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Buying a home

Before you buy a home

If you need a loan to buy a home, this is called a mortgage or secured loan. 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.

Getting a mortgage

The amount you can borrow depends on things like:

  • your credit score

  • your income and outgoings

  • the value of the home you want to buy

Use the mortgage affordability calculator on MoneyHelper to work out how much you could borrow.

If you’re on a low income, there are government schemes that can help you buy a home.

Saving a deposit

Most mortgage lenders do not lend 100% of the value of the property. You’ll need to pay some of the cost yourself with a deposit.

You'll usually need at least 5% to 10% of the value of the home you want to buy. You could get a better interest rate if you have a bigger deposit.

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

Choosing a mortgage

Mortgages have different terms, including:

  • the interest rate

  • how long the interest rate is fixed for

  • how long you'll take to pay the mortgage back

  • fees and penalties for things like switching mortgages or paying the mortgage off early

Get advice before choosing a mortgage. A mortgage adviser, broker or registered lender can help you work out what you can afford and which mortgage product is right for you.

Search online for a free independent mortgage advice provider in your area.

Anyone selling mortgages must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Check if a broker or lender is registered by searching on the Financial Services Register.

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 choosing 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 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: 8 April 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England