How to become a first-time buyer in six months

Published on
28 October 2021

If you’ve never bought a house before it can seem like one of those processes which is always slightly daunting; there’s lots of jargon, lots of questions and lots of money involved. But like all big tasks in life, the key is to try and break the challenge down into smaller, more easily digestible pieces.

In fact, if you can save enough money, it is possible to do the whole thing in just six months. Here is our handy, month-by-month guide to become a first-time buyer.

Month one: Speak to The Cumberland

Cumberland Mortgage Advisor Chloe

It’s very hard to begin house hunting and planning for the future unless you know what size and type of mortgage you are likely to get. The best way to do this is to contact The Cumberland early and talk to one of our advisors.

No matter what position you’re in or what type of home you’re looking for, we’ll be able to look at your financial situation and how much deposit you’ve saved and give you a good idea of the key things you need to do to get mortgage-ready.

"We will look at expenditure, based on what your current situation is regarding income and any financial commitment,”

Mark Bartrip - Mortgage Advisor

“We can then work through and look at how much mortgage we can actually provide. This can determine whether people can go ahead and buy a property, what type of property they're able to look for, or whether they need to save a bit more.”

Mortgage advisor Susan Bradbury agrees it is best to know where you stand early, even if that means having to go away and save more for a deposit.

“That can save a lot of heartache because there’s nothing worse than making an offer and having it accepted but then realising you can’t actually get the mortgage,” she says.

Month two: Get your priorities straight

Once you know what size of mortgage you’re likely to get, you will be able to begin working out realistic priorities for where you’re going to live. Will you be able to have the garden you always dreamed of on your current budget? Does this matter enough to you to wait a little bit longer and save a bit more?

"It's about finding a house that ticks enough boxes, you're probably not going to get anything that ticks every single box, but you need to decide what's most important for you and balance all the different factors,” says Mark.

Even if you’re already well ahead with saving for your deposit, saving more is always a good idea if you can. At the same time, Mark says you should begin reducing any outstanding debts in preparation for your mortgage application.

"We don’t look at statements too forensically, but we do look at credit commitments with hire purchase loans, credit cards and those kinds of things, so it's good to keep those down as low as possible,” he says.

Susan says The Cumberland can also help you get the most out of your savings.

“We’ve got a First Home Saver account that offers a preferential interest rate and, if you take a mortgage from The Cumberland, you get £250 cash back when the mortgage completes. There are opportunities out there to make your money work harder.”

Month three: The hunt begins

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Armed with a budget and a list of priorities, you’ll be able to dive into the housing market and begin the process of viewing properties.

Susan says it can also be useful to try your hand at living on the same budget you’ll have once you get a mortgage and make a purchase.

“We’ll be able to give you a good idea of what your monthly payments will be,” she says.

“But you’ll also have to take into account all the other costs, such as council tax and utilities. If you’re a first time buyer and you’re living at home it can actually be quite useful to trial what a month living with a certain income and outgoings might be like; so maybe put a certain amount into a savings account and live off that.”

Mortgage advisor Matthew Rooney says saving for your deposit can also be good practise for when you eventually move into your own home.

“It can sometimes be quite a shock to people when they first move into their own home,” he says.

“But, if you’ve been putting a few hundred pounds away every month to pay for a deposit, then this could stand you in good stead when it comes to covering all the costs and keeping an eye on your spending each month.”

Month four: Make an offer and plan your move


Once you’ve identified the right property then it’s time to make an offer based on the amount of mortgage available. If it’s accepted then you’ll have to find a solicitor to deal with the legal process of conveyancing, ie. transferring the property from the seller to the buyer.

Susan says it’s important to factor the cost of paying the solicitor into your savings.

“It's important to take into account the amount required for solicitors’ fees,”

Susan Bradbury

“But you also need to think about the cost of moving, such as hiring a removal company, and putting aside any money you might have to spend on immediate repairs, renovations or furniture at your new home.”

Matthew says although The Cumberland will pay for a valuation survey of the property, you may want to undertake a more detailed survey as well.

“It’s a personal choice for the customer, but it’s definitely something we encourage people to consider,” he says.

Month five: Apply for your mortgage

Although we can give you a good idea of what kind of mortgage we can offer quite early on in the process, you will need to make a formal application for a loan specifically for the house you want to buy.

To do this you’ll need to gather the following information:

Pay slips

Two months’ bank statements

Proof of your deposit

If you’re self-employed you will need to provide two years’ trading figures.

Susan says it is important to think about what you’re spending money on in the run up to making the application and how this might be interpreted.

“Some people do choose to change their habits in the run up to applying for a mortgage,” she says.

“The biggest thing to consider is probably gambling, where people might do less in the period before we look at their bank statements. It’s not about suddenly leading a miserable existence and not doing anything fun, but you do have to think about how the way you spend could be interpreted.”

Month six: Move into your new home

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Once your mortgage application is approved, The Cumberland will transfer the money to your solicitor, who will then pay it to the seller along with the deposit. This will come ahead of the agreed completion date when you will get your keys and be able to move in.

“At The Cumberland we realise that the process of buying a house is going to be different for everyone depending on their needs,” says Susan


“That’s why we take a very bespoke approach to mortgages so we can find something that is the right fit for you. It really isn’t a matter of something being one size fits all. This also gives you the best chance of finding a home you want at a price you can afford.

“There are lots of steps along the way to moving in, but we’ll be there with you all the way to offer help and advice.”

To take the first step towards buying a home, get in touch with one of our team.