NatWest mortgages are available to over 18s. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. The content on this page is guidance only and does not constitute advice.
Here to help you buy your first home
Step 1: Find out what we could offer you
- Get a personalised indication of how much you could borrow in less than 10 minutes.
- It won't impact your credit score.
Or use our calculator to find out how much you could borrow
What is a first time buyer mortgage?
First time buyer mortgages are for people who are new to the housing market.
Generally, you are considered a first time buyer if you’re buying a property you plan to live in as your main residence and you’ve never owned a property before.
Step-by-step to your first mortgage
Getting a first time buyer mortgage might seem like a fairly complicated process, but there are some general steps you can follow. Here's a helpful first time buyer guide.
Information in the following section is relevant to purchasing property in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, unless stated otherwise. Please note there are differences when purchasing property in Scotland.
Search for your perfect property
Search the housing market and get an idea of what you are looking for. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a garden? What about a garage or off-road parking?
Of course, price is important. Our mortgage calculator can give you an understanding of how much you may be able to borrow towards your first home.
Plan for your deposit
Any mortgage you take out (at least with us) will require you to place a mortgage deposit. This is an amount of money you pay upfront towards the cost of the property.
You'll need a deposit of at least 5% of the final sale price (a 95% LTV mortgage) to potentially be eligible for one of our mortgages. However, the higher your deposit as a percentage of the price of the property, the less money you will need to borrow, so you may also want to consider a 90% LTV mortgage (10% deposit) or lower.
Some first time buyers may be able to use a gifted mortgage deposit, from a parent or guardian, for example.
Get an Agreement in Principle
When you're ready to start viewing properties, it's a good idea to get an Agreement in Principle. This is a free, no obligation, personalised indication of what a bank may be able to lend to you. It can be used with sellers and estate agents to demonstrate that you may be in a financial position to purchase a property. It takes less than 10 minutes and won't impact your credit score.
Agreement in Principle
You can find out more about an Agreement in Principle (sometimes known as a Mortgage in Principle or Decision in Principle), what they're for and how you can get one.
Find your new home and make an offer
When you've found a property you want to buy, make an offer through the estate agent. Remember, the asking price is just what the seller hopes to get - you may be able to negotiate a lower price.
Offer accepted? - it's time to apply
Once you have agreed on the price, you can complete your mortgage application.
You'll also need to find a conveyancer (solicitor) - a representative who will help you with the process of legal transfer of ownership of the property.
Valuation and surveys
When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will ask a surveyor to inspect and value the property. This is to ensure it is worth the amount being paid.
With NatWest, a standard mortgage valuation will cost between £250 - £1,500 depending on the price of the property, unless we tell you otherwise when you apply.
This is a relatively basic evaluation of the property. You can also choose to request other optional checks and surveys. These will carry a cost but could help uncover any potential hidden issues with the property.
More on house surveys
There are various different surveys you can have on a property, with differing levels of cost and output. It's good to consider these options, as they can provide invaluable information about the property you're looking to buy.
Exchange and complete
'Exchange' refers to the exchange of contracts between you and the seller's solicitor, with you paying your mortgage deposit. At this point, both parties are bound to the transaction - if you pull out beyond this point, you'll be at risk of losing your deposit.
'Completion' is the final stage of the transaction. Your mortgage provider will provide the remaining funds for the purchase (this is called 'drawdown' of the mortgage) to the seller's solicitor. Once this is confirmed, you'll receive the keys and are free to access the property and move in.
Can I take advantage of a first time buyer scheme?
Quite possibly. To help make getting onto the housing ladder easier, the UK government have outlined various home ownership schemes. Not every scheme will be right for everyone, so it's important to consider both pros and cons, to understand what could work for you.
All of these schemes are subject to eligibility criteria for both the borrower and the property being purchased.
Help to Buy: Equity Loan
This scheme allows first time buyers in England buying a new build property to borrow an equity loan from the government to cover part of the cost, so a smaller mortgage is needed.
With shared ownership, buyers take out a mortgage for a portion of a property and then pay rent on the remaining share.
Over time, they can increase their percentage of ownership and generally, can eventually become the outright owner.
What about a Help to Buy ISA?
A 'Help to Buy ISA' is a savings account that includes a government bonus on the money saved, if it is used towards buying a first home. They're no longer open to new applications.
However, if you have an existing NatWest Help to Buy ISA, you can manage it here.
You may however be able to utilise a 'Lifetime ISA'. These savings accounts are still available, and offer a similar bonus benefit to Help to Buy ISAs. These aren't accounts we currently offer at NatWest.
Learn more about lifetime ISAs on the Gov.uk website
Which type of mortgage is best for first time buyers?
- There are different types of mortgage, and mortgage rate, that you could consider. There's no one 'best' type for first time buyers - it will come down to what works best for you.
- You can learn more about mortgage rates, like 'fixed' and 'tracker', as well as different types of mortgage, on our mortgage comparison webpage.
Do first time buyers pay stamp duty?
If you’re a first time buyer, you could get a discount on stamp duty, depending on where in the UK you are buying.
For example, in England and Northern Ireland you won’t need to pay any stamp duty if the house you’re buying costs £300,000 or less.
Other mortgage options
We have qualified mortgage advisers available to help answer any questions and guide you through the process.
A mortgage with as little as a 5% deposit
Saving money for a mortgage deposit can be tricky. Therefore, a good option for buying a property may be a 95% mortgage which allows for a deposit as low as 5%.
Exclusions & eligibility criteria apply. Supported by the UK Government's mortgage guarantee scheme.
£150-£750 cashback on selected mortgages (criteria applies)
If you select a cashback mortgage, we'll give your solicitor £150-£750 cashback on the day you drawdown your mortgage. The amount is dependent upon the products available and the mortgage you apply for.
This offer can be changed or withdrawn at any point. Early repayment charges may apply. Max loan to value (LTV) of 90%.
Go green and you could save money on your mortgage
Discounted mortgage rates when purchasing an energy efficient home (with a valid Energy Performance Certificate rating of A or B) with a green mortgage.
Available on select products. Product fees may apply.
5 chances to win £5,000 Cash
Enter our free prize draw using the online entry form for a chance to win one of our 5 prizes of £5,000 in cash.
Closing date 16th January 2024. One entry per person. Five prizes available – one prize per winner. UK residents & over 18s only. Excludes Northern Ireland.
First time buyer mortgages frequently asked questions
Top tips for first time buyers
Be careful if you're transferring any money
Buying a home involves significant sums of money. Be aware of scams, particularly when you pay your mortgage deposit.
It's wise to be sceptical of anyone asking you to transfer money, even if it appears to be from your conveyancer. If you're at all suspicious, or feel you are being pressured to transfer any funds, contact your conveyancer directly over the phone, using a number you are familiar with or from their website, and ask them to verbally verify the details.
If you can, try and view a property more than once
Viewing a potential home is an exciting prospect and there can be a lot to take in.
Therefore, on a first viewing, it could be easy to miss something important, or perhaps see things with 'rose-tinted glasses'. Arranging a second or if necessary, third viewing, can help make sure you make an informed decision about any potential offer.
Ideally, viewing the property at different times of day may help too. This can help you consider how sunlight impacts the property, for example.