First-Time Buyers FAQs

First-Time Buyers FAQ

Buying a home can be hugely exciting, but going through the entire conveyancing process can feel like a daunting prospect, especially for first-time buyers. Here at Macnairs + Wilson, our specialist property solicitors can provide expert legal guidance to help you complete your first purchase in a stress-free and efficient manner. From planning your finances to getting the keys to your first home, we have answered five of the most commonly asked questions about buying a property in Scotland:

I want to buy my first home – am I prepared?

Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases a person will make in their lifetime, and therefore, the first thing you should do is work out if you are in a financial position to do so. This doesn't just include the cost of the property itself – you'll have to consider how you will pay legal fees, lender and broker fees, Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), and removal fees.

Before you can work out what type of property you can potentially afford and secure a mortgage, you will need to have a substantial deposit ready. This can take first-time buyers several years to accumulate so the sooner you start saving, the better.

You should also make initial appointments with a mortgage advisor to find out what size of mortgage you would be able to borrow. There will be a range of options open to you which an advisor will be able to talk you through. This will give you an idea of what kind of house you should be looking to view and, once you’re ready to make an offer, will help you assure the selling solicitor that you have an agreement in principle.

It is important to note that the costs don’t stop once you buy your new home. You’ll need to think about regular outgoings, such as buildings and contents insurance, that follow the purchase. All of these financial expenses can escalate quickly, so it's essential to have a clear idea about what you'll need to spend from the outset. Our qualified lawyers can help you put in place any financial arrangements for your upcoming property purchase.

I’m ready to start viewing properties – what should I do?

To help you identify the kind of properties that suits you, you can sign up for updates of homes for sale from estate agency websites and property portals. Accessing a professional with local insight can greatly benefit a first-time buyer when choosing their new home. The property solicitors at Macnairs + Wilson have handled property transactions for several clients across Renfrewshire as we are experts on the local area. Once you have shortlisted the properties you are interested in, you can then arrange viewings through the estate agent who is handling the sale.

What should I look out for when viewing a house?

Although no property is perfect, you should always make sure there are no unwanted surprises that could cause future problems should you purchase the house. By carrying out basic checks at the viewing, you’ll be able to identify whether the property is right for you. Factors to consider include:

  •  The condition of each room – Are there any signs of damp or mould? Are there cracks in the walls? Will you need to redecorate?
  •  Windows and doors – Is there single/double/triple glazing? Do doors and windows open easily?
  •  Bathroom and plumbing – Do the taps work? Is the water pressure strong?
  •  Garden – What condition is this in? Will it require work or maintenance?
  •  Property exterior – What is the general condition of the brickwork? Are there any cracks?
  •  Roof – Are there any missing or cracked tiles? Are drains and guttering in good condition?
  •  You’ll also want to think about general points such as parking, mobile phone coverage, and if there is any scope for extending the property.

If you’ve viewed a house and are looking to note your interest in it, you should request a Home Report from the seller. The Home Report contains a survey detailing the condition of the property, an energy report providing information on its energy efficiency rating, a property questionnaire that offers an overview of the property as well as other useful data.

I’ve decided to make an offer – how do I do this?

The first step is to have your solicitor formally note your interest to the seller’s estate agent. At Macnairs + Wilson, our property lawyers can make a written offer on your behalf and will negotiate the terms of the offer with the seller’s solicitor. It is always recommended to appoint a specialist lawyer as early on in the process as you can. By doing so, you can act quickly when you see a house you wish to put an offer on. If there are other people interested in the property, the seller may set a closing date for all interested parties to submit their best offer. We can advise you on the best price to offer and well as the types of conditions to include in your offer.

What happens once my offer is accepted?

If your offer is accepted, the seller’s solicitor will send a qualified acceptance letter to your lawyer. At this point, the conveyancing process begins. You will need to contact you mortgage advisor to finalise your mortgage deal and complete your application. Your solicitor will carry out searches and check the title deeds to ensure there are no outstanding issues. When your mortgage is confirmed, your solicitor will conclude the missives – the written negotiations of the sale. After this, the transaction is complete and neither party can pull out of the contract without penalty.

Contact our Property & Conveyancing Solicitors in Paisley & Glasgow, Scotland

For advice on purchasing your home, please speak to a member of our team by calling 0141 887 5181 for our Paisley branch or 0141 551 8185 for our Glasgow branch. Alternatively, click here to get in touch.


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