First time buyer - Don't be nervous

31st March 2022

Buying a home will most likely be one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime and the process for first time buyers can feel daunting.

Clements Estate Agents work with first time buyers regularly, so we can understand the concerns you might have and to help put your mind at ease.


What is a ‘first time buyer’?

A first time buyer is anyone who is purchasing a property, who has never previously owned a freehold or leasehold residential property in the UK, or abroad.

In simple terms, you are about to enter the property market with no overheads in terms of an existing property.


What are the main steps in the process

What you can afford

The likelihood is you’ll need to get a mortgage to help you buy your first property and we will run through mortgages later in this guide.


Find a property

You know where you want to live, and you know how much you can spend. You can now start the search.


Make an Offer

You have found the ideal property and want to make an offer and this will be passed to the sellers via the estate agents

You may have to provide evidence that you can secure a mortgage with an agreement in principle at this stage.



A seller will want to maximise their profit by selling at the best price but will also want to sell to people who are in the best position and this is good for first time buyers as they are not in a chain.

Negotiation between both parties will happen and will be managed by the estate agents and relayed back to you.


Offer Accepted

When your offer has been accepted, you will have to formally apply for a mortgage. It is then your solicitor’s job to deal with all the legal work associated with transferring the property into your name.


Final Contracts Exchanged

Your solicitor will have a number of tasks throughout the sale and acts as a general mediator between the buyer and the seller.

From this point, you are locked into a legally binding contract and you will have to pay your deposit.



Once everything has gone through you are at a stage called Completion where on a pre agreed date, you will be able to pick your keys up from the estate agents and move in to your new home.


Is there any help for first time buyers?

There are government backed schemes to help get first time buyers onto the property ladder with financial help.

These schemes can be of significant help so please find out more at:


Can you afford to buy a house?

Unless you have won the lottery or come into a large amount of money, the likelihood is you’ll need to get a mortgage to help you buy your first property.

A mortgage is a loan taken out to buy the property and typically most run for 25 years, but the term can be shorter or longer.

5% or more of the purchase price will need to be put down as a deposit, and you then borrow the rest of the money (the the form of a mortgage/loan) from a lender such as a bank or building society.

The loan is ‘secured’ against the value of your home until it’s paid off.

If you can’t keep up your repayments, the lender can repossess (take back) your home and sell it so they get their money back.

For example, if you’re looking at a £200,000 property, a 5% deposit would be £10,000. This obviously varies depending on the value of your property.


As a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to bear in mind is whether you can really afford to take this step.

It’s a good idea to get an understanding of how much you can afford based on what you earn and your other regular outgoings before you start your search as this will help to work out your monthly affordability so please speak to one of our financial team at Clements for more info - Register with us now

Mortgage Lenders will only make a mortgage available to you if they think you can feasibly afford it to ensure you don’t get caught up with a property you can’t afford in future if circumstance change. They take a lot into consideration so its advisable to get your finances in order before doing an application.



Are there any other costs to be aware of?

Solicitor’s fee

A solicitor will carry out all the legal work when buying your first property. They will cover conveyancing which is dealing with the transfer of ownership, check all the paperwork is in order and any environmental factors or planning permission issues that could cause you problems.


Buildings insurance

We would always advise you to have insurance in place for the property you are buying. Although it isn’t actually a legal requirement, if you have a mortgage then it is most likely to be a condition of the loan.

The insurance is in place to cover your property if it is damaged by an event such as fire, flood, storm or an earthquake (thankfully we don’t get many of those!).

Damage from subsidence or malicious damage would also be covered for your peace of mind.


Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a UK tax if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England and is calculated based on the purchase price of the property.

If you’re a first-time buyer in England there is ‘first time buyer relief’, so you won’t have to pay stamp duty on properties up to £300,000 which could save you up to £5,000.

For properties between £300,000 and £500,000, there will be no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 and then they’ll be Stamp Duty at the rate of 5% on the remaining amount, up to £200,000.

If the property you’re buying is over £500,000, you will need to pay the standard rates of 5% Stamp Duty and won’t qualify for first-time buyer’s relief.


What is Freehold and what is Leasehold?

If you want to buy a house, it’s likely you’ll buy the freehold, meaning you own the whole property and land it sits on.

If you’re buying a flat or apartment, you’ll be buying leasehold, or buying into a share of the freehold, meaning you own the property but not the and it sits on.

The benefits of having a freehold are that you don’t have to worry about the lease running out, as you own the property outright. Nor do you have to deal with the freeholder (often known as the landlord). You also will not have to pay ground rent or any landlord charges.


I have more questions?

If you have any other questions, the team here at Clements will be happy to help answer them.


Ben Clements

Where to Find Us

45 Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1LD
01442 214151

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