Our first time buyer guide
To apply you must be 18+ and resident in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar. Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Things you should know about buying a home
It might seem a little overwhelming when buying a property, particularly if it’s your first home, however we’re here to help you understand what to expect.
Our helpful guide below will break down the process, step-by-step and we’ve added a few extra resources on this page to help you find answers to your other questions.
Buying a home in 9 steps
Step 1: Find out how much you can afford
Before you start searching your local property listings, see how much you could afford with our online mortgage calculator. This will show you how much you could borrow overall as well as what you monthly mortgage payment could be.
You can also find out how much you could borrow with us by making an appointment at your local branch.
At an appointment in branch we will:
- Look at your income, financial commitments and other outgoings
- Take into consideration how much of a deposit you've saved or how much equity you have in your existing home
- Provide printed examples of what your monthly repayments might be for varying mortgage amounts, terms and we’ll also discuss any product fees you may have to pay.
Step 2: Start looking at properties
Time to start looking for properties in your budget.
It’s a good idea to make a list of what’s most important to you for your home and then to rank this in order of importance as buying a home usually involves a compromise somewhere.
A few things to ask yourself:
- How many bedrooms would you like?
- Would you prefer to have a garage?
- Do you want a garden?
- Would you like a new build or older property?
- Are you looking to live in town, by the beach or in the countryside?
Contact a local estate agent and they’ll talk you through what properties are available to suit your requirements and budget. Make sure to sift through local property websites and local newspapers usually have a weekly property section.
Step 3: Make an offer
This is what it says on the tin. An offer doesn’t always have to be at the full asking price and the price that a home is listed for is not always the one that is accepted.
It is worth considering the level of interest on the property to gauge this as if there has been a lot of interest, it is worth making an offer close to the asking price and your estate agent can advise you about this.
When you have an accepted offer, this is then confirmed in writing. Although you should remember that this is not legally binding at this stage and you or the seller may not proceed to the final sale.
Step 4: Offer accepted? Arrange your mortgage
Now is the time to get going with your mortgage as this can take a few weeks to get arranged. We can arrange an appointment with a mortgage arranger who will be on hand to keep things moving along for you.
Your mortgage arranger will complete the application with you and let you know if there's any additional documentation we need. Once we have everything and your mortgage is approved, we'll arrange for a valuation of your new home.
Step 5: Choose your Advocate
You’ll need an Advocate to complete the sale on your home and it’s best to get recommendations from your family and friends to find the right one for you.
A qualified Advocate will:
- Complete the conveyancing - the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another
- Investigate the legal aspects - identifying the boundaries of the property and what's included in the sale
- Carry out a 'search' - to find anything which could undermine the property value
- Advise on and handle the offer you make to the sellers
- Make sure the sale is completed once legal formalities have all been satisfied
Most Advocates charge a fee, which is usually a percentage of the sale price and it’s best to get a quote beforehand to help you budget for the sale.
Once you have an Advocate and we've valued your new home, things are ready to get going with your mortgage. Once it's approved, we'll send the mortgage offer documents through to you and your Advocate for you to read and sign.
Step 6: Decide if you want a structural survey
It’s very important to have independent checks made on the property before committing to the purchase of the property.
A valuation will give you an idea of the property's condition and how much it is worth and is something we complete before you agree to your mortgage. However, you can also arrange a detailed structural survey with a surveyor which is a lot more thorough and will highlight any problems with the property.
Step 7: Arrange insurance cover
With almost any mortgage you’ll be required to have buildings insurance to cover your new home. It’s also sensible to think about contents and life cover, which are optional but will protect you and your belongings if the worst happens.
There are three types; buildings, contents and extra cover for things you take outside of your home, such as jewellery, iPads and laptops.
We normally ask you to arrange buildings insurance as a condition of the mortgage, but you don’t have to buy it from us. Your mortgage arranger will be able to provide you with more details.
This is an important consideration when home buying as life insurance can protect your home and family should anything happen to you.
The type of life cover you’ll need depends on how much you’ve borrowed, for how long and what sort of mortgage you have. We don't offer life insurance, so you should speak with an independent adviser to arrange the appropriate cover.
Step 8: Complete the purchase
If there are no problems with the survey, the Advocates for you and the seller will draw up formal contracts for you both to sign. These contracts are legally binding so you must make sure you’re happy to go ahead. This process will vary between islands - your Advocate will provide you with further details.
On the completion day agreed by both parties we’ll release the mortgage funds to your Advocate who in turn will transfer them to the seller’s Advocate. At the point the funds are transferred, the property is yours.
Step 9: Moving day
Time to get set-up in your new home! Moving day is an exciting but challenging day too and so booking a professional removal firm to help might be a good idea - especially if you have a lot of possessions to shift.
Oh and don't forget, to share your address:
- Contact the electricity, gas and telephone companies beforehand so you’re connected from the start
- Let your bank, building society and credit card companies know
- Make sure your cable or satellite company knows when you're moving
- Tell your car insurance company - it may affect your payments
- Register with a new doctor and dentist if you need to
- Share it with your friends and family too!
How much could I borrow?
As a first time buyer you're probably looking to find out how much of a mortgage you can get from different lenders.
You can use our online mortgage calculator to:
- Find out what we could lend you
- Compare our mortgage rates
- See how much your monthly repayments could be
Mortgage help and support
Take advantage of our mortgage resources which are here to help you better understand the process, the terms, and our available products.