A First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide to Getting a Mortgage

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    Your Comprehensive Guide to a Successful First-Time Mortgage Journey

    Buying your first home is an exciting but daunting experience. One of the biggest challenges you will face is securing a mortgage. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.  

    In this guide, we’ll break down the process of getting a mortgage for you as a first-time buyer, and provide some tips to help you navigate this complex process. 

    Understand the mortgage application process 

    Before you start house hunting, it’s essential to understand the mortgage application process. This will help you to know what to expect, what documentation you need, and what criteria lenders will be looking at. 

    The mortgage application process typically involves the following steps: 

    • Pre-approval: You will need to provide your financial information to the lender, and they will assess whether you are eligible for a mortgage. 
    • Mortgage application: Once you have found a property you want to buy, you will need to submit a formal mortgage application. 
    • Mortgage offer: If your application is successful, the lender will provide you with a mortgage offer. 
    • Completion: Once the mortgage offer is accepted, you will complete the purchase of the property. 

    Stocks and Shares ISAs invest in corporate bonds, stocks and shares and other assets that fluctuate in value. 

    Know your budget 

    Calculator and piggyback - working out affordable mortgage costs
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    Before you start the mortgage application process, it’s important to know your budget. This includes not just the mortgage payments but also other costs such as stamp duty, legal fees, and survey costs. Make sure you have a good understanding of your income and outgoings and use a mortgage calculator to determine what size mortgage you can afford. 

    Save for a deposit 

    Saving for a deposit is one of the most challenging aspects of buying a home. As a first-time buyer, you will need a deposit of at least 5% of the property value. However, the larger the deposit you can provide, the better interest rates you are likely to receive. 

    Consider government schemes 

    There are several government schemes available to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, including: 

    • Shared Ownership: You buy a percentage of the property and pay rent on the remaining share. 
    • Lifetime ISA: A savings account for first-time buyers aged 18-39, where the government contributes a 25% bonus on savings up to £4,000 per year. 

    Find the right mortgage 

    There are several types of mortgages available, and it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. The most common types of mortgages include: 

    • Fixed rate: The interest rate remains the same throughout the term of the mortgage, providing certainty and predictability in your monthly payments. 
    • Variable rate: The interest rate can fluctuate over time, which can result in lower initial payments but more uncertainty over the long term. 

    Check your credit score 

    Businessman pushing credit score speedometer from poor to good
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    Your credit score plays a significant role in the mortgage application process. Lenders use your credit score to assess your creditworthiness and the level of risk involved in lending to you. Before you apply for a mortgage, make sure you check your credit score and address any issues that could be impacting it. 

    Shop around for the most suitable deal 

    It’s important to shop around and compare different mortgage deals to find the one that’s right for you. Don’t just focus on the interest rate, but also consider other factors such as fees, charges, and incentives. A mortgage advisor can help you to navigate the options and find the right deal for your needs. 

    Consider additional costs 

    When budgeting for your mortgage, it’s important to consider the additional costs that come with buying a home. These include: 

    • Stamp duty: A tax paid on properties over a certain value. 
    • Legal fees: The cost of hiring a solicitor to manage the legal aspects of the purchase. 
    • Survey costs: The cost of having a professional survey of the property done. 
    • Moving costs: The cost of moving your belongings from your old property to your new one. 
    • Maintenance and repairs: The ongoing cost of maintaining and repairing your home. 

    Understanding these additional costs and budgeting for them can help you to avoid any unexpected expenses down the line. 

    Get your documentation in order 

    Documentation for mortgage on table
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    When applying for a mortgage, you will need to provide documentation to support your application. This may include: 

    • Proof of identity: Such as a passport or driving licence. 
    • Proof of address: Such as a recent utility bill or bank statement. 
    • Proof of income: Such as pay slips or bank statements. 
    • Proof of deposit: Such as a savings account statement. 

    Make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order before you start the mortgage application process to avoid any delays. 

    Get professional advice 

    Navigating the mortgage application process can be complex, especially for first-time buyers. Consider seeking professional advice from a mortgage advisor, who can guide you through the process and help you to find the most suitable deal. A mortgage advisor can also help you to understand the fine print and explain any legal or technical terms you might not be familiar with. 


    Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your lender to get the most competitive deal possible. If you’ve done your research and have a good understanding of the market, you may be able to negotiate a better interest rate or more favourable terms. 

    Final Thoughts 

    Securing a mortgage can be a daunting process, but with the right preparation and support, it doesn’t have to be. As a first-time buyer, it’s essential to do your research, understand your budget, and shop around to find the most suitable deal. Seek professional advice where needed, and don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the most competitive possible deal. By following these tips, you can navigate the mortgage application process with confidence and buy your first home with ease. Remember that every mortgage application is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. 

    Aspire’s Advisors are a team of experienced mortgage advisors that can help guide you through the first-time buyer process of getting a mortgage. We understand that the mortgage application process can be overwhelming, and we’re here to help make it as straightforward as possible. 

    Our advisors can help you to: 

    • Understand the different types of mortgages available and find the one that’s right for you. 
    • Navigate the mortgage application process and ensure that you have all the necessary documentation. 
    • Review your financial situation and provide guidance on how to improve your credit score and increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage. 
    • Compare different mortgage deals and help you to find the one that offers the most suitable value for your individual circumstances. 

    We are dedicated to providing a personalized and high-quality service to all of our clients. By working with us, you can benefit from our expertise and knowledge of the mortgage market, as well as our commitment to helping you achieve your goal of becoming a homeowner. 

    If you have any questions about getting a first-time buyer mortgage, or would like to speak with a mortgage advisor, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us

    For Lifetime ISAs please note: 

    You will incur a lifetime ISA government withdrawal charge (currently 25%) if you transfer the funds to a different ISA or withdraw the funds before age 60 and you may therefore get back less than you paid into a lifetime ISA. 

    By saving in a lifetime ISA instead of enrolling in, or contributing to an auto-enrolment pension scheme, occupational pension scheme, or personal pension scheme: 
            (i) you may lose the benefit of contributions from your employer (if any) to that scheme; and 
            (ii) your current and future entitlement to means tested benefits (if any) may be affected. 

    Stocks and Shares ISAs invest in corporate bonds, stocks and shares and other assets that fluctuate in value.

    Approver Quilter Financial Services Limited & Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited. 26th May 2023


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