My partner and I would like to get onto the housing ladder. We have good jobs and credit histories and have built up £30,000 for a deposit, thanks to savings and gifts from our parents. We’ve never tackled getting a mortgage before: how do we go about finding out how much we can borrow as first-time buyers?

North Norfolk News: Diane Fish, mortgage and equity release adviser with Smith & PinchingDiane Fish, mortgage and equity release adviser with Smith & Pinching (Image: Smith & Pinching)

Diane Fish of Smith & Pinching responds:

The amount that you can borrow will depend on a wide range of factors. Potential lenders usually base their decisions on affordability, so will need to look at your income and normal expenditure, as well as factors such as your age and credit history. There will be other areas to explore too: you may, for example, want to look at the number of years that a mortgage will run, which is known as its term. The longer the term of the mortgage, the lower the repayments are likely to be.

I suggest you sit down with an independent mortgage adviser to go through your finances so that you can work out the level of mortgage you can afford.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme for first-time buyers is closing to new applications on October 31, 2022. In its place, the government is introducing the First Homes Scheme. Under the new scheme, eligible buyers can buy a new build property registered for the scheme (or one that was part of the scheme and is being resold) for 30pc to 50pc less than its market value. You must both be aged at least 18 and be able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home. However, your household income mustn’t exceed £80,000 (£90,000 in London) and the value of the home you are buying after the discount has been applied is capped at £250,000 (£420,000 in London).

The scheme is only available in England and is administered by local councils which may have additional eligibility criteria that prioritise certain people – key workers and those on low incomes, for example. There will be a limited number of properties available through the First Homes Scheme and you can only sell the home to another person who qualifies for the scheme.

There are other options that may help. Shared ownership schemes are usually provided by councils or housing associations and may be new properties or those being resold through a shared ownership resale scheme.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage. We do not offer deals that you can only obtain by going direct to a lender. There will be a fee for the mortgage advice. The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances, and the type of lending taken. Smith & Pinching’s minimum advice fee is £950. Any opinions expressed in this article do not constitute advice.

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