Securing a first time buyer mortgage for a single person

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Discover how a first-time buyer mortgage for a single person can be within your reach.
First time buyer mortgage for a single person

Finding a first-time buyer mortgage for a single person can initially appear overwhelming. There are many more complexities in the process that exactly address the specific financial circumstances that individual buyers in the UK property market face.

Whether you’re self-employed, concerned about your bad credit score, or simply seeking the most advantageous route to step onto the property ladder, this guide offers valuable insights tailored to the aspirations and challenges of purchasing a home solo in today’s market.

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Can I get a first-time buyer mortgage as a single person?

Of course, a single person can secure a first-time buyer mortgage. Securing a mortgage as a single first-time buyer is similar to that of couples or co-buyers. Lenders consider multiple factors when determining mortgage eligibility, including your credit score, income, employment status, debts, and deposit size.

As a single applicant, the lender will only take into account your individual income. This may have an impact on the maximum amount you can borrow, especially when compared to couples who have the advantage of combining their financial resources. However, many banks and building societies have extensive experience in assisting single applicants and provide a variety of mortgage options.

In addition, the UK government provides various programmes designed to assist individuals who are purchasing a home for the first time, including shared ownership. These schemes can greatly benefit individuals who are looking to make the most of their purchasing power, especially those who are buying on their own. They have the potential to lower the deposit needed, making homeownership more attainable for single individuals.

It is crucial for single applicants to thoroughly prepare before applying for a mortgage in the UK. This preparation could include setting aside more money for a larger deposit to secure more favorable mortgage rates, paying off any remaining debts, and conducting thorough research on various mortgage options and lenders to find the most suitable offer for your situation.

What are the eligibility criteria for getting a mortgage as a single person in the UK?

The eligibility criteria for obtaining a mortgage as a single person in the UK are largely consistent with those applied to couples or joint applicants, with the main difference being that the financial assessment is based solely on one income instead of two. Here are the key factors that lenders will consider when assessing your mortgage application:

Income and employment: Your income is one of the primary factors lenders look at to determine your ability to afford mortgage repayments. This includes your salary and any other regular income you may have. Lenders will also consider the stability and permanence of your employment.

Credit score and credit history: A good credit score and clean credit history are crucial for mortgage approval. Lenders use this information to assess your reliability as a borrower. Missed payments, excessive debt, and other negative marks on your credit report can affect your eligibility.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): This measures your total monthly debt payments against your gross monthly income. Lenders use DTI to assess your ability to manage monthly payments and repay debts. A lower DTI ratio is preferable.

Deposit size: The size of your deposit significantly influences mortgage eligibility. A larger deposit usually results in better mortgage rates and increases your chances of approval. Most lenders require a minimum deposit of 5-10% of the property’s value, though a higher deposit, typically around 15-20%, can offer more competitive interest rates and terms.

Age: Some lenders have age limits for mortgage applications or for the mortgage term’s end. Typically, they require the mortgage to be paid off before you reach a certain age, often around 70 or 75.

Property value and type: The property you’re planning to buy also affects your mortgage eligibility. Lenders conduct a valuation to ensure the property is worth the investment and may have restrictions on certain types of properties.

Affordability assessment: Beyond the basic criteria, lenders conduct an affordability assessment considering your living expenses, financial commitments, and how changes in interest rates might affect your ability to keep up with mortgage repayments.

Meeting these criteria doesn’t guarantee mortgage approval, as lenders have their own policies and assessment methods. It’s advisable to check your credit report, save for a substantial deposit, and possibly consult with a mortgage advisor to understand how you can meet these criteria effectively. Preparing thoroughly can improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage as a single person in the UK.

What is the minimum deposit I need as a single first-time buyer in the UK?

The minimum deposit needed for a single first-time buyer can differ based on the lender, the specific mortgage product, and the overall housing market conditions. In the past, it has been common for mortgage lenders to ask first-time buyers to provide a minimum deposit of 5% to 10% of the property’s purchase price. Nevertheless, these figures may vary depending on economic conditions and the lending criteria.

Over the past few years, various initiatives and mortgage products have been introduced to assist first-time buyers and boost the housing market. These measures enable buyers to make lower deposits, making homeownership more accessible.

It’s important to mention that although lower deposit options are available, choosing a larger deposit can have benefits. A larger deposit can often lead to more favourable mortgage rates and terms, lower monthly payments, and a higher chance of getting approved for a mortgage. So, if you have the means to provide a deposit larger than the minimum requirement, it could be advantageous in the long run.

Are there any lenders in the UK that are more favourable towards single borrowers?

In the UK, most mortgage lenders are open to applications from single borrowers, and there isn’t a specific set of lenders that exclusively favour single applicants over couples or joint applicants. However, certain lenders may have more flexible criteria or offer products that are more suited to the financial situations commonly faced by single borrowers. The key for single applicants is to find a mortgage deal that best fits their individual circumstances, taking into account their income, affordability, and the size of the deposit they can provide.

