First time buyers

Helping you get started on your home ownership journey

Two people looking at an iPad

Ways we can help

Buying your first home guide

Let us walk you through how to do it, including: 

  • Costs you need to consider
  • How to improve your credit rating
  • Understanding mortgages and if you’re eligible for one
  • Buying options like Shared Ownership and Help to Buy schemes
  • Making an offer, applying for a mortgage and moving in
Take a look at our step-by-step guide


Considering help from family?

With nearly half of first time buyers now getting help from family members, we’ve put together lots of information to help guide both you and them. 

Take a look at our Step Up: Helping family to buy pages


Find out how much you could borrow

Use our mortgage calculator

See how much deposit you may need

Use our home deposit calculator

Compare our rates

See how much your monthly payments could be

Get a decision in principle

Tells you if we could lend you the amount you need. It’s free, no obligation and valid for 60 days

Designed to help make buying your first home easier

Shared Ownership

This scheme allows you to part-own, part-rent when you first buy your home. You can buy the remaining shares in your home as time goes on until you own 100% of the property.

  • The schemes are run by non-profit housing associations which own, let and manage rental housing
  • You need a minimum 10% deposit for the share of the home you’re buying with a mortgage
  • You pay a subsidised rent to the housing association for the part you rent.

To find out if you’re eligible for a Shared Ownership scheme take a look at the government’s information pages

Help to Buy: equity loan and London Help to Buy

This scheme combines a mortgage with an equity loan and allows you to buy a brand new home in England.

  • You need a minimum 5% deposit and the government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your newly built home, or up to 40% if you’re buying in London
  • The equity loan is interest-free for 5 years after which you start being charged interest
  • These mortgages are not available in branch, by phone or online, so you’ll need to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser.

Find out more

Forces Help to Buy

This is a Ministry of Defence (MOD) scheme to help regular armed forces personnel buy their first home.

  • The scheme lets you borrow up to 50% of your annual salary, up to a maximum of £25,000, to use towards the deposit on your first home
  • The loan is interest-free and must be paid back to the MOD within 10 years through your salary
  • You will need to check with the MOD to see if you qualify for this scheme
  • Call us to apply for one of these mortgages. They’re not available online or in branch.

Find out more about Forces Help to Buy

Help to Buy: ISA

If you have a Help to Buy: ISA, you can continue to save into your account until 30 November 2029. If you want to claim the 25% government bonus on your savings your conveyancer must do this by 1 December 2030 (eligibility applies). To check eligibility for the government bonus, visit the Help to Buy government website. The scheme has now closed to new applicants.

This is a brief summary of the 3 different types of mortgages we offer

Fixed rateTracker rateLifetime Tracker
Best for:
People who want an exact idea of what they’re going to have to repay for the next few years.

You can usually fix your deal for 2, 3 or 5 years. During this fixed period your monthly payments will stay the same. After your fixed period you’ll move onto the Santander Follow-on Rate (variable). If you want to finish your deal earlier you may pay an early repayment charge.
Best for:
People who think interest rates will stay low over the next few years or want to make unlimited overpayments on their mortgage.

You can choose a mortgage with an initial rate period and during this period your rate tracks above the Bank of England base rate. With this type of mortgage your payments may vary. The initial rate period is usually 2 years and after that you move onto the Santander Follow-on Rate (variable).
Best for:
People who don’t want to ever look for a new mortgage deal again or want to make unlimited overpayments.

With a Lifetime Tracker mortgage your rate will track above the Bank of England base rate for the life of your mortgage term. With this type of mortgage your payments may vary.

The graphs are for illustrative purposes only.

For an in-depth comparison of the mortgage types on offer read our guide to mortgages

Repayment mortgage

Your monthly payment covers both the amount you’ve borrowed and interest. So as long as you keep up your payments, your mortgage will be paid off at the end.

Interest only mortgage

Your monthly payment only pays off the interest. You’ll still need to repay the amount you borrowed at the end of your mortgage and will need a separate plan in place to do this (such as an investment or endowment). We may limit the amount allowed on interest only. 


You can choose to pay part of your mortgage as repayment and the other part as interest only.

Apply for a mortgage

Before applying for a mortgage, you'll first need to get a decision in principle (DIP) from us online or by phone. A DIP tells you if we could lend you the amount that you need for your mortgage. It also won't affect your credit rating. 

Online decision in principle 

Get a no-obligation decision in principle before you apply for your mortgage

Online mortgage application

Once you’ve got your online decision in principle, you can apply for your mortgage

By phone

0800 068 6064

Our mortgage team is here to help 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2pm Saturday

Other things to consider

  • You’ll need buildings insurance to protect the property you’re buying, and then the contents insurance once you're in. Get a quote to see how much it would cost.
  • Life and mortgage insurance. We’ve a range of options to protect your lifestyle and mortgage. 


Award-winning mortgage provider

  • Best Online Mortgage lender 2021-2022

Got a mortgage question?

Send us a tweet

Please don't tweet your personal or banking details