Home ownership

Home ownership is still the most popular tenure in Scotland with around 60% of households owning a home outright or with a mortgage. Home ownership is also what many people aspire to, but there are many things to consider before buying a home. You can research different options on the internet or seek advice from a financial advisor or mortgage broker. More detailed information about buying a home in Scotland and the costs are available on the Money Advice Service website.


Finding a home

You can search for a home online, in newspapers or directly through estate agents. Second-hand homes for sale in Scotland must be marketed with a Home Report. This will include information about the condition of the home, an assessment of its energy efficiency and the valuation of the home. It may also include additional information from the seller such as Council Tax rates and factoring costs. You should carefully consider the Home Report before making a decision to buy the home, especially if it indicates the need for repairs or maintenance to be carried out.

You should consider whether you want to buy an existing home or a new build home. New homes may be marketed by estate agents, through online portals or directly by the developer. More information on new homes can be found on the Homes for Scotland website.


Getting a mortgage

There are a wide range of deals available and you need to decide which one is right for you and what you can afford to pay each month.  You should consider what the interest rate is and whether this is a fixed rate or if it will move up or down – would you still be able to afford the mortgage payments if interest rates go up? Different types of mortgage carry different benefits and risks.

Once you have chosen a mortgage product and the lender has agreed to offer you a mortgage, they will issue you with a mortgage ‘in principle’. This indicates to sellers that you have funds available and allows you to make an offer on the home that you want to buy.


Appointing a solicitor

You will need to appoint a solicitor to manage the purchase of the property. The solicitor will check the legal status of the property and the seller to make sure that the sale can go ahead. They will also negotiate the purchase on your behalf.


Costs of buying a home

As well as monthly mortgage payments, you will probably have to pay some costs up front. These may include:

  • A deposit – the amount will depend on the type of mortgage you take out.
  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. This is the Scottish equivalent of stamp duty and must be paid for all homes over £145,000. More information and a LBTT calculator is available on Revenue Scotland’s website.
  • Mortgage arrangement fees – these may be charged by your lender to arrange the mortgage.
  • Solicitor’s fees – these can include a registration fee for the sale of the property sale and any other fees associated with the purchase. Your solicitor should advise you of what fees you will have to pay.
  • Survey fees – all second-hand homes for sale must have a Home Report. This includes basic information about the condition of the home but some buyers may want to carry out a more detailed survey before committing to buying the home.
  • Insurance – you may be required to take out insurance on the building or to cover the cost of repayments if you are unable to cover the mortgage.

You should also be aware of your responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. If you are buying a flat, you will probably be responsible for a share of the cost of repairs for any common areas of the property such as the roof – even if you live on the ground floor. You should check if the home you want to buy has a factor and what the fees are.


Case Studies

David and Sheena – Courtesy of Taylor Wimpey

Retired head teacher David Meek (aged 64) and his wife Sheena (aged 66) recently completed a move to a new home in Monifieth to begin the second phase of their retirement.

During 40 years of marriage, the couple have lived in nine different houses yet their new home is their favourite.  David explains: 

“We’ve lived in most types of property, from bungalows and semi-detached to detached Victorian villas and most recently a Victorian conversion in Glasgow, but our new home is just so comfortable and well-designed, and we’ve been amazed by the quality.  

“The sales team have made sure that we have known exactly what is happening and when.  They have also taken time to explain floorplans, designs and housetype drawings, which has been so helpful when you are relying on their expertise to buy off-plan”

Cala Homes, The Crescent, Dr Amin Amin and Mrs Mary Spillane

Amin and Mary – Courtesy of Cala Homes

Seeking to downsize from a five-bedroom family home in Dunfermline, husband and wife Dr Amin and Mary Spillane are the very first buyers to move into their new development, settling into a modern, two-bedroom apartment in Edinburgh.

“Our builder couldn’t do enough for us and were so helpful throughout the process.  A huge draw for us was the Guaranteed Buyer scheme which we didn’t actually use in the end but it’s still nice to know you have that added level of security when you’re looking to make a move.”