High street banks

Many high street banks have a range of mortgage products that cater to first-time buyers, including single applicants. These banks often have dedicated mortgage advisors who can provide guidance tailored to your situation.

Building societies

Building societies are known for their customer-focused approach and may offer more personalised service. They sometimes have more flexibility in their lending criteria, which can be beneficial for single borrowers who might not fit the standard profile sought by larger banks.

Specialist lenders

Specialist lenders cater to segments of the market that are underserved by traditional banks, including those with unique employment situations, irregular income, or less than perfect credit histories. These lenders might be more willing to consider individual circumstances and offer more tailored mortgage products.

Online and challenger banks

Some of the newer online and challenger banks in the UK are also worth considering. They often use modern technology to streamline the application process and may offer competitive rates and innovative products that appeal to single buyers.

Government schemes

It’s also important for single borrowers to explore mortgages available through government schemes designed to help first-time buyers, such as Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, or the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme. These can sometimes offer more favourable terms, including lower deposit requirements, which might make getting onto the property ladder more accessible for single applicants.

Finding the right lender

The best approach for single borrowers is to shop around and compare mortgage products from various lenders. Consider using comparison websites, consulting with a mortgage broker who can offer advice and highlight lenders with favourable terms for single applicants, or directly contacting banks and building societies to inquire about their offerings. A mortgage broker, in particular, can be invaluable as they have insight into which lenders may be more favourably inclined towards single borrowers based on your specific financial profile and circumstances.

What documents do I need to apply for a mortgage as a single first-time buyer?

When applying for a mortgage as a single first-time buyer in the UK, you’ll need to provide a range of documents to support your application. These documents help lenders assess your financial situation, verify your identity, and determine your eligibility for a mortgage. Here’s a list of the typical documents you might need to gather:

  • A valid passport or driving licence to verify your identity.
  • Recent utility bills or council tax bills as proof of your current address.
  • For non-UK nationals, evidence of your right to live and work in the UK may also be required.

Proof of income

  • Recent payslips (usually the last three to six months) if you’re employed. This proves your salary and any additional income, such as bonuses or overtime.
  • The last two or three years’ P60 forms from your employer, showing your annual income.
  • If you’re self-employed, you’ll need the last two or three years’ worth of SA302 forms or tax returns and your accountant’s details. Some lenders may also require a certified profit and loss statement.

Bank statements

Bank statements from the last three to six months for all your current and savings accounts. These show your spending habits, regular outgoings, and how you manage your finances.

Proof of deposit

Evidence of your savings or any funds being used for the deposit, such as savings account statements.

Credit liabilities

Details of any outstanding loans, credit card statements, or other credit commitments to assess your existing financial obligations.

Proof of current rent and utilities payments

If applicable, evidence of your current rental payments and utility bills can be useful, especially for first-time buyers, as it demonstrates your ability to manage regular payments.

Employment details

Your employer’s contact details for verification purposes and, if you’ve recently changed jobs, details of your previous employer.

Proof of continuous employment

For certain types of employment or self-employment, you may need to provide additional evidence of job security or ongoing contracts.

It’s essential to be as accurate and thorough as possible when gathering these documents. Lenders use this information to verify your identity, assess your creditworthiness, and understand your financial situation. The specific documents required can vary between lenders, so it’s a good idea to check with your chosen lender or mortgage advisor for a precise list tailored to your circumstances. Preparation and organisation can significantly smooth the application process for your mortgage as a single first-time buyer.

How much can I realistically afford to borrow as a single person, considering my income and expenses?

To determine how much you can realistically afford to borrow as a single person, considering your income and expenses, you can follow a general guideline that lenders often use when assessing mortgage affordability. This process involves evaluating your income, existing debts, and living expenses. While specific criteria may vary between lenders, here’s a basic approach to estimate your borrowing capacity:

Step 1: Calculate your net monthly income

Sum up all your monthly income sources after taxes, including your salary, bonuses, commissions, and any other regular income such as rental income or dividends.

Step 2: Determine your monthly expenses and financial commitments

List all your monthly outgoings, including:

  • Rent or current mortgage payments
  • Loan repayments (personal loans, car loans, etc.)
  • Credit card payments
  • Utility bills (gas, electricity, water)
  • Council tax
  • Insurance premiums (car, health, life)
  • Living expenses (food, transport, entertainment)
  • Savings or investments

Step 3: Calculate your disposable income

Subtract your monthly expenses from your net monthly income. The remaining amount is your disposable income, which gives you an idea of how much you could afford for monthly mortgage repayments.

Step 4: Consider the impact of interest rates

Keep in mind that interest rates can affect the amount you can borrow. Higher rates mean higher monthly repayments. Use online mortgage calculators to estimate how changes in interest rates could affect your repayments.

