The first time buyers' toolkit
Purchasing your first property can be tricky - make your life easier by using these handy tools.
Buying a property can be complicated business – particularly when you’re doing it for the first time. But the good news is that there are loads of useful tools available to help first-time buyers tackle every element of getting on the property ladder, from hunting for the perfect pad to working out how much you can afford to spend.
We’ve collected a few useful tools, including some of our own:
Find out how much you could borrow
Before you start eyeing up properties, you need to work out how much you can afford to borrow.
Our mortgage calculator can give you an indication of how much you can borrow based on your annual income and monthly financial commitments. Remember, it’s not a guaranteed offer, but it should help you work out your budget.
You can also use the calculator to work out what your monthly mortgage payments could be. You just need to input the property value, your deposit and the mortgage term.
Get to know your local area
Want to know more about the area you’re considering buying in?
Simply pop the postcode into our Location Finder tool and you can see what amenities there are nearby, from schools to restaurants, displayed on a handy map.
Worried about crime rates? The Crime Statistics website will show you any crimes which have been reported within a mile of your potential new post code.
Check out broadband speeds
Broadband speeds are becoming increasingly important to house-hunters. If you want to make sure you’ll be able to stream your favourite shows without buffering, find out what speeds you’d be able to access using Uswitch’s Broadband postcode checker. It’ll also tell you whether fibre optic broadband is available in the area.
Find out how much nearby properties have sold for
Not convinced that an asking price is realistic? You can always check out how much other properties in the area have sold for using the Land Registry’s tool.
Find a solicitor or conveyancer
Once you’ve had an offer accepted you’ll need a solicitor or conveyancer to help complete your purchase. Find one in your local area using the Law Society website. Or you can use our conveyancing service to compare quotes for your legal costs.
Find a surveyor
If you’re buying a period property or want to do extensive renovation work on your new home, it’s worth investing in a Full Structural Survey. The HomeOwner’s Alliance’s tool doesn’t just find chartered surveyors in your local area, it’ll estimate how much you’ll have to pay.
Work out how much Stamp Duty you’ll have to pay
Until 30th June 2021, if you're buying a house in England and Northern Ireland, you will not have to pay Stamp Duty on the first £500,000 of a property's purchase price. From 1st July, first time buyers will not pay any stamp duty on properties up to £300,000 and then 5% for any amount above £300,000 up to £500,000. To work out exactly how much you'll need to budget for, take a look at What is Stamp Duty?
If the purchase price is over £500,000 you will pay Stamp Duty at the homemover rate. If your purchase isn't complete on or before these dates, you'll need to pay Stamp Duty at the usual rate, where it applies.
Different rates of tax apply if you're buying a house in Wales or Scotland. You'll find more information about these rates and general Stamp Duty advice here.
Find a removal company
Need some help moving your worldly possessions from A to B? The British Association of Removers can help you work out how much it will set you back and you can use the ‘Find a Remover’ search tool to find removal professionals in your area.