First Time Buyer Guide

Since 1998 we’ve been serving the people of Leicester, and have helped hundreds of clients take their first steps onto the property ladder. Our experience means we know just how exciting, terrifying, inspiring and overwhelming the whole process can be.

Some people are excited about moving out of rented and/or shared accommodation, or parents’ homes. Others are anxious about the amount of responsibility, paperwork and money this move involves.

We are here to guide and support you throughout the ups and downs of your home-buying journey. Our aim is to ensure you have the right guidance and support to make the best decision for you and your future.

After reading this, you may find it beneficial to have a no-obligation, confidential chat with us about your situation.


In This Guide

Money talk: mortgages, deposits & the rest

What is a mortgage? A mortgage is a big loan, usually from a bank or building society. They assess your viability based on a variety of factors related to your financial situation. You pay this loan back to the lender on a monthly basis over a long term, like 25 years. You also have to pay interest on the loan. It’s a big debt to take on but is the main way most people are able to buy property.

How much deposit do you need? There are some lenders who offer a 95% mortgage, meaning you would need a 5% deposit. If you were buying a property for £200,000, this would mean a £10,000 deposit. You could put down a 10% deposit at £20,000, or 15% at £30,000. Often, the bigger your deposit, the better your interest rate and lower your monthly repayments. Also, a bigger deposit can mean you’re more likely to be accepted for a mortgage.

Other costs to consider:

  • Survey costs
  • Legal fees (which would include searches and disbursements)
  • Stamp Duty (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax for Scotland and Land Transaction Tax for Wales­)
  • Insurance – building and contents
  • Life insurance – the lender is likely to require this so that, if anything happens to you, the mortgage debt is settled
  • Moving costs
  • Renovation costs (if applicable)
  • Property maintenance costs – from mowing the lawn to replacing roof tiles and cleaning gutters
  • Furniture, appliances and other homeware to put in your new home
  • Decorating
  • Council tax
  • Bills and utilities, like electricity, water, gas, sewerage
Financial advisers
Some mortgage brokers are only able to offer you products from a panel of lenders. This limits your options. These sorts of brokers can sometimes be found within estate agent offices. Big corporate estate agent chains commonly target their staff to drive you to these in-house mortgage people. They can charge you big fees, too. Independent mortgage advisers often have access to all the deals in the market at any one time. They can often be very supportive. Their speciality is obviously mortgages. This means they’re very in tune with the marketplace. Independent financial advisers will not normally charge you. They get their fee from the lenders. They generally have excellent relationships within the whole of the financial marketplace. This means they can negotiate the best mortgage for your situation. They can also support you to get insurance with the best deals and help you with things like your pension. These people can become your money ‘go to’ for many years.

How to find your Ideal Home

When you first start thinking about buying your new home, you may have a dream in mind. You may have certain things that you cannot compromise on.

Perhaps you need off-road parking so you can easily find a space after work. Perhaps you need a second bedroom to make into an office. As you research the available properties, you may discover that your dreams are not realistic within your budget. This is perfectly normal. It happens regardless of how much money you have to spend, whether this is your first property or fifth.

Where to look

You will have heard of websites like Rightmove or Zoopla. These are great places to browse for homes. You can get the gist of what kinds of properties are available in what price brackets, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking every available property is on those sites.

Register with local estate agents. Give them a call to explain your budget, preferred area(s) and requirements. Also, follow their social media, some agents (us included) list new instructions on their social media channels first before they are advertised on the property portals. When an estate agent goes to see a property that will soon be available, there is a process they follow before it goes online. Things like completing paperwork, writing adverts, taking photos or videos have to be done, which can take as long as two weeks.

Any decent estate agent will contact the people they know this property would be a great fit for before all those tasks are completed. If you are registered with the agent, you could view the property, make an offer and start the buying process before it goes online.

Great estate agents hear what your property needs are, even if you’re not able to articulate them. When they suggest you visit a property, it’s with good reason.


Think of the property shows on TV: how many times do they buy the ‘mystery house’? Be guided by the pros. It’s not their first rodeo!

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