Find the answers to your first time buyer mortgage questions

Applying for your first mortgage is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider from how much you can borrow to the best mortgage rate and mortgage term for you. Take a look at our first time buyer FAQs to get answers to the most common questions first time buyers ask us.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Try our general list of FAQs or feel free to give us a call on 0345 111 8010*.

Our decision on how much we are willing to lend is based upon a full affordability assessment where we will look to understand your income, any loan or credit card commitments and regular essential household expenditure.


In addition, we'll also perform a credit check to make sure your credit rating is suitable for mortgage purposes.


To get an idea of how much you may be able to borrow try our mortgage calculator or speak to one of our qualified mortgage advisers by calling us on 0345 111 8010*.

The bigger the deposit you have for your first home, the lower your loan to value (LTV) will be. You may even get lower mortgage interest rates. With our first time buyer mortgages, you will need at least 5% of the property value as your deposit.

See below to give you an idea of how much we may be able to lend.

Amount of lending What we may be able to lend
£40,000 - £300,000 Up to 95% Loan to Value 
£300,001 - £500,000 Up to 90% Loan to Value
£500,001 - £750,000 Up to 80% Loan to Value
£750,001 - £1,000,000 Up to 75% Loan to Value

For new build houses, the maximum LTV is 85%.
For new build flats, the maximum LTV is 75%.

Your monthly payments will be based on a number of factors, such as how much you borrow, how many years you borrow for and your mortgage interest rate. We can advise you on how much your mortgage will cost each month and it will be detailed in your mortgage illustration.


A good starting point is our mortgage calculator. It’ll give you a good idea of what you’ll pay before you apply for your first mortgage.

Yes, you can make overpayments on your mortgage either as a lump sum or as a regular overpayment.

Depending on when you would like to make the overpayment and how much you want to pay, you may have to pay an early repayment charge. Let us explain when this fee may apply.

When you first start your mortgage there will be be an early repayment charge period. You’re able to overpay by up to 10% of your balance within a 12 month anniversary period free of charge. But if you overpay more than 10% you’d have to pay a charge on the amount that’s over this.

Once your early repayment charge period ends and your mortgage has moved to our standard variable rate, you are free to overpay by as much as you can afford without any extra costs.

You can find the full details of our overpayment facility in your mortgage offer and in our Terms and Conditions.

If you already have a mortgage with us and are interested in making an overpayment, our team can help you make a lump sum payment or set up a regular overpayment for you. Speak to us today on 0345 111 8020*.

How long your first time buyer mortgage application will take depends on a number of factors, such as your circumstances, your house hunt and whether you have all the paperwork you’ll need to show us.

Once we have everything we need from you, including all the relevant information, your valuation and documents, we’ll send your mortgage offer within 3-5 working days.

For more information about what's involved in buying your new home from start to finish, have a look at our steps to buying your home.


When you apply for a mortgage with us, we'll arrange for a valuation (sometimes called a valuation survey but it's more of a report) on the property you want to buy. That's so we know it's worth what you're paying for it and that we're lending you the right amount.

The valuation will usually mention any obvious defects. But other than that it won't tell you anything about the condition of the property. It's just there to put a value on the property for us.

You may need to pay for the valuation. How much depends on the value of the property. It could be between £150 and £1,500 - you'll see the cost in your mortgage illustration.

Some of our mortgages come with free valuations, so we save you a little bit extra.

A Standard Valuation is the only type of survey that Sainsbury's Bank will instruct. There are other types of survey available. If you’re unsure which type of survey you’d like, speak to your mortgage adviser who will be able to provide you with the contact details to speak to the valuation team who act on our behalf. The two main additional surveys are:

Homebuyer's report

This is a more detailed report which provides an overview of the structure and condition of the property, including all the accessible parts.

It mentions all major defects and includes a roof inspection where possible. But it doesn't go into detail or give information about what repairs you need to do to put things right.

Building survey (or full structural survey)

This is generally the most detailed and therefore most expensive survey you can have done. Like the homebuyer's report, it covers all aspects of the property. But it gives more comprehensive information on the structure and condition. For example, if there's damp or subsidence.

It will also include details of what repairs you'll need to do to put any defects right and how to maintain them. However, it does not include a valuation of the property. To arrange this kind of detailed report you will need to contact our surveyors directly to discuss your requirements.

If your purchase falls through after your mortgage application has been approved and an offer of a mortgage has been made, we may be able to give you a new mortgage offer when you find a different property you’d like to buy.

If the purchase of your new home is delayed, just let us know. Please call us to give us your new, expected completion date. Then we'll review your mortgage offer and extend the date if we need to.

Should your property purchase be delayed or fall through, our friendly team would be happy to advise you on the next steps. Give us a call on 0345 111 8010* to go through your options.

No, we'll need details of the property you want to buy and we'll need to value it before we can consider giving you a mortgage.

But we do recommend getting a decision in principle if you haven't found your home yet. Although not a guarantee, it will give you an idea of how much we might be able to lend you, so you have a figure in mind when you start hunting for your new home. If you’re ready, apply for a decision in principle today.

When you apply, we'll ask to see things like:

  • Your payslips to evidence any income you receive
  • If you are looking to include any bonuses, commission or overtime, we’ll also need to see a recent P60
  • Bank statements for your current account so that we can assess your affordability
  • Proof of your name and address – like your passport, driving licence or utility bills
  • Proof that any deposit which was a gift doesn’t need to be paid back. This could be a letter from the person who gave it you confirming this.

During your mortgage application, we’ll let you know exactly what we need in order to complete this. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when running through your application so it’s helpful to have this information to hand. Check out our Income and ID guide for more information on what we might ask for.

