Buying a home

Before you buy a home

If you need to borrow money to buy a home, you'll need to work out:

  • what you can afford to borrow

  • which mortgage is right for you

You'll need a conveyancing solicitor to help you with the purchase.

Choosing a mortgage

If you need a loan to buy a home, this is called a mortgage or secured loan. Mortgages are different depending on:

  • who the lender is

  • what the interest rate is

  • how much you can borrow

Get advice before choosing a mortgage. A mortgage adviser will help you work out what you can afford and which mortgage product is right for you.

Mortgage advisers may not be fully independent from the products they're selling. If you can, look for free independent mortgage advice.

Check our guidance on getting a mortgage

If you’re on a low income or cannot afford a mortgage by yourself

There are government schemes that can help you buy a home.

Saving a deposit

You'll need to save up a deposit. You'll need at least 5 to 10% of the value of the home you want to buy.

To work out what you can save, use the deposit calculator on Money Saving Expert.

The maximum a mortgage lender will lend you is the property value from the home report. If you want to make an offer that’s over home report value, you need to pay for this yourself.

Finding a solicitor

You’ll need a conveyancing solicitor to buy a home. They’ll carry out the legal work for you, such as:

  • communicating with the seller’s solicitor

  • submitting an offer on your behalf

  • sorting out contracts and putting the property in your name

Search on Law Society of Scotland for a solicitor

Before you choose a solicitor

Ask them:

  • how much they’ll charge you

  • when you’ll pay them

  • if the fee is fixed, or if it depends on how much work they do

  • what you'll owe if your offer is unsuccessful

If you’re unhappy with a solicitor

Speak to the solicitor to try and resolve the issue first. If that doesn’t work, complain to their firm.

If you’re unhappy with the firm’s response, you can take it to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

Check Citizens Advice guidance on how to complain about a solicitor

If you're buying a home with someone else

Your solicitor can help you decide who'll own the home or if you'll share ownership.

They can also write a legal agreement saying what happens if:

  • your relationship ends

  • one of you wants to move out

  • one of you dies

Getting a mortgage with someone else

This is called a joint mortgage. You do not have to be in a relationship to get a joint mortgage.

You're equally liable for mortgage repayments. This means if one of you cannot pay your share, the other person must pay the full amount.

You both need to agree to any mortgage terms changes.

Last updated: 19 January 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England