending viewings and paying close attention to:

• Property Condition: Assess structural integrity, maintenance level, and potential repair or renovation needs.
• Location: Consider nearby amenities, noise levels, and overall ambience.
• Layout and Features: Evaluate the layout, functionality, and specific features or amenities.

By following these steps, you can simplify your search process and increase the likelihood of finding a home that meets your criteria.

Additionally, utilize the expertise of the estate agent by posing questions to gauge a professional insight into the property’s condition, the locality, and any other inquiries you may have.

Additional Costs When Buying a Property

When planning your finances for buying a home, it’s crucial to consider additional costs beyond the property’s purchase price.

• Legal Fees: Hiring a real estate attorney is essential for a legally sound transaction. Legal fees cover contract review, title searches, document drafting, and representation throughout the closing process.
• Stamp Duty: This tax is on the transfer of property ownership. The amount varies based on the property’s purchase price and location.
• Survey Costs: Property surveys assess the property’s condition and identify potential issues or boundary disputes. Costs depend on factors like property size, complexity, and survey type.

By including these costs in your budget, you can ensure a smooth transition into homeownership without unexpected financial burdens.


Navigating the process of buying a house for the first time requires planning, financial preparation, and informed decision-making. Our guide provides first-time buyers with the knowledge and key considerations to enter the market with confidence and ease.

If you are interested in buying a house and need to sell your current house quickly, a company like We Buy Any House will buy your house in as little as 3 days.


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