First-Time Buyers: Your Guide for Getting on the Ladder in 2024
So, you’ve decided it’s time to toss aside those rent recipes and dive into the world of homeownership. Welcome aboard! But while climbing the property ladder in Scotland can be an exciting prospect, it can also be an overwhelming one – particularly for first-time buyers.
Thankfully, with many years of experience under our belts, we’re perfectly positioned to give you the lowdown on making your first-time buyer journey smooth sailing from start to finish. So, whether you’re dreaming of a snug city-centre flat in Edinburgh or a picturesque cottage in the Scottish Highlands, read on to discover our simple steps for climbing the ladder in 2024.
Step 1: Understand the Market
Before diving into the property hunt, make sure to arm yourself with knowledge about the dynamic Scottish housing market. Keep a keen eye on local property trends, pricing fluctuations and government initiatives that may impact first-time buyers. Understanding Scotland’s diverse local markets can give you a clearer idea of what (and where) you can afford before you begin house hunting.
Did you know that MOV8 publishes a monthly Scottish Property Market Update? Keep up to date with our blog for the latest trends and findings.
Step 2: Get Your Finances in Order
Financial preparation is the foundation of your home-buying journey. Evaluate your income, savings and potential financial assistance carefully. In Scotland, property buying costs include the purchase price, solicitor fees and the Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). Utilise online calculators or seek advice from financial experts to gauge your affordability accurately.
Learn more about sorting out your finances here.
Government Schemes and Support
Did you know you may be eligible for government support when buying a home in Scotland? The First Home Fund offers a shared equity loan to facilitate the purchase of a new-build property. Similarly, the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme provides a government equity loan for new-build homes. Research and assess your eligibility for these schemes to enhance your home-buying prospects.
Step 3: Decide Where You Want to Buy
Scotland’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities offer many options for buyers of all ages and stages. When choosing a location, consider your lifestyle preferences, proximity to work or family, and the available local amenities. For buyers without a car, evaluate the local infrastructure – including public transportation options and road connectivity.
While Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen may boast higher property prices, exploring emerging areas or outskirts might reveal more affordable options. For example, if you work from home, consider looking at commuter towns outside the city centre where you’ll likely get more bang for your buck.
Step 4: Keep an Eye on Future Developments
Stay informed about planned developments or regeneration projects in your chosen area. Upcoming infrastructure projects or improvements to public spaces can enhance property values and contribute to a neighbourhood’s desirability. Moreover, if you’re in no rush to buy immediately (or need a little extra time to save for your deposit), keep an eye on any new-build developments that are in the works.
Step 5: Find Your Dream Home
With a clear understanding of your budget, location preferences and the property type you’re interested in, it’s time to start house hunting. Utilise online property search platforms like ESPC, collaborate with local estate agents like MOV8 and attend property viewings to see what’s on the market. Take your time exploring various options, considering the factors mentioned previously, such as transportation, nearby schools and community atmosphere, to help decide if it’s right for you.
Learn more about finding your dream home, including the best channels to search for properties, in our blog.
Step 6: The Legal Process & Solicitors
Navigating the legal aspects of property buying in Scotland requires a solicitor’s expertise. Engage a professional solicitor, like MOV8, early in the process to guide you through the essential legalities – including property searches, title deeds and the purchasing agreement.
You’ll find everything you need to know about finding a solicitor in Scotland in our blog.
Step 7: Making an Offer & Negotiation
Found your dream home? Congrats! It’s time to submit a Note of Interest (if applicable) and, eventually, an offer. Your solicitor will be instrumental in negotiating terms with the seller, covering aspects such as price, fixtures and the move-in date. Be prepared for a potential back-and-forth negotiation process, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Read our blog to learn more about submitting an offer for a home.
Step 8: Factor in Additional Costs
Beyond the initial costs of purchasing a property, consider ongoing expenses like maintenance, property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, and factoring fees (if applicable). Create a comprehensive budget that includes both upfront and recurring costs to provide a clear financial picture for the long term so you’re not caught out.
Step 9: Understand the Conveyancing Process
Once your offer has been accepted, your solicitor will begin the conveyancing process, which legally transfers ownership of the property to you. Familiarise yourself with the stages involved, from the offer acceptance to the completion of the sale. Clear communication with your solicitor is crucial at this stage, and all legal aspects of the sale must be handled efficiently to ensure there are no delays in the buying process.
Find out more about what happens once your offer is accepted in our blog.
Step 10: Move In
Congratulations on climbing the ladder; you’re officially a homeowner! As you turn the key to your new home, ensure a seamless transition by conducting a thorough inspection of the property, confirming your new utility services, updating your address and unpacking.
Don’t forget to celebrate this milestone, whether with friends and family or in a quiet moment of reflection, as your new Scottish haven becomes the canvas for countless memories and the start of a new chapter. Welcome home.
Thinking of Selling Your Property?
If you’re thinking of selling your property, our team of experts is here to help you get the best possible price in the quickest possible time. With decades of experience under our belt, we’ve seen all possible market conditions over the years and are perfectly placed to help you navigate the current property landscape. Get in touch today!
Call us on 0345 646 0208 (Option 1)
or email [email protected] to organise a free valuation of your home or to get a full, transparent breakdown of the costs of selling your home.
Thinking of Buying?
Our specialist Purchasing Team helps thousands of buyers every year to get the best deal on their next dream home, while our friendly and expert lawyers will guide you step-by-step through the Scottish buying process until you have the keys in your hand.
Call us on 0345 646 0208 (Option 2)or email [email protected], and we’ll be delighted to help.