I get asked this quite often so I thought I’d write a bit of a First Time Buyers FAQ post, hopefully this information will answer any questions you might have. If not, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Us page and I’ll be happy to answer any more questions you might have!
What makes me a First Time Buyer?
From a mortgage lender’s perspective, if you currently don’t own a property, or if you’re on a joint application and both of you don’t currently own a property, most lenders will recognise you as a first-time buyer.
From a stamp duty perspective, if you have never owned a property, or if you’re on a joint application and both you have never owned a property, then you will be classed as a first-time buyer.
On 22 November 2017, it was announced that first-time buyers who purchase a property for £300,000 or less would have no stamp duty to pay. In London, a first-time buyer purchasing a property for up to £500,000 would have no stamp duty to pay on the first £300,000 – saving them up to £5,000.
Are there any special mortgage deals for First Time Buyers?
In reality, most of the mortgage rates are the same for first-time buyers as someone moving up the property ladder with a new purchase. There are some products designed to be attractive to first-time buyers, such as products that require only a 5% deposit for people who don’t have lots of savings, or that offer cash back on completion. It is important to consider the benefits of these against the overall cost of the mortgage.
How do you get a First Time Buyer mortgage?
The process for applying for your first mortgage is exactly the same as applying for any other mortgage.
The first thing you need to do is to find the most suitable mortgage product for your circumstances. This can be quite tricky if you don’t know where to find a comparison of the 1000’s of mortgage deals available. Even if you have found the cheapest product you might not be eligible. Every lender has their own criteria for assessing applications.
A whole of market mortgage broker (Hi!) can source the entire range of mortgages available in the market. They can also ensure you meet the criteria of a lender by assessing your circumstances first. This can save you a lot of wasted time and money.
What are the pitfalls?
- Not finding the cheapest deal and costing yourself money
- Selecting a mortgage that might not be suitable for you in the future e.g. if you move house, need to let the house out or want to release capital
- Not understanding all your options e.g. government schemes such as Help to Buy or Shared Ownership
- Selecting the wrong term which as a result could cost you additional interest in the future
- Not uncovering issues early in the process that might cause you problems with an application
- Not getting access to exclusive deals only available via a mortgage broker
- Paying too much for the advice you receive from a broker
- Having an unrealistic view of what you can afford
- Not considering protection products at the time of taking out a mortgage. You can insure yourself against death, critical illness, sickness, accident and unemployment.
How to avoid the pitfalls
At Alexander Financial Solutions we offer a free FTB review service. This gives you the following:
- Direct access to an experienced mortgage adviser
- A review of your circumstances and an assessment of what you can afford
- An illustration to show all the costs and key information about the mortgage we believe is most suitable
- A Decision in Principle from the preferred lender if you require this. This will surface any issues with your credit file and often estate agents will require this
- A discussion on the most suitable term and the pros and cons explained of different products such as the difference between a 2-year and 5-year fixed rate mortgage
- An unlimited time to answer any questions you have
- Advice on how to interact with estate agents to secure your purchase at the best possible price
How much can I borrow?
Every lender has a different criteria but there are the main factors taken into account:
- How much you earn each year
- Your disposable income after essential spending
- How much your mortgage may cost now and in the future
Lenders will calculate what your payments could cost in the future by using stressed interest rate, this will help them see if you can afford the mortgage if interest rates rise in the future. Each lender has a different approach to calculating affordability and the amount you can borrow will vary from lender to lender.
How important is my annual income?
VERY!! You can typically borrow 4.5 times your sole/joint income although there are lenders that will go beyond this amount for certain applications. This is subject to also passing an affordability test. However this will depend on personal circumstances and you will need to meet a lenders affordability test. This will of course take into account any committed monthly outgoings you have such as loan repayments, credit cards or even maintenance.
Other things to consider
The professional support you need beyond a mortgage broker:
- You will need to appoint a solicitor to deal with the legal purchase and implementing the mortgage
- If you are self-employed you may need support from an accountant to verify your income
I can point you in right direction of other professionals I work with that you can trust.
Buying your first home is a major step and it is vital you are able to consult with professionals you can trust. Trying to do it by yourself could cost you a lot of time and money. Alexander Financial Solutions offer a free, no obligation discussion to help you avoid pitfalls. We do this as we want to help people and we also want to build trust with you so you consider using us should you go ahead with a full application.
One question that people are hesitant to ask, but NEED to ask is – “How do you get paid?”
Put simply, we get paid by the client for the work we do on their behalf and we may get paid by the lender for the work we do for them.
At Alexander Financial Solutions we typically charge a client fee of £595, which is only payable when we’ve discussed your circumstances, checked your documentation and we have successfully obtained a decision in principle from a lender on your behalf. We try to keep this as low as reasonably possible whilst maintaining the reputation we’ve developed for offering a 5-star service.
To take a look at the reviews we’ve been left by previous clients, please visit my profile on Vouchedfor website HERE and if you’d like to get in touch, you can either call on 0330 043 2906 or use the CONTACT US page here. Thanks!