Most first time buyers need a mortgage to help them buy their first home. This is money you borrow from a bank or building society and pay back over a number of years.

Mortgage basics

  • A mortgage is money borrowed from a lender in the form of a loan. You then pay back the loan and the interest monthly over a agreed period of time.
  • At Nationwide we base the amount we agree to lend you on how much we think you could afford to repay and the value of the property you want to buy.
  • You may need to contribute some of your own money towards the price of the property. This is known as a deposit.
  • The money you’re borrowing is secured against the property you’re purchasing. This means you may lose your home if you do not keep up the agreed payments on your mortgage.

Buying with someone else

Buying with a partner, a friend or a family member is known as a joint mortgage. In Scotland, this is called joint ownership.

Both of you will be equally responsible for repaying the mortgage, so it’s important that you’re able to keep up the repayments.

Joint tenants

Joint tenants (sometimes called Beneficial Joint Tenants) have equal rights to the whole property.

You can’t pass on your share of the property in your will. It automatically passes to the other owner if you die.

Tenants in common

This means you own your home jointly and each have a share in its value.

The property doesn’t pass automatically to the other owners if you die. You can pass on your share of the property in your will.

Guarantor mortgage

A guarantor provides an additional source of income to pay for a mortgage when you are unable to meet the eligibility criteria, in full, for a mortgage product at the application stage. However, this doesn’t mean that they’ll own any part of your property. Instead, they’ll be a guarantor, and they will be liable for the debt they agree to guarantee. Since this could be as much as the total mortgage, they should always seek independent legal advice before entering into an arrangement.

You can only apply for this mortgage by setting up an appointment with one of our Mortgage Consultants over the phone or in branch.

Getting help to buy your first home

We support affordable home ownership schemes to help people buy their first home or move home. For more information visit our schemes page. This page deals with schemes in England. Certain schemes can differ slightly depending on where you live in the UK.

Affordable home ownership schemes in Wales

Affordable home ownership schemes in Scotland


How much can I borrow

How much we’ll be willing to lend you depends on how much we think you can afford to repay.

When you’re looking for a mortgage, you’ll need to consider:

  • The type and value of the property you’re interested in buying.
  • The amount of deposit you have.
  • How much you think you can afford to repay each month.
  • How much time you’d like to pay the mortgage back.

To get an idea of how much you could borrow, visit our Mortgage Calculator.


About your mortgage

Repayment methods

The only type of mortgages we currently offer first time buyers are capital repayment mortgages. This means part of your monthly payment goes into paying back the lump sum you borrowed, while the rest covers the cost of interest.

As long as you keep up your monthly mortgage payments, your mortgage will be paid off in full by the end of your mortgage term.

Other lenders may be able to offer different types of repayment methods. Including interest only and part and part mortgages. Part and part mortgages are part capital repayment and part interest-only.

Mortgage payments

  • With our mortgages you pay back the loan and interest monthly over an agreed period of time.
  • The higher the mortgage rate, the more you’ll pay in interest.
  • The faster you pay off your mortgage, the less interest you’ll pay.
  • If you want to pay more than your monthly mortgage amount, this is called making an overpayment. Your mortgage will come with an overpayment allowance. If you go over your overpayment allowance, you may need to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC).
  • If you pay off your mortgage before your term ends, you might need to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC).

Applying for a mortgage

Mortgage types

At Nationwide we offer two types of mortgages:

Fixed rate – your interest rate is fixed so your monthly mortgage payments stay the same during the deal period.

Tracker rate mortgages – your interest rate follows the Bank of England base rate, (also known as Bank Rate) and monthly payments can go up or down during the deal period.

Mortgage product fees

This is a fee that allows you to get a lower interest rate. Fees can be paid upfront or added to your mortgage balance. If added to the balance you will pay interest on the fee for the duration of your term.

What's a Decision in Principle?

Before applying for a mortgage, and often before making an offer on a property, you’ll need a Decision in Principle (DIP). This is also known as an Agreement in Principle (AIP) or a Lending Certificate. It confirms what we would be prepared to lend you.

