Five minute read: becoming a first time buyer

By Tom Little on 9 October 2017

We spoke to Serena Hannah, a first time buyer in her 30s who is moved into her first home this year, about getting onto the property ladder.

Serena is studying for a doctorate, which could potentially have spooked some mortgage providers used to just processing a normal salary.

Lancaster, vibrant with a mix of culture, students, and history, was where she chose to buy her first home, after studying there previously.

Here’s Serena’s first time buyer experience…

What’s Lancaster like for first time buyers?

"It’s quite a nice sort of friendly little city I think. All the shops that you’d expect to see in the city are there but at the same everyone seems quite friendly.

"I guess when I first moved to Lancaster I just needed a house to stay in so I rented a house two doors up from here.

"One of the things I like about this house is the open plan it’s got between the kitchen and the living room.

"I like having the shelves there, it feels nice and airy, it’s a nice little house and just what I want for a first house."

How does it feel to be on the property ladder?

"Getting on the property ladder feels nice, I’d been renting for a long time and I was starting to get frustrated with having to ask permission to put pictures up and things like that and I just wanted a bit of my own freedom.



"I was a little bit concerned about whether I get a mortgage because I’m between a student and working and I’m being funded to do a doctorate.

Was it difficult to get a mortgage?

"I’d already known about The Cumberland from growing up in Cumbria so it was a name I already knew and trusted.

"One of the things I really helpful actually was going in and meeting with the mortgage advisor. Just being able to talk it through, because I was a first time buyer I didn’t know what I was doing at all.

"To sit and talk to somebody and ask questions, even really basic questions – what’s that? How do I do this? What do I need to do next?

"It was really helpful being able to talk through that and find out from them what I needed to do. It was brilliant and really helpful.

"I didn’t know what to expect from the mortgage process because it wasn’t something I’d done before and not something my friends have done recently."

What have you got planned next?

"I’ve got another two years left on my doctorate so I will be here for a couple of years yet, after that it might depend on where I get a job.

"Getting a house was one of the things I wanted to do when I moved to Lancaster so I feel like I’ve ticked that off my list."

Click here to use our mortgage calculator online - it only takes a few minutes.