Step 5: Apply the rule of thumb

A general rule of thumb is that your mortgage payments should not exceed 28-30% of your gross monthly income, and your total debt payments (including the mortgage) should not exceed 36-40% of your gross monthly income.

Step 6: Factor in the deposit

The size of your deposit also significantly affects how much you can borrow. A larger deposit not only reduces the amount you need to borrow but can also help you secure better mortgage rates.

Example calculation:

Let’s say your net monthly income is £2,500, and your monthly expenses total £1,000. Your disposable income is £1,500. If you adhere to the guideline that mortgage repayments should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income, and assuming your gross monthly income is £3,000, then your maximum for mortgage repayments would be around £900.

However, this is a simplified example. Lenders use detailed affordability assessments that consider your specific financial circumstances. They’ll also factor in potential interest rate rises to ensure you could still afford the mortgage if rates go up.

Are there any mortgage deals specifically for single first-time buyers in the UK?

In the UK, while there are no mortgage products exclusively branded as “for single first-time buyers,” many mortgage deals are particularly well-suited to meet the needs of first-time buyers, including those applying on their own. Lenders and government schemes offer various options designed to make entering the property market more accessible and affordable for first-time purchasers, regardless of their marital or partnership status. Here’s an overview of what’s typically available:

Government schemes

Several government initiatives are particularly beneficial for single first-time buyers looking to maximise their purchasing power:

Shared Ownership: Buyers can purchase a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. This can significantly lower the deposit requirement and monthly payments.

First Homes Scheme: Aimed at local first-time buyers and key workers, offering homes at a discount of at least 30% compared to the market price.

High loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages

High LTV mortgages, which require smaller deposits (often around 5-10%), can be particularly appealing to single first-time buyers who may find it challenging to save for a larger deposit. These deals enable buyers to get on the property ladder sooner, though it’s worth noting that higher LTV mortgages typically come with higher interest rates.

Fixed-rate mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages can offer stability and predictability in monthly payments, which is crucial for single earners budgeting on a single income. Knowing exactly how much needs to be paid each month can make financial planning easier for first-time buyers.

Guarantor mortgages

Some single first-time buyers may opt for a guarantor mortgage, where a family member or friend guarantees to cover the mortgage payments if the buyer is unable to do so. This can sometimes enable the buyer to borrow more than they would be able to based on their income alone.

Professional mortgages

Certain lenders offer specialised mortgage products for professionals (e.g., doctors, lawyers, accountants) with favourable terms, acknowledging the stability and earning potential associated with these professions. While not exclusive to singles or first-time buyers, single professionals might find these deals particularly advantageous.

When searching for the best mortgage deal as a single first-time buyer, it’s important to shop around and consider all options. Using comparison websites, consulting with a mortgage advisor, or directly contacting banks and building societies can help uncover the best deals based on your individual circumstances and financial situation. Remember, the right mortgage deal for you will depend on your unique needs, including how much you can afford to borrow, the size of your deposit, and your long-term financial goals.

What are the additional costs associated with buying a property as a single person in the UK?

Buying a property in the UK involves several additional costs beyond the purchase price, and being a single buyer means you’ll be covering these expenses on your own. It’s crucial to budget for these additional costs to avoid any surprises during the home-buying process. Here’s an overview of the key expenses you should be aware of:

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

Stamp Duty is a tax paid on properties purchased over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland. The threshold and rates can vary, and there are sometimes discounts for first-time buyers. Scotland and Wales have their own versions of this tax, known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland and Land Transaction Tax (LTT) in Wales.

Valuation Fees

Lenders usually require a valuation to ensure the property is worth the amount you’re paying. The cost can vary depending on the property value and the lender.

Survey fees

Beyond the basic lender’s valuation, it’s wise to have a more detailed survey done to check for any structural problems. The cost depends on the level of detail, ranging from a basic home condition survey to a full structural survey.

You will need a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of buying a property. Their fees can include conveyancing, search fees, and registering the property in your name. Costs vary widely based on the property and the complexity of the transaction.

Mortgage arrangement and broker fees

Some lenders charge a fee for arranging the mortgage, and if you use a mortgage broker, they may charge a fee for their services. These fees can sometimes be added to your mortgage, but this would mean you pay interest on them over the term of the loan.


Building insurance is typically required by your lender, and you might also consider contents insurance and life insurance, which will have ongoing costs.

Moving costs

Don’t forget the cost of physically moving your belongings to the new property. This can vary based on how far you’re moving and how much stuff you have.

Furnishing and decorating

As a first-time buyer, you may also need to allocate funds for furnishing and decorating your new home to your taste.

Maintenance and repairs

Owning a home means you’re responsible for all maintenance and repairs, which can vary greatly in cost. It’s wise to have a contingency fund for unexpected issues.

Utility bills, Council tax, and Service charges

Running a home involves regular payments for utilities, council tax, and possibly service charges or ground rent if you’re buying a leasehold property.

