Most buyers buy property by borrowing money. A mortgage is a loan of money from a bank or building society. The mortgage is secured against the deeds (ownership documents) of the property. If the mortgage repayments are not made on time the lender can evict you (repossess the property) and sell the property to repay the mortgage loan.

How much?

How much you can borrow depends on your income and on the value of the property you are buying. Mostly you can borrow up to 95% of the value of the property and many first time buyers do just that. An average loan for those selling and moving up the market might be a loan of 80% of the property value.

My income?

Individuals can usually borrow up to three times their gross annual salary. Couples can borrow either three times the higher salary plus one time the lower or two and a half times the total of their joint gross annual income. Pay slips, or in the case of self-employed applicants an accountant's letter, will be required as proof of income. These are very rough figures as loans of up to 3.5 times income for individuals will be available in strong property markets. Visit our mortgages page to use our Loan Cost calculators to give you a rough idea of how much you can borrow. Some lenders offer first time buyers up to 4 times their salary to get them on the ladder.


Lenders have different lending policies and you should shop around to find out what is available. The length or term of your mortgage will normally be between 10 and 25 years and you will have to pay it each month. Think about your other current and possible future expenses and income. It is important not to overstretch your finances particularly when buying in a rising market. Remember a recession may be round the corner as happened in the early 1990s and in 2008.

Which lender?

There are lots of mortgage providers with hundreds of products on the market and you should shop around, or have a financial adviser or mortgage broker shop around for you, to find the scheme that suits you best. More details on your choices are in the mortgage section of this website.

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