First-time buyers' questions answered

Entering the housing market as a first-time buyer is an exciting and daunting proposition, with good advice key to managing your journey and ensuring you make the right move for you.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Fairview Financial is an expert in advising first-time buyers on all aspects of the mortgage advice they will need as they search for their dream home.
Fairview Financial is an expert in advising first-time buyers on all aspects of the mortgage advice they will need as they search for their dream home.

Few financial decisions feel as life-changing, daunting and exciting as making the move to buy your first home – and getting good advice from the off is key to making it a positive experience.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of questions you need answers to, but mortgage expert Laura Healy from Fairview Financial shares the answers to some of the most pressing to help you on your way.

About the expert – Laura Healy, mortgage and equity release adviser at Fairview Financial

Luke Tomkotowicz

Laura Healy has been a qualified mortgage adviser for 20 years. She is qualified to advise on equity release and has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the industry.

Founded in 2017, Fairview Financial is growing quickly, expanding into several fields of expertise by bringing in a wealth of experienced advisers and building a reputation for leaving no stone unturned to find the right product.

The Cheltenham-headquartered business can now advise all manner of customers, including first-time buyers and first-time landlords, on equity release, bridging loans, development finance and commercial mortgages.

Should I be looking for a mortgage first or a property?

At Fairview Financial, we recommend you arrange your mortgage agreement first – in fact, we insist on it. There are so many factors involved that we want you to feel confident that your mortgage is ready to go.

We need to take into account your income, deposit, credit history, outgoings and commitments, property type, employed or self-employed income and so much more (especially considering the impact from covid and Brexit on many roles). If we know we have covered all this upfront, you know you can be confident to make an offer on the property of your dreams.

How do I know how much I can afford to borrow?

There is no standard lending amount, all lenders are different. At Fairview Financial, we will help you find your optimum figure by analysing all of your information. Online calculators can be misleading, so we would rather find out for you as soon as possible so you know your limits and your monthly budget too. We aim to generate a bespoke and personalised agreement for you based on your own circumstances.

How long does it take to get a mortgage and can someone help me with the application?

We support all of our fantastic customers from start to finish. The entire house-buying process can be a long and arduous adventure. We are experienced and, vitally, enthusiastic about this journey so when you find the property you wish to buy, our motivation is to do all of the work on your behalf.

This includes turning your agreement into a full mortgage application, helping you understand the various stages and keeping in contact from start to finish, until you pick up the keys. The timescales vary due to the many different scenarios you will encounter, but your first purchase can take anything from six weeks to six months.

There is a lot of talk about 95 per cent mortgages, what are they?

A 95 per cent mortgage is a fantastic lifeline for those looking to purchase their first home with a minimal deposit.

This is a mortgage where you will need to provide five per cent of the property value (deposit) and the rest is mortgage funding.

For example, if you have £10,000 in the bank, this can be used as five per cent of a £200,000 property price – the rest of the funding is supplied by the bank (in this case £190,000). At Fairview Financial, we have access to the whole market and often have exclusive deals too which are not always available from the bank directly.

How are mortgages paid back and what if my circumstances or interest rates change?

It is likely that your mortgage will be set up as a ‘capital and repayment’ mortgage. This means you will pay it off month after month. There is no generic mortgage term, you are able to pay the mortgage off over 10, 20, 30 or sometimes 40 years – but what is most important is your monthly budget. If you can comfortably pay £750 a month, then we will adjust the term to accommodate this.

We do not want you to under or overpay every month. If your circumstances change, we would have discussed this when setting your budget to ensure you can adapt in the event of a change in circumstance. Likewise, we are always on hand too to discuss your mortgage, should interest rates increase or drop at any point.

Are there any other costs to pay?

At Fairview Financial, we aim to discuss all additional fees when we initially speak to you. These early conversations are pivotal in understanding the costs and the process from start to finish. We will cover stamp duty, solicitors’ costs, insurance, surveyors, and any other associated costs so you know what to expect and when.

What about insurance?

Your insurance requirements are as important as the mortgage. We have a protection specialist who can look after your specific needs.

How do I know when the property is finally mine and I can move in?

The mortgage process can seem daunting and scary, but we are here to help. Once the mortgage is agreed, this is then taken up by the solicitors (or conveyancers) and although we have helped generate you your mortgage offer, we continue to support you until you get the keys. As mentioned, we never know how long this will take, but as advances are made between your solicitor and the sellers, you soon start to realise when the official moving in date will be.

At Fairview Financial, we will update you on a regular basis, so you always know the progress of your purchase and the solicitors’ expected timescales. As you reach the conclusion, two main occurrences happen – you pay your deposit to the solicitors and, in turn, you receive the keys to your new property.

If my salary isn’t enough, are there schemes which can help me buy a property?

Firstly, we would initiate a whole of market calculation to calculate who can lend you the higher amounts and hopefully this would be enough. If not, there are additional schemes available to help you enhance your borrowing options. These can be government schemes or guarantor options. After our initial chats, we would clarify the most efficient way to proceed.

So, how much will it cost me?

If you are a first-time buyer, we are your number one broker. We have vast experience from helping hundreds of customers, so we know exactly how to maximise your opportunities. We do not charge a fee for first time buyers, unless it is a shared ownership, local authority purchase or a help to buy purchase and this is purely due to the additional work involved.

The majority of our first-time buyers do not pay a fee and we do this for one reason – we want to help you buy your first home and understand that every penny counts.

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