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Getting your foot on the property ladder – First Time Buyers Guide

25 July 2018 Property & Estate Agency Gillian Ralph

Buying your first home is exciting yet also daunting and getting on to the property ladder is challenging. However with mortgage rates stabilising, more and more affordable houses being built and various schemes available to help first time buyers make that move, now may be a good time for those trying to get on to the property ladder.

If you are new to the process, have a look at our guide to buying your first home and familiarise yourself with some of the terms associated to the process.

  1. How much can I borrow? You need to carefully consider how much deposit you have and what you can afford to repay each month when working out how much to borrow. Mortgage lenders will all have different offers and various criteria that need to be satisfied. When working out your finances, remember that you need to account for moving costs, furniture for your new home, electricity bills etc when working out how much you can afford each month.
  2. Decision in principle – before making an offer on a property, you will need a mortgage lender to confirm they are prepared to lend you money. This will involve a credit check, a review of your credit score, pay slips from your employer or copies of business accounts if you are self-employed.
  3. The perfect home – finding that perfect home is not just about the building itself but the area too. All sellers in Scotland must now provide a Home Report for the property. The Home Report will tell you the value of the property, the energy efficiency and highlight any concerns about the building eg problems with the roof or damp.
  4. Making an offer – once you have found the property you want to buy, you will need a conveyancing lawyer to submit your offer for you. There is a lot of red tape involved in buying a house and this is where conveyancing solicitors come in to do the legwork for you. The offer can be lengthy and will include details of the price, date of entry and any extras you want (eg white goods) as well as a number of standard clauses which are designed to decrease the amount of negotiation required for the majority of purchases and sales.  The Law Society of Scotland has produced a guide to these standard clauses which can be found via the following link.
  5. Applying for a mortgage – once your offer has been accepted, you need to ensure your mortgage is issued in time for your move. This is where your mortgage broker and your lawyer will once again come into the picture.
  6. Concluding missives – this is the formal legal process between the purchaser’s lawyer and the seller’s lawyer and involves checking the titles, reporting and resolving any issues to you and your lender along the way. Prepare to be patient as it can take weeks, and often months, to get all the paperwork in order. When all the legal checks are complete and the mortgage has been issued, then missives can be concluded. Before missives are concluded the deal can fall through, it is only after this that penalties would apply if either party pulled out of the purchase / sale.
  7. Home sweet home – finally the property is yours! Buying a property is likely to be one of the biggest decisions you will make and we encourage everyone that owns a home to make a Will.

If you are ready to take your first step, or even just contemplating a property sale or purchase, then speak to one of our conveyancing lawyers who can give you independent advice on your proposed transaction. We have many years of experience and can guide you through the complexities involved in buying and selling to try and make it as stress-free as possible.

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