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Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you'll do. There's lots to think about, including finding the right mortgage for you. Find out everything you'll need to know when buying your first home here.
A mortgage is a loan that you take out to buy your home. It’s secured against the value of your home, until you pay it off.
You’ll be charged interest on your monthly repayments. The higher the interest rate of your mortgage, the more interest you’ll be paying each month. The quicker you pay off your mortgage, the less interest you’ll end up paying overall.
It’s important that you keep up with your payments. If you don’t, your lender could repossess your home, to sell it and get their money back.
A mortgage deposit is a sum that you pay up front, to help pay for the home you’re buying. You then borrow the rest and make monthly mortgage repayments with added interest.
The bigger your deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow using a mortgage. You usually need a deposit that is between 5 and 20% of the full property value. You may be able to access schemes which allow you to use a smaller deposit.
Use our mortgage calculator to help work out how much your mortgage repayments could be after you’ve paid a deposit.
Stamp Duty is a tax you pay in England and Northern Ireland when you buy a property. In Wales, you’ll pay Land Transaction Tax (LTT) and in Scotland, you’ll pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) instead.
If you're a first time buyer in England and Northern Ireland, you will not have to pay Stamp Duty on the first £425,000 of a property's purchase price. For a property purchase above £425,000 and up to £625,000, Stamp Duty of 5% will apply.
If the purchase price is over £625,000, you will pay Stamp Duty at the home mover rate. The first time buyer Stamp Duty relief does not apply.
If you live in Wales, you won’t pay Land Transaction Tax (LTT) on residential properties where the purchase price is less than £225,000.
In Scotland, you won't pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) on the first £175,000 of the residential property purchase price.
Check out the latest Government guidelines for the Stamp Duty rates.
When your Agreement in Principle is in the bag, you can start looking for your dream home. Check out the online property listing sites out there, including:
Talk to your nearest estate agent too. They might be able to tell you about properties that aren’t listed online yet.
Before you search, start thinking about the type of home you want. This will help make your search quicker and easier.
You’ll need a conveyancer to carry out all the legal work needed to buy a home. A conveyancer will handle the deposits, arrange contracts, and transfer the deed of the property from the seller to you.
Search more than 200 conveyancers with the Halifax Converyancing Service.
If you’ve not already arranged a mortgage Agreement in Principle, or you applied for one over 90 days ago, you’ll need another one now.
You’ll need to get an Agreement in Principle from the same lender you’re applying for a mortgage with.
At this point, you can get a little help from a mortgage and protection adviser. They can help you find the best deal for your budget and handle your application after you’ve made an offer.
They can keep track of your application and arrange a valuation of the property you’re buying. Your lender will then make you a formal mortgage offer, based on all the information you’ve given them. The process usually takes between three and six weeks.
Exchanging contracts is one of the final stages of buying a house. It’s a simple process where you will sign a contract saying that you agree to buy the house.
Likewise, the seller signs a contract saying they agree to sell the house. These contracts will then be “exchanged” between the legal representatives on both sides and you are legally obliged to buy the property.
Your conveyancer will do some final work before the keys are handed over, including:
It’s finally here, the big moving day! It always feels like there’s so much to do. But when you split the tasks up, it can make things much easier.
To start ticking off your moving day checklist, make sure you have enough boxes, bags, tape and bubble wrap. They’ll be a lifesaver when it comes to packing everything up. Here are a few other tips to help you.
Your first payment will be a little higher than your normal monthly repayments. That’s because it includes an initial interest payment. This covers the interest for the days between moving in and your first payment.
Let’s say you complete your move on the 15th. The interest will be charged from then until the end of the month and will be added to your first payment.
You’ll normally make your first payment on the day of the month of your choosing. If your first payment is taken on a different date to the one you’ve chosen, it’ll be taken on the agreed date next month.
When you start paying back your mortgage, your payments will come out automatically. However, there are a few ways you can change how and when you pay.