When it comes to buying your first home in Scotland it can be difficult to know where to start.
Thankfully, by breaking the process down into manageable chunks taking that first step onto the property ladder can be easier than it first appears.
Here’s our simple step-by-step guide to buying your first home in Scotland.
Start looking early!
Even while you are still saving for your deposit, it’s well worth keeping an eye on the local property market. This will give you a good feeling for how quickly properties are selling, the values that they are achieving and the sort of areas that meet your criteria and are within your price range.
Signing up for property alerts with sites like warnersllp.com and espc.com at an early stage will also allow you to keep abreast of new properties coming onto the market that tick the right boxes for you.
Speak to a Mortgage Broker
A good mortgage broker can be invaluable when it comes to buying your first home. As well as helping you to find the best mortgage deal available for you, they will be able to assist you with your financial planning to make sure that mortgage repayments will be manageable for you.
Remember when planning out your budgets to have a ‘rainy day fund’ set aside for after you move into the property. This will make sure that you’re able to comfortably afford any unexpected expenses that may arise, like minor decorative improvements or repairs.
Your broker will also be able to get you an agreement in principle (AIP) which will allow you to start submitting offers for properties. Don’t worry, the AIP doesn’t tie you into using that lender so if a better mortgage deal is available elsewhere at the point where you have an offer accepted, that won’t be a problem.
Appoint a Solicitor
In Scotland you will need to have a solicitor in place to allow you to note interest in, and make offers for, properties.
More importantly, a good solicitor should be able to:
Answer questions about the buying process
discuss properties that you may be interested in.
provide you with information on local market activity and recent comparable sales.
advise you on bidding strategies and how much to offer based on both the property you are interested in and your own circumstances.
The good news is that most solicitors will not charge you for noting interest or for unsuccessful offers. The only point at which you will start to incur costs is once your offer has been accepted and the legal work begins on your purchase.
Finding Your Dream Home
You’ve been keeping an eye on the market, your finances are in order and your solicitor is in place. Now it’s time for the fun part – finding your dream home.
The major property websites allow you to sign up for email alerts which let you know as soon as a property matching your chosen criteria comes onto the market. The best place to start is with ESPC. They advertise the vast majority of properties for sale in Edinburgh and the Lothians, and because their focus is on the local area, espc.com allows you to perform much more detailed local searches. You can also access copies of Home Reports and see if a closing date has been set for properties of interest. It’s worth keeping an eye on Rightmove and Zoopla as well just to make sure you don’t miss anything that isn’t advertised on ESPC.
Remember not to fall in love with a property too early in your search. By doing so you may end up overpaying for your new home, or miss out on another property that might be even more to your liking.
You can read more about our top tips for viewing properties here.
Once you’ve seen a property that your keen on, ask your solicitor to note interest on your behalf. If possible go back for a second viewing, ideally at a different time of day to the first viewing. This will allow you to get a better feel for the neighbourhood you’re thinking of moving into.
Submitting an Offer
You’ve found a home you’re keen on and you’re ready to make an offer. Speak to your solicitor as soon as possible and they should be able to keep you right in terms of bidding strategies to help you secure the home for the best possible price.
In a competitive market it’s unlikely that you will secure the first home that you offer on and if that is the case, it’s important to remain level-headed about that. There will be new homes coming onto the market constantly and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you become frustrated and end up offering more than you are comfortable with.
Your Offer Has Been Accepted!
Your offer is accepted but your work isn’t done just yet. Speak to your mortgage broker and ask them to progress your formal mortgage application. They should be able to take care of this for you, saving you time and stress and ensuring that the application is processed as quickly as possible.
Your solicitor will take care of the legal work, keeping you posted if and when they need anything from you, allowing you to relax and start making plans for your new home.
If you’re thinking of buying a property, get in touch with Warners today on 0131 662 4747 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be delighted to help.