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Building Your Foundation: A Guide for Nigerian Doctors Buying Their 1st House on a Tier 2 Work Visa

If you're a Nigerian doctor new or newish to the UK with dreams of owning your first home within your first year in the NHS or even a bit later, you will find this article helpful. As someone fortunate enough to purchase my first home during my initial year of working in the NHS, I understand the challenges and uncertainties that come with this process. In this article, I'll share valuable tips from my experience to make your home-buying experience smoother and more fulfilling. Let's dive in!

1) Lay the Foundation: Building Credit from Day 1

Establishing a good credit history is essential when planning to buy a house. From the moment you arrive in the UK, start building your credit by opening a bank account, paying bills on time, and using credit responsibly. Don’t forget to register on the electoral roll as well. Sign up for a free credit account like Experian, Equifax or credit club to help you monitor your credit. All these will demonstrate your financial reliability to lenders when the time comes to apply for a mortgage.

2) Save for Your Deposit: A Financial Pillar

Saving for a deposit is a crucial step in the home-buying process. Required minimum deposit may vary with lenders and market conditions and may range from 5-20%. Only one lender in the UK currently offers 100% Mortgage, so you don’t need a deposit for this, but there are a few conditions which I have covered in a different article here.

Set a budget and start saving diligently, considering your income, expenses, and desired property price range. Explore different saving strategies, such as opening a Lifetime ISA, to boost your savings with government bonuses. I find it useful to save automatically by setting up a standing order to transfer a certain amount or percentage of your income to a savings account that will build up to your deposit.

3) Navigate Mortgage Options: Overcoming Visa Restrictions

While being on a Tier 2 work visa may limit your mortgage options, there are still lenders willing to finance your home purchase. Some lenders will not consider you if you have stayed less than three years in the UK. I remember this was the case with a few high street banks several years ago when I was trying to get my first mortgage. I also spoke to a lender who did not deal with buyers without a permanent visa or British passport. However, don’t let that discourage you. Several lenders will be happy to take a chance on you, especially as a doctor with a regular income.

Seek guidance from mortgage advisors who specialise in working with Tier 2 visa holders. They can connect you with lenders who understand your unique circumstances and provide suitable mortgage options.

4) Seek Guidance: ‘Follow who know road’

Navigating the intricacies of the UK housing market can feel daunting, especially for foreign doctors seeking to own their first home. That's why it's crucial to seek guidance from professionals, such as experienced mortgage advisors who specialise in assisting doctors like you. They possess valuable insights into the home buying process, including the complexities of government schemes, and can help you make informed decisions. Remember, it's advisable to engage a mortgage advisor directly rather than relying on recommendations from property sellers, such as developers, to ensure your best interests are protected, and the advice you receive remains unbiased.

5) Finding the Right Home: Location and Amenities

Consider factors such as proximity to your workplace, access to amenities, and transportation links when choosing the location for your first home. Research areas that align with your preferences and budget, ensuring they meet your current and future needs. Websites like Rightmove and Zoopla will give you plenty of options.

6) Government Schemes for First-Time Buyers: Unlocking Opportunities

Explore government schemes designed to support first-time buyers, such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership. These initiatives can provide financial assistance, making homeownership more attainable. Understand the eligibility criteria, benefits, and application process to take full advantage of these opportunities.

7) Consider Additional Costs: Beyond the Purchase Price

When budgeting for your first home, don't forget to factor in additional costs such as stamp duty, solicitor fees, and home insurance. Understanding these expenses upfront will help you plan your finances effectively.

Remember, the journey to homeownership may present challenges. Still, with determination, careful planning, and the right support, you can turn your dream of owning your first home within your first year in the NHS into a reality. For a detailed step-by-step guide and valuable insights into first-time buyer mortgages for NHS staff in the UK, check out my detailed article here.

Explore the helpful resources on the NDUK website for further information and guidance on buying your first house. Let's embark on this exciting homeownership journey together! Visit to sign up for the FREE weekly newsletter that provides practical tips and valuable insights on personal finance for Doctors in the UK.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. It's important to consult with professionals who specialize in mortgage and real estate matters to address your specific circumstances. Happy house hunting, NDUKite!

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