Where to start
Before you buy your first house, you can quickly check if it is affordable and start getting your finances into shape by:
Getting a deposit together
Checking your credit report
Sorting your income
You could boost your chances of buying a home sooner by finding help with a deposit and getting accepted for mortgage.
Get a deposit together
You usually have to save up a deposit before you buy a home, but this is not as scary as it sounds and you may be able to find help.
Your deposit usually comes from your own savings or money given to you by your family as a gift or inheritance.
Getting help from family can speed things up, but you could still save a deposit yourself if you do not have a gift from the "Bank of Mum and Dad". Here is how to save for a mortgage deposit and what help you can get.
If you are unable to save a large deposit but still want to buy a home as soon as possible, here are your options.
How do deposits work?
Your mortgage covers a percentage of your home's value, which is called its loan to value (LTV). You pay the rest of the purchase price, and this is called the deposit.
For example, if you bought a house for £150,000 and got a mortgage with an LTV of 90%, you would need a 10% deposit. This would come to £15,000.
Do the maths
Work out how much you can afford
Your financial situation and how much you earn can affect:
How much you could afford to put towards a mortgage payment each month without stretching your budget too far
If lenders think you can afford a mortgage, which affects if they will accept you and how much they let you borrow
You can use our calculator to work out how much lenders may let you borrow based on your income.
Here is how to check your income and what you spend each month so you can find out if you can afford to buy a home.
Look at how much homes cost
Once you know how much you can afford, check if this is enough to buy the house you want.
You can look at individual properties on sites like Rightmove to see how much the kind of home you want would cost.
You can also use a tool like the Rightmove house price index to check the average cost of properties in your local area or where you would like to live. If these areas are not affordable, you could consider moving further away.
Look at your credit record
Your credit report is an electronic record of your financial history. Lenders will check this to help them decide if they should accept your mortgage application.
If your credit report shows you have too much debt or have missed payments in the past, it could put off many lenders, but you may still be able to get a bad credit mortgage.
However, it could be better to improve your credit record first, which could increase your chances of getting accepted for a normal mortgage after a few months or more. This will give you more choice and could work out much cheaper.
Maximise what you earn
Your income helps lenders decide if they can offer you a mortgage and how much they will lend you.
To increase your chances of being accepted:
Make sure you include everything you earn, including your basic salary, bonuses, commission and income from investments
Keep documents that prove what you earn, like bank statements and payslips
Stay in the same job for a while because this makes your finances look stable
If you are self employed, here is how to improve your chances of getting accepted.
Find out about mortgages
Understanding how they work can help you choose the right mortgage deal, which could mean you find a mortgage that accepts you and might save you thousands.
You do not need to be an expert, but you can quickly learn everything you need to know for free using our guides.
Here are the types of mortgage you can get and how to work out which is right for you.
Start looking into the process of buying a house so you know what you need to do once you find a property you like. Here is everything you need to know about buying a home.
Get some help
There are several ways your family could help you get on the property ladder, including:
Giving you money towards a deposit
Lending you money
Taking out a joint mortgage with you
Releasing equity from their home to help you raise money
Here are all the ways your parents could help you buy a home.
You could also consider a guarantor mortgage, which needs somebody else to be named on it as your guarantor and agree to make any payments you miss.
First time buyer schemes
There are several schemes that can help you get on the property ladder, including:
Buy with someone else
If you buy a home with another person you may be more likely to get accepted. Getting a joint mortgage could help you:
Save a larger deposit between you
Afford a higher monthly mortgage payment
Be offered a mortgage for a more expensive property
Here is everything you need to know about joint mortgages and buying a home with someone else.
You could also buy a home with friends to help you get on the property ladder. Here are the advantages and risks of buying with friends.