Buying your first home is exciting, but you probably have questions about the process and what to expect. Here we answer some of the most-asked queries we receive. For more detailed guidance, make sure to check out our guide for first-time buyers.
If you need support with buying your first home, James and George Collie can help. For free initial advice, contact our friendly conveyancing solicitors on 01224 581581 or complete our online enquiry form and we will be in touch without delay.
The first thing to consider is what you can afford. Most first-time buyers will need a mortgage to cover the difference between the house price and their cash deposit. On average, first-time buyers pay a deposit of about five to ten percent of the total property value.
Having a solicitor or conveyancer lined up to manage the legal side of buying your property will mean that you can act quickly when you find the right home for you. Once you know what you want to buy, you can instruct them to carry out the necessary checks and transactions.
With no previous property purchase experience, you may not be sure what you should be looking for to help you decide whether to buy.
Consider how the space will work for you. Try to see past the current owners’ decor, furniture and layout choices. How could you use each room? Is the property large enough? Will you have enough storage space? Is there enough light?
There are also important warning signs to watch out for that could indicate underlying problems. A stale smell, stained walls or ceilings and flaking plaster could suggest damp, though also keep an eye out for methods that could be being used to conceal these symptoms, such as air fresheners.
Structural problems can cause large cracks so look out for these, particularly around bay windows and where extensions or porches join the building wall. Whilst a surveyor will pick up on issues like these, remember that surface signs of neglect can reveal how well the house has been cared for throughout.
A first-time buyer is an attractive candidate to vendors, so don’t forget that you are in a position to make a competitive offer. When you put forward your offer to the vendor’s estate agents, you can remind them why you are an appealing option - you have no chain so the sale is unlikely to fall through, and you can move quickly.
If your offer is accepted, great! If not, you can revise it. However, take care not to be pulled into a bidding war by the estate agent. Know your budget and avoid the temptation to overstretch.
A closing date is common in the Scottish property market, particularly if there are more than two notes of interest on a property. This is a set date and time by which all offers must be submitted. The seller will review the bids, consult with their solicitor and make a decision.
When submitting your offer at a closing date it should be as detailed as possible and make your position clear. How much you want to offer is ultimately up to you, although your solicitor can guide you.
Once your offer has been accepted, ask the seller to take the property off the market. They don’t have to agree but it is a reasonable expectation on your part that other buyers won’t have an opportunity to gazump you.
The vendor will want to see progress towards completion, so get moving! Book your survey, instruct your solicitor to begin the legal transaction and complete your paperwork promptly.
The transaction becomes legally binding once the exchange of contracts, known as the missives, has taken place. You will not be able to back out of the purchase at this point without the risk of losing your deposit. Completion is the date on which the property becomes yours, you can collect your keys and pop open the bubbly!
Our skilled property lawyers have supported many first-time buyers through purchasing their first property. We understand that the process can be daunting, so we are here to help with questions or concerns you have at any stage. Our guide for first-time buyers also has plenty of useful information - check it out here.