Getting mortgages for first-time buyers in London

Navigating the London property market in 2024?
Get informed with essential tips and insights on mortgages for first-time buyers in London.
Mortgages for first-time buyer mortgages in London

Navigating the world of mortgages for first-time buyers in London can be a complex journey. This guide aims to simplify the process, offering essential insights and practical advice to help first-time buyers understand the critical aspects of purchasing property in one of the world’s most dynamic cities in 2024. From understanding the feasibility of buying a house in London on a single income to differentiating between key terms like ‘exchange’ and ‘completion,’ this guide covers crucial topics to equip you with the knowledge needed for a successful homebuying experience. Whether you’re considering a 95% mortgage, shared ownership, or deciphering legal jargon, this guide is tailored to make your first venture into London’s property market both informed and confident.

How to get the first time buyer mortgages in London

Getting a first-time buyer mortgage in London involves a series of steps, each important to successfully navigate the property market in this dynamic city.

First, it’s crucial to understand your budget and what you can realistically afford. This involves assessing your income, outgoings, and any debts you might have. A mortgage calculator can be a helpful tool in this process. Next, saving for a deposit is a key step. In London, this can be quite a substantial amount, often ranging between 5% and 20% of the property’s value.

Then, familiarise yourself with the different types of mortgages available. Options like guarantor mortgages, shared ownership, and government-backed schemes like Right to Buy can be suitable for first-time buyers with different needs and financial situations.

Conducting thorough research and possibly consulting a mortgage advisor is highly advisable. Mortgage advisors can provide valuable insights into the market and help you understand various mortgage products and which one might be best for you.

Once you have a clear understanding of your financial position and the type of mortgage you want, you can start the application process. This typically involves providing detailed financial information, including bank statements, payslips, and identification documents.

After your mortgage application is approved, you can start looking for a property within your budget. In London, the property market is diverse, offering a range of options from period homes to modern apartments. It’s important to keep an open mind and consider different types of properties and locations within the city.

When you find a property you like, you will need to make an offer. Understanding the seller’s situation can help in this process, and it’s important to offer an amount that you’re comfortable with and can afford.

Upon acceptance of your offer, the final steps involve completing legal checks, surveys, and the exchange of contracts. This is followed by the completion of the sale, when you will pay the remaining balance and take possession of the property.

Throughout this process, it’s important to be aware of additional costs, such as legal fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax, surveyor fees, and insurance. These additional costs can add up, so it’s important to factor them into your overall budget.

Finally, the completion of the sale marks the beginning of your journey as a property owner in London. It’s a process that requires careful planning, research, and sometimes a bit of patience, but with the right approach, it can be an achievable and rewarding experience.

For more in-depth guidance and tips specific to your situation, it’s recommended to consult with a mortgage advisor or financial expert.

What are the eligibility requirements for a first-time buyer mortgage in London?

To be eligible for a mortgage in London, there are several key factors that lenders consider:

Income: Lenders will evaluate your regular income from sources like employment, self-employment, pensions, and investments. They may also consider additional payments such as overtime, bonuses, and commission, as well as other income like state benefits, rental income, trust funds, and maintenance payments.

Debts and regular spending: Your current and future financial commitments, including credit card debts, overdrafts, loans, and family commitments, will be assessed to determine how they might affect your ability to afford mortgage repayments.

Personal circumstances: This includes considering any potential changes to your circumstances in the future, such as changes in the interest rate, your planned retirement age, additions to your household, or unforeseen changes like illness or redundancy.

Deposit: A deposit of between 5% and 9.99% is generally required if you’re looking for a 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage. This means you’re financing 95% of the property’s cost via a mortgage.

Age: Typically, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a mortgage. The upper age limit usually is not over 75 years at the end of the mortgage term. If you wish to have your mortgage extended past your planned or state retirement age, only your retirement income will be considered.

Credit history: Your credit history and score are crucial. Lenders will conduct a credit check to assess your financial history and reliability in repaying debts. They’ll look at information held by credit reference agencies, including details of your financial arrangements and any public records like the electoral roll.

Property value: The value of the property you’re looking to buy also plays a role. For instance, if you’re opting for a mortgage where payments are calculated on an interest-only basis, the maximum you can borrow might be limited to a percentage of the property’s value.

