Tembo review: Offering first-time buyers help and support

If you’re looking to buy your first home, find out whether Tembo could give you the helping hand you need.

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Tembo was launched with first-time buyers in mind to help them achieve their property dreams more quickly. Let’s look at how it works.

What is Tembo?

Tembo is a specialist broker that offers first-time buyers the help and support they need to buy a property. The broker has access to a range of mortgage products to help buyers increase the size of their deposit or boost the amount they can borrow. All that’s required is a family member (or close friend) who owns a home or has a reliable source of income. This person is known as a “homebooster”.

How does Tembo work?

There are 2 options you can choose from with Tembo: the Deposit Boost and the Income Boost.

Deposit Boost

Tembo’s Deposit Boost requires a family member or close friend to raise a small mortgage against their own property. The funds released by this mortgage are then transferred and put towards the home buyer’s deposit.

The money must be formally gifted at the time of the mortgage application so that the home buyer is able to access more competitive mortgage rates. If it is loaned instead, lenders will consider it a greater risk and the home buyer will likely pay a higher mortgage rate.

The balance on the Deposit Boost mortgage can be repaid monthly or the homebooster can choose to pay only the interest each month over a lifetime term. The proceeds will then be repaid once the home is sold by the homebooster. Alternatively, they can choose a 5- or 10-year term and repay the loan after that.

Income Boost

With Income Boost you can allocate all or some of a friend’s or family member’s income to your mortgage. This will help boost your affordability and your chances of buying your first home.

Unlike Deposit Boost, your family member or friend will not need to own their own home. However, they will need a regular income and be prepared to make your mortgage payments if you are unable to. The homebooster will not need to be listed on the property deeds and up to 4 people can be chosen for an income boost, depending on the lender.

The main mortgage option is a joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage but you may also be able to take out a guarantor mortgage.

Who is it for?

Tembo predominantly helps first-time buyers but it can also support second-time buyers or home movers.

You’re more likely to get accepted for a mortgage if you have a good credit rating, but Tembo may also be able to help those with lower credit scores. However, if you have an active Debt Management Plan (DMP), Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) or County Court Judgment (CCJ), Tembo recommends that you speak to a specialist adverse credit broker.

Is Tembo safe?

Yes, Tembo is part of PRIMIS Mortgage Network which is a trading style of Personal Touch Financial Services Limited. This is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), an independent regulatory body for all UK financial services and institutions. The FCA aims to protect customers and ensure financial markets are honest, fair and effective.

How to apply

You will need to apply online by clicking the “Get started” button on the Tembo website. You will then be asked to provide some personal details, as well as details about your homebooster. Once completed, you’ll find out whether you are eligible for Deposit Boost or Income Boost. If you are, you’ll be asked to book in a 15-minute chat with Tembo to discuss your options further. This can be done via the online calendar feature.

Pros and cons of Tembo


  • Can help first-time buyers get on the property ladder.
  • Can give first-time buyers access to more competitive mortgage rates.
  • Homeboosters will not be listed on the property deeds.


  • Tembo charges a mortgage advice fee of between £249 and £749.
  • Your homebooster is also responsible for the mortgage repayments.
  • Mortgages are offered from a panel of lenders, rather than the whole market.

Our verdict

Tembo offers 2 original ways to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, allowing homeboosters and home buyers to choose the option that best suits their needs.

However, before proceeding, home buyers should ensure they factor in the mortgage advice fee and check how the mortgage rate offered compares to the wider market. Homeboosters may also want to seek independent advice before agreeing to an interest only or retirement interest only Deposit Boost mortgage.

Frequently asked questions

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