If you are coming to the end of your mortgage, credit card or loan payment holiday, we will contact you before it ends, there is no need to call us. You can use our coronavirus support tool to find the right solution for your needs and confirm what you would like to do in a few simple steps.

First time buyer guide getting started

It’s one of the most exciting things you’ll do. But there’s so much to think about when buying your first property – especially getting a mortgage.

Here are the main things you need to know about mortgages. By understanding your options, you can make the right choice and plan well for the future.

What you need to know

  • Your needs are unique. That's why it's important to know how mortgages work and the options you have available.
  • There are different costs involved when buying a home. You can prepare for this by budgeting properly. If you need any help, we have a budgeting tool to get you started.
  • Your mortgage should suit your needs. That’s why choosing the right mortgage is so important. For example, you may want the security of a fixed interest rate. Or you may prefer a variable rate where the amount you pay could fluctuate each month.
  • There’s lots of help available for first time buyers, like the Help to Buy Scheme, which could make it easier to get your foot on the ladder.

Want to talk it over?

You can speak to one of our mortgage advisers in person, or chat things over on the phone.

Contact us
  • We have different types of mortgages with different types of interest rates. These change from time to time. We'll let you know what's available when you apply.

    When you have your mortgage appointment, your mortgage adviser will find out what mortgage is right for you. You’ll discuss the various types of mortgages, interest rates and any associated fees.

    There are two main types of mortgage:

    Fixed rate mortgage

    • The interest rate is fixed for a set time. This means you can plan your finances with more certainty, as your interest rate won't change. The fixed rate usually lasts for 1 to 5 years, but sometimes longer.
    • Once the fixed rate ends, we switch you to another rate, usually one of our lender variable rates. Your new interest rate may be higher or lower than the rate you’ve been paying. Prepare for any change and keep this in mind when budgeting.
    • When your fixed rate period ends, you may want to apply to move your mortgage to a new fixed rate product for a further period of time or you could keep it on the variable rate.

    Tracker mortgage

    • This mortgage follows the Bank of England base rate, meaning the interest rate is variable. Therefore, you could save money if the base rate is low. Or you could pay more if the base rate is high.

    Use our mortgage calculator to see our current mortgage deals. You can get an idea of how much you could borrow and compare what the monthly payments will be.

    Special offers

    From time to time, we may include a special offer with our mortgages. The interest rate for these mortgages may be a bit higher than usual. So you'll need to think about what's more important to you: a mortgage with a special offer, or a mortgage that may have a lower interest rate.

    Find out more about our special offers for first time buyers.

  • There are various properties for you to choose from. We'll value the property before deciding if we can lend to you.

    Self-build mortgage

    If you are building a new house, some schemes will offer you the money in stages. This means you’ll get some of the money as work on the house progresses. We’ll visit the property and check the progress, based on the agreed terms.

    When the property is finished and you’re living in it, you can then apply for a mortgage with us. You will need to be eligible and choose a mortgage that’s available at the time.

    Buy to let mortgages

    A buy to let mortgage is a loan to buy a property that you will rent out to tenants. The most you can borrow is linked to the amount of rental income we think you could earn. Investing in buy to let property is a risk. You should be an experienced house buyer and know about investment properties.

    These mortgages aren't available to first time buyers or anyone under the age of 25. At least one person applying for the mortgage must currently own a property in the UK.

    Shared ownership

    Shared ownership is usually offered by registered social landlords or local authorities. With this type of mortgage, you buy a share of a property – say half – and pay less rent for the other share. The share you first buy may be as little as 25%. But you can buy more shares until you own the entire property.

    Shared equity

    Usually you own 100% of the property and so there is no rent to pay like under a shared ownership scheme. The shared equity part relates to the fact you’re taking out an equity loan which counts towards your deposit.

    The advantage is that you often only need to raise a 5% deposit yourself, with the equity loan making up the rest of the deposit.  But if property prices rise over the next few years, the size of your loan will increase too. This means that in the long-term you may end up having to pay more under a shared equity scheme, than if you were just to save up a bigger deposit and get a standard mortgage.

    The government offer an equity loan scheme and some property developers also offer their own shared equity schemes, as it helps them sell the homes they have built.

    New-build or converted properties

    To get a mortgage on a property that's been built or converted in the last ten years, it should be part of a building standards scheme. This tells us that the building was completed to good standard, by a qualified professional. Ask your estate agent if this applies to the property you’re interested in.

  • How much do I need to save for my deposit?

