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First-time buyer guide

Preparing to buy your first home is an incredibly exciting time. It can also be a daunting time, so we've put together our team's top advice for first-time buyers, to help you get to grips with the property-buying process so you can get started on buying your new home with Redrow.

From thinking about the right mortgage lender and product for you to getting your deposit and paperwork sorted, there's a lot to think about. So, read our step-by-step guide for first-time buyers to get a helping hand onto the first step of the property ladder.

Guides & FAQs    |    Guides    |    Buying    |    First-time buyer guide

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What to know when buying with Redrow

  • With Redrow, first-time buyers can benefit from a range of schemes to help make the process as smooth as possible - including Deposit Unlock, the First Homes Scheme and Prime Position.
  • We work with a panel of independent new build mortgage specialists who can advise on the best deals and options for first-time buyers.
  • You can visit the Customer Experience Suite at your development or contact our team by phone throughout the process with any questions or queries you may have.

What to think about before becoming a first-time home buyer

If you're asking yourself "am I ready to buy my first home?", then you've already taken the first step to becoming a homeowner! Of course, there are a few more steps that come after deciding you want to buy property, so here are some of the things to consider before you take the journey to home ownership.

  • Decide what type of home you're looking for - for example house vs apartment, detached vs semi-detached.
  • Think about the future - consider where you're likely to want to live in the future and think about things like family planning and growth.
  • Location, location, location - research the area you want to look at and think about amenities, transport, jobs and more.
  • Take a look at your credit score - mortgage lenders will look at your income and credit rating, so it's a good idea to improve this as much as possible before applying.
  • Assess your finances - this one might seem obvious, but you'll need to look at saving for a deposit, how much you can borrow, and affordability for the various costs that come with home buying.

Affording your first home

Becoming a homeowner comes with responsibility, but it also comes with a cost. Before you can even think about browsing new homes, you'll need to start planning and budgeting your money.

Any first-time buyer will need to save up for a deposit, legal fees and conveyancing costs as a first stop. Check out our guide on how much it costs to move home for an overview of the potential fees involved.

Figure out what you can afford

The first step will be understanding how much you can borrow, and the home you can afford. Most mortgage lenders offer online calculators to help you understand how much you can borrow. Redrow’s approved panel of independent new build mortgage specialists can also help with this. You'll also need to think about your consistent outgoings and any financial commitments.

Long-term affordability is one of the many reasons first-time buyers often consider new homes like Redrow’s. As well as being reliably built and guaranteed by new home warranties, new homes can save owners £135 a month on running costs versus older properties.

Our financial guide to buying a house can help with the planning process.

Saving for a deposit

You'll need to pay a deposit to secure your home and mortgage. Minimum deposit amounts can range from 5% up to 20%, though data from Halifax shows that in 2022 the average first-time buyer deposit was £62,470. A larger deposit - sometimes around 40% of the property value - can help secure the optimal mortgage rates.

There are also various equity schemes on offer to help afford new homes. For example, Deposit Unlock is a scheme designed to help make home ownership easier for first-time buyers. The scheme helps buyers (including existing homeowners) to buy a new home with just a 5% deposit. Similarly, if you're buying a home up to £300,000 in Wales, you can look at the Help to Buy - Wales scheme.

There are several different schemes to help new buyers afford their first homes. Saving up for your deposit - whether through cutting down expenses, moving in with family or other means - is generally the first and most important step towards home ownership. Choose the right savings account or ISA for you, and set yourself a strict schedule for saving up.

Having a schedule in mind for home ownership can really help. Set yourself a goal date for when you want to be able to put in an offer on a home and work towards that.

First-time buyer mortgage

A mortgage is a type of loan you take out to pay for the cost of a property. Unless you're a cash buyer, you'll likely need a mortgage for the majority of the property purchase price.

You'll be charged monthly interest on your repayments, so it's a good idea to shop around for the best mortgage rates when you first start looking. Our panel of preferred specialists and mortgage brokers are experts in new build mortgages, and can help advise you on first-time buyer mortgages and find the right deal for you.

The sooner you can pay off your entire mortgage balance, the less interest you'll pay overall. Of course, it's vital to make all your payments and keep up with the repayment schedule. If you default on your payments, the lender could repossess your home.

You'll need a mortgage in principle before you can put in an offer on your first home, and there may also be arrangement fees and administration costs to factor in too.

First-time buyer Stamp Duty

First-time home buyers are exempt from paying Stamp Duty (SDLT) on properties up to £300,000. On properties valued between £300,000 and £500,000 will pay a reduced SDLT rate of 5% on the amount above £300,000. Homes above £500,000 will be subject to the normal rates of Stamp Duty.

First house fees

The purchase of a new home will come with a few additional fees. These will likely include a valuation fee charged by your mortgage lender, surveyor fees to assess the property, and then the legal fees you pay your solicitor or conveyance. You may also have to pay a reservation fee if you're buying off plan or reserving a home at a new development (for example with Redrow’s Prime Position).

Help for first-time buyers

There are a number of initiatives and schemes designed to help first-time buyers, provided by both the UK government and Redrow.

Deposit Unlock

This equity scheme is seen as a partial replacement for the Help to Buy scheme in England. This scheme works to offer first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase new-build homes from participating builders with a 5% deposit and a 95% mortgage provided by a participating lender.

Help to Buy (HTB) - Wales

Help to Buy - Wales is a shared equity loan available for first-time and existing homeowners. The loan can be used to fund the purchase of a home of up to £300,000 in Wales with a 5% deposit.

First Homes Scheme

This government scheme helps first-time buyers step onto the property ladder with a new home for at least 30% less than the market value.

This scheme is only available on selected developments, and eligibility criteria is outlined in planning in coordination with the local authority. For instance, some local authorities may give priority to those already living in the local area, or essential workers.

Prime Position

This Redrow scheme enables customers to complete an option agreement on their dream home before it is officially put up for sale.

Recommend a Friend

This Redrow scheme can help you after you've purchased your first home. Once you've bought your new home, if you recommend a friend or family member who goes on to complete on a Redrow home themselves, you'll both receive a £1,000 reward.

At Redrow, our homes are designed for modern living and are renowned for their high quality. Browse developments near you, and speak to a member of our Sales team to get started on buying your first home.

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To the best of Redrow’s knowledge, everything in this guide is true at the time of writing. All descriptions, images and plans are illustrations, examples and/or approximations only and some processes listed may differ when buying a Redrow home, please speak with the sales team at your chosen development for more details. Redrow does not accept any liability or responsibility contractual or otherwise for any reliance on the information contained within the guide.