As well as the relevant things from the list above, you’ll also need to show us at least one of the following:

  • Certified accounts signed off by a suitably qualified accountant
  • Self-Assessment Tax Calculation Forms (SA302) accompanied by Tax Year Overviews
  • Accountant’s certificates signed off by a suitable qualified accountant

Accountants signing and verifying your financial statements or accountant's certificates must be a member of a suitable professional body i.e.:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants, CA, ACA or FCA
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, ICAS, ACAS, FCAS
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, ICAI
  • Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, ACCA or FCCA
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation, ATII or FTII
  • Association of Authorised Public Accounts, AAPA or FAPA
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, CIMA, ACMA or FCMA
  • Association of Accounting Technicians, MAAT or FMAAT
  • Association of International Accountants, AAIA or FAIA

During your mortgage application, we’ll let you know exactly what we need in order to complete this. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when running through your application so it’s helpful to have this information to hand. Check out our Income and ID guide for more information on what we might ask for.

Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring the ownership of a property, whether you're buying or selling.

A solicitor or conveyancer will handle the contracts, give you legal advice, do local council searches, deal with the Land Registry/Registers of Scotland and transfer your money to the seller. It’s worth remembering that the conveyancer you use needs to be on our approved panel. Use our conveyancer search tool to see if your conveyancer is on our panel or find a conveyancer that we recommend.

When you buy a residential property over a specific amount in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you have to pay Stamp Duty.

The tax applies to both freehold and leasehold properties. Whether you're buying outright or with a mortgage.

In Scotland, it is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax you have to pay. Again, this only applies to properties over a specific amount. What you pay in tax depends on the price you pay for the property.

Stamp Duty is tiered, like income tax, so you pay different rates of tax on different portions of the property price and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax works in a similar way.

Have a look at the Stamp Duty Land Tax on the government website and Revenue Scotland for more details.

Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the content of external websites. Links to external websites may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions.

With any of our mortgages, you can apply to borrow more money once you’ve made a minimum of six monthly payments.

The minimum amount you can borrow is £5,000 and you may also need to pay other fees. Borrowing more money will increase the amount you owe, the interest you’ll pay and your monthly mortgage payments.

Here’s how it works:

  • Arrange an appointment with one of our qualified mortgage advisers by calling 0345 111 8020*. Take a look at our list of what you'll need (PDF, 172KB) to make sure you have everything you’ll need to hand.
  • Our mortgage advisors will go through everything with you and check you can afford the bigger monthly payments for the extra money you want to borrow.
  • They'll also check the extra money won't take your total mortgage over our maximum loan-to-value ratio.
  • They'll be able to recommend the right product for your circumstances.

Find out more about borrowing more money on your mortgage on our manage your mortgage page.

An acceptable New Build or Self Build warranty must be in place for any property which has been built or converted in the last 10 years or is to be occupied for the first time. Acceptable warranty schemes include:

  • NHBC Buildmark
  • NHBC Solo (discontinued for New Builds from 2016)
  • Zurich Municipal
  • Castle 10 New Home Warranty – provided by Checkmate
  • LABC New Home Warranty
  • Premier Guarantee for New HomesBuilding Life Plan Ltd
  • Buildzone
  • CRL Management Ltd
  • Certification by certain professional consultants may be accepted subject to it being in standard Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) format, where the property has been built/converted within the last 6 years.

Professional Consultant's Certificates may also be accepted, where they are signed by:

  • A qualified Architect, who is a corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, or
  • A qualified Chartered Building Surveyor, who is a corporate member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Evidence of appropriate valid personal indemnity insurance will be required and the certificate must be for the benefit of the borrower(s). The Architect/Building Surveyor must confirm that they have supervised the whole project.

Is there anything else we can help with?

Try our mortgage calculators

Find out how much you could borrow, how long you could have the mortgage loan and what deposit you would need

Use our mortgage calculators
Our rates and fees

Learn how our rates and fees work and what they mean to you when you have a mortgage with Sainsbury's Bank

Find out more
Nectar mortgage reward

Earn 5 bonus Nectar points per £1 of qualifying spend at Sainsbury’s until the end of your mortgage deal^

Find out more

The mortgage is secured on your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Lending subject to status.

For further questions

  • Call 0345 111 8010*
  • Helpful phone numbers
  • Our lines are open: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-4pm and Sun 10am-1pm
    *Telephone calls will be recorded for security purposes under our quality control procedures. Calls are charged at local rates from landlines and mobiles.

^Nectar Terms and Conditions
1. This offer is only available to new and existing Sainsbury's Bank mortgage customers taking out a fixed rate residential mortgage. 2. You'll earn 5 bonus Nectar points per £1 of qualifying spend at Sainsbury's during your fixed rate offer period, up to a maximum of 20,000 points per month. 3. At the end of each calendar month, we'll total your qualifying spend, round it down to your nearest £1, calculate your bonus points and pay them into your Nectar account by the end of the following month. 4. A limited range of Sainsbury's goods and services do not qualify for points - see for more details. Purchases from Argos, Habitat, Sainsbury's Bank (including travel money purchases), Sainsbury's Energy and any other Sainsbury's services are also excluded from this offer. 5. You need to tell us your Nectar card number when you apply, and use this card with each Sainsbury's purchase. If you tell us your card number after the start of your fixed rate offer period, you'll earn bonus points from the date you tell us. 6. We'll stop paying bonus points if you fail to meet the terms and conditions of your mortgage, or repay your mortgage, or move ("port") your mortgage to another property. 7. Each nectar account can only earn points from one mortgage. 8. Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd award the points from this offer. No cash alternative is available. 9. Sainsbury's Bank reserves the right to alter, cancel or withdrew this offer without notice. 10. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.