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Buying a home

The process of buying a home is always going to be extremely exciting but also very stressful potentially.

Most property purchases in the UK will require some element of mortgage to be able to fund the transaction. This can make things slightly more complicated for the buyer and especially if they have not owned a property before (first time buyer).

If you need EXPERT mortgage advice then you can contact our team on 0330 118 8188 or  CLICK HERE.

Here are some of the answers to questions that you might be asking about getting a mortgage to buy a property.

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan agreement between a borrower (you) and a lender which is usually a bank or a building society.

The loan is secured against your property as ‘collateral’ and your property can be repossessed if you fail to keep up your repayments each month. You are responsible for making your repayments which can be a combination of interest and capital or just interest (interest-only).

Some of the key points to consider when applying for a mortgage:

  • Loan amount
  • Interest rates
  • Mortgage repayments
  • Overall amount repayable over the term
  • Any costs for early repayment (Early Repayment Charge) – though it can be possible to find mortgages with no ERCs.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
  • Type of mortgage deal (e.g. Fixed, Discount, Tracker, etc.)
  • Special rate period (e.g. 2, 3, 4, or 5 years)
  • Term of loan (years)
  • Type of lender
  • Any additional fees or charges

You can often compare deals more easily by using the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) which should give you a true reflection of cost.

The amount of mortgage you will be allowed or size of the loan will be based on the property value and your affordability (income and expenditure). Each lender will also have their own criteria for this when buying a home based on attitude to risk.

Best mortgage deals for buying a house

There are roughly 100 mortgage lenders in the UK and literally thousands of different mortgage deals at any time.

It can be mind blowing to think about and find the best mortgage deal for you when buying a home. There are several simple steps that you can follow to make finding the best mortgage deal easier and quicker.

  • Speak to a mortgage broker or advisor – a broker or advisor will normally have access to a range of lenders and be able to search quite quickly to find the right deal for you
  • Improve your credit score – it is true that people with a better credit rating or score will be able to get lower rates and better deals than people with bad credit
  • Fees and charges – there are usually a number of fees and charges that come with a mortgage and buying a new home. Look at what you are going to be paying and compare against other lenders, brokers, and solicitors
  • Deposit and Loan to Value (LTV) – you can usually get a lower rate and better mortgage deal with a bigger deposit relative to the value of the property that you are buying

You can significantly reduce your monthly mortgage payments by putting yourself in the best position possible to get the loan.

How to get a new mortgage?

There are several options that you will have when you are applying for a new mortgage to buy a property. Buying a home can be a stressful process at times, so it is good to understand every step and each of their the pros and cons before applying.

Each of these options have their pros and cons which may work better for you or may not.

1) Get advice from a mortgage broker or mortgage advisor


  • Will have access to a panel of lenders and a range of deals
  • Mortgage applications will be processed and completed for you
  • Able to deal with any problems quicker and more easily
  • Less chance of being refused or declined
  • Will usually have exclusive deals that aren’t available elsewhere
  • Better for complicated applications


  • Will often charge a mortgage arrangement fee
  • Deals might be more competitive direct through your own bank

2) Apply for a mortgage with your bank or building society


  • Can have exclusive deals and offers for existing customers
  • Sometimes quicker to arrange because less evidence is required
  • Fees and charges may be lower


  • Rates are likely to be higher because the choice is far less
  • Not as much flexibility or choice
  • Fees may also be higher
  • Higher chance of being refused or declined

3) Apply for a mortgage online


  • Rates can be lower and offer online only exclusive deals
  • Fees are often lower (no mortgage broker fee)
  • Can be done at your own convenience and in your own time


  • Not suitable for complicated applications
  • Can be extremely time consuming and especially for a property purchase
  • More chance for things to go wrong
  • Higher rates of declined or mortgage refusal
  • Not as much support if you have any questions

How to buy a house?

Buying a home in the UK can be extremely complicated and especially for new borrowers (first time buyers).

You will normally only buy several properties in your lifetime and therefore this process won’t usually be familiar to you. Buying houses can also vary dramatically depending on the geographical location, markets, and legal system.

Here are TEN things that you’ll need to think about when buying a house

  • Save money for a deposit – often you will need to think about how you are going to be able to save money for your deposit (Minimum is 5%)
  • Consider your borrowing capability – lenders will have a maximum figure that they will be prepared to lend you based on your income and expenditure every month
  • Apply for your mortgage – you can apply for a mortgage and you will be given an ‘Agreement in Principle’ which is useful when making offers on houses. For even more information on how to apply for a mortgage, check out our experts helpful guide.
  • Search for a property – look at the prices of properties in your chosen area and try to find something that is affordable and suitable
  • Make an offer – you can make an offer on one or several properties to get the best deal and property for your budget
  • Find a solicitor or property conveyancer – your solicitor will complete all of the legal requirements for completing the purchase of your property
  • Complete mortgage application – once you’ve finalised all of the details for your purchase you can complete your full mortgage application and credit searches
  • Property survey – mortgage lenders will require you to have a minimum of a ‘homebuyers survey’ on the property that you are buying
  • Exchange contracts – once all of the legal requirements and lender requirements have been completed then you can agree to ‘Exchange contracts’ and at this stage you are the legal owner of the property
  • Complete the sale – your completion date will usually be roughly a week after you exchange contracts to give you time to arrange removals etc.

