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Buying Your First Home

Are you looking to buy your first home but not sure where to start? McEwan Fraser Legal have helped thousands of people just like you to purchase their first home and in this blog post we'll share our top 10 tips for first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder.

Make sure you can afford it

Avoid setting yourself up for a disappointment by getting your sums straight first. Many lenders are now offering 5% mortgages to for first time buyers, this means that you have to save less deposit before being able to make an offer – but the more you can save towards a deposit the lower interest rate you’ll get on your mortgage with the 10% deposit opening access to much better rates and services.

Consider seeing a mortgage advisor, typically this wont cost you a penny as the advisor will be paid by the lender if you choose to proceed. Advisors will often help with setting up a budget, working out not just how much the banks will lend you, but crucially how much you can afford to borrow after you take into account the other costs of living and running a home.

Remember you’ll also need to save enough money to cover your legal fees, stamp duty, moving costs and everything else that goes along with moving homes. If you're seeing an advisor they can build this into your budget otherwise consider making a budget plan yourself and make a commitment to saving a set amount each month.

Consider Government schemes

The Government offers a whole range of schemes to help first-time buyers ranging from the popular Help to Buy ISA (which pays a bonus 25% to savings upon completion of a purchase) to Shared Ownership.

Sadly, the Help to Buy ISA will no longer be available to new applicants after the 30th November 2019, ISAs opened before this date will still be honoured so if you haven't already, consider opening one of these ISAs before the deadline to give yourself access to it when you are ready to start saving.

Secure a mortgage agreement in principle

Once you’ve found the right mortgage, you can get an agreement in principle from your chosen mortgage lender. If you've opted to use a mortgage advisor to help you then they will apply for this on your behalf.

This process is often painless and can be completed in a matter of minutes, the lender will run a credit check on you and providing you pass you will be issued an agreement in principal.

It’s not a commitment to either you or the mortgage lender, but it does give you an idea of the interest rates and loan amount that is available to you to let you start house hunting at ease, as the first stage of the approval process is out the way.

Do your research

Now you know your budget and have an agreement in principal, you can search for homes you know you can afford.

When it comes to searching for your first home, our advice would be to start with location. This is the one thing about every property that you cannot change regardless of effort and/or budget.

Once you have picked your perfect location, think very carefully about your requirements for the property itself and narrow them down to must-haves and nice-to-haves.

When you're looking for properties remind yourself of these requirements and don't be disappointed if you don't find your perfect home with your first search, new properties come to the market every day and your perfect property could be just around the corner.

Viewings are key

Take your time when your view properties, you're about to make a big decision so don't feel rushed or pressured to move more quickly than you're comfortable with. If you're not sure after a first viewing and need a second (or even third) viewing then thats absolutely fine.

If you're new to the process take a somebody you trust like a friend or family member for a second opinion, they wont be as attached to the properties and so will be more likely to make objective opinions!

Ask direct questions when viewing properties, there really are no silly questions. Ask any question that comes to mind before you forget to ask, you don't want to get home and have some doubts about an otherwise perfect property that could have been resolved by a simple and quick question at the viewing.

Be patient

Finding your perfect property can take months of painstaking searching, this depends partly on your requirements and budget but also on the property market at the time of your search. Be patient and confident, the home you are looking for could be just around the corner. Every viewing you have is experience for the next, ending ultimately with the viewing and purchase of your first home.

Appoint a solicitor

Instructing an approachable and proactive solicitor can help your transaction run as smoothly as possible. At McEwan Fraser Legal, our experienced conveyancing team will be happy to guide you through the process.


Remember to negotiate

It’s always worth negotiating on the price – as a first-time buyer with nothing to sell, you’re in a strong position.

Here at McEwan Fraser Legal we have a team of expert property negotiators who can help you get your property at the very best price. With years of experience over thousands of purchases our negotiators know how to approach the negotiations, from initial offer to accepted offer.

You’re ready to go!

Once your offer has been accepted, all you need to do is arrange when to pick up the keys and start ordering in your new furnitures. When you have completed your move, don’t forget to crack open a bottle of bubbly and sit down and relax before the housewarming commence!

Make a Will

Now that you are a homeowner you need to think about making a Will. This is vital if you want to ensure your assets are passed onto your loved ones when you pass away. For further information about buying your first home, please contact a member of our buying team – 0131 524 9797. Good Luck!