First Time Buyer | Berkeley Inspiration

What You Need to Know as a First-Time Buyer in the UK

Getting on the property ladder is a big life milestone for a lot of people - having a place they can call their own which they own too. But there's a lot at stake when taking that first step, since you want it to be the right place for you. Finding that ideal property to start with that is within budget and isn't going to overstretch you can be tough.

We've looked at some great property locations for first time buyers where you can be sure to get great value for your purchase while still making sure you're within commuting distance of London. Depending on what your priorities are as a first-time buyer, you're bound to find somewhere which matches what you're after. So, here's our breakdown of key first time buyer information to help you find the best place to live as a first-time buyer.

Buying property as a first-time buyer

When looking to buy your first property, you'll want to make sure that financially you're able to buy the type of property you want. Your property purchase will typically be made up of two different funds - your deposit and your mortgage. This can be looked at from either side, with your deposit making up the rest of the funds after you figure out your maximum mortgage amount, or your mortgage can afford you the extra funds on top of your savings for your deposit. Finding the right balance for you will be key, so make sure you review your financial position properly.

Your mortgage will come from a bank, typically calculated from your annual income and represents the maximum amount you can borrow. There'll be an amount you'll need to repay each month, so it's crucial that you're confident you'll be able to afford these repayments. Speaking to a mortgage advisor can help you secure the best mortgage for you with the right interest and incentives possible.

The other portion of your funds will be made up by your deposit, which is typically comprised of your savings and any additional money gifted from family or third parties. If you don't currently have any savings, the best time to start is now! While the Help To Buy ISA is currently being phased out for new customers, you can still pick up a Lifetime ISA which functions in a similar way and makes the most of your savings.

What type of house | Berkeley Inspiration

What type of property is best for first time buyers?

Depending on your situation, there'll be certain things you'll want to consider then looking at properties which might become your first step into homeownership. You might have worked out your maximum budget then look at what that could potentially get you, or you might have a type and size of property in mind and be working toward getting your financial situation in a place to make that a reality.

Typically speaking, you'll want to be sure your first property suits your situation for the next 3-5 years of your life as this is a big investment into your future. Looking at two-bedroom properties, if you can afford one with your finances, will give you better flexibility for future plans in both resale value and your own life. Having the extra space can be especially valuable when you move, and gives you the potential to grow your family, rent out the room, or simply make the most of having more space to spread out with.

That isn't to say that there aren't benefits to going for a one bed apartments, as you could potentially get one in a more desirable area, or a three bedroom house if you can comfortably stretch to afford one as this can potentially be even more flexible for future developments in your life. The best thing for first time buyers is to be realistic around what suits your position in life best and work around this.

Where should you buy your first home

There are a lot of things to consider when looking at location for your first home. A considerable part of this will likely be dictated by where your biggest ties are, whether that's family, friends, your job or something more personal. If you're looking at staying somewhere near to where you are now, your knowledge of the local area will assist your search, as will talking to local estate agents. However, when looking at the UK, there are a number of places worth looking into if your search might take you further afield or have you looking at more London-centric options.


Sitting in the gorgeous county of Berkshire, a number of Reading postcode are especially popular with first time buyers, with central London only 40 miles west of the town and fantastic transport links into the capital - including the imminent Crossrail line. Reading isn't just a great place to live for those commuting into London though, with its own thriving commercial industry and cultural scene set within the Thames Valley to immerse yourself in.

Our Developments in Reading & Berkshire
Green Park Village 
Kennet Island
Bankside Gardens
Woodhurst Park


As the UK's second most populated city, Birmingham has a buzz of energy about it almost constantly. With a delightful blend of lush, green spaces, dedicated arts and cultural scene, and bustling metropolitan areas, there's something for everyone here. The city is constantly evolving to keep up with what's current, with new projects popping up all the time, so it's no wonder that Birmingham proves popular with the first-time buyer market.

Our Developments in Birmingham
Snow Hill Wharf
Glasswater Locks

Hertfordshire - Watford

Residing at the edge of the Chiltern Hills toward the north west of London, Watford has fantastic links in and out of London just 14 miles away. Despite being so close, Watford maintains its gorgeous, green image with many different nature parks and verdant golf clubs just a short trip away. The vibrant communities which call Watford home set this area of London apart, with a near-constant high demand for new properties here so that new homeowners can take advantage of the quality amenities in the area.

Our Developments near Watford in Hertfordshire
The Arches
Fairwood Place

The beauty of the above options too is that certain properties are included in the Help to buy scheme which can give even more help to those looking to get that first foot on the property ladder. To get more information on this and find out if you are applicable please visit our Help To Buy page to find out more.

To assist our readers with advice we have rounded up some of the most asked questions around first time buying and help to buy assistance:

What should you do to prepare as a first-time home buyer?

  • Determine what your budget is.
  • Determine what deposit is required.
  • Work out your monthly mortgage payments.
  • Know how strong your credit rating is.
  • Save for extra costs such as appraisal, inspections and legal fees.
  • Research the area plus links to other cities if required.

How much money do you need for a house deposit?

If your property qualifies for the Help to Buy scheme you will need a deposit of at least 5% of the property price. The property is not included in the help to buy scheme the average is around 15%.

If I want to use help to buy for the purchase does it have to be a new build home?

Yes, The first part of Help to Buy mortgage, launched on April 1, 2013 and is available until 2021, its an Equity Loan scheme and this requires the purchase of a new build home.

If you use Help to Buy can you use it twice?

Yes, however your previous help to buy equity loan must have been settled. Once this is done you are permitted to apply again.

Who is classed as a first-time buyer?

The dictionary definition of a first-time buyer is 'a person buying a house or flat who has not previously owned a home and therefore has no property to sell'. Essentially some one free of the property chain now. 'It is also worth noting that the Help to Buy Scheme is open to both existing homeowners who no longer own a home, and first-time buyers.