Essential Mortgage Tips For First Time Buyers

Posted on 02/05/2022

Buying your very first home is an exciting prospect and unless you’ve had a windfall and come into some money, you’ll probably need to take out a mortgage. Securing the right mortgage deal is just as important as finding the right home, but it can be daunting, so we’ve put this blog together to provide you with some crucial tips that will help you to choose the right mortgage.

Moving home checklist

In the excitement of finally having a place to call your own, some of the financial details can often be tempting to rush or overlook entirely as your attention is instead captured by the practicalities involved in moving as well as more exciting things like decorating and what you’ll need to buy to furnish your new home.

Although 0.5% here or there might not seem like it’s all that important, when it comes to interest rates, small figures really can make a big difference. Although we don’t provide financial advice, we can share our experience and let you know some of the things you’ll need to consider before you agree a mortgage deal.

Understand the different types of mortgages available

We’re not expecting you to become an expert, but understanding some of the different types or mortgages that are available will help ensure you make the right decision.

The right type of mortgage will depend on a number of different factors so you’ll need to consider the characteristics of each mortgage type before looking for deals and assessing providers.

These are just some of the types of mortgages available;

Fixed rate

A fixed rate mortgage allows the borrower to fix how much they repay each month for a set period of time. This can make budgeting easier and provides some security as borrowers will know exactly what they’ll be repaying each month for a set period of time.

Fixed rate mortgage deals can most often be found for periods of 2 to 5 years and they protect the borrower from any interest rate rises that might otherwise increase repayments.


A tracker is a variable rate mortgage deal that usually tracks slightly higher than the Bank of England base rate. As the base rate fluctuates, so your repayments will go up or down too.

Interest only

An interest only mortgage might provide you with the cheapest monthly repayments, but you need to be aware that your monthly repayments won’t be reducing your total mortgage debt, they will instead only be enough to cover the interest on the borrowed amount.

Variable rate

When a mortgage deal comes to an end, you’ll typically be switched to your providers standard variable rate mortgage deal. This is a deal that will be set significantly higher than the Bank of England base rate and often means you could end up paying back more.

Once you’ve decided which type of mortgage will best suit your circumstances, you can then start looking at individual lending providers.

Don’t limit yourself

If you’re already with a certain bank or have had one recommended by a friend or family member, it can be tempting to turn to them for a mortgage as this might seem like the easiest thing to do, however, don’t assume that your existing bank or one that’s been recommended, will be able to provide you with the best mortgage deals available.

You’ll want to do a full market search to see what’s available and remember that mortgage products and interest rates fluctuate frequently too.

Seek independent advice

There’s heaps of information out there about mortgages, but reading through it all can take time and could leave you with more questions than answers! Add this the fact that you’re about to make a huge financial commitment and obtaining expert advice could not only help you find a better deal and save you money, but it could give you an extra bit of peace of mind too.

Compare mortgage deals

Compare mortgage deals

Once you’ve decided on the type of mortgage deal you’re after you’ll find there are additional differences to consider which could make one particular deal or lender more attractive than another.

Factor in things like mortgage arrange fees and remember too that whilst lenders will publish their interest rates, that doesn’t mean you’ll be offered that rate, particularly if you have a poor credit history, in which case you may still receive an offer, but you may have to settle for a higher interest rate.

Do also consider things like payment holidays, overpayments and early redemption penalties and ensure you know all the key facts about any particular mortgage before you decide to go for it.

Don’t borrow  beyond your means

Although a lender might be willing to lend you a figure that could be higher than you really need, don’t be tempted to borrow more just because you can.

Be realistic about what you really need right now and don’t be tempted to borrow more than you can really afford to pay, especially if you’re taking a gamble and basing your figures on low interest rates, which could always rise and leave you in a pickle.

If you need to finance any large household purchases, for example white goods or furniture, instead of borrowing more upfront from our mortgage lender, you might be better off using a retailers 0% finance deal or by putting them on a 0% credit card for example, so make sure you weigh up your options and instead of going for convenience, always choose the option that makes most financial sense.

Carefully consider term length

When you’re working out your finances a key thing to consider is how much you can afford to pay back each month and this together with your deposit, will largely determine the term of your mortgage.

Whether you’re borrowing over 15 years or 25 years, consider where you’ll be at that point in your life and what your ability to keep up repayments will be in the future. Of course none of us have a crystal ball and our best laid plans can often get derailed, but thinking of the future can help you make better financial decisions now.

Wondering how much you can borrow? Use our handy online mortgage calculator to find out now!