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Tips for first-time buyers

Securing a mortgage is undoubtedly getting more difficult, first- time buyers have more to prove to lenders to secure great deals.

Read on to find out how to improve your chances of securing your first mortgage.

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Preparing for a mortgage application

Time spent preparing your finances now will pay dividends in the future. We’d advise potential homebuyers to look at their financial situation and credit report as soon as possible. Improving your credit rating will boost your chances of securing a mortgage deal. If you find any errors in your credit report, tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate.

Increase your chances

Build a clear, consistent track record of positive money management.

Get your finances in order

To maximise the amount you can borrow, ideally you would have no debt. Debt will reduce the amount you can borrow. It’s not always possible to have zero outstanding credit but planning well in advance to reduce your borrowing will help. We don’t recommend taking out any new loans just before applying for a mortgage.

It is however good to have some credit, this enables lenders to track you and see that you have been making regular payments for a set period of time.

Some clients with a large amount of debt, kept up-to-date could have a better credit score than a client who has never borrowed.

Clear debts

Overdraft ?
Credit cards & store cards ?
Loans ?
HP Agreements (car / shopping) ?

Proving your income

Payslips & P60

  • Guaranteed or regular overtime/bonus that can be proved
  • Other income (investments/state benefits)
  • Self-Employed (three years self-assessment statements)

Bank statements (three months where your income is paid into). Your bank statements must match your payslips. They will also get scrutinised for other spending, so not declaring a credit card, childcare payments and regular online spending at gala bingo will affect your affordability!

Organise your documents

Keep your Payslips and P60 documents in a safe place and ready to go


If you don’t drive and have never been abroad you would be unlikely to have a photo ID. We would recommend getting a passport.

If you are not on the electoral roll currently, check your local authority website about getting registered to vote.

Can you prove who you are?

Main Identification (passport / driving licence)
Electoral Roll
Utility Bills (electricity/gas, credit card, mobile phone)

Fact Find (financials)

A fact find is completed every time you apply for a mortgage, even if you already own your property and are looking to remortgage to a better deal.


  • What age do you expect to retire?
  • Part-time
  • Contract worker– term of contract
  • Outgoings
  • Balances of credit / store cards not paid off each month
  • Sums that you pay off each month
  • Is debt rising/falling/stable

Credit History

  • Get a report and check it for errors


  • Do you care for elderly parents?
  • Childcare payments
  • Maintenance payments for children not living with you

You may also be asked:

  • Do you plan to start a family or have more children?
  • Do you expect your income to fall in the near future?
  • Do you plan to leave your job, start a business or become self-employed?
  • Have you ever taken out a payday loan?
  • Do you ever gamble?

How much can you afford to borrow?

Affordability Calculators

As well as the fact find, you will be asked about your regular monthly outgoings. This could include mobile phone bills, food and how much you spend on nights out. This is to assess how much you spend and how likely you are to afford mortgage repayments.

As you hand over your bank statements, it would be worth economising for a few months prior to applying for a mortgage.

Every lender is different: we have provided links to affordability calculators for you to be able to review the types of questions asked.

Are your outgoings reasonable?


You will be asked for a lot of dates. It’s worth getting prepared:

How long have you lived at your current address? If less than three years, your previous address will be required. Date started with current employer and details of probation period if relevant. If less than one year please supply your previous employer details and dates employed commenced and finished.

Hopefully, you can remember the date of birth of your children, but just in case!

If you care for your parents or another member of your family you will need their date of birth and to declare if they are financially dependent on you.

Make a list as you may get asked the same questions multiple times.


How to proceed

When you speak to us early in your house buying process we will be in a better position to proceed once you find your new home.

It would be helpful to have some figures to hand:

  • your income
  • any savings
  • your outgoings
  • how much you’re looking to spend.

We suggest getting an Experian Credit Report to ensure you have a good credit history, especially with a high loan to value mortgage.

We will then compare and source the most suitable deals for you by searching the whole of market with the aim of saving you time and money.

With our main office in Thame, our brokers are located all over the Home Counties so we’re never far from providing the help you need.