2021: A first time-buyers guide

Buying your first home can often seem a daunting process, from location and home options to school catchments and legal fees, there are so many things to consider. Thankfully, by following a few simple steps buying your first property can be much easier than many may think, and temporary changes in tax mean buying now could save you thousands.

Knowing that now is a great time to buy is one thing but knowing how to make it happen is something else entirely. That is why we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions for those looking to get onto the property ladder.

Where do I start?

While it can be fun getting lost in looking at properties online, the first step of the journey to home ownership should be to arrange a meeting with a mortgage adviser. In the first meetings potential buyers will be talked through how much they can borrow, what their mortgage will cost them every month and what deposit is required. This lets buyers narrow their search and properly assess the options available.

From there, the next step is to look at additional costs such as the cost to move from a rented property. This would normally include how much should be set aside for paying the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) that has replaced Stamp Duty in Scotland. However, as part of the economic measures in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, this won’t be charged on any properties purchased before 31 March 2021 up to the value of £250,000.

Are there any first-time buyer schemes available to me?

The Scottish Government has established several schemes designed to bring down the cost of getting a foot on the property ladder.

Following the Scottish government’s latest Budget in January 2021, the First Home Fund has been re-opened for applications from 1 April. The £60m funding will support First Time buyers with up to £25k deposit.

Since 2007, the Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) shared equity schemes have helped over 12,000 people to buy a home without having to cover the entire cost. Buyers using the scheme will buy a majority share in the home with the government covering the cost of the remaining share. This brings down the cost of the home significantly although it means that you will only receive your share of the value if you later decide to sell.

How do I decide where to buy?

It can be difficult to decide where to buy, with factors such as proximity to work, access to facilities, transport links and community all having an impact.

Located just five miles from Aberdeen and with regular transport links as well as plenty of facilities and a thriving community, Chapelton has become an increasingly popular place for first time buyers to set up home.

The series of quality housebuilders involved in the build of the town means that there are plenty of homes to choose from that suit every budget.

Housebuilder Stephen has launched several two and three bedroom cottage style homes, with the Ardwall currently falling within the reduced LBTT property threshold. Aboyne-based housebuilder AJC also has a number of smaller properties available at the recently launched Wolrige Gardens, all of which are designed for modern living. 

Places for People, formerly ZeroC, has a selection of two & three bed homes available to purchase on the New Supply Shared Equity Scheme.  The scheme funded by the Scottish Government and Places for People offers buyers up to a 40% deposit interest free, making home ownership much more affordable