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First-time Buyer

You are probably thinking, ‘What is a first time buyer mortgage and what difference does that make? It has to do with UK law, where the first-time buyer has a special status. Similar special regulations affect those qualifying for help to buy mortgages.

In November 2017, the government announced stamp duty relief for all first-time buyers in the UK. However, defining a first-time buyer isn’t always a black or white affair as there are a few shades of grey in between.

Under this relief, first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty on purchases up to £300,000 and a rate of 5% on portions between £300,001 and £500,000. If the property you are buying is worth over £500,000, you will pay the standard rates of Stamp Duty and will not qualify for the relief.

This compares with normal rates as follows:

£250,001 to £925,0005%8%£925,001 to £1,500,00010%13%

Purchase Price Of Property Rate Of Stamp Duty Buy To Let / Additional Home Rate
£125,001 to £250,000 2% 5%
Over £1,500,001 12% 15%

Our Step by Step Guide to Buying your Home

Start by calling your local office and speak to one of our professional independent mortgage advisors who in assessing your needs, will be able to recommend the most suitable mortgage for you from across the whole market place. Our experts will thoroughly assess your needs and subsequently be able to recommend the most competitive mortgage from across the whole market place to suit your requirements.

London 0203 319 3679
Cambridge 01223 656412
Milton Keynes 01908 822646
King’s Lynn 01553 770102
Norwich 01603 624623
Bury St Edmunds 01284 337069
Peterborough 01733 358488
Ely 01353 383773

Then register with an estate agent if you haven’t already done so.

If applicable, we can then arrange your Mortgage Agreement In Principle which is getting your mortgage “pre-approved” to save valuable time when you find your dream home. This speeds up the whole house buying process because it means you can move as fast as possible once you have found the right house. It also gives you confidence and peace of mind knowing that you are in a strong position financially to buy your next home.

When you find a property that you want to buy, make a formal offer – ‘subject to contract’. Then call The Mortgage Bureau. It is now time for us to put in an official application for a mortgage with your lender.

Simply fill out the forms provided by us.

We will complete all the mortgage paperwork for you and send this to all relevant parties.

The lender will arrange for an approved surveyor to carry out a ‘valuation report’ on the property. (A lender’s offer will always be conditional on the value, as shown in this report.) To check the property is in sound condition, it is well worth getting a more comprehensive done survey too, we can help you with this if required.

The same surveyor can usually do it on the same visit which saves time and cost. A solicitor will need to be instructed to act on your behalf to take care of the legal part of the purchase transaction. This is something we can also help you with as we work closely with a vast range of solicitors, both local to your area or nationwide, depending on your requirements. Their main job is drawing up contracts (i.e. ‘conveyancing’) and checking there are no building plans that might affect the property.

The Lender sends you a copy of your mortgage offer which is the official document confirming that you have a mortgage. A copy of this is sent to your solicitor so that they can start to draw up the contract.

We will also check that the details are correct as per the mortgage product recommended.

Your solicitor will have done the searches and taken care of other legal due diligence prior to drawing up your contract.

Meanwhile, our professional, friendly staff will liaise between you, your lender and solicitor to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible and that all the relevant insurances are in place at the right time.

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As can be seen from the table above, Stamp Duty would otherwise start at £125,000. For example, if the property is worth £450,000, you will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 and 5% on the remaining £150,000. Under the old system, first-time buyers would pay £12,500 in Stamp Duty on this £450,000 property. The new system means they will pay just £7,500, a saving of £5,000.

This new relief makes it important to understand who the UK government defines as a first-time buyer to make sure that you comply. Working out who is a first-time buyer and who isn’t should be easy, but there are certain circumstances where an individual or couple may think of themselves as first-time buyers only to find out that their lender or the Government considers them otherwise.

You will usually be accepted as a first time buyer if:

  • You have never owned a property before and you are applying for a mortgage alone. You are a bonafide first-time buyer in this situation. There are no sneaky rules or loopholes to worry about.
  • You have owned a commercial property but never owned a residential property. First-time buyer status only applies to residential properties, so if you have owned a shop or a pub, you could still qualify for Stamp Duty relief. However, if your commercial property had a residential element (and was therefore defined as a semi-commercial property), you would not qualify.
  • You apply for a joint mortgage and none of you has previously owned residential property. Your stamp duty bill would be reduced in this situation too.

You will not be accepted as a first time buyer if:

  • You have previously owned a property and sold it. To qualify, you need to have never owned a property.
  • You inherited a property or were added to the deeds. First-time buyer status is based on ownership of residential property, not whether you bought it.
  • You have previously owned a buy-to-let property, you no longer qualify as a first-time buyer.
  • You part-owned a property in the past. If you previously had a shared ownership mortgage or a joint mortgage, you’ll no longer qualify.
  • You owned a residential property overseas. Overseas properties still count when it comes to first-time buyer status.
  • Your co-owner has owned a residential property. With joint mortgages, all applicants have to be buying their first home in order to qualify for stamp duty relief.
  • Your spouse has owned a residential property. Spouses count as a single buyer in property law. If your spouse isn’t a first-time buyer, you are not either, even if you are applying to buy a property in your own name.

There are a couple more things you need to be aware of:

First, the maximum saving on Stamp Duty for a property purchase is still £5,000 regardless of the number of names on the mortgage deed.

Second, if the mortgage application is only in one name, it will be based on that person’s income alone, which might impact how large your mortgage can be.

You also need to think about what would happen if you split up. If the property is in both names, you will both have an ownership claim. If the property is only in one name, then it is possible you or your partner could be left with nothing legally, even if you had “an understanding”.


