buying your first home

Buying your first home is a huge milestone in life and an incredibly exciting time, but it can also be stressful if you aren’t sure what to expect. 

Whether you’re confused about when to buy your first home, buying timelines or costs associated with first time buying, a little know-how can transform your first home buying experience. 

How to buy your first home: FAQs

We’ve brought together some of our top tips and advice for buying your first home, as well as the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about first time home buying.

What is the average age to buy a first home?

As of 2022, the average age of first time homebuyers was 32.1 years outside of London and 33.8 years in London. 

This may come as a shock to some people, but with the cost of living crisis and rising inflation rates, many first time buyers are holding off for a little while longer. Many people choose to rent a property before they can comfortably afford to buy their first home.

Legally speaking, you need to be at least 18 years of age to buy property or land in the UK, but it’s rare for people to be in the position to do this. First time home buying isn’t something that needs to be rushed and it’s important not to compare your situation with those around you. 

Am I ready to buy my first home?

Deciding when to buy your first home and figuring out if you’re ready to take the step up the property ladder can be daunting, but you know your situation better than anyone else! 

There are a few key points you should consider when trying to decide if you’re ready to become a first time home buyer:

  • Have you considered what type of property you want to buy? From detached to semi-detached and terraced houses to flats, you need to consider which best suits your needs.
  • Do you have enough money saved to pay the deposit and fees? While you can get a mortgage for your property, there are still fees that need to be settled. Make sure you have saved enough so that you aren’t going to struggle when these need paying.
  • What is your credit rating like? Mortgage providers will consider your credit score alongside other affordability checks when reviewing your application to take out a mortgage. A poor credit score can make it more difficult to secure a mortgage on a property. 

Deciding to purchase a property for the first time shouldn’t be a snap decision – take the time to carefully consider your goals, finances and personal situation. We always recommend seeking financial advice before purchasing a home or making any kind of large investment. 



Guide to first time home buying: what to consider

Now that you’ve taken the time to think about whether it is the right time to buy a home for the first time, there are other factors which need to be considered.

How long does it take to buy your first home?

The time that it takes to buy a home varies from person to person and is dependent on a number of factors, such as the current property market, the desired home and finances. This process typically takes between three and six months, but can very well be much longer or shorter. 

Usually, the first stage of purchasing a first home is to secure a mortgage in principle agreement. This can help you to figure out what kind of property you can afford, and should be looking for. The process of getting a mortgage agreement in principle can be very quick, with some lenders even providing a decision immediately or within a few hours. These types of agreements will have an expiration date, so take care to note when this is.

For many first time home buyers, the longest part of the process is finding the right property to commit to. From online searches to open houses and scheduled viewings, a lot goes into finding the perfect property. On top of this, if a couple are buying a property together, both people need to be on the same page! 

This initial stage of the home buying process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what is currently on the market. 

After you’ve chosen your first home, it’s time to update your mortgage agreement in principle to a mortgage offer. As the lender will be conducting their own checks, this can take several weeks to complete. Your appointed conveyancer will draft up a contract and start conducting the necessary searches and checks for the property. This process can take anywhere from a week or so to over a month – it all depends on your individual circumstances.

Next, it’s time to exchange the contracts and set a date of completion – which could be anywhere from a few days to several months. 

How much deposit do I need to buy my first home?

Typically, most first time home buyers will need to have saved up a minimum of 5% of the total property price as a deposit. Some will be required to have a larger deposit. 

To illustrate, if someone is looking to buy a house costing £400,000, they will need to have saved up at least £20,000 (5%) as an absolute minimum. Of course the higher a deposit you have, and therefore the stronger loan-to-value ratio you can get, the lower your mortgage payments will be.

Costs when buying first home

As well as your deposit, there are other costs you should be aware of before purchasing your first home. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Mortgage arrangement fee
  • Legal / conveyancing fee
  • Survey fee
  • Stamp duty

You should take all these fees into account when figuring out if you are financially in a position to purchase a home. 

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