“I’m never going to waste money on renting it’s just like throwing money away really!” were the words I said at age 21 having left university. And now 6 years later nothing has changed.

DAMN YOU unrealised pay-rise structure!

For 1st-time buyers the good news now is that:

Banks are moving away from the “3 or 4 x salary” concept as specified in the soon to be repealed Landowners (Serfs, Villeins and Yeomen) Act 1831 (Passed before and not repealed by the Great Reform Act 1832).

They are tending towards a “How much can you afford” principle under the proposed First Foot on the Ladder (Bed-Sit / Hovels) Regulations 2007.

Anyway, I now have a mortgage and here is some advice that I hope helps others.

1. Speak to an independent mortgage advisor (these are found inside every estate agent in the country and will contact you immediately you have an offer accepted on a property). These advisors (for a fee) will find any mortgage you want no matter who you are and will take up less than 2 hours of your precious life to arrange. I paid ?399 for mine and asked for a particularly complex mortgage. I couldn’t recommend this highly enough, if only to remove one stress from the whole house-buying process. This fee can be added on to the mortgage if you like, so you pay “nothing” really.

NB. This fee will be charged at the standard mortgage rate and not an introductory rate like the rest of the mortgage so it would be better to pay this outright if you can.


2a. Go and tout yourself around banks and the internet. If you do feel like acting like some bounty-hunting mercenary then firstly go to the FSA link at the bottom of the page.

2b. You can just go to your bank, but this government website will take about 15 minutes to take your requirements and then list everything you could possibly want to know about each mortgage you are eligible for including a phone number to call for any mortgage provider.

2c. BE AWARE that you have to persuade lenders to lend you the money if they are hesitant. This is important because some respected mortgage advisors have more influence on getting better mortgage terms or ensuring first time buyers (the risky ones!) can receive the mortgage they would like.

3. Unless we enter some unprecedented inflation crisis NEVER take out a variable rate mortgage today. The Bank of England base rate at present is the lowest for years to encourage borrowing, therefore rates will only rise.

DAMN YOU index-linked savings account!

In short: mortgages should no longer be seen as the bastion of some mythical realm of middle- class aspiration, but should be seen as nothing more than a (very large) personal loan. If you can afford ?600/month in rent then you can afford ?600/month mortgage. Simple really.

So if you are on the prowl for a mortgage either employ some independent mortgage monkey or visit the FSA website (see links), but never take any option until you have looked at a few others and asked if there is any flexibility within the terms.

A quick note: Life / contents and buildings insurance to cover the mortgage is cheap enough not to affect the mortgage you want to take.

DAMN YOU death, burglars and fire!

Happy house hunting everybody.