Getting started

Planning to buy

What's in this section?

How much can you borrow?

Find out how much we could lend to you.

Boosting your credit rating

Tips on how to improve your credit score when applying for a mortgage.

Getting help to buy your next home

Find out about affordable housing schemes and other options.

Extra costs

A reminder of some of those extra expenses.

How much can you borrow?

When thinking about getting a new mortgage, the first step is to get a good idea of how much you could borrow from us. You can find out by using our Mortgage Affordability Calculator.

How much we're willing to lend to you depends on your personal circumstances. Even if you're porting your mortgage, we'll need to check if your borrowing is appropriate for your changing circumstances. 

We make our decision based on factors such as your income, your outgoings and if we think you'll be able to make your payments. Although you’re ultimately responsible for paying your mortgage back, we're also responsible for checking you can afford to repay the loan and making sure you’re not over-stretching your finances.

Budgeting for a move

Before you move, it's good to have a budget and be clear on what you can afford to pay back each month. Our Budget Calculator can help you to get a good picture of your current financial position. 

Boosting your credit rating

There are a number of ways you can improve your chances of getting the mortgage you want.

Check your credit file 

The three main credit reference agencies are Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. For a small fee, you can ask them for a copy of your credit report. When you receive it, check everything’s accurate and contact the agency if anything’s amiss.

Register to vote

You might find it harder to get credit if you’re not on the electoral roll. To register, go to and download a form.

Review unused credit cards or accounts and update your details

Having credit cards that you don’t need will increase the amount of overall credit you have available and may impact your credit score. To ensure a smooth ID check, it’s important that all active accounts are registered to your current address.

Don't be late with payments

Your credit score will be better if you keep up the repayments on any credit agreements you have. Late, missed or default payments or County Court Judgement (CCJs) will negatively impact your score, so always get in touch with your provider if you’re struggling.

Establish a pattern of regular saving

Having savings may give you a buffer against unexpected events, helping you to avoid missing payments or increasing the amount you owe on credit cards or loans.

Build relationships

If you have a current account with a bank or building society, you might find it easier to get a mortgage with the same lender. They might even have special offers for existing customers. For example, you can take advantage of special rates and cashback when you're a Nationwide main current account customer (criteria applies).

For even more information on improving your credit rating see our useful guide – Ways to improve your credit score.

Help to Buy equity loans

Help to Buy logo

A Help to Buy equity loan can provide extra money for the deposit you'd like to put towards a new build home. If you have a 5% deposit, through the Help to Buy equity scheme, you may be able to borrow up to an additional 20% (or 40% in Greater London) towards your new home. Then you’d be able to apply for a Nationwide mortgage of up to 75% (or 55% for Greater London).

Help to Buy equity loans

Buying with someone else

Buying a house with a partner, a friend or a family member could be a way to afford buying your next home. This is called a ‘joint mortgage’ (or ‘joint ownership’ in Scotland). All named parties are jointly and severally responsible for repaying the mortgage, so it’s important that you’re all able to keep up the payments.

If you buy with someone who is keeping their current property you'll need to pay a higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in England and Wales, or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in Scotland.

Save to Buy mortgages

If you previously opened a Save to Buy Savings Account or Save to Buy ISA with us, you could apply for a low-deposit Save to Buy mortgage. Save to Buy Savings Account and Save to Buy ISA are no longer available for new customers.

Save to Buy mortgages

Extra costs

Moving home can involve extra costs you’ll need to budget for. We’ve listed the main ones here but you can ask your conveyancer and surveyor for a more accurate breakdown. 

Extra valuation fees

We don’t charge for the standard property valuation, but you may choose to have a HomeBuyers Report or full structural survey completed as well. These are more thorough surveys which will cost extra. Regional variances apply for surveys and valuations - please contact us on 0800 30 20 10 for more information.

Early Repayment Charges

Depending on your current mortgage lender and when you’re looking to move, you may have to pay Early Repayment Charges (ERCs). If you’re an existing Nationwide mortgage customer and you're moving in the last three months of your current deal, if you choose to keep your mortgage with us when you move (porting), we'll usually waive any Early Repayment Charges. We'll also waive ERCs if you're redeeming your loan in the final calendar month of your deal.

Estate agents fees

These are usually paid by the seller of the property, unless you’ve hired them to find you a home in which case a charge would probably apply.

Legal/Conveyancer fees

Conveyancers handle all the legal aspects of the sale. Conveyancing services include transferring the title of a property from the seller to the buyer. You can use our Nationwide conveyancing service, or you can find a conveyancer by contacting the Law Society or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

The amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax payable on a property depends on the price of the property and whether it’s residential. If you buy a property in the UK over a certain price, you'll have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). This no longer applies in Scotland. Instead, in Scotland you’ll need to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

Removal costs

If you're not planning to hire a van and take care of the removal yourself, you’ll need to factor in professional removal costs. See if someone you know can recommend a removal firm, and always get a fixed price quote.

Finding the right mortgage

Getting a Decision in Principle

Applying for a mortgage

Completion and moving in