Understanding how mortgages work can be overwhelming, particularly as various options are available. In this article, we will explain to help you navigate the process, particularly if you are a first-time buyer.

What are mortgages?

A mortgage is a loan that helps you purchase a property and generally repay it over several years while living there. The mortgage typically begins with a special rate lasting two to five years. When this period ends, you will usually transition to the lender’s standard variable rate, generally higher than your initial rate. However, at this stage, you can remortgage to another special deal.

When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders must ensure you can repay the borrowed amount. This involves providing information about your income and expenses to verify that you can manage regular payments.

How long do mortgages last?

Most mortgages have a term of 25 years, but some lenders may offer longer terms based on your age and situation, up to 30 years or more. Alternatively, you could choose a shorter term, such as 15 or 10 years, if you can afford higher monthly payments and want to pay off your mortgage faster.

You can choose a longer term for your mortgage to make it easier to manage payments. However, this means you’ll end up paying more interest overall. If you choose a shorter term, your monthly payments will be higher, but you’ll pay less interest overall and clear your mortgage faster. Consider your monthly budget carefully and compare costs for different term lengths to make the best choice.

Do I need a mortgage?

If you don’t have a substantial amount of savings, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to purchase a property without taking out a mortgage. The size of the mortgage you require will be determined by the amount of money you’ve saved for a down payment. Typically, you’ll need to save at least 5% of the property’s value, but the more you can save, the greater the range of mortgage options available.

Can I get a mortgage?

Your situation determines your eligibility for a mortgage. Lenders will check if you can pay the monthly fees and examine your debt history. Requesting a copy of your credit report before applying is recommended, so you can check your score. Closing unused credit accounts, paying off debts, and always making timely repayments can help improve your credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a first-time buyer?

2. What is a mortgage?

3. How much deposit do I need?

4. What is stamp duty?

5. What is conveyancing?

6. What is gazumping?

7. What is Help to Buy?

8. What is shared ownership?

9. How much can I borrow?

10. How long does it take to buy a house?


  1. First-time home buyer guide | MoneyHelper. https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/homes/buying-a-home/first-time-buyer-money-tips
  2. Buying your first home in 2022: five things to consider. https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/buying-your-first-home-in-2022-five-things-to-consider-aCbOn3Y0lQop
  3. First-time buyer? A handy cheat sheet for the most common questions …. https://www.standard.co.uk/homesandproperty/buying-mortgages/buying-a-home-common-questions-first-time-buyer-answers-b973621.html
  4. UK first-time buyer schemes: Everything you need to know. https://www.homeviews.com/blog/uk-first-time-buyer-schemes-everything-you-need-to-know
  5. First-time buyers | Money | The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/money/firsttimebuyers
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