Here are 10 steps to help you through the process of buying a property:
The first step is to get a rough estimate of how much you could borrow for a mortgage. This will give you an idea of the type of property and location you could afford. It may also help you work out how much you’ll need to save for a deposit.
Explore: How to save for a home deposit
When you apply to borrow money, lenders will look at your credit score before deciding whether to accept your application. It can show them how reliable you are at borrowing and repaying money.
Take some time to think about what you need in a home versus what you’d like. This will help you narrow down your search when it comes to looking at properties. For example:
|What you need in a home||What you’d like in a home|
|At least 2 bedrooms||3 bedrooms|
|Space for parking||A garage or own driveway|
|Outdoor space for a dog||A private, low-maintenance garden|
|What you need in a home||At least 2 bedrooms||At least 2 bedrooms|
|What you’d like in a home||3 bedrooms||3 bedrooms|
|What you need in a home||Space for parking||Space for parking|
|What you’d like in a home||A garage or own driveway||A garage or own driveway|
|What you need in a home||Outdoor space for a dog||Outdoor space for a dog|
|What you’d like in a home||A private, low-maintenance garden||A private, low-maintenance garden|
A Decision in Principle – also known as an Agreement in Principle – gives you a clear idea of how much you could borrow based on your circumstances. It usually involves a soft credit check to look at your credit history, but will have no impact on your credit file.
A Decision in Principle is not a guarantee that your mortgage application will be accepted, but it can help you understand your options and what you may be able to afford. It also shows estate agents you’re serious about buying a property.
With your list of requirements in hand it’s time to contact estate agents, search for properties and arrange viewings. This is also a good time to start looking for a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
It may take some time, but when you find a property you want, deciding on the right price to offer can be exciting – and scary. From asking the right questions to negotiating tactics, get tips on how to make an offer on a property.
If your final offer is accepted – congratulations. If not, keep looking – your new home, at a price you’re happy with, could be just around the corner.
Buyers in Scotland can also request a free Home Report from the seller – this contains an energy performance certificate, a property survey, and questionnaire.
If the survey identifies any significant work that needs doing, you may be able to revisit your offer with the seller. For example, if a house has some damp you may be able to factor the cost of the work into the purchase price.
The exchange of contracts is when solicitors or licensed conveyancers swap signed contracts on behalf of you and the seller. It’s also when they’ll ask you to transfer your deposit over to them.
When you exchange contracts – you’re legally bound to buy the property. In Scotland, this is known as ‘conclusion of missives’. You'll need buildings insurance in place at this point.
Buildings insurance protects you against the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home from scratch, should it get damaged from an insured risk. So, it’s important to consider getting the cover you need.
Exchanging contracts is a big milestone, when you can do a celebratory dance – if you like.
The completion date is usually 2 weeks after exchange, but it can be as little as 1 day after or even take place on the same day. This is when you can pick up the keys to your new home and start enjoying it.
Explore: Your moving day checklist
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.