First time buyer mortgages
Thinking about buying your first home? Getting onto the property ladder can be a big step. Our range of first time buyer mortgage deals could help you get the keys to your new home.
You could lose your home if you don’t keep up your mortgage repayments
Watch our video - why get an Agreement in Principle?
The average appointment time is 2 hours. If you’re applying with someone else, make sure you’re both available because it’ll save time.
You can talk to us on a video call or over the phone on 0345 850 0248 (Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm and Saturday 9am - 4pm)
You'll need to:
- Prepare the documents you’ll need such as pay slips, recent bank statements, details of any financial commitments, and proof of your identity
- Have details of the property you want to buy.
Your mortgage adviser will:
- Review your income and commitments
- Ask about your needs and circumstances and then recommend our most suitable mortgage for you
- Give you an illustration which sets out the terms of the mortgage product and the total cost of the loan.
- Complete background checks with a Credit Reference Agency
- Talk to you about valuation schemes and ask you to choose which scheme you want.
- Discuss your insurance and protection needs, including home insurance.
We'll arrange for the property to be valued. This is to make sure the property is worth enough to offer the loan you've asked for.
In Scotland, sellers must provide a Home Report which includes survey, Energy Performance Certificate and Property Questionnaire.
When all this is done and if everything is okay, we’ll write to make you a mortgage offer.
The legal side of buying and selling a property can be carried out by either a 'solicitor' or 'licensed conveyancer', for simplicity we'll refer to both of these as 'conveyancer'. They’ll check who owns the property you want to buy, what’s included in the sale, and whether there are any clauses in the property’s deeds you or your lender need to be aware of. In Scotland your solicitor will also put in your offer and negotiate for you.
You'll need to:
- Get an estimate from them of costs, including any legal fees and tax
- Ask your conveyancer to explain anything in your mortgage offer you don’t understand
- Ask your conveyancer to confirm any Stamp Duty Land Tax/Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (properties in Scotland) charge payable
- Tell your conveyancer if you’ve negotiated for any items such as curtains, carpets or kitchen appliances to be included in the sale
- Make sure you read any documents your conveyancer sends you very carefully.
- You and the seller, known as the vendor
- Seller’s estate agent
- Your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer
- Your lender
You can use the Halifax Conveyancing Service to compare quotes from our approved panel of up to 200 conveyancing professionals. You can review the quotes and choose a conveyancer based on what matters to you - the price, the firm's service rating or their location.
Alternatively, you can appoint your own conveyancer, or your mortgage adviser can help arrange one during your mortgage appointment using the Halifax Conveyancing Service.
All conveyancers instructed through the Halifax Conveyancing Service offer a 'no completion, no legal fee' guarantee, so you'll have nothing to pay for the legal work done if the purchase falls through. No legal fee is payable, however if the conveyancer has made payments to third parties on your behalf, such as fees for searches, these will still be payable.
Average time: From appointing your conveyancer to reaching this point usually takes 2-3 months.
When you’ve read all the documents your conveyancer will ask you if you’re happy to proceed with the purchase. They'll then ask you to sign the contract. When everyone is ready, contracts will be exchanged, usually by phone, to form a binding legal agreement to buy and sell.
Before exchanging contracts, you’ll need to have:
- Transferred the deposit to your conveyancer’s account
- Signed the contract to buy the property sent you by your conveyancer (in Scotland, you exchange 'missives' which are letters of exchange with the seller's conveyancer)
- Given your conveyancer a date on which you wish to complete the process
- Set up buildings insurance (It’s not compulsory to buy insurance from your mortgage provider. But you can find out more about Halifax Home Insurance here)
- Your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer
Once you’ve exchanged contracts (in Scotland concluded missives) you can start to make arrangements for moving.
After exchange, your conveyancer will ask you to sign the mortgage deed, the document to transfer your new home to you. They'll also apply to us for the mortgage money and ask you for any balance they need to complete your purchase.
