Purchasing a property for the first time can be a stressful and emotional experience. But, by considering these tips for first time buyers in the UK, you can ensure that the experience is as positive as possible.

At first, the process can seem quite daunting but following a proven structure will make the entire process much easier to contend with.  There’s also some jargon that’s handy to know, making the whole route to owning your first home much more straightforward and helping you to make the right choices.

There is a lot to think about – from the jargon, to the banks, building societies, solicitors, bridging loans, and, of course, that all important new furniture!  When considering buying for the first time, the first and most sensible place to start is by carrying out a credit check. In the UK, there are 3 credit agencies, Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. These companies keep a record of the repayments that you are making on any debt that you have, including anything from mobile phone bills to hire purchase agreements on vehicles, and everything in between.


It’s important to carry out your credit check during the very early stages to ensure that you are in a position to begin the process of buying a property, and, if not, to get yourself in a position to do so.  Typically, to buy a property you will need to borrow money in the form of a mortgage. In order to do this, your credit should be good, and whilst it’s difficult to speculate on any specific circumstances, being in debt isn’t necessarily a problem but missing multiple repayments is.  If they can verify you, the credit references agencies should allow you to check your credit online and there’s typically a free trial so, if all is well, you may not have to pay for the service at all.

Once you are happy with your credit score, it’s prudent to speak to an independent financial advisor, known as an IFA.  They will talk to you about your finances, and go through all your income and expenditure, as well as your savings, and discuss your suitability for buying a property.  Many independent financial advisors are also mortgage brokers so they may well be able to advise you on some of the mortgage products available and the time scales involved in arranging the mortgage.

When you have an idea of the amount of money you can borrow, you can start planning your next moves and start researching the property you want to buy.  If you’re looking to buy in an area that you’re not familiar with, make sure you do plenty of research!

The UK property market is extremely fast moving and desirable properties are often only on the market for a number of days, so being able to act quickly is vtial.  Whilst choosing a property to purchase is an important decision that needs plenty of consideration, it makes sense to be ready to make an offer should you find a property that fits your requirements.

Mortgages can, and often do for first time buyers, take a considerable amount of time to be arrange – lenders need to carry out a lot of underwriting to ensure that they are protected should your circumstances change.

A bridging loan can be a sensible option if you need to secure a property before a mortgage has been approved and the money has been deposited.  Bridging loans are short-term loans designed to bridge the gap between actually purchasing a property with a mortgage and securing an offer.  They typically have some costs associated with them and usually allow for a loan of around 80% loan to value, meaning up to 80% of the property’s value can be borrowed. The costs involved in taking out a bridging loan often include an arrangement fee, a valuation fee and the other costs associated with purchasing a property such as conveyancing and stamp duty.

Although accessing money with a bridging loan can cost more than a mortgage initially, the advantages can be significant, particularly if you need to act quickly to secure your ideal property and an ideal price. It is often advised at least for UK bridging loans, to speak to brokers instead of lenders, this is because brokers deal with a variety of lenders to suit each case.

Once you have found a property and had an offer accepted, it’s sensible to talk to your solicitor about time scales for actually acquiring the property.  At that stage, you can then begin to plan for any necessary purchases such as furniture, soft furnishings, and appliances.

Whilst purchasing your first property can seem daunting, there is plenty of advice available and it makes sense to talk to people about your options at each stage of the journey, to make sure that the outcome is as positive and enjoyable as possible.