We will perform a soft credit check as part of the DIP process. Soft credit checks do not affect your credit rating. They do not appear to lenders on your credit report, and will not affect your ability to apply for borrowing in the future. A DIP is not a mortgage offer and you will still have to make a full application to see if you can get a mortgage with us.

The Decision in Principle takes into account:

  • Whether you can afford the amount you're looking to borrow, based on your income and outgoings as well as other factors.
  • Our lending criteria so we remain responsible lenders.

Apply for a DIP as part of a mortgage application.

Applying for a Decision in Principle

You can apply for a DIP online, over the phone or in branch. It’s free to apply, and there’s no obligation to get your mortgage with us afterwards.

To get a DIP, you will need to tell us your:

  • UK Address history going back 3 years.
  • Income details - for example, from your salary, bonuses and any additional income, such as Government benefits or investments.
  • Outgoings - for example, credit commitments, travel costs or anything you might pay out on any dependants, i.e. school fees.

Once you've got your DIP, you can use it to apply for a mortgage straight away.

Apply for a DIP as part of a mortgage application.

How long will the Decision in Principle be valid for?

Once you've got your DIP, it’s valid for 90 days.

How to apply for a mortgage

You can choose to apply for a mortgage with or without advice.

Applying with advice

Applying with advice means that one of our Mortgage Consultants will help you through the application process, and they'll provide advice on which mortgage will best meet your needs. You can apply with advice by phone or in a Nationwide branch.

If you apply in branch or over the phone, one of our Mortgage Consultants can talk you through everything you need to know. We'll also help you to understand what information and documents you'll need to provide when applying.

If you apply over the phone, please post your documents or bring them to your local branch. If you apply in branch, you can bring your documents with you to your appointments.

Applying without advice

If you don't want advice or help with your application, you need to be sure you're ready to take responsibility for choosing a mortgage that's right for your situation. If you're comfortable applying without advice, you can apply online.

If you choose to apply online but decide at any point that you'd like advice, you can always stop where you are and finish your application by phone or in branch.

If you apply online, you can send your documents via email or post, or take them to your local branch.


Making an offer in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Once you have a Decision in Principle and you've found a place you like, you can make an offer.

Information: Some estate agents will allow you to make an offer without a DIP.

Your Decision in Principle will show the seller or estate agent what we'd be prepared to lend you, subject to your full mortgage application and underwriting.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

All sellers across the UK are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate, which shows how much energy a building uses. It can help you reduce your energy bills and live more sustainably by making your home more energy efficient. You will need a Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) for a new build home.

The deposit for the seller

Sometimes you'll be asked to pay a deposit to the seller or estate agent to show your intention or commitment to buy the property. This deposit normally applies to New Build Schemes and ranges from £500 to £1,000. It's usually repayable should the sale not happen. Remember, this is not the same as your mortgage deposit.

Legal/conveyancers fees

During your mortgage application, you’ll be asked to either provide your conveyancer's details, or to choose Nationwide’s conveyancing service.

Your conveyancer handles all of the legal work required to complete the purchase of your home, for example, they will deal with the transfer of the title of the property from the seller to the buyer. Your conveyancer will also carry out searches, for example to find out if there are any changes or development planned that could affect the property.

You can either appoint your own conveyancer, or use Nationwide’s conveyancing service. You can find a conveyancer by contacting the Law Society or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.

Remember to get a quote for conveyancing first before appointing anyone.

Survey options

When you buy a home, we need to do a valuation to ensure the property is worth the asking price. We'll request a standard valuation. If you'd like to add on any other home surveys, you'll need to request these yourself during the application process.

A standard valuation from Nationwide is free, but it doesn't give you details about the overall condition of the property. For that, you’ll need a HomeBuyers Report or Building Survey.

Homebuyers report:

This is carried out by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

It includes:

  • Clear ‘traffic light’ ratings about the condition of the different parts of the building, a review of the services connected, garden areas, garage and outbuildings.
  • A summary of risks on the condition of the building, the grounds, and to people.
  • Identification of issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions.
  • Professional opinion on the property market value.

RICS Building Survey:

This is carried out by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). 

