Searching for your first home? A 5-step quick guide

September 21, 2020

Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but it can also be a bit of a maze. Here we outline five steps to help get you started on your home buying journey.

  1. Save your deposit

    First-time buyers need a deposit of at least 10%, while non-first-time buyers need at least 20%. This may seem like a large amount but starting a savings habit will see it add up over time. Take a look at your existing budget with our spending calculator to see where you can make savings. You can also compare savings accounts with our savers Money Tool to make sure you are getting the best interest rate for your savings.First-time buyers buying a new build house can also avail of the Help to Buy scheme which, until the end of 2020, offers up to €30,000 towards the cost of your first home. Full details of the scheme can be found on

  2. Work out your budget

    As well as your deposit, you may also need to pay for other costs when buying a house, such as stamp duty, legal fees, survey costs, engineers reports, moving costs, repairs, decoration, furniture, etc. You should factor these costs into your budget, in addition to your 10% deposit, and your lender may ask to see your budget as part of your application.

  1. Research and apply for your mortgage

    Once you have your deposit saved, you are ready to apply for a mortgage. Mortgages are available either directly from lenders or through a broker. If you decide to go through a broker be sure to find out in advance how they are paid; as some may charge you a fee, while others are paid commission by the lenders.The most important thing to think about is the interest rate. Many lenders offer incentives such as cashback which can seem very appealing. However, you need to consider the overall cost of the mortgage and the interest rate, along with the number of years – this will have the biggest impact on the total amount your mortgage will cost you. To compare the mortgages available and see the total cost of the different options, you can use our mortgages Money Tool.

  2. Find a solicitor

    Before you start viewing properties, you should also look for a solicitor to carry out the conveyancing – this is the legal work to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to you. It is a good idea to choose a solicitor before you start looking at properties because as soon as your offer is accepted, the estate agent will ask for your solicitor’s details to pass onto the seller’s solicitor.Solicitor’s fees can vary considerably and may be either a percentage of the property price or a flat fee. You will usually be charged extra for services like telephone calls, postage, search fees and registering deeds. So, before you choose one, get written quotes from a number of solicitors with details of their professional fees and other costs.

  1. Start house hunting

    Once you have your mortgage ‘approval in principle’ and your solicitor is chosen, it’s time to start house hunting. Search the web, check the streets for ‘for sale’ signs and talk to estate agents, the right house for you is out there somewhere!

For more tips and advice, see our step by step guide on buying a home.

Return to News

Haven’t found what you’re looking for?