Property type: The mortgage guarantee scheme, for example, doesn’t apply to new-build properties or for buying second homes or buy-to-let properties.

Local eligibility criteria: Councils in London may set additional local eligibility criteria, such as prioritising key workers or those who already live in the area.

Mortgage type: Different mortgage types are available, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, and tracker mortgages. Your choice should align with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and how long you plan to stay in the property.

Additionally, having a mortgage in principle can enhance your position as a buyer, showing sellers that you have a lender’s conditional offer on how much they may lend you.

It’s important to prepare thoroughly for your mortgage application by ensuring your credit score is in good shape, saving for a down payment, reducing your debt-to-income ratio, and having a steady income and stable employment history.

How much deposit do I need for a first-time buyer mortgage in London?

The amount of deposit needed for a first-time buyer mortgage in London varies, but there are some general guidelines you can follow. A larger deposit typically unlocks more attractive mortgage rates with most lenders, and the amount you’ll need to save depends on a few factors, including the price of the property and the mortgage product you choose.

In general, while there are options to access a mortgage with a smaller deposit, such as 5% of the purchase price, a deposit of 10-15% is quite common. The average house price in London was around £534,000 as of early 2023, suggesting that a deposit between £53,400 and £81,000 would be a good starting point. However, it’s worth noting that in 2022, the average deposit for first-time buyers in London was around £125,378, which was about 24% of the purchase price.
These figures can vary significantly based on the specific area of London and the type of property you’re looking to buy. It’s also important to remember that other upfront costs are associated with buying a home, such as solicitor fees, survey costs, and possibly lender fees.

To get a more accurate idea of the deposit you’ll need, it’s beneficial to speak with a mortgage advisor or broker who can provide tailored advice based on your financial situation and the current property market in London.

What are the best first-time buyer mortgage deals in London?

As of 2024, there are several attractive mortgage deals for first-time buyers in London. These include both fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages tailored to different deposit sizes.

For those considering fixed-rate mortgages, The UK mortgage lenders for Intermediaries offer competitive rates. Their two-year fixed deals at 90% and 95% loan-to-value are priced at 4.80% and 4.99%, respectively, with a product fee of £999. These mortgages include incentives like a free valuation and £250 cashback. For a longer initial fixed term, they also offer five-year fixed deals at 90% and 95% loan-to-value, priced at 4.02% and 4.48%, respectively, with similar incentive packages.

For variable-rate mortgages, some of the best rates are offered by lenders like Furness Building Society, Leek Building Society, NatWest, Barclays, and Earl Shilton. These rates vary based on the deposit size, ranging from 40% to 15% deposits, with initial rates as low as 5.29% and going up to around 6.89% for different terms and loan-to-value ratios.

Other notable options for first-time buyers include the Shared Ownership scheme, which allows purchasing a share of a home and paying rent on the remainder, and the Lifetime ISA, which offers government bonuses on savings for a first home.

It’s important to consider that mortgage rates and availability can vary, and it’s recommended to consult with a mortgage broker for personalised advice and access to exclusive products and rates. Remember, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

How can I improve my credit score to get a better first-time buyer mortgage rate in 2024?

Improving your credit score is a key step in securing a better mortgage rate, especially for a first-time buyer. Here are some strategies you can employ:

Check your credit report: Regularly check your credit report for errors and dispute any inaccuracies you find. All three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – offer free credit reports, and rectifying mistakes can have an immediate positive impact on your score.

Make timely payments: Ensure you pay all your bills on time, including credit cards, loans, and utility bills. Late payments can significantly harm your credit score.

Reduce debt levels: Try to lower your overall debt, particularly on credit cards. High levels of outstanding debt can negatively impact your credit score.

Use credit wisely: Maintain a good balance between using and not using your credit. It’s beneficial to use credit regularly, but it is crucial to keep the balance well below your credit limit.

Limit new credit applications: Each time you apply for credit, it can slightly lower your credit score. Avoid applying for multiple credit cards or loans within a short period.

Keep old credit accounts open: The length of your credit history contributes to your credit score. Keeping older credit accounts open, even if you don’t use them often, can help.

Register on the electoral roll: If you’re not already, get registered on the electoral roll at your current address. This can help credit agencies verify your identity and address.

