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First Time Buyers
We've put together some information specifically for first time buyers, just click on the links below, or scroll to read everything.

Buying your first home - the mortgage process
Viewings Checklist
Types of Mortgage
How long will my mortgage last?
Common Mortgage Features
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Buying your first home - the mortgage process
Buying your first home is incredibly daunting. We've put together a description of the process to help you find your way through the maze of options and decisions.

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Property Viewings Checklist
We've put together a handy checklist to help you remember what you saw and heard on the viewing. Just click below, print the PDF and take a copy with you to fill out - you'd be surprised what you forget after a viewing!

Download the PDF

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Types of Mortgage
Repayment Mortgages
With a repayment mortgage, your monthly payments to the lender go towards reducing the amount you owe as well as paying the interest they charge. This means that each month you are paying off a small part of your mortgage and you have the certainty that your mortgage will be repaid at the end of the term.

Interest Only Mortgages
These mortgages are now only offered with very strict criteria and are not available to everyone. With an interest only mortgage you only pay the interest charged on the loan, so you are not actually reducing the loan itself. You will need to have a feasible repayment strategy in place to repay your loan at the end of the term, for example investments and/or savings plans. Lenders will want to see proof of these.

Standard Variable Rate (SVR)
This is a standard interest rate that can go up or down in line with the market rates, such as the Bank of England's base rate.

Discounted Rate
Some mortgages start with an initial interest rate set lower than the SVR for a set period of time. At the end of this period, the lender will change the interest rate to the SVR. It's a good idea to talk to your adviser at this stage because the lender's SVR may not be the best deal available.

Fixed Rate
If you choose a fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payment will stay the same for a set period, usually two, three or five years. At the end of your fixed rate, your lender will usually change your interest rate to their SVR. It's a good idea to talk to your adviser at this stage because the lender's SVR may not be the best deal available.

Tracker Mortgage
With a tracker mortgage, the interest rate charged by the lender is linked to a rate such as the Bank of England base rate. This means your payments may go up or down.

Offset Mortgage
An offset mortgage is generally linked to a main current account and/or savings account which are all held with the same lender. Each month, the amount you owe is reduced by the amount in these accounts before working out the interest due on the loan. This means as your current account and saving balances go up, you pay less mortgage interest. As they go down, you pay more. Linked accounts used to reduce mortgage interest payments do not attract interest.

Capped Rate or Capped and Collared Rate
With this type of mortgage, the interest rate in linked to a lender's SVR but with a guarantee that it won't go above a set level (called a 'cap') or below a certain level (called a 'collar') for a set period of time. It's possible to have a capped rate without a collar.

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How long will your mortgage last?
This is called the 'Mortgage Term'. Mortgages usually have a term of 5 to 40 years. A mortgage should normally be for the shortest term you can afford as this keeps the overall cost down and you pay the least amount of interest.

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Common Mortgage Features
Annual Percentage Rate Comparison (APRC)
As well as telling you the interest rate on your mortgage, lenders must also calculate the APRC. This is the total cost of the loan, including interest and fees shown as a percentage rate. The APRC is intended to help you compare different types of mortgages from different lenders.

Cash Back
With a cash back mortgage, your lender pays you a lump sum when you complete your mortgage. The cash back can be a fixed amount or can be worked out as a percentage of your mortgage. If you move to another lender in the very early years (in the tie-in period) it is likely that you will need to pay back some or all of the cashback amount.

Early Repayment Charge (ERC)
This is a charge you may have to pay if you want to pay off your mortgage before the end of a set period.

Free Legal Fees
Some lenders offer arrangements that include the cost of completing the legal work involved in arranging a mortgage and buying a home. These arrangements vary but could reduce the amount you will pay at the outset.

Overpayments
Some lenders will allow you to make overpayments on your mortgage. This is generally restricted to 10% of the outstanding balance each year. Lender rules and restrictions vary so speak to your adviser before you decide to make any overpayments.

Portability
Some lenders let you move your mortgage to a new property when you move house.

Underpayments and Payment Holidays
Some mortgages allow you to reduce the amount you pay each month, or to stop making monthly payments, if you have previously overpaid. Lenders only normally allow you to make underpayments or take payment holidays for a limited time. This can be useful if your income falls or stops for a short period. In both cases, you will be paying less than the normal monthly payment so the amount of your mortgage will increase.

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