Given the significant financial commitment, it’s important for single buyers, in particular, to carefully budget for these costs. Planning and saving for these additional expenses early in the home-buying process can help ensure a smoother transition to homeownership.

Are there any online resources or tools specifically designed for single first-time buyers in the UK?

For single first-time buyers in the UK, several online resources and tools can provide invaluable assistance throughout the home-buying process. These resources offer a range of services, from financial advice and mortgage calculators to government scheme details and legal guidance. Here are some key online resources designed to support single first-time buyers:


Which? provides comprehensive advice on choosing the right mortgage, understanding the costs associated with buying a home, and navigating the home-buying process. Their mortgage comparison tool helps you compare deals from different lenders based on your specific circumstances.

Government websites

The UK government’s own websites (such as GOV.UK in England, and equivalent sites for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) provide up-to-date information on available government schemes for first-time buyers, including Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, and the First Homes scheme. These sites offer calculators and eligibility criteria to help you understand which schemes you might qualify for.

The Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service offers free and impartial money advice, including a suite of mortgage calculators to help you work out your budget, how much you can afford to borrow, and the impact of interest rate changes. They also have guides on every step of the home-buying process, tailored to first-time buyers.

Rightmove and Zoopla

While primarily property search engines, Rightmove and Zoopla also offer valuable resources for first-time buyers, including area guides, average property prices, and mortgage calculators. These tools can help you research where to buy and what you can afford.

Local council websites

Your local council’s website can provide information about local initiatives for first-time buyers, including affordable housing schemes and local criteria for government programs.

Using these online resources and tools can significantly ease the process of buying your first home. They offer a wealth of information at your fingertips, helping you make informed decisions and potentially saving you time and money. It’s always a good idea to explore a range of resources to gather as much information as possible before making any decisions.

I have a good income but limited savings. What mortgage options are available to me?

If you have a good income but limited savings, there are several mortgage options and strategies available to you as a potential homebuyer in the UK. These options can help you overcome the hurdle of a smaller deposit, making homeownership more accessible:

High Loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages

High LTV mortgages require a smaller deposit, sometimes as low as 5% of the property’s purchase price. While these mortgages typically come with higher interest rates and potentially higher monthly repayments, your good income may comfortably cover these costs.

Government Schemes

As mentioned earlier, several government schemes are designed to help first-time buyers and those with smaller deposits:

Shared Ownership: This scheme allows you to buy a share of a property (between 25% and 75% of its value) and pay rent on the remaining share. You can buy more shares in the property over time, a process known as staircasing.

Guarantor mortgages

A guarantor mortgage involves a family member or close friend agreeing to be liable for the mortgage payments if you’re unable to make them. This can make lenders more willing to offer you a mortgage with a smaller deposit, as the guarantor provides additional security.

Family springboard mortgages

Similar to guarantor mortgages, these products allow family members to help you onto the property ladder without gifting you a deposit directly. Instead, they deposit savings into an account linked to your mortgage. Their money is held as security for a fixed period, after which it’s returned to them with interest, provided you keep up with your mortgage payments.

Professional mortgages

If you’re in a profession with a strong career trajectory (such as law, medicine, or accounting), some lenders offer professional mortgages. These can come with more favourable terms, including higher borrowing amounts or lower deposit requirements, based on the expectation of your future income increases.

100% mortgages

While rare and often coming with stringent criteria, some lenders may offer 100% mortgages that require no deposit. These typically involve a guarantor or a family member providing collateral.

When considering these options, it’s important to thoroughly assess the long-term affordability of the mortgage, especially with high LTV loans that come with higher interest rates. Consulting with a mortgage broker can be beneficial, as they can offer tailored advice and help you navigate the wide range of products available. They can also assist you in finding lenders who are more receptive to your financial situation, maximising your chances of securing a mortgage that fits your needs.

I have bad credit. Can I still get a mortgage as a single first-time buyer?

Getting a mortgage as a single first-time buyer with bad credit can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Your credit history is one of the key factors lenders consider when assessing your mortgage application because it indicates how reliably you’ve managed debt in the past. However, there are still avenues you can explore to secure a mortgage, even with a less-than-ideal credit history.

Some lenders specialise in providing mortgages to individuals with bad credit. These specialist or subprime lenders are more willing to consider applications from people who have had financial difficulties, including missed payments, defaults, or CCJs (County Court Judgments). However, it’s important to note that mortgages from these lenders often come with higher interest rates and fees, reflecting the increased risk the lender is taking.

A mortgage broker can be particularly valuable if you have bad credit. They have experience with a wide range of lenders, including those who are more likely to accept applications from people with bad credit. A broker can advise you on the best approach for your specific situation and help you find a suitable mortgage product.

It’s essential to be realistic and cautious when considering a mortgage with bad credit. Higher interest rates and fees can significantly impact the affordability of your mortgage over time. Always carefully assess your financial situation and consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or mortgage broker to ensure you make the best decision for your circumstances.

I’m buying a property with a friend/family member, but not as joint owners. What should I be aware of?

