Difference between First-Time Buyer and Second-Time Buyer

Difference between First-Time Buyer and Second-Time Buyer

Buying a home is an exciting milestone for many people, but the experience can be quite different depending on whether you are a first-time buyer or a second-time buyer. In the UK, these two types of buyers face unique challenges, opportunities, and benefits. This article aims to highlight the key differences between first-time buyers and second-time buyers in the UK, including financial considerations, support schemes, and challenges.

What is a first time buyer?

A first-time buyer is an individual or a household who has never owned a residential property before and is in the process of purchasing their first home. First-time buyers often face unique challenges and opportunities in the home-buying process compared to those who have previously owned a property.

What is a second time buyer?

A second-time buyer, also known as a move-up or next-time buyer, is an individual or household who has previously owned a residential property and is in the process of purchasing a new home. Second-time buyers typically sell their current home to finance the purchase of a new property, often because they need a larger home, want to move to a different location, or desire a different type of property.

The key differences between first-time buyers and second time buyers:

Financial Considerations

First-time buyers (FTBs) are individuals who have never owned a property before, while second-time buyers (STBs) are those who have previously owned a property and are now looking to move or purchase an additional home. The financial considerations for both types of buyers can vary significantly.

Deposit Requirements

FTBs often need a larger deposit compared to STBs. This is because FTBs typically have no equity from the sale of a previous property, which means they need to save more for a deposit. On the other hand, STBs can use the equity from their previous property sale to fund their next purchase, often allowing them to have a smaller deposit.

Mortgage Availability

Mortgage options for FTBs and STBs differ as well. FTBs can access special first-time buyer mortgages with lower deposit requirements, while STBs typically have a wider range of mortgage products available due to their previous experience and potentially higher equity.

Government Support Schemes

The UK government has introduced several schemes to help FTBs enter the property market. These include:

Help to Build: This scheme allows first-time buyers to borrow money from the government to build a property, thereby reducing the deposit required.

Lifetime ISA: This savings account allows FTBs to save for a deposit and receive a 25% government bonus on their savings.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Relief: FTBs can benefit from a reduced rate or exemption from SDLT on properties worth up to a certain threshold.

These schemes are generally not available to STBs, who must rely on their own resources or explore other financing options to fund their purchase.


While both FTBs and STBs face challenges in the property market, the nature of these challenges can differ.

FTBs: Affordability and Saving for a Deposit

One of the most significant challenges for FTBs is saving for a deposit while also dealing with the rising costs of living. Affordability is a major concern, as house prices in the UK continue to increase, making it difficult for FTBs to enter the property market.

STBs: Selling a Property and Coordinating the Move

STBs face the challenge of selling their existing property before purchasing a new one, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. Additionally, coordinating the sale and purchase of properties simultaneously can be stressful and may require temporary housing arrangements.

Final Thoughts

The journey to homeownership in the UK differs greatly for first-time buyers and second-time buyers. While FTBs often struggle with saving for a deposit and entering the property market, STBs face challenges related to selling their existing property and coordinating their move. Despite these differences, both types of buyers can benefit from understanding the unique challenges, opportunities, and support available to them in the UK property market.

Get a free initial consultation from a mortgage broker.

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