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5 Steps To Buying a House in Scotland

Whether you are a first time buyer or haven't bought a new property for some time, this article tells you everything you need to do along with some useful tips for house buying in Scotland.

The Main Steps Required For Buying A Home

Buying a home can be stressful and exciting, however if you follow our easy steps it will make it much easier.

  1. Work out your budget.
  2. Arrange a mortgage.
  3. Choose a solicitor.
  4. Find a property.
  5. Complete the transaction.

Budget For Your New Home 

If you work out your budget carefully it will mean when you buy your home you will be able to afford to run and maintain it.  It also means you will only view properties that you can afford.

When working out your budget consider the following points:

  • Monthly mortgage payments - Ensure you can afford to pay your monthly mortgage payments along with all your monthly bills such as home insurance, utility bills, council tax and food.
  • Deposit for the mortgage - There was a time that lenders were offering 100% mortgages, however now it is far more likely that you will need to provide a deposit.  This could be anywhere from 5-20% of the value of the property. If you need to use all your savings for the mortgage deposit, consider how you will furnish and decorate your new home.  Will you need to buy a home that is in move-in condition or will you have some funds available for DIY and decoration?
  • Fees - Unfortunately nothing is ever free and there are fees that you must include in your budget. 
    • Your mortgage lender may charge a fee for setting up the mortgage.
    • There will be solicitor's fees for conveyancing.
    • Your mortgage lender may require a survey on the home you wish to buy in addition to the Home Report that the seller provides.
  • Tax - Land & Building Transaction Tax (previously Stamp Duty) is due for purchases over £145,000.

Owning a home comes with many new bills that you may not have considered.  We have mentioned some already, however, it can be worthwhile working out your monthly outgoings as a homeowner.  

  • Living Expenses 
    • Council tax.  Check the council tax band of the property you wish to buy.  
    • Utiliity bills.  Electricity, gas, phone, TV licence.
    • Buildings and contents home insurance.
    • Maintenance charges.  If you buy a flat there are likely to be maintenance charges for shared areas such as stairways and gardens.
  • Moving Expenses such as paying for a furniture removal van.
  • Maintenance & Decoration - Depending on the property you buy, this may be something that you can save up for and not an immediate expense.  

Arranging a Mortgage

Arranging a mortgage is not as scary as it sounds.  You can get some quotes from your Bank or go to a mortgage broker who can look for the best current deal for you.  A mortgage broker will have access to many lenders. You can also look online to get all the latest information and deals.  Websites such as moneysupermarket.com and comparethemarket.com can be useful, however, if you have never had a mortgage before speaking to an adviser at your Bank may be more helpful.

Choose a Solicitor

To complete the purchase of a home you will need a solicitor that offers conveyancing services.  In Edinburgh, you will often find that they also run an estate agency.  Many estate agencies in Scotland will also offer conveyancing services. They will either have their own solicitor or will pass the work to their recommended solicitor.  

But how do you choose the right person or company? Many people will speak to their friends and family and ask for recommendations.  You can also look at reviews on the internet.  Feel free to get a few quotes and speak to a few property solicitors before you decide who you want to appoint.  Choose someone that you feel you can ask any questions, and they explain the answer to you simply, without showing off their solicitor jargon.  

Find a Property

Now that you have your budget, mortgage and solicitor in place, this is the fun bit.  It is time to find your perfect new home.

If you are looking in a large city like Edinburgh or Glasgow there may be hundreds of properties in your budget.  It may be useful to write down your preferred areas and list all your needs and wishes for your home eg you need 2 bedrooms and easy access to a train station for commuting.  Your wish list may be a garden and a large kitchen. Do you want an old property that needs modernised with a potential of making money on your property or a brand new building that is in walk in condition?

To find a property, you can call in at local estate agencies to see what they have to offer, or you can walk down your favourite streets and look for 'For Sale' signs.  In Edinburgh, you will find most properties for sale are in the ESPC.  

Buy Your New Home

Once you find a property you would like to buy, your solicitor will submit your bid, negotiate with the seller's solicitor and finally handle all the paperwork when your offer is successful.  Conveyancing is the process of moving the legal ownership of property from one person to another.  


At Fergusson Law in Edinburgh we have highly qualified conveyancing solicitors that are always approachable and ready to assist.  Our estate agency property manager has extensive local knowledge of Edinburgh and is willing to work long hours to show properties at times that are convenient to the buyer. We aim to make this process as straightforward as possible for our clients and are always there to help every step of the way.  


Author: Janice Fergusson