Buying a property with a friend or family member without becoming joint owners involves a different set of considerations and legal arrangements, typically known as “tenants in common” in the UK. This method of property ownership allows each party to own a specified share of the property, which can be unequal, and for these shares to be passed on according to their will upon death rather than automatically transferring to the other owner(s) as is the case with joint tenancy. Here are some key points to be aware of when buying a property in this way:

It’s crucial to have a clear legal agreement outlining each party’s contribution to the purchase price, ongoing expenses (such as mortgage payments, maintenance, and insurance), and what happens if one party wants to sell their share or if circumstances change (e.g., one owner wants to move out or can no longer contribute financially). This agreement should be drafted by a solicitor to ensure that all legal aspects are covered and that the agreement is binding.

Ownership shares

Decide how you will split the ownership shares of the property. This can be based on the amount each party contributes to the purchase price and can affect how proceeds are divided if the property is sold or how equity is divided if one party wishes to buy out the other. These shares should be clearly documented in your legal agreement.

Mortgage considerations

Getting a mortgage when buying as tenants in common can be more complex. Both parties’ financial situations will be considered by the lender, and both will be jointly responsible for the mortgage repayments, even if you have agreed otherwise privately. It’s essential to discuss how mortgage payments will be divided, especially if one party’s financial situation changes.

Future sales

Agree in advance on what will happen if one party wants to sell their share. This could include giving the other owner the first option to buy the share or agreeing on how a new buyer will be found. This agreement should be part of your legal documentation.


As tenants in common, you can leave your share of the property to anyone you choose in your will. It’s important to have a will in place to ensure your share of the property is distributed according to your wishes upon death. Without a will, your share will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which may not align with your intentions.

Relationship changes

Consider what will happen if the relationship between the owners changes, for any reason. The legal agreement should cover how disputes will be resolved and provide a mechanism for one party to exit the arrangement if necessary.

Buying a property with a friend or family member without becoming joint owners requires careful planning and clear legal advice. It’s essential to have everything documented formally to protect all parties involved and to ensure that the property ownership is structured in a way that meets everyone’s needs and expectations. Consulting with a solicitor experienced in property law is an important step in this process.

I’m considering buying a shared ownership property as a single person. What are the pros and cons?

Buying a shared ownership property as a single person can be an appealing option, especially in markets where property prices are high and accumulating a significant deposit for a conventional purchase is challenging. Shared ownership schemes allow you to buy a share of a property (typically between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share, which is usually owned by a housing association. This can make homeownership more accessible, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons:


Lower deposit requirement: Because you’re only purchasing a portion of the property, the deposit required is significantly lower than it would be for buying a home outright, making this an attractive option for those with limited savings.

Reduced monthly costs: Your monthly mortgage payments will be lower since they only cover the share of the property you own. The rent on the remaining share is typically below market rate, helping keep overall monthly housing costs more affordable.

Opportunity to increase ownership: Many shared ownership schemes offer the option to “staircase,” which means you can buy additional shares of the property over time, up to 100% in many cases. This flexibility allows you to increase your equity in the home as your financial situation improves.

Accessibility: Shared ownership schemes are designed to help those who might not otherwise be able to afford to buy a home, making it easier for singles, first-time buyers, or lower-income individuals to get onto the property ladder.

Limited eligibility and availability: Shared ownership properties are typically available through specific schemes with eligibility criteria, such as income limits or first-time buyer status. Additionally, the availability of suitable properties can be limited depending on your location.

Additional costs: While you pay a reduced rent on the portion of the property you don’t own, you’re still responsible for all maintenance and service charges, which can add up. It’s important to factor these additional costs into your budget.

Selling can be more complex: Selling a shared ownership property can be more complicated than selling a wholly owned home. You’ll usually need to give the housing association the first option to buy it back, and there may be restrictions on how you can sell and to whom.

Staircasing costs: While the option to staircase and increase your ownership share is a benefit, it can also be costly. You’ll need to pay for a new valuation each time, and the price of additional shares will reflect the current market value of the property, which could be significantly higher than when you first bought in.

Mortgage and rent: Even though the rent is typically below market rate, you’re still paying both rent and a mortgage, which may impact your ability to save or invest in other areas.

Buying a shared ownership property as a single person offers a viable path to homeownership, particularly in expensive markets. However, it’s crucial to carefully consider the ongoing costs, the potential complexities of selling, and the long-term implications of such an investment. Consulting with a financial advisor or a mortgage broker familiar with shared ownership schemes can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific situation.

How do I compare different mortgage deals as a single first-time buyer?

Comparing different mortgage deals as a single first-time buyer can be a complex process, given the variety of factors that affect the total cost and suitability of a mortgage for your personal circumstances. Here are some key steps and considerations to help you effectively compare mortgage offers:

Determine what you can afford

Before comparing mortgage deals, assess your financial situation to determine how much you can afford to borrow and what you can pay monthly. Consider your income, debts, and other financial commitments, as well as the additional costs associated with buying a home, like stamp duty, solicitor fees, and moving expenses.