    • We'll only lend you a percentage of what you need to buy the property. We base this percentage on the value of the property or how much it is sold for (whichever is lower). So you'll need to use some of your own money to buy the property – a deposit.
    • We will only lend you a percentage of what the property is worth. So you will need to use some of your own money to buy the property - a deposit. Due to current circumstances, we require at least 15% deposit from your own money, as we have temporarily removed mortgages above 85% of the property value. However, if you can pay more, you can often get a cheaper mortgage product / better mortgage deal.  
    • Our Mortgage calculator will give you an idea of how much you can borrow and what your monthly mortgage payments could be.
    • There are government backed schemes designed to help you save your deposit faster. To find out more, see our ‘getting some help’ section of this guide.

    Need help saving for your deposit?

    Have a look at our savings tips page and view our savings range to help you get started.

    There are government backed schemes designed to help you save your deposit faster. To find out more see our 'getting some help' section of this guide.

    Other Costs

    As well as your deposit, there are other costs involved in buying a property and taking out a mortgage. Here are some costs that apply to most buyers:

    • Product Fee
      Some mortgages also have a fee. You pay this when you apply. Most fees can be added to the total amount you pay back. Keep in mind: by adding the fee to your total mortgage amount, you will pay interest on it over the term.
    • Valuation Fee
      The valuation fee depends on the type of valuation you choose.
      There are two levels of valuation you can choose and these rise in cost: A Mortgage valuation which is required to value the property, but gives you limited information; A survey and valuation (often referred to as a Homebuyers report) which tells you information such as defects and problems that are serious or that may significantly affect the value.
      Should you require a more detailed assessment of the property you are able to obtain a Building Survey which is a more comprehensive inspection of the property. You will need to obtain this independently and we will not receive any information from your chosen surveyor. As a result you would still need to obtain a level 1 valuation from us so that we can give you a lending decision on your application. The valuation fee must be paid upfront and is non-refundable.
      You'll be able to discuss valuations and fees with one of our mortgage advisers when you apply, but to get more information and an idea of the cost of valuation fees, please visit our valuation schemes page.
    • Legal/Conveyancing Fees
      To get a mortgage, you'll need a conveyancer (solicitor) to take care of the contracts and documents. The costs can vary between different conveyancers, so its important to look at what is included in any quotes if you are comparing.
      Search fees and Land Registry fees and typical expenses that you will incur as part of the conveyancing process and typically included in quotes you receive.
      You can use our conveyancing service to compare quotes for your legal costs from our panel of up to 200 conveyancers.
    • Removal costs
      You may want to use a removal company to help you move into your new home. Costs can vary, so get a few quotes to compare prices.
    • Stamp duty
      If you are buying or selling a property, there will be Stamp Duty Land Tax payable. This is a government tax charged on land and property transactions in the UK. The tax is charged at different rates and has different limits for different types of property and values of transaction.
      This tax is an expensive extra cost that you should take into account when thinking about buying a property.
      For the most up-to-date Stamp Duty limits visit the government’s website, or for properties in Scotland, visit the Revenue Scotland website.
      You can get an idea of some of these costs by using our Mortgage calculator - you’ll need to enter details about the property cost and your deposit under ‘how much will it cost’. The the results will then show in the ‘What else should I budget for?’ section of the mortgage summary.

    The Mortgage Amount and Monthly Payments


    To help you prepare for the different costs involved when buying a home, it’s important you budget properly. If you need any help, our budgeting tool is a good place to start.

  • Helping you to take the first step on the ladder

    Help to buy schemes are set up by the government to help you buy your first home. There are four schemes available:

    • 1.
      Help to buy: equity loan scheme

      How it works?

      • This scheme is for first time buyers and homemovers who would like to buy a new build property through a builder offering a shared equity scheme.
      • The government lends you up to 20% (or up to 40% if you’re in London) of the cost of your newly built home. You’ll need to provide at least 5% cash deposit yourself.
      • That means you will only need a 75% mortgage (or a 55% mortgage if you’re in London).
      • This money loaned by the government is interest free for the next 5 years.
      • Help to buy ISA savings can be used towards your portion of the deposit.

      For more information, you can speak to one of our mortgage advisers. Or visit the government help to buy website.

      Back to top
    • 2.
      Help to buy: ISA

      The Help to Buy: ISA is closed for new applications.

      If you already have a Help to Buy: ISA you can still save and claim the Government 25% bonus (minimum £400 and maximum £3,000).

      You can also still transfer your Help to Buy: ISA to us from another bank or building society.

      For more details please visit our Help to Buy ISA page.

      Back to top
    • 3.
      Forces help to buy

      How it works?

      • If you’re part of the forces, the government's Ministry of Defence (MoD) Forces Help to Buy scheme allows you to borrow up to £25,000 interest free (repaid over 10 years).
      • You can use the money as a deposit when buying a property that’s your main home.
      • Advice is available to forces personnel through their Chain of Command and personnel agency.
      • You may still be able to use the scheme if you have medical or personal reasons.