And it:

  • Is suitable for larger, older or more unusual properties, or properties that have been altered or extended. It’s also suitable for properties in poor condition.
  • Provides a more thorough and extensive inspection and a detailed report covering a wider range of issues.
  • Includes a description and advice on the visible defects and potential problem areas.
  • Outlines repair options and gives an indication of the consequences if matters are not dealt with.
  • Doesn’t include a valuation.

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 valuation. You can find out more on the initial fees page.


Making an offer in Scotland

The property market in Scotland works very differently to the property system in the rest of the UK. If you'd like to make an offer on a property in Scotland, here are some of the things you'll need to consider:

The solicitor's role

In Scotland your solicitor plays a greater part in buying homes than in the rest of the UK. If you want to buy a house in Scotland, you'll need to use a Scottish solicitor.

Your solicitor will submit your offer to the seller’s solicitor or estate agent. It should include the price you want to pay and when you'd like to move in.

This is followed by written negotiation, conducted by the solicitors. When all conditions are agreed by both parties, the concluded missive is then a binding contract. This means that neither side can withdraw without having to pay compensation.

Surveys

The Home Report

In Scotland, a seller must have a Home Report pack prepared. This consists of three documents:

  • Property questionnaire – The Property Questionnaire is completed by the seller of the home. It contains information about the home, such as Council Tax banding, factoring arrangements and any changes made to the home.
  • Energy report – The Energy Report shows the home’s energy efficiency rating, assesses its environmental impact and recommends improvements. The Single Survey contains an assessment by a surveyor, a valuation and an accessibility audit.
  • Single survey – The Single Survey may be sufficient to secure a mortgage, dependant on the age of the property. If the survey raises concerns you might want to get a Structural Survey done.

Builder's deposit and reservation fee

If you're buying a new build property, you'll usually be asked to pay the builder a reservation fee of between £500 and £1,000 to show your intention or commitment to buy the house. This deposit is usually non-refundable should the sale not go through. Remember, this is not the same as your mortgage deposit.

Receiving your mortgage offer

Once you've received your mortgage offer in the post, there are only a few more stages left before the mortgage begins and the house is yours. Having the right level of buildings insurance cover is a condition of your mortgage offer, and you can choose to arrange this through Nationwide or with another provider. It covers you financially for any damage to your home. Remember, you'll need to ensure you have buildings insurance on your new home before you can exchange contracts. Find out more about Nationwide buildings insurance.

Exchanging contracts

When the legal work is finished and contracts are signed, your conveyancer/solicitor will exchange them with the seller’s solicitor, pay your deposit and agree the completion date. We’ll then send you a text message as soon as we receive a date for the mortgage funds to be sent. This may be a few days before you complete the purchase.

Completion day

On completion day, your seller receives the money, and you'll get the keys to your new home.

Making your first payment

Within 7 working days from when you complete on your mortgage, we’ll write to let you know how much your first mortgage payment is, and when it is required.

Buildings insurance

Having the right level of buildings insurance cover is a condition of your mortgage offer, and you can choose to arrange this through Nationwide or with another provider. It covers you financially for any damage to your home.

Find out more information about Nationwide buildings insurance.


Mortgage fees and charges

Find out if changing or ending a mortgage could mean paying fees and charges.

Other fees and charges

Solicitor and conveyancing fees

You'll need a conveyancer to handle your mortgage contracts and legal documentation.

If you don't already have a conveyancer, you can use Nationwide's conveyancing service.

Overpayments

If you want to pay more than your monthly mortgage amount, this is called making an overpayment. Your mortgage will come with an overpayment allowance.

If you go over your overpayment allowance, you may need to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC). Find out more about overpayments.

Early Repayment Charges

If you pay off your mortgage before your term ends, you might need to pay an Early Repayment Charge (ERC).


Talk to someone

If you have any questions about Nationwide mortgages or you’re not sure where to begin, just get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
Saturday 9am to 5pm.

Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

From the UK: 0800 121 69 49


Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Mortgages are secured on your home. You could lose your home if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage.

Mortgages are subject to underwriting and criteria. Minimum age 18, UK residents only.