Understand different mortgage types

Learn about the various types of mortgages available, including fixed-rate, variable-rate (which includes tracker and standard variable rate), and interest-only mortgages. Each has its pros and cons, affecting your monthly payments and the total cost over time.

Use mortgage comparison tools

Online mortgage comparison tools can help you see a range of deals from different lenders based on your borrowing needs. These tools often allow you to adjust factors like the mortgage amount, term, and type, giving you an idea of the monthly payments and interest rates available.

Look beyond the interest rate

While the interest rate is a crucial factor, also consider other aspects:

Fees: Some mortgages offer lower interest rates but come with higher fees, which can affect the overall cost. Pay attention to arrangement fees, booking fees, and any other charges.

Flexibility: Features like overpayment options, payment holidays, and the ability to port your mortgage if you move house can be valuable depending on your needs.

Term length: The length of the mortgage term affects your monthly payments and the total amount of interest you’ll pay over time.

Consider the APRC

The Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) provides a way to compare the overall cost of loans, as it includes both the interest rate and any mandatory fees that will be paid over the lifetime of the loan. This can be a helpful metric for comparing different mortgage offers on a like-for-like basis.

Get a mortgage agreement in principle

A mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) can give you a better idea of how much a lender might be willing to offer you and on what terms, based on a preliminary assessment of your financial situation. While not a firm offer, it can guide your property search and negotiations with sellers.

Read the fine print

Carefully review the terms and conditions of any mortgage offer, including penalties for early repayment or changes to interest rates after introductory periods.

What are the pros and cons of buying a property alone vs. with a co-buyer for single first-time buyers?

Buying a property, whether alone or with a co-buyer, is a significant decision that comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. For single first-time buyers, this decision is particularly important as it affects not just financial aspects but also lifestyle and future flexibility. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of buying alone versus with a co-buyer:

Buying alone


Full control: Owning a property alone means having complete control over decisions related to the property, including decoration, renovations, and selling.

Simplicity in ownership: Without the need to coordinate with others, you have a straightforward ownership structure, making legal and financial matters more manageable.

Equity and investment returns: Any increase in the property’s value benefits you directly, allowing you to build equity and potentially earn a return on your investment solely for yourself.

Privacy and independence: Buying alone offers more privacy and independence, which can be particularly appealing to those who value their own space.


Financial burden: All financial responsibilities, including the mortgage, bills, and maintenance costs, fall on you, which can be a significant burden, especially in times of financial uncertainty or if unexpected expenses arise.

Qualifying for a mortgage: It might be more challenging to qualify for a mortgage on a single income, potentially limiting the amount you can borrow and the properties you can afford.

Risk: You bear all the risk if property values decline or if you face financial difficulties.

Buying with a co-buyer


Shared financial responsibility: Costs are shared, making it easier to afford a larger mortgage or a better property. This can also make bills, maintenance, and deposit contributions more manageable.

Increased borrowing power: Combined incomes can increase the amount you’re able to borrow, potentially opening up a wider range of properties or more desirable locations.

Support system: Having a co-buyer means you have someone to share the responsibilities and decision-making with, which can be a significant advantage in managing the property.

Flexibility in future investment: Pooling resources can be a stepping stone to future property investments, as it might allow you to enter the property market sooner than if you were buying alone.


Complexity in ownership: Joint ownership introduces complexity in decision-making and legal ownership, especially if one party wants to sell or if relationships change.

Financial dependence: You’re reliant on the financial stability and commitment of your co-buyer. If they encounter financial difficulties, it could impact your ability to meet mortgage payments and other financial obligations.

Potential for disputes: Differences in lifestyle, financial priorities, or future goals can lead to disputes, which might affect both your living situation and your investment.

Complicated exit strategy: Selling the property or buying out the co-buyer can be complex and may require legal assistance to resolve ownership and financial contributions fairly.

Whether buying alone or with a co-buyer, it’s crucial to carefully consider your financial stability, long-term goals, and the dynamics of any potential co-buying relationship. Consulting with financial and legal professionals can help you navigate these decisions and choose the path that best suits your circumstances.

What types of properties are most attainable for single first-time buyers?

For single first-time buyers, certain types of properties tend to be more attainable due to their affordability, availability, and the lower financial burden they represent. While the best choice depends on personal circumstances, budget, and housing market conditions, here are some common options that single first-time buyers often consider:

Apartments and flats

Apartments or flats, especially those located in urban areas, are popular among single first-time buyers. They often come at a lower price point compared to detached or semi-detached houses, making them a more accessible entry point into the property market. Additionally, apartments in city centers or close to public transportation can offer added value through convenience and lifestyle benefits.

