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Which Are the Best Support Schemes for a First-Time Buyer?

First-time buyer has to be at least 18 and up to 39 to open a new account, paying 25% interest on savings deposited up to £4,000 a year. In effect, you can increase your deposit by £1,000 for every £4,000 you save.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin2023-05-09
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Which Are the Best Support Schemes for a First-Time Buyer?

Accessing a first-time buyer scheme can make a huge difference to your ability to buy a first property, helping increase your savings toward a deposit, improving your eligibility for first-time buyer mortgages, or ensuring you can purchase a home at a lower than the market rate.

There are multiple first-time buyers schemes open to new applicants, and we often speak with first-time buyer candidates who are unsure which options are best suited to their circumstances or will positively impact their prospects.

In this guide, Revolution Finance Brokers runs through some of the popular first-time buyer schemes you might wish to apply for, how they work, and the benefits available.

Opening a First-Time Buyer ISA

The initial first-time buyer scheme we’ll look at is the Lifetime ISA, also referred to as the first-time buyer ISA. This savings account is a first-time buyer government scheme that helps people buy a first home, provided the property costs £450,000 or less.

A first-time buyer has to be at least 18 and up to 39 to open a new account, paying 25% interest on savings deposited up to £4,000 a year. In effect, you can increase your deposit by £1,000 for every £4,000 you save.

Note that the first-time buyer ISA is only suited to a genuine first-time buyer or somebody trying to maximise their deposit contribution towards a joint purchase – it can also be used by those saving toward their retirement.

If you withdraw your funds from a first-time buyer ISA for any reason other than as a deposit, or to pay for retirement, you will sacrifice all of the interest earned.

The previous help for first-time buyers through the Help to Buy ISA scheme has now closed, but if you have an existing account, you can still earn the same 25% interest but need to use your fund towards a deposit before the end of 2030.

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Most lenders will let you borrow 4.5 times your annual salary so, as long as you have a standard 10% deposit, you should be able to borrow this much.


Depending on your personal circumstances, some lenders may let you borrow 5 times your salary.


Lenders usually cap the amount they lend at 5.5 times your salary, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to borrow more than this.

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The First-Time Buyer Government Scheme

Our next option is the mortgage guarantee, a first-time buyer scheme launched in 2021. While this scheme officially ended in December 2022, there remain several lenders who will consider first-time buyer mortgage applicants with a 5% deposit.

The concept is that where a lender might otherwise turn down a first-time buyer due to the risks of lending to a high Loan to Value, the first-time buyer scheme offered a government guarantee of up to 80% of the property value.

There is the potential for this first-time buyer scheme to be renewed or extended or possibly replaced with another initiative which will help more applicants purchase their first home, provided they have saved at least 5%.

Using the Right to Buy First-Time Buyers Scheme

Right to Buy is a first-time buyer scheme aimed at people living in council properties, with a discount on the usual market value. Tenants can apply for help for first-time buyers to buy the property where they live as long as they have been a tenant for at least three years.

This first-time buyer scheme is open to joint tenants and up to three relatives living together for at least one year.

A first-time buyer can purchase their home with a discount of up to £87,200, although this limit is higher in London at £116,200. Discounts depend on how long the first-time buyer has been a tenant, how much the home is worth, and whether it is a house or a flat.

Right to Buy isn’t a first-time buyer mortgage but is the process by which you agree to buy the home from the landlord, so you’ll still need a mortgage agreement from a suitable lender to move forward.

Applying for Right to Acquire as a First-Time Buyer

Right to Acquire is a similar first-time buyers scheme as Right to Buy but applies to properties owned by a housing association instead of a local council.

The eligibility terms are fairly comparable, and you can use the first-time buyer scheme if you rent from an association, NHS trust or one of the armed services.

If a first-time buyer lives in a council property, they cannot use Right to Acquire and need to apply through the Right to Buy scheme.

The Shared Ownership First-Time Buyer Scheme

Shared Ownership is a first-time buyer scheme that permits a first-time buyer to purchase a proportion of their home if they aren't in a position to buy it outright or don't have a large enough deposit.

A first-time buyer can purchase chunks of the property from 25% up to 75% of the market value and need to pay a nominal rent to the landlord for the rest of the home they do not own.

If you want to use Shared Ownership as a first-time buyer, you will need a deposit of between 5% and 10% of the value of the proportion you’re purchasing and will still require a first-time buyer mortgage to cover the transaction.

This first-time buyer scheme means you can buy a smaller share, from 25% of the home, and then apply for a larger proportion of ownership over time, potentially increasing your share up to 100% by buying in gradual stages.

Help for First-Time Buyers With Disabilities

There is additional support for a first-time buyer with disabilities using the Shared Ownership first-time buyer scheme. The Home Ownership for People with Long-Term Disabilities fund helps people who qualify for extra help.

In most cases, that applies to any first-time buyer who cannot purchase a home through any other scheme, normally because they need a specific type of property, such as a flat with a step-free ground floor entrance.

However, some councils have different priority groups, and your position as a first-time buyer will depend on the support available in your area.

First-Time Buyer Schemes for Older Adults

Another potential first-time buyer scheme is designed for buyers aged 55 or above, who can use the Shared Ownership initiative to buy up to a maximum cap of 75% of the property value.

This scheme works like any other Shared Ownership first-time buyer arrangement, but the difference is that once the individual buys up to 75% of the property, they cannot purchase further ownership and do not pay any rent on the 25% balance.

The First Homes First-Time Buyer Scheme

Our final first-time buyers scheme is called First Homes and provides lower-cost housing for people who are on a lower income or fall into another priority group.

A property can be included in this first-time buyer government scheme if it has a discount of at least 30% on the usual market value and is sold to someone who meets the criteria. After the discount, the property cannot be sold for over £250,000 or £420,000 within London.

To be eligible for this first-time buyers scheme, you will need to have a household income of under £80,000 and £90,000 in London and be able to secure a first-time buyer mortgage to cover at least 50% of the agreed sale price.

Professional Help for First-Time Buyers

With so many potential schemes and initiatives to choose between, it can be useful to consult an experienced, independent broker, both to recommend the first-time buyers scheme that is most suitable and to help you secure the mortgage borrowing required.

Revolution Finance Brokers is a whole-of-market broker and provides independent support to ensure you make informed, confident choices about your borrowing as a first-time buyer.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

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Frequently Asked

To count as a first-time buyer, you need to be purchasing a property to live in and have never owned a home before – either through inheritance, a rental property, or a home gifted to you. If you are buying with a joint applicant who has owned a property in the past in any country, you will not be eligible for any schemes.

This ISA is a savings product backed by the government, which provides a generous 25% interest rate per year, based on a maximum deposit value of £4,000. The first-time buyer ISA makes it easier and faster to save a deposit to purchase your first home. However, if you withdraw the funds for any other reason, you will lose all of your interest earnings.

The reality is that the London property market is substantially more expensive than anywhere else in the UK, so imposing the same limitations would mean that first-time buyers schemes simply wouldn’t be effective or useful.

Thresholds vary, so a low-income household eligible for the First Homes scheme is considered a family with an income of up to £80,000, but that cap increases to £90,000 in London – the additional £10,000 of income is likely to reflect a similar expendable income and lifestyle due to higher living costs in the capital.

A lot depends on your circumstances as a first-time buyer, so there isn’t one specific scheme we’d recommend to every client we work with. The best way to work out which first-time buyer scheme is of most value to you is to give us a call and discuss your circumstances and finances to determine the best options.

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The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature.

We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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