Buying your first home is an exciting prospect. In the past few years less people have been able to realise their dream of getting on the property ladder due to lack of sufficient mortgage availability, job uncertainty and the rise in property prices in many areas, particularly in Edinburgh and Glasgow. However the market is now picking up again ? what advice for first time buyers should you be looking for?
If you are thinking of purchasing a property one of the first things you should do is speak to an experienced solicitor. We will be able to give advice for first time buyers, advise on market conditions and talk you through the purchase procedure. We can?also provide you with hints and tips about the purchase process and may have suggestions for contacts, such as mortgage advisers, who can assist with other parts of the process.
- When thinking about purchasing a property, potential purchasers should view as many properties as possible and look at the home reports for those properties before (ideally) or certainly after any viewings.
- If a particular property is of interest then you should arrange to visit the property again at a different time of day to find out what the property and neighbourhood is like at, say, an evening or weekend. In Edinburgh the vast majority of properties for first time buyers are advertised on www.espc.com.
- When should I contact a solicitor? ? As soon as you have decided that you may wish to purchase a property.
- When can I submit an offer for a property? ? If you require a mortgage then a solicitor can only submit a mortgage offer when you have obtained approval in principle from a named mortgage lender (otherwise known as a mortgage promise). The solicitor will also need to know where the rest of the price is coming from (e.g. savings, parental gift etc.) and that you have funds to cover the legal fee and outlays.
- What is a closing date? - If more than one person has expressed an interest in purchasing a property, a seller may well decide to set a closing date. This is when the seller?s estate agent sets a date and time and invites all interested parties to submit their best and final offer then. This is a ?blind bidding? situation, as you have no way of knowing who else will actually be offering or what price they will be offering. Your solicitor will not know that either but will be able to provide advice on offering at a closing date.
- How soon will I get my keys? ? If a mortgage is involved then, typically, the earliest completion (moving in) date will be 5 or 6 weeks after the submission of a successful offer, with the actual date dependent on your own and the seller?s circumstances. On the agreed completion date the solicitor (who will have received your own and your mortgage funds by that time) will pay the price to the seller?s solicitor and the keys will be released to you.
- What costs are involved? ? Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT - formerly called ?stamp duty?) is payable on first time purchases (where the purchaser does not have an existing interest in any other property) above ?145,000. For purchases where no LBTT is payable, a budget in the region of ?1,100-1,200 should be sufficient, in most cases to cover the legal fee and outlays.
We offer first time buyers a free, no obligation meeting or chat about buying a property through us.
For more information or advice for first time buyers, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.