Build a credit history: If you have little or no credit history, consider ways to build it. This could include using a credit card for small purchases and paying it off in full each month.

Be patient: Improving your credit score is a process that takes time. Consistency in managing your finances well is key.

Seek professional advice: If you’re struggling to improve your credit score, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

These steps can gradually improve your credit score, potentially leading to access to better mortgage rates. Keep in mind that every lender has different criteria for credit scoring, so what may be a good score for one lender may not be for another.

What government schemes are available for first-time buyers in London?

For first-time buyers in London, the UK government offers several schemes to assist in purchasing a property:

First homes scheme: This program ( an “external link” ) allows first-time buyers to purchase a home for 30% to 50% less than its market value. It’s applicable for new homes and resale homes that were originally bought through the scheme. Eligibility includes age and income criteria.

Shared ownership: This scheme enables you to buy a share of a home (between 10% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. It’s designed for those who can’t afford to buy outright. You can increase your share over time through a process called “staircasing”.

Lifetime ISA (LISA): If you’re between 18 and 40, you can open a Lifetime ISA and save up to £4,000 a year towards your first home. The government adds a 25% bonus to your savings annually. Funds can be used to buy your first home if the property costs £450,000 or less and the LISA has been open for at least a year.

Help to Buy: While the Help to Buy equity loan scheme in England is no longer open to new applicants, it continues in Wales until December 2026. This scheme provided an equity loan to supplement a 5% deposit, but was only available for new-build properties.

Mortgage guarantee scheme: This scheme was introduced to encourage lenders to offer 95% mortgages, thus requiring only a 5% deposit from first-time buyers. While the scheme was set to end in December 2023, it increased the availability of 95% mortgages in the market.

It’s important to research each scheme thoroughly and consider your personal circumstances before deciding which one might be the best fit for you. Consulting with a financial advisor or mortgage broker can also provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Learn more: Moneyhelper

Can I afford a mortgage in London on my salary?

Determining whether you can afford a mortgage in London on your salary involves several factors. First, consider the general rule that mortgage lenders typically lend up to 4.5 times your annual income. This means if your annual salary is £40,000, you might be able to borrow up to £180,000. However, this is a rough estimate, and the exact amount can vary depending on the lender’s criteria and your financial circumstances.

In addition to your salary, lenders will assess your overall financial health, including your credit score, existing debts, and your monthly expenses. These factors help them determine your ability to repay the mortgage.

You also need to account for the deposit, which is usually between 5% and 20% of the property’s purchase price in London. The larger your deposit, the smaller your loan, and potentially, the more favourable your mortgage rate.

Another important aspect is the ongoing costs associated with owning a home. These include mortgage payments, property taxes, home insurance, maintenance costs, and possibly service charges if you’re buying a flat. It’s crucial to ensure these costs are manageable within your monthly budget.

Given the high property prices in London, it’s also wise to look into government schemes like Shared Ownership or the First Homes scheme, which can make homebuying more accessible.
Since affordability can be complex and varies greatly depending on individual circumstances, it’s advisable to use online mortgage calculators for a preliminary assessment and consult with a financial advisor or mortgage broker for personalized advice. They can provide a more accurate picture of what you can afford based on your specific salary and financial situation.

What are the additional costs of buying a house in London?

When buying a house in London, there are several additional costs to consider:

Conveyancing fees: These legal fees for buying a house typically range from £500 to £1,150 plus disbursements, which could add another £700 or more.

Survey costs: Expect to pay from £300 to over £1,000 for a professional survey of the property’s condition.

Mortgage valuation fees: These are typically around £200-300, charged by the lender for assessing the property value.

Mortgage arrangement fees: Often charged by mortgage companies, these can range from a few hundred pounds to 1% of the mortgage.

Mortgage broker fees: These vary; some brokers may charge a fee of up to 1% of your mortgage, while others offer fee-free services.

Life insurance: Commonly purchased alongside a mortgage, but be aware of commission and cancellation fees.

Removals costs: Depending on the size of your house and the distance of the move, costs can range from £350 to several thousand pounds.

Furniture and white goods: Necessary for outfitting your new home; costs can vary greatly based on your choices.

Redecorating and minor building works: Most new homes require some level of redecoration or minor works.

Remember, the exact costs will depend on your specific circumstances, such as the property value, location, and the services you choose.