      For more information, you can speak to one of our mortgage advisers.  Or visit the Government website.

      Back to top
    • 4.
      Right to buy

      How it works?

      • This scheme allows tenants renting from the council or a housing association to buy their home at a lower price.
      • Depending on the amount of discount, buyers may not need their own deposit.

      To find out more, contact your local authority. They'll let you know if you can buy the property, the amount of discount you could get, and any other details.

      You can apply for a right to buy mortgage in branch or by phone. For more information, you can speak to one of our mortgage advisers. Or visit the government website

      Back to top

What is a mortgage?

  • A mortgage is a loan taken out to buy property or land. They can run for up to 40 years - known as the 'term' although are usually over a shorter period.
  • The loan is ‘secured’ against the value of your home until it is paid off.
  • You will be charged interest on the money you borrow. The higher the mortgage rate, the more you pay in interest. The quicker you pay off your mortgage, the less interest you pay.

Why choose a mortgage from Halifax?

  • Halifax Mortgages are Award winning - the Which mortgage 2019 awards for ‘Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Buyers’ and 'Best Overall Lender' and the holder of the Your Mortgage award for 'Best Overall Mortgage Lender' since 2002.
  • All our mortgages offer flexibility – whichever mortgage we recommend, you’ll enjoy a range of special features designed to help you manage it more easily.
  • We provide professional help – our expert Mortgage Advisers will help you with everything. As well as arranging your mortgage, as part of our Mortgage Service, they’ll sort out anything you want, from arranging a survey to helping you find someone to do the conveyancing.
  • It’s easy to apply – you can start your mortgage application online, over the phone, or in person at your nearest branch. You choose.
What Mortgage Awards 2019 winners

What should I think about when applying for a mortgage?

  • Before you start looking at properties, it’s important to work out a realistic budget. You’ll need to be sure you can borrow enough to cover the purchase of the property and that you’ll have enough spare to cover all of the associated costs and fees.
  • We will only lend you a percentage of what the property is worth. So you will need to use some of your own money to buy the property - a deposit. Due to current circumstances, we require at least 15% deposit from your own money, as we have temporarily removed mortgages above 85% of the property value. However, if you can pay more, you can often get a cheaper mortgage product / better mortgage deal.  
  • You'll also need to think about the type of mortgage you want, how long you want it for, and what type of interest rate is best for you.
  • Mortgages can last for a long time, so it’s important to choose one that’s right for you.

Mortgage terms

  • Mortgage terms can run for up to 40 years.
  • With a repayment mortgage, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, because it takes longer to pay off the loan, you will pay more interest. That means it will cost more over the life of the mortgage.
  • With an interest-only mortgage, the term you choose makes no difference to the amount you pay each month. That’s because you will only be paying off the interest charges, not the loan itself. With an interest-only mortgage, you need to have a plan in place to pay back the loan. For example, this could be savings or a pension. The mortgage term should match this plan: the amount of time when you will have enough money to repay the loan.
  • The mortgage term you choose should expire at a time when there will be enough money in your plan to repay the loan.

Ways you can repay

There are three ways you can repay your loan: repayment, interest-only, or you can combine the two:

  • Repayment mortgage
    - Each month, you'll pay an extra amount on top of the interest. This extra amount pays off the loan over the life of the mortgage.
    - During the early years of your loan, your monthly payment is mostly used to pay off the interest. However, as the loan is repaid, the interest becomes less. Which means more of your monthly payment is used to pay off the mortgage.
  • Interest-only mortgage
    - Each month, you only pay off the interest, with the mortgage loan being repaid at an agreed time in the future. You must have a plan in place to repay the amount you borrow. This is regularly reviewed to make sure you're on track to pay off the mortgage balance.
    - It's your responsibility to pay off the loan when the mortgage ends. If you don’t, you may have to sell your property.
    - You can only get an interest-only mortgage if the loan you want is less than 75% of the property's value.
  • Part repayment and part interest-only mortgage
    - You can also combine both types of repayment. For this, your mortgage is split into two parts: capital and interest repayment and interest-only repayment.
    - This means at the end of the mortgage term, you'll still have some of the mortgage to pay off.
    - You'll need to do this using a lump sum (one payment).
    - As with an interest-only mortgage, you need to have plan in place to repay this amount at the end of the term.

You could lose your home if you don’t keep up your mortgage repayments

The next step

Now you know how much you can borrow and you’ve saved enough for your deposit, it’s time to start house hunting.

Mortgage Calculator

Use our mortgage calculator to see our current mortgage deals. You can get an idea of how much you could borrow and compare what the monthly payments will be.

Mortgage calculatorMortgage calculator