If you are a first time buyer we are here to help and you can learn more about buying for the first time HERE. We also have a page dedicated to how you may be able to get a first time buyer mortgage with only a 5% deposit – meaning you can get on the property ladder far quicker in some cases.

How much can I borrow for my new mortgage?

Most mortgage lenders in the UK will use an income multiple of between 4 and 4.5 your salary for each applicant.


Your salary = £30,000

Borrowing = £120,000 to 135,000

There are other lenders that are able to offer loans with an income multiple of up to 5 times your annual salary, so this would be £150,000 based on £30,000 salary.

Each lender will have their own affordability criteria which will also vary depending on your circumstances and the type of mortgage. For example, some lenders will allow higher income multiples for first time buyers and young professionals when they are buying a home.

Any other outstanding debts, such as loans, credit cards, store cards, or payment arrangements will also be taken in to consideration. Your potential lending power will be reduced in proportion with the amount that you are repaying in credit each month.

There are other factors that will be considered when calculating mortgages to ensure that your mortgage repayments are affordable.

What are the costs of buying a house?

There are a number of standard costs that are associated with buying and selling houses in the UK. Most of these costs can be predictable, but some of them can vary dramatically depending on who you deal with.

Some of the main costs are:

  • Stamp Duty: this is the biggest expense usually for any house purchase, unless you are under the threshold or exempt
  • Solicitors/conveyancing fees: these can vary dramatically from one conveyancing company to another so it’s well worth doing your research, and always worth checking them out before you instruct someone
  • Mortgage lender fees: some lenders will charge fees such as a mortgage arrangement fee or admin fee
  • Mortgage broker fee: some mortgage advisors may charge a fee for setting up and arranging your mortgage, which can vary depending on the company and how complicated the mortgage application is
  • Deposit: you will also need to have your house deposit ready to pay out that can range between 5% and 25% depending on your circumstances
  • Survey fee: your mortgage lender will require a minimum of a homebuyers survey or you might want to have a more thorough survey depending on the age of the property

How long does it take to buy a house?

The length of time that it normally takes to buy a house in the current market is approximately 12 weeks.

Time can also vary dramatically depending on several things:

  • Property chain – if you’re buying a house in a chain (i.e. multiple property sales above or below you) then there will usually be a delay to coordinate all of those property transactions
  • Property type – some properties will naturally take longer to complete than others because of construction, age, or type (e.g. flats or apartments)
  • Geographical location – some areas will also take longer than others to complete a property sale and that will usually be busier areas with more transactions
  • Type of purchase – you may also be buying a property for another reason (e.g. buy to let or commercial) that can add time to the process
  • Solicitor or conveyancer – your conveyancer will have a major influence on how quickly your sale will be processed and it’s important to make sure that your solicitor is on the ball

Buying a home is also a very individual process so no two sales are generally the same which means that timescales may just vary from one sale to another.

How to get a new mortgage with bad credit

One of the most common issues that people have when they apply for a new mortgage to buy a house, is poor credit. Credit issues can play a big part in the application process when buying a home, particularly if the score is lower than average.

There are many reasons why someone’s credit score might be low or they might have a poor credit rating. You can influence your credit score over a period of time and make it better so you’ll be able to get a lower mortgage rate.

Some of the most common credit history problems are:

  • Missed credit payments (e.g. loans, credit cards, or store cards)
  • Low credit score (very little credit history so no score built up)
  • Defaults (multiple missed payments on a credit account)
  • County Court Judgements (CCJs)
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVAs)
  • Debt Management Plans
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Payday loans
  • Bankruptcy

Each of these can have a major impact on your ability to get a mortgage and especially higher levels of poor credit management.

You can usually get a mortgage to buy a house with a bad credit score but you might have to pay a higher rate. There are specialist lenders that are better for this type of borrower and rates can vary dramatically.

It’s often better to speak to an expert in bad credit mortgages to get the best rates and the highest chance of success. Buying a home can be harder with a history of poor credit and our experts are here to help and advise you every step of the way.

For more information on accessing a mortgage with poor credit CLICK HERE.

Other reasons to get a new mortgage

As well as getting a mortgage to buy a ready built home there are a couple of options too:

  • Mortgages to buy land: You may choose to buy land rather than a ready built property, to build on for a variety of reasons.
  • Self build mortgages: A self build mortgage allows you to build your dream home from the ground up. You can get a mortgage to buy land and then fund the construction work needed for your new home.

As these mortgages are classed as ‘non-standard’, it can be especially useful to speak to one of our qualified mortgage brokers for proper advice. We know these mortgages can be harder to find and can help you access mortgages and rates that are unavailable when going to lenders directly.

Useful resources – How to buy a home – Help to own your home

Citizen’s Advice – Buying a home

Essential Mortgages is a leading mortgage expert