Step 1 of 6

Work out what you can afford

Ready to start looking? It’s time to work out what you can afford. From saving for a deposit to working out your mortgage eligibility (that’s how much you can borrow), we’ll guide you through the process.

Saving for a deposit

You’ll need a cash deposit to cover between 5% and 20% of the purchase price for your new home. So how do you start saving?

Calculating costs

From mortgage and solicitor fees to surveys and stamp duty, the fees involved in buying a home quickly add up. We’ll take you through what to expect along the way.

Working out stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax you pay when buying a property in England or Northern Ireland and it changes depending on the property price. Here’s how it’s calculated.

  • What is stamp duty, how much is it in the UK and when do you have to pay it? Get the lowdown and use our stamp duty calculator to work out how much you'll pay.

  • If you're buying another home which you won't be living in, you may well be liable to pay the 3% stamp duty on second homes. We break down the complex rules in our dedicated Q&A.

  • Nobody wants to fork out an extra 3% in Stamp Duty Land Tax when buying an additional home. The 'replacement of an only or main residence' rules could be a way out of it, says property lawyer John Shallcross.

Buying schemes

There are several government schemes out there to help you step onto the property ladder. From Help to Buy Equity Loans to Shared Ownership, we’ve got the lowdown.

  • There are several schemes to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. But how can you know which is right for you? We take a look at all the first-time buyer schemes and break down the pros and cons of each.

  • 95% mortgages are now widely available from major banks and building societies, meaning you don’t have to save up such a big deposit to buy your own home.

  • Help to Save is a government-backed savings account with benefits: you can earn a bonus of 50p for every £1 you save over four years.

  • Right to Buy is a government scheme that offers council and housing association tenants help to buy the home they are renting. 

  • Affordable housing offers a subsidised route to home ownership through government schemes, or subsidised rents for people on low incomes.

  • A Lifetime ISA is an ISA with benefits. You can save up to £4,000 a year with one and the government will chip in an extra 25%. That’s up to £1,000, for free. 

  • Keen to buy a new build home but struggling to get a deposit together? Deposit Unlock could be the scheme for you. Here’s everything you need to know.

Understanding mortgages

Fixed rate or flexible? There’s a lot of jargon out there around mortgages. We’ll take you through what it all means so you can choose the best type of deal for you.

  • A good rule of thumb is that you can borrow between 4 and 4.5 times your total household income. Let's work out how much you can borrow for a mortgage.

  • Paying off your mortgage sooner could save you literally tens of thousands of pounds. Senior mortgage advisor for Natwest, Michael Gyapong, reveals the top five ways to do it.

  • If you're thinking of buying a house and applying for a mortgage, you'll need to know all about loan-to-value. Here's our guide with the lowdown.

  • Buying a home to rent out? Here's our easy-to-understand guide to rental mortgages and where to find the best buy-to-let mortgage rates.

  • Need to work out your mortgage repayments? You can use our mortgage calculator - or challenge yourself to some mental maths with our mortgage calculation formulas. 

  • Environmentally friendly mortgages: from how much they cost to who qualifies for one, here’s everything you need to know about green mortgages.