There is nothing as safe as houses, and we believe it is true. Let us help you find your first mortgage.

At The Mortgage Bureau, we will help you buy your first home. We have a full team of experts who will guide you through the entire process. From mortgages and repayments on your mortgage to how much you could borrow and how to keep up repayments, we will cover everything for you.

We make the first-time buying process as simple and as easy for you as possible. Whether you want help identifying the costs involved or to understand the process, you are just a phone call away to receiving expert advice.

According to This is Money, there has been a rise in the buy-to-let market and the relative fall in house prices; however, the fact is there is still a supply issue with house supply in the UK, so property still remains an area in which investors are interested.

At The Mortgage Bureau, we have strong relationships with lenders and can help you connect with the most attractive mortgages on the market.

What is a Mortgage?

A mortgage is simply a legal document that you sign whenever you buy or refinance a house. This document gives the lender his right to take the property in the event you don’t repay the loan.

Usually, first-time buyers rely on a mortgage when they purchase a home and they rarely get the chance to buy a property outright. When you rely on a mortgage, it means that you will have your loan secured against your property, and you will be able to borrow money to buy your home.

Also, you will repay your mortgage over an agreed period of time and at agreed rates of payment. Your mortgage may also be used to acquire any resources that will help to make improvements to your current property.

Buying a house is a stressful thing to do. Let us help you with the right mortgage advice to make things easy for you.

Affordability Check

An affordability check means that the lender will investigate your finances such as your income, bills and any debt or other commitments that you have. This will include your current lifestyle, the number of dependents and your average monthly spending and your job.

Why is this important? Because the lenders need to have confidence that you are not over-stretching yourself.

At The Mortgage Bureau, we will help and guide you through this process, dealing with any forms or paperwork that may be required.

Buying your first property is a big commitment and probably the most expensive purchase you will make in your life.

Why Choose Our ‘First Time Buyer’ Service?

As a leader in the mortgage industry, we understand all the aspects of buying your first home. We will speak to the lender on your behalf, assess the property’s affordability and also help you to understand the technical terminology that you will come across. In short, we will help you to buy!

Moreover, our mortgage advisors will guide you through the fee structure that includes set up fees, stamp duty, survey fees, choosing the type of survey and mortgage protection insurance.

We will not hold ourselves back from offering you professional advice that will help make the first-time buying process smooth for you.

Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation by giving us a call, filling in the form on our website or reaching out to us via email. We usually respond the same day.

Expert Mortgage Advice from Professionals You Can Trust

If you are a first-time buyer and looking for a low deposit, flexible deal, our professionals can help you. Having been in the mortgage advisory market since 1990, we have links with all lenders, which means that we are able to search the market to provide you with the best value mortgages to help to buy the property that you want.

Moreover, there are a few lenders who prefer to work directly with mortgage brokers, and we can approach them on your behalf.

The Mortgage Bureau also has experience with some of the most reputable solicitors that you can choose from at special rates. Best of all, you will have access to our professional staff who will assist you with completing your mortgage application.

Our company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and we strictly follow their rules. To see the rules you can visit the Financial Conduct Authority official website here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some important things that you should know about a the first-time buyer mortgage.

Q: How Much You Could Borrow?

A: The amount you can borrow depends on different factors. Usually, your borrowed amount will be 4 to 5 times your net annual income. In some cases, this multiplier can be greater, but lenders usually assess your financial position, which includes your income and expenditures. In simple terms, you will be borrowing only what you can afford.

Q: Do You Need A Deposit For Buying Your First Home?

A: This is a very common question and the answer is yes. You will need a deposit of at least 5% of the purchase price.

Q: Will I pay Stamp Duty?

A: Whether or not you will pay stamp duty depends on the price of the property you are buying. If the property price is up to £300,000, there is no stamp duty to be paid for the first home buyers.

Q: Will I Need A Solicitor?

A: Yes, you will need a solicitor as a home buyer. At The Mortgage Bureau, we have strong connections with a number of solicitors who can help you out.

Q: Will I Need Life Insurance?

A: This is something that the lender will most likely require and we do recommend it. We will also recommend some other policies like critical illness and income protection. Our experts can help you with insurance protection.

Q: Will I Need A Survey?

A: All lenders normally carry out a basic mortgage valuation to ensure the property is suitable for mortgage lending. As you are buying your first home, you can choose to have an in-depth survey carried out. When you work with us, we will discuss the different types of surveys that are available.

Q: What Do You Mean By Agreement In Principle?

A: Agreement in principle means that your lender will review your income and expenses. He will also run a credit affordability check to ensure your eligibility for a mortgage.

Q: What If I Fail To Pay?

A: As a borrower, if you fail to pay your mortgages or you become a defaulter then your home may be repossessed by the lender.

Q: Why shouldn’t I just get a NatWest mortgage or a mortgage from another bank?

A: Mortgage brokers which represent the whole of the market like The Mortgage Bureau can compare NatWest mortgages and mortgages from other banks and lenders with mortgages available only through brokers. If a mortgage with a particular bank is the best deal for you then we will point that out. The Mortgage Bureau is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The danger is that without comparing the whole of the market you may end up spending thousands of pounds more over the life of your loan.

Q: What is a help to buy mortgage?

A: This only applies to people living in specific council-owned properties and if that applies to you then The Mortgage Bureau would establish that as part of the standard fact-checking exercise.

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YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. A typical fee is £295. Ask for a personalised illustration. The Mortgage Bureau is a trading name of A.M. Mortgages (UK) Ltd. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some aspects of Buy to Let mortgages.

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