First time buyers guide

We know that getting that first foot onto the property ladder isn’t always straightforward and no two purchases can be the same. However there are a  number of things that you can consider and do before and during your purchase to make it go as smoothly as possible for you. 

Our first time buyers guide covering a few key points that you need to take into account.

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If you would like some advice or to have a chat with one of our specialists then call or pop into your local branch.

1. Consider your needs

When looking for your first home there will be a list of things you really want from it. Finding a property that meets every one of those requirements will be extremely hard, if not impossible, therefore also try to think about essentials and nice to haves. It's likely this list will flex as you start to look at properties and realise location or size are more important. At the outset though, consider all possibilities and research everything fully before committing. Don't forget non-property related essentials too, for example schools, travel distances to work, friends and relatives, bus routes, train stations, local amenities and medical centres for example. Read our area guides for a little assistance on some of these.

2. How much can you afford?

One of the biggest financial tasks you will ever face is saving for your mortgage deposit. Remember to budget for all the other associated costs of buying a home too such as solicitors, surveys, removals and possibly stamp duty.

Our expert mortgage advisers at Embrace Financial Services will be able to help you plan and budget. To get an idea in the meantime you can use our handy budget planner to see how much disposable income you may have for a mortgage or to save for a deposit.

If you would like to get professional advice on your finances or finding the best mortgage deal for you, then you can book an appointment with Embrace Financial Services

The deposit

How much deposit you will need will depend of the value of the property you're looking to buy. If you're looking at the national average of £310,000 then a 10% deposit would be £31,000. However if the properties in your area are higher, for instance at £600,000 then you would need to have £60,000.

For some properties you can buy a house from as little as 5% with the government Help to Buy scheme.

With a Help to Buy: Equity Loan the Government will lend you up to 20% of the cost of a new build home, so you’ll only need a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. You won’t be charged loan fees on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning your home.

Find out more about Help to Buy

Generally, the more deposit you can put towards your property purchase, the better mortgage deal you are likely to be able to secure. The mortgages with the lowest, and therefore the best interest rates will only available if you have a large deposit. Mortgage deals also tend to work in 5% brackets so you are eligible for the better deals every time you hit these amounts; 10%, 15%, 20% and so on. There is usually no difference in rate if you have 17% rather than 15%, but an adviser will be able to talk you through it. 

Talk to Embrace Financial Services

Savings accounts

A good way of saving for your deposit is to set up a savings account specifically for this purpose. Try to get one with restricted access, or one that requires you to pay in regularly to receive a bonus. 

No more extra luxury items

Work out how much you could save by cutting out the extras like gym memberships, extra nights out at pubs and restaurants, holidays abroad etc. You'll be surprised just how much you spend on things when you sit down to think about it. All of that extra can go into your deposit.

Keep track of your spending

It's a good idea to try and keep a list of what you spend, when you spend it and what on. There are plenty of smartphone apps out there to help, or even a basic spreadsheet will do. This helps you to see where you can make savings and helps you focus on the goal. If it helps, allocate yourself a set amount of spending money each month, week or day and give it to yourself in cash every day. Any leftovers can go in a pot for the rest of the period.

Extra income

If you have the time, can you take on a part-time or evening job? It's only for a short amount of time and will help you get to your deposit target quicker. 

Set realistic targets

Set yourself 'realistic' targets to stay focused on them. If you try to give up things that you need or cut back too far then you're more likely to have to dip into your savings.

3. Mortgages

Most people cannot afford to buy their home outright from savings and will need a mortgage to fund the purchase. A mortgage is a loan secured on a property. You will be required to put down a deposit and you will need to apply for a mortgage to cover the rest of the purchase price.

You then need to repay the mortgage to the lender. Usually this is done in monthly instalments over the term of the mortgage.

Banks and building societies offer a range of mortgages with different loan amounts and interest rates. A mortgage specialist like Embrace Financial Services can search the market to find the most suitable deal for you.

There are a number of affordable options available when you’re looking for your first mortgage:

Specialist mortgages

Some lenders will offer specific mortgages tailored to first time buyers. Often, they will only require a small deposit.

Help to Buy

Help to Buy is a Government scheme aimed at helping purchasers with limited deposits. You secure as little as a 5% deposit on a property. Find out more about help to buy


Embrace Financial Services usually charges a fee for mortgage advice. The amount of the fee will depend upon your circumstances and will be discussed and agreed with you at the earliest opportunity.