What is the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, and how does it work?

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme was a government initiative to assist first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners in purchasing a new-build home. In London, the scheme allowed buyers to purchase a property with just a 5% deposit. The government provided an equity loan of up to 40% of the property value, interest-free for the first five years. The buyer then needed to secure a mortgage for the remaining 55%. This scheme made it more feasible for individuals to afford a property in London’s high-priced housing market. However, it’s important to note that the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in England is no longer open to new applicants.

Can I use the First Homes scheme to buy a property in London?

Yes, you can use the First Homes scheme to buy a property in London. This scheme is designed to help first-time buyers purchase a home at a discounted price. Eligible buyers can purchase properties for 30% to 50% less than the market value. To qualify, you must meet certain criteria, including being a first-time buyer and having an income that does not exceed £90,000 in London. The scheme is applicable to both newly build homes and resale homes originally bought through the scheme. Keep in mind that local councils may have additional eligibility criteria.

What are the requirements for a shared ownership mortgage in London?

To qualify for a Shared Ownership mortgage in London, you typically need to:

    • Be at least 18 years old.

    • Have a household income of £90,000 or less in London.

    • Be a first-time buyer, or a previous homeowner who can’t afford to buy now.

    • Not own another property at the time you buy your shared ownership home.

    • Show you are not in mortgage or rent arrears.

    • Demonstrate you have a good credit history and can afford regular payments and costs involved in buying a home.

It’s important to note that these criteria can vary depending on the housing association or organisation offering the scheme.

What are the pros and cons of a 95% mortgage?

Pros of a 95% mortgage in London include:

Lower deposit requirement: With only a 5% deposit needed, it’s more accessible for those with limited savings.

Homeownership opportunity: It allows buyers to enter the property market sooner than if they had to save for a larger deposit.
Cons include:

Higher interest rates: Typically, 95% mortgages come with higher interest rates compared to those with larger deposits.

Risk of negative equity: If property prices fall, you might owe more than the property’s worth.

Limited property choices: Some lenders restrict the type of properties you can buy with a 95% mortgage.

Larger loan amount: Borrowing more means you’ll pay more interest over time.
These mortgages can be a viable option for entering the London property market but require careful consideration of the financial implications.

What is the difference between fixed vs variable rate mortgages for first-time buyers in London?

For first-time buyers in London, choosing between a fixed and variable rate mortgage involves weighing stability against flexibility:

Fixed-rate mortgage: Offers predictable monthly payments for a set period. This stability makes budgeting easier, but typically comes with slightly higher initial rates. If interest rates rise, you benefit from locked-in lower rates. However, you won’t benefit from rate drops and could face penalties for early repayment.

Variable-rate mortgage: These have rates that can change, usually in relation to the Bank of England’s base rate. Initial rates might be lower, offering potential savings if rates decrease. However, your payments can increase if rates rise, making budgeting more challenging.
Each type has its advantages and depends on your financial situation and risk tolerance.

5% deposit mortgages vs Help to Buy– which is best?

Choosing between a 5% deposit mortgage and the Help to Buy scheme in London depends on your circumstances:

5% deposit mortgages: These require a smaller upfront payment, making them accessible if saving a large deposit is challenging. However, they usually have higher interest rates and a risk of negative equity.

Help to Buy: This scheme offers an equity loan of up to 40% in London, making mortgages more affordable. It’s interest-free for the first five years. However, it’s only available for new-build homes and has specific eligibility criteria.

The Help to Buy equity loan scheme in England is no longer open to new applicants. Always verify the current availability and specific terms of such schemes.

Shared ownership vs full ownership– which should I choose?

Choosing between shared ownership and full ownership in London depends on your financial situation and housing needs:

Shared ownership: Ideal if you can’t afford the mortgage on 100% of a home. It allows buying a share of a property and paying rent on the rest. Over time, you can increase your share, a process known as staircasing. This lowers the initial financial burden but involves ongoing rental payments and restrictions on selling the property.

Full ownership: Offers complete control over the property without rental obligations. It requires a larger upfront investment and higher mortgage payments, but you benefit fully from any increase in property value.

Consider your long-term financial stability, property value appreciation, and flexibility needs when making this choice.

What are the best mortgage lenders for first-time buyers in London?

