Buying a Home: A Guide for First-Time Buyers
08 November 2019 Written by James & George CollieBuying a Home: A Guide for First-Time Buyers

Buying your first home can be a daunting prospect, but this needn't be the case. Here, our conveyancing solicitors [LINK] offer professional guidance on some of the steps to getting on the property ladder.

What can you afford?

The majority of first-time buyers won’t have enough savings to buy a property outright, meaning you are going to have to take out a mortgage to borrow the money. This loan will be used to purchase your home and will be secured against the property. Recent figures show that most first-time buyers pay around five to ten per cent of the full property value in cash as their deposit.

A lender decides whether or not it is willing to offer you a mortgage based on a number of criteria, such as your earnings, your monthly outgoings, any debt and the value of the property you are looking to buy.

Before you take out a mortgage, it’s important to note that if you can't meet the repayments, your lender will repossess and sell your house to recover the money.  You should, therefore, take considerable time to think about whether you can afford not just your mortgage repayments, but other monthly costs as well. You also need to be aware that interest rates can change, as can your circumstances, so you should be prepared for both.

A mortgage is a huge financial commitment, so choosing the right one is vital. There is a range of options available when it comes to securing a mortgage so you should do your research on what different banks, mortgage brokers, and other lenders can offer.

Instruct a Solicitor

You will need to find a qualified solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of your purchase. They will carry out checks on the property to ensure there are no issues that could prove problematic further down the line.

Home Report and Surveys

The seller will have arranged for a Home Report to be prepared before the sale, which provides a range of information about the property. The Home Report will include:

Single Survey

Carried out by a qualified surveyor from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a single survey covers the property condition, an estimated cost for any repairs needed, and provides a valuation of how much the home is worth.

Energy Performance Certificate

The certificate will state the energy efficiency of the building, providing you with a rough estimation of how much it will cost to run the home. It will include a band rating which ranges from very efficient (band A) to very inefficient (band G).

Property Questionnaire

This is completed by the seller and provides general information about the property. This part of the Home Report covers 16 different categories, including the length of time they have owned it, council tax band, parking facilities and any alterations or extensions that have been made. Depending on the nature of the property, you may wish to have your own specialist survey carried out. Your conveyancing solicitor can advise you on what is appropriate.

Making an Offer

You will be able to make a formal offer through your property lawyer. While you don't need to have the mortgage completed at the point of making an offer, the seller is unlikely to accept your formal offer unless your Solicitor is able to confirm that you have a Decision in Principle (DIP) (this is also known as an Agreement in Principle (AIP) or a Lending Certificate).  Our lawyers at James & George Collie can recommend and put you in touch with a local independent mortgage advisor to get the best mortgage for you.  Our Solicitors at James & George Collie can advise you on the current market conditions, and what an appropriate offer would be for the property. Once your offer is accepted, the buying process will begin.

Agreeing the Contract

Once the Offer is agreed the seller’s solicitor will issue a qualified acceptance together with a range of documents relating to the property, such as the property titles, planning papers, specialist reports and property enquiry reports. After your solicitor at James & George Collie has carried out an inspection of the titles and other documents, they will provide you with recommendations.  Thereafter once all matters are agreed and your mortgage is approved and the loan papers have been issued by your chosen lender your solicitor will be able to progress with the missives with a view to making the contract legally binding on both you and the seller. This is known as the conclusion of missives, at which point both parties are now legally committed to the sale.

Completion

You will then receive the keys and title deeds of the property. Prior to completion, you will require to pay over your deposit and legal fees and outlays to your solicitor.  Your solicitor will then be able to settle the transaction, paying the price in exchange for the title deeds for the property.  At this point, you will then be able to collect your keys for the property.  At this point, the house is legally yours.

For more information on purchasing a property, you can read our FAQs guide here

Contact Our Residential Property Solicitors Based in Aberdeen & Stonehaven Today

If you are looking to buy a home for the first time, our specialist property lawyers can guide you through every stage of the conveyancing process. With more than 175 years in delivering a specialist service to our clients, we are perfectly placed to assist with any queries you may have as a first-time buyer. For free initial advice in relation to property purchase, contact any of our qualified property solicitors by calling 01224 581581 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you straight away.

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