On the day fixed to complete the purchase your conveyancer will send all the money needed to pay the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s conveyancer. They will also call you to confirm the legal process is complete. You’ll be able to pick up the keys to your new property and move in.
Congratulations! You now own your first home. We'll send a letter to your new address to tell you the mortgage has started.
As long as one person applying has never owned a property before, you can apply for a First Time Buyer Mortgage with the Halifax.
If you’re planning to put down a 10 - 15% deposit, to qualify you’ll need to be:
- A first-time buyer.
- Thinking about borrowing less than £500,000.
- Buying a property which isn’t a new build.
- Buying a property which isn’t Shared Ownership or Shared Equity.
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a mortgage, and your mortgage must usually end before you reach 80 years of age. If your mortgage term extends past your 70th birthday or when you plan to retire - whichever happens sooner - we'll look at your retirement or employment income to make sure that you can afford the monthly payments. If you’re taking out a joint mortgage, we take the age of the oldest person into account.
Things to know when buying your first home.
There’s a lot to think about when buying your first home. Our First Time Buyer Guide explains the entire mortgage process, in an easy to understand way.
We’ve put together a list of questions we’re asked most often by first time buyers. You can also find these in our First Time Buyer Guide.
How much do I need to save for my deposit?
We will only lend you a percentage of what the property is worth, so you will need to put down some of your own money towards the cost of the property. We call this a deposit. At the moment, your deposit should be at least 10% of the property’s value. If you can put down more than 10%, you can often get a better mortgage deal.
As well as your deposit, there are other costs to think about when buying a property and taking out a mortgage. Costs that apply to most buyers include conveyancing fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax/Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (properties in Scotland), valuation fees and Land Registry fees. There are often unexpected costs too in buying a property, so it's a good idea to have a reserve fund to cover them.
Halifax supports a range of government backed initiatives to help customers to buy their home.
Need help saving for your deposit?
How much could I borrow?
You can use our online mortgage calculator to get an idea of how much you could borrow. Or, to get a better indication you can apply for an Agreement in Principle, also known as a 'Mortgage Promise'. We'll start by asking about your income, for example your basic salary and any regular overtime or bonuses.
We'll also ask about your regular outgoings, for example credit card or personal loan repayments, and we'll take these off your income. After that, we make a further allowance for average day-to-day living expenses. This allows us to see how much we think you can afford for your mortgage payment each month.
As part of our process of assessing whether we think you can afford the loan, we'll ask your permission to contact a credit reference agency. They can give us information about:
- how you've conducted your finances in the past
- how many credit commitments you've got and how long they will last
- whether you've kept the payments up to date.
We'll use credit scoring to help us decide whether to lend you money. Credit scoring works by awarding you points based on the information that:
- you give us about yourself
- we already have about you, if you've an existing relationship with us
- is on your credit file at the credit reference agency.
We use this information to provide an indication of whether we'll lend you money and if so, how much we'll be willing to provide to you as a mortgage.
How does an Agreement in Principle differ from a mortgage offer?
An Agreement in Principle, also known as a 'Decision in Principle' or 'Mortgage Promise', is useful if you haven’t found a property you want to buy but would like to know how much you could borrow. All we need is a few personal details about you and anyone else who will be named on the mortgage. Then we’ll contact a credit reference agency for a credit search and give you a credit score. If you reach our pass mark, we’ll give you a certificate, so that you can show the seller you can get a loan.
An Agreement in Principle is subject to us performing a number of additional checks and so is not a guarantee we will be able to lend you the money, for this you need a mortgage offer.
A mortgage offer is issued by a lender once your mortgage application has been received and the necessary checks, such as the property valuation and confirmation of your details, have been carried out. It sets out the terms under which the lender is prepared to offer you a loan.
What type of properties will you lend on?
The property you buy must be located within the UK and loans can only be used to buy your main residential home or for purposes relating to this home.