For first-time buyers in London, choosing the best mortgage lender involves considering various factors, including interest rates, loan terms, and customer support options. Some of the well-regarded mortgage lenders for first-time buyers include HSBC, Barclays, Santander, Halifax and Nationwide.

For more personalized guidance, consulting with a mortgage broker can be beneficial. Mortgage brokers have access to a wide range of products and can help you find a mortgage deal that suits your specific situation. London mortgage broker specializing in first-time buyer mortgages, offering advice on options including 95% loan-to-value mortgages.

In summary, the best mortgage lender for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. Consider the pros and cons of each lender, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to ensure you make an informed decision.

How can I compare mortgage deals?

To compare mortgage deals in London effectively, you can use the following approaches:

    • Online mortgage comparison tools: These platforms allow you to input your details (such as income, deposit amount, and property value) to see various mortgage deals available to you.

    • Mortgage brokers: Engaging with a mortgage broker can be particularly useful. They have access to a wide range of mortgage products, including some that aren’t directly available to consumers. Brokers can offer personalized advice based on your financial situation.

    • Bank websites: Visit the websites of major banks like HSBC, Nationwide, Santander, and others. They often provide detailed information about their mortgage products and may have online calculators to estimate your repayments.

    • Financial advisers: If you have a financial adviser, they can also be a valuable resource in comparing mortgage deals. They can provide advice tailored to your overall financial plan.

    • Mortgage apps and tools: Some banks and financial services companies offer mobile apps or online tools to help potential borrowers compare different mortgage options.

Remember to consider not just the interest rate but also other factors like the term of the loan, any fees involved, and the flexibility of the mortgage. Each lender will have different criteria and offers, so what might be the best deal for one person might not be the same for another.

Buying a house in London as a single person

Buying a house in London as a single person requires a strategic approach. You’ll need to assess your financial capabilities carefully, including your income, savings, and monthly expenses, to determine what you can afford. This budgeting is crucial as you’ll be relying on a single income. Exploring various mortgage options and lenders is essential to find the best deal for your financial situation.

Your property choice might lean towards smaller properties like studios or one-bedroom flats, considering the high property prices in London. It’s also wise to look into available government schemes that could make home ownership more feasible, such as Shared Ownership. Consider your long-term plans and how your chosen property fits into these. Don’t forget to account for additional costs like stamp duty, conveyancing fees, and maintenance. Lastly, having a support system during the buying process and for future property maintenance can be incredibly beneficial.

Can I get a mortgage in London with bad credit?

Getting a mortgage with bad credit in London is possible, but it comes with certain challenges and considerations. Lenders will closely examine your credit history, typically looking back at least six years. They assess various aspects of your credit report, including your debt level, repayment history, and any instances of bankruptcy, IVAs, DROs, Debt Management Plans, or CCJs.

With bad credit, you might face higher interest rates and be asked for a larger deposit, often around 20-25% of the property’s value, compared to the standard 5-10%. This is because lenders view lower credit scores as higher risk. Some lenders are more lenient with minor credit issues, especially if they occurred a few years back and your recent financial behaviour has been responsible.

Mortgage lenders will also consider other factors such as your age, income, employment status, and the type of property you plan to buy. Your ability to afford the mortgage repayments, alongside your other financial commitments, is crucial in their assessment.

To improve your chances of getting a mortgage with bad credit, it’s advisable to:

    • Regularly review and correct your credit report.

    • Meet all your regular payment obligations on time.

    • Manage your available credit responsibly and avoid frequent borrowing.

    • Minimize your monthly outgoings to show financial stability.

    • Consider adding a note of correction to your credit report if there are good explanations for past difficulties.

    • Check your eligibility with lenders or use services like Experian to understand your credit situation better.

    • Seek advice from a mortgage broker who specializes in bad credit mortgages, as they can guide you towards lenders who are more likely to accept your application.

Remember, each lender has different criteria, and some specialize in lending to individuals with poor credit. A mortgage broker can be particularly helpful in navigating this more complex market.

How much is stamp duty for first-time buyers?

For first-time buyers in London, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is calculated based on the property’s purchase price. As of now, first-time buyers don’t pay any Stamp Duty on properties up to £425,000. For properties costing between £425,000 and £625,000, they pay 5% on the amount over £425,000. If the property’s price exceeds £625,000, standard Stamp Duty rates apply, and the first-time buyer relief doesn’t apply. It’s important to check the most current rates and rules, as they can change.

