First Time Buyer Process: How to Buy a Home in Scotland
Buying a house can be a complicated affair, and if you’re a first time buyer, the process can feel incredibly overwhelming — between choosing the right mortgage product, to picking the right solicitor for conveyancing and making the leap to putting an offer on your dream home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the sheer number of big (and often scary) decisions you need to make in such a short space of time.
Luckily, we’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll be diving into the first time buyer process and exploring how to buy a house in Scotland. We’ll cover the top things you should know before starting your first time buyer journey to ensure you feel confident finding your perfect home.
The Bad Borrower: Cleaning Up Your Credit Score
Unless you’ve won the lottery, made a massive withdrawal at the BOMAD (Bank of Mum and Dad) or found a mysterious suitcase full of money, you’re likely going to need to apply for a mortgage. Before you do, you might want to take a look at your credit score to ensure you’re in the position to borrow enough money from the bank and get the best deals available.
Your credit score is a record of your interactions with other financial products and lenders. It represents your “creditworthiness”, or how reliable you are with your money and repaying your debts. Your credit score covers everything from your mobile phone contract to those monthly ASOS purchases using BNPL schemes like Klarna or Clearpay.
While evaluating whether you’re a good person to lend a mortgage to, a bank will assess your credit score to gain evidence of your past borrowing behaviour and whether you’re likely to repay your mortgage on time each month. For this reason, your credit score is extremely important in the mortgage process — a low score can lock you out of the best mortgage deals, costing you thousands in annual interest, or even stop you from being eligible for a mortgage at all.
Experts suggest you begin thinking about how to make yourself a model homebuyer at least six months before you start the mortgage application process. Thankfully, these six months can make a huge difference if your credit score is low.
You can access your full credit report through Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. It’s usually free to sign up for these services and see your entire credit file, but remember to cancel your subscription before the free trial runs out to avoid being charged. You can find great tips on improving your credit score in this article by The Money Saving Expert.
Assemble Your Team: Hire the Perfect Solicitor
Once you’ve found the right mortgage product for you, applied and been accepted by the bank, you’ll receive an “agreement in principle”, which will allow you to move forward and put an offer on your dream home. To help you with the following steps, you’ll need a solicitor to help you buy a house. It’s important to choose the right solicitor, as they can help (or hinder!) the speed and efficiency of the first time buyer process.
As a first time buyer in Scotland, you’ll need to hire a solicitor early on in the process. Once you’ve found the perfect property for you, your chosen solicitor can help explain the property’s home report and answer any questions you have about the house before you submit your offer.
Put an Offer in For Your Dream Home
In Scotland, properties are marketed and sold by solicitors rather than estate agents. Once you’ve found your dream home and are ready to make an offer, your chosen solicitor will pass your offer to the seller’s solicitor on your behalf. Your offer will include how much you’re willing to pay, a proposed date of entry and any other terms and conditions relating to the purchase.
If the seller is happy with your offer, they’ll accept, and you’ll be well on your way to moving in. At this stage, no money is paid unless the property you’re trying to buy is a new build, in which case a deposit may be required.
Concluding the Missives and Settlement
Once your offer has been accepted, your solicitor will work to finalise the details, also known as ‘concluding the missives’ — this is legally binding for both you and the seller. Unlike in other parts of the UK, your solicitor can sign this contract on your behalf.
At this stage, your solicitor will begin the conveyancing process to officially transfer the property ownership over to you. Your solicitor will:
- Verify the property’s title and deeds, ensuring the property legally belongs to the seller, and there is no bankruptcy (which would legally disqualify the sale).
- Explain any ‘title burdens’ you have (conditions you must abide by as the new owner).
- Confirm if any planned local developments could affect the property or your move-in date.
- Transfer funds to the seller’s solicitor on the agreed date of entry (the day you receive your keys).
- Your solicitor will also pay any Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) that is due on your behalf, register you as the new owner with the Registers of Scotland, and lodge your new title deeds with your mortgage lender.
First Time Buyer Process Getting You Down? Trust Beveridge, Philp & Ross and Discover an Easier Way to Buy
Buying your first-ever home doesn’t need to be difficult. If you missed the recent First Time Buyer webinar, hosted by ESPC, you can view it here. Our very own Aileen Venables is part of this panel providing great information and advice to help you get on the property ladder.
Choosing the best solicitor is half the battle, so contact our skilled team today and experience an easier way to find your dream home with a free consultation from Beveridge, Philp and Ross. Contact us today on 0131 554 6244 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.