We'll consider lending you money to buy different types of property. We may ask you to provide a bigger deposit on some types of property than others. Any loan we make will be subject to a satisfactory property valuation by a surveyor of our choice.
Is there a minimum purchase price?
While we'll consider many types of property, we've a responsibility to ensure that a property is suitable security for a mortgage. As a result, we'll not lend against properties where the lower of the valuation or purchase price is below £40,000.
What are the risks I should be aware of?
A mortgage has one key difference to other loans - it's secured against your home. If you can't keep up with your monthly repayments or you get into financial difficulties you should contact us straight away so we can give you the help you need.
Remember, house prices can go down as well as up. If you owe more than the current value of your home, you will be in negative equity. If you need to move home and sell your property, and if its value has dropped below what you paid for it, there may be a shortfall between the amount you owe on your mortgage and the amount you get for the sale which you will need to repay.
What should I consider when applying for a mortgage?
Mortgages can last for a long time, so it's important you get the one that's right for you. You'll need to think about such things as the type of loan, how long you want it for and what type of product you'd like.
Methods of repayment - there are three different ways of repaying your mortgage. These are repayment, interest-only, and a combination of repayment and interest-only.
Mortgage terms - mortgage terms of up to 40 years are available. How long the mortgage lasts will affect your monthly payments and the total cost of the mortgage. With a repayment mortgage, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, it'll take you longer to pay off the loan so you will pay more interest. This means it'll cost you more over the life of your mortgage.
With an interest-only mortgage, the length of the term makes no difference to the monthly payments because these are only paying off the interest charges and not the loan itself. With an interest-only mortgage your mortgage term needs to match the time when you will have enough money in your repayment plan(s) to repay the loan.
Mortgage products - we may have different types of mortgage products with different types of interest rates. These change from time to time and we'll give you details of the current range when you apply.
Product incentives - from time to time we may offer mortgage products that include an incentive. The interest rate for products with incentives may sometimes be slightly higher than for products without incentives. So you'll need to consider whether the incentive available at the start of the mortgage is more important to you than the slightly lower interest rate you may get during the product rate period without the incentive.
Your mortgage adviser will ask you about your preferences and discuss your needs and circumstances before deciding which mortgage to recommend to you.
What insurance will I need?
It's a requirement of your mortgage to have buildings insurance. This covers the bricks and mortar, fixtures and fittings. It's also a good idea to take out contents insurance as well - this protects all your possessions in your home, from furniture to jewellery.
You may want to look into insurance to protect your mortgage for example Life Cover and Critical Illness Cover.
Will I be charged any fees?
This will depend on the mortgage product, there may be a product fee to pay and early repayment charges if you repay early. Any product fees can be added on to your mortgage on completion. There could be other charges and standard costs which you may have to pay during the course of setting up your mortgage. You'll be charged interest on any fees, charges and standard costs added to your loan.
There are other costs associated with buying a property and taking out a mortgage.
What happens at the end of my mortgage deal?
When you take out your mortgage, you arrange to have a fixed or variable rate product for a period of time. At the end of this time, the product will end and your loan will usually be transferred to one of our Lender Variable Rates. At this point, you may choose to move it to a new product for a further period of time.
What happens if I want to move home in the middle of my mortgage deal?
It's sometimes possible to take a product with you to a new mortgage - we call this 'porting‘. Your Illustration and offer letter will say if any of your products are portable.
Can I extend the completion date on my existing mortgage offer?
Due to COVID-19, Solicitors and Valuers are offering limited services, leading to a delay in customers completing on their mortgage. There is no need to contact us. We offer a three-month extension on top of the standard complete by date that is detailed in your mortgage offer e.g. if the current complete by date was 31 May, we have extended it until 31 August. This will give you time to try and complete on your agreed mortgage rate without the need to switch to a new product.
When will Family Boost products be available?
Family Boost Mortgages are temporarily unavailable for new applications.
If you’ve already started an application, you can still call us on 0345 124 1313 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm. We’re closed Sundays and Bank Holidays).