Studio or one-bedroom units

Studio or one-bedroom units are particularly suited to single buyers due to their size and cost. These properties typically require a smaller deposit and have lower ongoing maintenance and utility costs, aligning well with the financial capabilities of an individual buyer.

Shared ownership properties

Shared ownership schemes allow buyers to purchase a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remainder. This can significantly lower the initial deposit required and make monthly payments more manageable. Over time, buyers can increase their share, a process known as staircasing, making it a flexible option for first-time buyers growing their investment gradually.

Ex-Local authority properties

Properties formerly owned by local authorities can offer good value for money. They are often more spacious than similarly priced private sector homes and can be found in a range of locations. While some buyers may be concerned about resale value, these properties can be an affordable way to get on the property ladder.

New build homes

New build homes might be available through schemes like Help to Buy, offering equity loans to first-time buyers that reduce the deposit needed. While the upfront cost might be higher compared to older properties, new builds come with warranties, often have lower repair and maintenance costs in the first few years, and can be more energy-efficient, potentially saving money in the long term.

Auction properties

Buying a property at auction can sometimes allow you to secure a home at a lower price than you would through the traditional market. However, this route requires thorough research, a good understanding of the auction process, and readiness to move quickly. It’s also important to factor in the cost of any necessary renovations.

When considering what type of property to buy, single first-time buyers should also think about long-term needs, potential for appreciation, and how easy it will be to sell or rent out the property in the future. It’s advisable to conduct thorough research, consider consulting with a real estate agent familiar with the local market, and possibly engage a financial advisor to help navigate the buying process and financing options.

How can I improve my chances of getting approved for a mortgage as a single first-time buyer in the UK?

Improving your chances of getting approved for a mortgage as a single first-time buyer in the UK involves several strategic steps. By focusing on your financial health, understanding what lenders are looking for, and preparing your application carefully, you can significantly increase your likelihood of success. Here are key strategies to consider:

Check and improve your credit score

Your credit score is a crucial factor in mortgage approvals. Obtain a copy of your credit report from the major credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to check for any inaccuracies and understand your credit standing. Work on improving your score by paying bills on time, reducing debt levels, and correcting any mistakes on your report.

Save for a larger deposit

The more you can save for a deposit, the better your chances of mortgage approval. A larger deposit reduces the loan-to-value ratio (LTV), making you a less risky proposition for lenders. Aim for at least a 10-15% deposit, although more is always better.

Manage your debt

Lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio to determine your ability to afford mortgage repayments. Before applying for a mortgage, try to pay down existing debts, including credit cards, loans, and overdrafts. Avoid taking on new debt and keep your credit utilisation low.

Prepare financial documentation

Gather all necessary financial documentation in advance. This includes proof of income (such as payslips and bank statements), proof of employment, and any other financial statements that demonstrate your ability to save and manage money.

Stay within your affordability range

Be realistic about how much you can afford to borrow. Use online mortgage calculators to estimate what you can comfortably repay each month without overstretching your finances. Applying for a mortgage that fits within your budget increases your chances of approval.

Consider a guarantor mortgage

If you’re finding it challenging to secure a mortgage on your own, a guarantor mortgage might be an option. This involves a family member or close friend agreeing to cover the mortgage repayments if you’re unable to do so. Ensure that both you and your guarantor fully understand the implications and commitments.

Explore government schemes

Look into government schemes designed to help first-time buyers, such as Help to Buy, Shared Ownership, or the First Homes scheme. These can offer more favourable terms and require smaller deposits, making it easier to get onto the property ladder.

Maintain stable employment

Lenders value stability, so maintaining steady employment and a consistent income can improve your application. If possible, avoid changing jobs or becoming self-employed just before applying for a mortgage.

Should I use a mortgage broker as a single first-time buyer?

Using a mortgage broker can be particularly advantageous for single first-time buyers for several reasons. Here’s why you might consider enlisting the services of a mortgage broker:

Expertise and advice

Mortgage brokers have specialised knowledge of the market and can provide valuable advice tailored to your specific circumstances. They can explain complex terms and conditions, help you understand different types of mortgages, and advise on what might suit you best based on your financial situation and future plans.

Access to a wide range of deals

Brokers have access to a broad spectrum of mortgage products, including some that are not directly available to consumers. They can compare deals across the market to find one that matches your needs and affordability, potentially saving you time and money.

Help with the application process

Applying for a mortgage can be daunting, especially for a first-time buyer. A broker can help you prepare your application, ensuring that you provide all the necessary documentation and information, which can improve your chances of approval. They can also explain any fees and charges associated with the mortgage.

Specialist lenders for unique situations

If you have unique circumstances, such as being self-employed, having a variable income, or a less-than-perfect credit history, a mortgage broker can help. They know which lenders are more likely to accept your application and can steer you towards those more amenable to your situation.

Saving time

Researching mortgages can be time-consuming. A broker can take on this legwork, presenting you with options that fit your criteria. This can free up your time to focus on finding the right property and preparing for the move.

