What's in this section?

Budgeting for a move

How much can you afford?

How much can I borrow?

Use our calculators to work out how much you can borrow.

Boosting your credit rating

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

Fees and charges

The fees you may need to pay when buying your first home.

Extra costs

A reminder of some of those extra expenses.

Budgeting for a move

Before deciding how much you want to borrow, it's good to have a budget and be clear on what you can actually afford to pay back each month. Our budget calculator is a great way to compare all your monthly income and outgoings, see what you have left afterwards, and get a good picture of your current financial position. Next, you'll be ready to calculate how much you could borrow from us.

How much can I borrow?

How much you can borrow depends on your personal circumstances and how much we're willing to lend to you. 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 obliged to check you can afford to repay the loan and make sure you’re not over-stretching your finances.

For a quick quote, see our Mortgage Quick Quote Calculator. If you need a more advanced quote, please visit our Mortgage Affordability Calculator instead.

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 TransUnion. You can ask them directly for a copy of your credit report (a fee may apply). 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 www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

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

Mortgage fees and charges

Various fees can apply when you get a mortgage.  There are also costs associated with buying (and selling) property, and also with moving home. It’s important to take these into account when buying your first home, as you’ll need more than just your deposit. For a full list of our possible charges (and when these apply) please see our support pages and our Tariff of Charges

Product fees

This is a charge of up to £999 that's added to some mortgages as part of the deal. You can choose to pay the amount up front, or add it to your total mortgage amount. If you add it to your mortgage, you’ll pay interest on it at the same rate as the rest of your borrowing.

Telegraph transfer fee

If you or your conveyancer request money to be sent by telegraphic transfer / CHAPS when your mortgage completes, we charge a fee of £20.
No fee is charged for a transfer by BACS.

Legal/Conveyancer fees

In order to complete on a mortgage, you’ll need to have a conveyancer (a type of solicitor) to handle the contracts and documentation like title deeds. You can either appoint your own conveyancer or use Nationwide’s conveyancing service. Head to the Finding a property and making an offer section to find out more.

Other fees and charges

Once you have a mortgage, fees can apply if you don’t make your payments on time, or if you leave your deal early, change your payment term or request extra documentation. Find out more about mortgage fees and charges or view all charges in our Tariff of Charges.

Extra costs

Buying a home can involve extra costs you’ll need to budget for. We’ve listed the main ones here but you can ask your solicitor 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.

Buildings insurance

Having buildings insurance is a compulsory condition of your mortgage offer and you can choose to arrange this through Nationwide or elsewhere. It covers you financially for any damage to your home caused by a fire, flooding or wind as an example. You’ll need buildings insurance to be in place from when you exchange contracts. 

Land/buildings tax

Many first time buyers now don’t have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (or its regional equivalent) on residential property purchases.

The amount you pay will depend on who is buying the property, the purchase price, and on where the property is located.

Removal costs

Unless you’re planning to hire a van and take care of the removal yourself, you’ll also need to factor in professional removal costs. See if someone you know can recommend a removal firm, and always get a fixed price quote.

Mortgages are secured on your home. You could lose your home if you do not keep up payments on your mortgage.