How to save for a deposit for a house in London

To save for a house deposit in London:

    • Budget and Prioritize: Track your expenses, prioritize savings, and set realistic goals.

    • Reduce Costs: Cut unnecessary expenses and consider cheaper living options.

    • Increase Income: Look for higher-paying jobs, side hustles, or overtime work.

    • Savings Account: Use a high-interest savings account or ISA for your deposit.

    • Government Schemes: Consider schemes like Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA for bonus contributions.

    • Financial Advice: Seek professional financial advice for personalized strategies.
      Remember, property prices in London are high, so starting early and being consistent with savings is key.

Benefits of hiring a mortgage broker

Hiring a mortgage broker when searching for mortgages for first-time buyers in London offers several benefits:

    • Expertise and experience: Mortgage brokers possess in-depth knowledge of the mortgage market, enabling them to find deals that best suit your specific needs and financial situation.

    • Access to exclusive deals: Often, brokers have access to exclusive mortgage deals not available directly to consumers, potentially leading to better rates and terms.

    • Time and effort saving: Brokers handle the legwork of searching for mortgages, comparing rates, and understanding terms, which saves you considerable time and effort.

    • Guidance through complex processes: They provide invaluable guidance through the often complex process of mortgage applications, including paperwork and negotiations with lenders.

    • Personalised service: Brokers offer a personalised service, tailoring their search and advice to your unique circumstances, which is especially beneficial for first-time buyers unfamiliar with the process.

In summary, using a mortgage broker can simplify your journey, provide access to a broader range of products, and enhance your chances of securing a mortgage that’s right for you.


Do I need a guarantor for a first-time buyer mortgage in London?

No, a guarantor is not a requirement for a first-time buyer mortgage in London. However, having a guarantor can be beneficial if your credit history is limited or if your income does not meet the lender’s requirements. A guarantor, often a family member, agrees to cover the mortgage payments if you’re unable to do so.

What type of first-time home buyer mortgage should I choose?

The choice depends on your financial situation and preferences. Common options include fixed-rate mortgages, offering stability in repayments, and variable-rate mortgages, which might offer lower initial rates but can fluctuate. Consider factors like your income stability, risk tolerance, and future plans. Consulting a mortgage advisor can provide tailored advice.

Is it a good time to buy a house in London?

The decision to buy a house in London depends on individual circumstances, market conditions, and personal readiness. Factors like market trends, interest rates, and your financial readiness should be considered. London’s property market can be competitive and expensive, so it’s essential to research and ensure financial stability before proceeding.

How long should I fix my mortgage for?

The duration to fix your mortgage depends on your circumstances and the market. Common terms are 2, 5, or 10 years. Shorter fixed terms often have lower rates but less stability, while longer terms offer consistent payments but might have higher rates. Consider your financial stability, future plans, and market conditions.

Do I need a survey and searches?

Yes, surveys and property searches are essential parts of buying a home. They uncover any potential issues with the property’s structure or with legal aspects like boundaries and local plans.

Can I borrow the Stamp Duty payment and add it to my mortgage?

Generally, Stamp Duty payments are not added to mortgages. However, you can increase your mortgage amount to cover Stamp Duty, but this depends on the lender’s criteria and your affordability.

What does leasehold mean?

Leasehold means you own the property, usually a flat, for a set period but not the land it’s on. You may pay ground rent and service charges, and there can be restrictions on what you can do with the property.

Is it possible to buy a house in London as a first-time buyer?

Yes, it is possible for first-time buyers to purchase a house in London, though it can be challenging due to high property prices. Many first-time buyers use government schemes like Shared Ownership or Help to Buy (if available) to make the process more affordable. Saving for a larger deposit, exploring various mortgage options, and considering different locations within London can also make homeownership more attainable.

What is the difference between exchange and completion?

In property transactions, ‘exchange’ refers to when both the buyer and seller legally commit to the transaction through the exchange of contracts. At this point, the deal becomes legally binding. ‘Completion’ is when the transaction is finalized; the buyer pays the remaining balance, the legal ownership is transferred to the buyer, and the keys are handed over. Completion often occurs a few weeks after the exchange.

Continue Reading