Negotiating power

Brokers often have established relationships with lenders and may be able to negotiate better rates or terms on your behalf. Their industry knowledge and contacts can be invaluable in securing a deal that might not be otherwise available.

Support throughout the process

A mortgage broker can provide ongoing support, answering questions and offering guidance throughout the buying process. This can be reassuring, especially for those navigating the property market for the first time.


While there are clear benefits, it’s important to be aware that some brokers may charge a fee for their services, although many are compensated through commission by the lender. Ensure you understand any costs involved upfront. Additionally, while brokers have access to many lenders, they may not cover the entire market, so it’s worth asking about their range of lenders.


Are there any financial benefits to buying a property as a single person in the UK?

Yes, there are several financial benefits to buying a property as a single person in the UK. First, as the sole owner, you have complete control over your investment, meaning any increase in property value directly benefits you.

Additionally, owning a property can be more cost-effective than renting in the long term, as monthly mortgage payments can sometimes be lower than rental costs, and you’re investing in your own asset rather than paying someone else’s mortgage. Buying alone also allows you to take advantage of tax benefits, such as being the sole beneficiary of the capital gains tax allowance if you sell the property for a profit.

Moreover, single buyers can still access various government schemes designed to make entering the property market more accessible.

Will being single make it harder for me to get a mortgage compared to a joint application?

Being single can present unique challenges when applying for a mortgage, primarily because lenders will only consider one income when assessing affordability, which might limit the amount you can borrow compared to a joint application. However, this doesn’t necessarily make it harder to get a mortgage. Lenders will look at your overall financial health, including your credit score, employment stability, and debt-to-income ratio. As long as you have a solid financial foundation and can demonstrate that you can afford the mortgage repayments, being single won’t stop you from getting a mortgage. Many lenders and mortgage products cater specifically to single applicants. It’s also worth exploring different types of mortgages and government schemes designed to help first-time buyers.

What are the different types of mortgages available to single first-time buyers in the UK?

Single first-time buyers in the UK have access to a variety of mortgage types, including:

Fixed-Rate Mortgages: Your interest rate stays the same for a set period, typically 2, 5, or 10 years, providing certainty over your monthly payments.
* Variable-Rate Mortgages: The interest rate can change, meaning your monthly payments could go up or down. This category includes tracker mortgages, which follow the Bank of England’s base rate, and standard variable rate (SVR) mortgages, where the rate is set by the lender.
* Discount Mortgages: A type of variable mortgage where you get a discount off the lender’s SVR for a certain period.
* Interest-Only Mortgages: You only pay the interest each month, with the loan amount due at the end of the term. These are less common for first-time buyers due to the high risk of not being able to repay the capital.
* Guarantor Mortgages: A family member or friend guarantees to cover the mortgage payments if you’re unable to, which can help if you’re struggling to meet affordability criteria on your own.

How does my income affect my eligibility for a mortgage as a single first-time buyer in the UK?

Your income is a key factor in determining how much you can borrow for a mortgage. Lenders typically offer loans of up to 4.5 times your annual income, though this can vary. They’ll assess your income stability, type (e.g., salary, self-employed income), and other financial commitments to ensure you can afford the mortgage repayments. A higher income can increase the amount you’re able to borrow, but lenders will also consider your outgoings and creditworthiness.

Can I get a mortgage as a single first-time buyer if I am self-employed?

Yes, self-employed single first-time buyers can get a mortgage, but you’ll need to provide more documentation to prove your income. This typically includes at least two years of certified accounts, SA302 forms or tax year overviews from HMRC, and bank statements. Lenders will look at your average income over the last two to three years to assess affordability. It may be beneficial to work with a mortgage broker familiar with self-employed applications to find lenders more sympathetic to your situation.

Is the Lifetime ISA a good option for single first-time buyers?

The Lifetime ISA (LISA) can be an excellent option for single first-time buyers. It allows you to save up to £4,000 each tax year until you’re 50, with the government adding a 25% bonus to your savings, up to £1,000 per year. The funds can be used to buy your first home (up to £450,000) or saved for retirement. It’s a particularly attractive option for those planning ahead for a deposit, offering a significant boost to your savings. However, there’s a penalty for withdrawing money for any other purpose than buying your first home or after age 60, which is something to consider.

How can single first-time buyers in the UK protect their mortgage payments in case of unemployment or illness?

Single first-time buyers can protect their mortgage payments through several types of insurance:

Income protection insurance: Provides a regular income if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.

Critical illness cover: Offers a lump sum payment if you’re diagnosed with a specific critical illness.

Mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI): Covers your mortgage payments for a period if you’re unable to work due to accident, sickness, or unemployment.

Life insurance: While not directly covering unemployment or illness, it ensures your mortgage is paid off if you die, providing peace of mind.

It’s important to carefully consider the terms and costs of these policies to ensure they fit your needs and budget. Consulting with a financial advisor can help you make informed decisions about the right type of protection for your circumstances.

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