Sandra and Gordon – Courtesy of Stewart Milne

After raising their family, Sandra (55) and Gordon McNab (56) had no plans to move but made the switch from an older property which required some TLC to a new build after driving past a development in Troon near to where they lived led Sandra to declare that it would need to be to a newer property if they did.

Describing her new 5 bedroom home, Sandra said:

“We bucked the trend of downsizing! A lot of our family is based down south so we wanted a home where we would have plenty of guest rooms and bathrooms to accommodate visitors.

“Our builder was also able to look after the sale of our existing property through part exchange which made the whole process really manageable, allowing us to focus on our new home.”

Easter Family – Courtesy of Bellway

Julie, Calvin and daughter Bryony moved from Portsmouth to start a new life in Scotland, choosing a new  four bedroom home in Bishopton.

Julie says it has been the best thing the family has ever done, adding:  

 “The house is even better than we thought when we first saw it online. So many people here have come from different places that we don’t feel like outsiders moving into an established area, everyone is starting a new life here at the same time.”

The Kettlewoods – Courtesy of Cruden Homes

Michael and Laura could see their new home in Stirling being built from the balcony of their previous flat!

“From our initial viewing, it was very clear that we were getting excellent value for money. Knowing that we would be able to move in and have no work to do was also hugely appealing.  Buying a brand new home definitely seemed like the most straightforward and cost-effective option for us.”


Vinca and Paul– Courtesy of Taylor Wimpey

Vinca and Paul had no plans to move until Vinca discovered she was pregnant and they felt they needed more space to accommodate the needs of their new family member. 

“We wanted to move to a larger property, but ideally it still had to be in the local Midlothian area because it ticks so many boxes for us.  Midlothian is very convenient if you want to get into Edinburgh.  It means that I have an easy commute to work in Livingston and there’s just so much to do on your doorstep.  We love it. 

“We found a four bedroom family home in Bilston that suited us perfectly and the moving in date was at just the right time to let us get settled before our daughter arrived.”


Caroline Porter – Courtesy of Taylor Wimpey

Along with her husband, Caroline has moved around for work and study in her earlier years,

When plans for a new development in Helensburgh were confirmed, Caroline just waited for her ideal time to move.  She explains:

“I’ve always wanted to live in a house that was brand new and for it to have only ever been mine, so I had a new home at this development in my sights since the day that work started on the first properties. My old house overlooks the development and I was able to watch as each new home progressed.”

Taylor Wimpey – Juniper Grove development, Chapelhall.

Aimee and Stephen – Courtesy of Taylor Wimpey

Aimee and Stephen Cameron camped out overnight to secure their new 4 bedroom home in Chapelhall.

The couple moved in just a few months ago and they’re delighted with their first new home together and how easy the whole process was.

Stephen (30) says: 

“We had never bought a new house before and we felt as though we didn’t really have a clue about what to do but the team were just so helpful and really put us at ease and made everything stress-free.  In fact, we just couldn’t believe how it all happened so easily. 

“Using the Help to Buy (Scotland) Scheme was also brilliant and turned out to be ideal as Aimee is pregnant with twins so we’ll be filling the rooms in this family home a bit sooner than we had first thought.”

Mactaggart & Mickel Happy Buyers The Sandie Family in Haddington 15/06/19

Jason and Lorna Sandie – Courtesy of Mactaggart & Mickel

With two young boys, Jason and Lorna Sandie say they have found a house for life with their new 4-bedroom home in Haddington.

Delighted with the space and storage that their home has to offer, Jason said:

“As soon as we walked through the door with our two young boys, we realised we had found our forever home, it was a very special moment.

“We can already see the boys growing up in their rooms and their own ensuite will be such a huge plus point as they get older. That’s what you work for, to provide the best for your family and I really think this home is testament to that.

“It’s these little things which have just made the move so complete in our eyes. We often sit back and take in our new surroundings and sometimes have to pinch ourselves.  We couldn’t be happier with everything we’ve got from the move, and we’re excited to make many happy memories here.”