Things to know when buying your first home.
We understand there is a lot to think about when buying your first property. Visit our First Time Buyer Guide which will take you through the entire mortgage process, in an easy to understand way.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions, which are also covered in the First Time Buyer Guide.
How much do I need to save for my deposit?
We'll only lend you a certain percentage of either the purchase price or the property valuation, whichever is lower. So you'll need to use some of your own money to buy the property – a deposit. We usually ask for at least a 5% deposit from your own money. However, if you can pay more, you can often get a cheaper mortgage product.
As well as your deposit, there are other costs associated with buying a property and taking out a mortgage. Typical ones 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.
Use our mortgage calculator to see how much you could borrow and what your monthly payments might be. Or, to get a better indication apply for an Agreement in Principle.
What is a 5% deposit?
We understand that moving home can be quite a challenge to say the least. To give our customers a helping hand, we’re offering a range of mortgages to first time buyers and home movers, which allows you to borrow up to 95% of the total cost of your property. So you could buy your dream home with a deposit of just 5%.
Which means it’s now even easier to make your move with Halifax.
Need help saving for your deposit?
Have a look at our savings tips page and view our savings range to help you get started.
Can I apply for a first time buyer mortgage?
As long as one person applying has never owned a property before, you can apply for a first time buyer mortgage with the Halifax.
- You must be buying a UK property
- You must be a UK resident or have full rights to reside in the UK
- You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a mortgage, and your mortgage must usually end before you reach 80. If your mortgage term extends past when you plan to retire, up to age 70 - whichever happens sooner - we'll look at your retirement income or your employment income, if you are still working to work out whether we think you can afford the monthly payments. If you’re taking out a joint mortgage, it’s the age of the oldest person that’s taken into account.
How much could I borrow?
You can use our online 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 know 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.