Top 40 questions first-time buyers want answered


The top 40 questions asked by baffled first-time buyers include ‘should I offer less than the advertised house price?’, ‘how much deposit will I need?’ and ‘how long does my mortgage offer last for?’.

A study of 2,000 homeowners found 54 per cent were confused about what they had to do when making the first step on the property ladder.

Of these, eight in 10 felt too embarrassed to ask things like ‘what is stamp duty?’ and ‘when do I need to pay everyone for the work?’. While those new to the intricacies of buying a home also wanted to ask ‘how do I choose a solicitor?’, ‘what surveys do I need?’ and ‘how much can I afford?’.

As many as 36 per cent were puzzled by the whole sequence of events, and four in 10 would have welcomed a helping hand. 60 per cent felt overwhelmed when talking to estate agents, solicitors and mortgage advisors, with 68 per cent worried about looking stupid.

Unsurprisingly, almost eight in 10 wish the home buying process was simpler, and nearly half are put off moving again due to how complicated and confusing they found things first time around.

The study found first-time buyers also had questions like ‘how long should I fix my mortgage rate for?’ and ‘what is indemnity insurance for?’.

More generally, people wanted to know why property buying can be such a hassle, when they had to pay their mortgage – and most importantly, when they would get their keys.

But the research, carried out via OnePoll, found many went to great lengths to understand what was happening, with 68 per cent spending hours researching the process.

For those who sought help, 44 per cent went to professionals such as mortgage brokers or advisors, while the same percentage relied on the internet.

Says Charlotte Harrison, head of mortgage products at Skipton Building Society, which commissioned the research:

“Purchasing a home can seem daunting for the first time. The process can be long and complicated at times, made harder if you don’t fully understand what needs to be done and by who.

“Many people also don’t have the time to work out what has to be done at every step, or even know what every mortgage term means which is why we want to help first-time buyers make the home buying process simpler and easier to understand.”

Adds Iona Bain, money expert and author:

“Getting on the property ladder can feel complex and overwhelming at the best of times. But when the economic outlook is so uncertain, first-time buyers will be armed with more questions than ever before.”

Skipton Building Society has partnered with language learning app Babbel to help bust the home buying jargon for first time buyers –

Keys To Your First Home will launch in London in July 2022.


1.            What surveys do I need?

2.            What is conveyancing?

3.            What are the searches that solicitors carry out and what do they mean?

4.            How much can I afford?

5.            How do I choose a solicitor?

6.            Do I have to do a survey on the property?

7.            How long should I fix my mortgage rate for?

8.            How much notice will I be given about the moving date?

9.            Why is property buying so much hassle?

10.          How do I know what’s the best mortgage for me?

11.          What is indemnity insurance and why do you need it?

12.          What’s the difference between a mortgage Decision in Principal and a mortgage offer?

13.          What is stamp duty?

14.          What does it mean for me if the vendor doesn’t have correct paperwork for the home? (for example, boiler certificates are out of date)

15.          How much deposit will I need?

16.          How soon after paying do I get the keys?

17.          Should I offer less than the advertised home price?

18.          What role does a solicitor play?

19.          What’s the difference between fixed-rate and variable mortgage?

20.          What insurance should I take out now I am a homeowner?

21.          How much will everything else cost me each month, such as bills

22.          Do I have to pay stamp duty?

23.          How much will mortgage payments be?

24.          What’s the difference between leasehold and freehold?

25.          How do I get a mortgage?

26.          What are management fees?

27.          When do I sort out a mortgage?

28.          How long does my mortgage offer last for?

29.          Why do solicitors charge me to print things?

30.          When do I need to pay everyone for the work?

31.          What do solicitors do all day?

32.          Will it affect my mortgage repayments if I complete mid-month, is it best to complete at the end of the month?

33.          What does the estate agent do?

34.          Do I need to pay for brokers on top of everything else?

35.          Is there a limit to how long a ‘chain’ can be?

36.          Can I pull out of the purchase at any point?

37.          Do I pay the deposit all in one go?

38.          What’s a mortgage broker?

39.          Do I need to pay everything in one go or do I pay the 10 per cent deposit first and the rest later?

40.          When do I pay my mortgage?

Chris Price