An Englishman’s home is his castle or so the saying goes and as a nation, we are still obsessed with owning our own homes. At Barr Financial we are mortgage brokers and are experts when it comes to helping first time buyers get on the property ladder. We help clients throughout the UK get their first time buyer mortgage and have seen it all. So read on to get our Top Tips if you want to stay ahead of the competition.


Why it’s hard being a first time buyer?

A first time buyer mortgage is not necessarily difficult to get but first-time buyers in Britain are struggling.

House prices remain high, and deposits take a long time to save! Click To Tweet

Many potential first time buyers are now renting until long into their 30’s, but survey after survey suggests that homeownership is still the ultimate goal for a British family. Yet in most of Europe renting is the norm.

However, now has never been a better time to buy. Interest rates are low, prices are not skyrocketing and the market is pretty stable. It even did better than I was expecting when the recession hit in 2008/2009. That just goes to show how robust it is. People need to really take advantage and if they can, get a first-time buyer mortgage and get on the property ladder. These days you only need 5-10% deposits, so it is in reach for a lot of people, if they put their mind to it.


Why are we so keen to buy that first home?

Some may say it is for security, others believe that it is just a British trait, you may have your own reasons. From an early age, we are conditioned to think that owning your home is the right thing to do. And for many, indeed most, it probably is.

The problems come when getting ready to buy that first property. So how do you prepare yourself, as a first time buyer, to be in the best possible shape to get your first time buyer mortgage and buy that first home?


What advice would our mortgage brokers give first time buyers?

I decided the best thing to do would be to ask the mortgage brokers at Barr Financial what their first time buyer advice would be. It’s always best to speak to people in the know right?

The first mortgage broker I spoke with was Andy Watts.

Andy has been an adviser for over 20 years and he said;

...getting a deposit together is probably the most vital piece in the first time buyer puzzle. Click To Tweet

He continued:

“What I find is that first time buyers struggle to get a deposit together. I know it’s hard to save but it really is vital and the more you can save the easier it is to get a mortgage. If you are buying at £100,000 then you will usually need at least £10,000 for a deposit but the more you have the easier things become.”

He added:

“It’s also important to remember that there are some fees which are unavoidable. Often these are not taken into account and first time buyers then have to find another few thousand!”

I then asked Andy what he meant by “some fees”? He answered, “Things like solicitors fees, stamp duty, and surveys, all add up.” he continued, “often another £2,000 to £5,000 might be needed, depending on the purchase price”.


I then went to find Ben Parry, the owner at Barr Financial.

I asked Ben what was the most important advice he would give to a first time buyer getting a mortgage?

I love helping first time buyers get a mortgage to secure their first home. Click To Tweet

“It’s exciting to meet them, learn of their plans, then help and guide them to their first mortgage,” said Ben. “As for advice, there are two things that spring to mind.”

He continued:

“Carefully calculating the monthly income and outgoings has to be a priority. Knowing exactly what is coming in and going out allows first-time buyers to understand and work out how much they can afford on a mortgage.”

Do you help first time buyers to work this out?

“Yes, I feel it is in both our interests to understand this. I often hear of mortgage brokers who simply go off income multiples in the hope that if they submit enough applications one will stick” replied Ben. “Only the other day I was speaking to a potential customer who’s broker had just submitted their third application in quick succession. Having had the first two declined.”

What’s the problem with that – I guess you just have to keep trying until someone says yes?

“Well each time you submit an application it puts a footprint on your credit score and too many negative ones, like an unsuccessful mortgage application, will adversely affect your score,” replied Ben. “And that leads me to my second point. You want a nice, clean credit score as a first-time buyer. It may seem crazy but if you have never had a credit card, a loan or similar then your credit history could be perceived as too risky to many lenders.”

He continued:

Don't ask me why, but if you approach a lender for a mortgage and you've never borrowed before they may see you as a risk. Click To Tweet

“Crazy isn’t it. But I guess it’s understandable if the lender has no track record to look back upon to see if the first time buyer is a good risk or not. I would never endorse somebody getting into unmanageable debt, but building up a good credit profile is crucial.” said Ben.

“Little things like making sure you are on the electoral roll and maybe even getting a credit card – one with a very small credit limit can help. If you use it, be sure you pay it off every month and it will help you to build up a good credit score.”

Ben then added as a caveat:

“But crucially make sure you service the credit card well and never have a late payment (not even one day) as this could affect a first-time buyer’s chances of getting a mortgage.”

Well, that sounds like good, straight forward advice. Let’s see what our next mortgage adviser has to add.


I then bumped into Neil Young another of the mortgage brokers at Barr Financial.

I asked Neil what first-time buyer mortgage advice he would offer?

Get all your ducks in a row, said Neil. He often just comes out with these kinds of phrases! Click To Tweet

That’s great Neil, but can you explain that, please?

“OK.” said Neil “There are lots of things to consider when getting a mortgage for the first time. Each case is obviously unique but you need certain things every time.”

He went on to explain:

“Make sure you keep your bank statements, credit card statements, council tax bill, payslips, P60’s or SA302’s if you are self-employed.”

He concluded by saying:

“You’d be surprised to learn how often and how very long it takes many first time buyers to get these documents together, and ultimately we need them in support of all applications for a mortgage.”


Final thoughts for first-time buyers getting a mortgage:

Of course, there are lots more things to consider when getting a first-time buyer mortgage. The whole journey of saving for your first home, getting a mortgage, going through the buying process to moving in is complex and typically includes things like:

  • Saving for a deposit.
  • Making sure you have the right paperwork.
  • How to negotiate with the seller or estate agent.
  • The different types of mortgages.
  • How to apply for a mortgage.
  • How to deal with a solicitor.

If you would like to know everything there is to know about buying your first home or are in the least bit unsure about any aspect of the process then get in touch. We are here to help and hold your hand throughout the buying process. Click To Tweet

First Time Buyer Guides

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What is an AIP?

How to make an offer on a house?

How to negotiate a house price?

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