10 Tips for First Time Buyers in Edinburgh

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The property market in Edinburgh is hugely competitive. To maximise your chances of buying successfully, here are our top 10 tips.

There are so many of these lists you can find on the internet but few are specifically aimed at First Time Buyers in Edinburgh.

We recently came across one in a recent edition of the ESPC newspaper but didn't agree with much of their top 10 tips, so we thought we'd share are our own.

1. Consider your budget

We already have a Budget Guide for First Time Buyers and we recommend that you have a look at it. It is quite surprising and will explain the interaction between your savings, your mortgage and just what you will probably have to offer for properties in Edinburgh in the current market. Put simply, the more savings you have the better your chances of successfully offering for a property in the current Edinburgh property market.

2. Know the market

At the moment, Edinburgh is a sellers' market and property prices are rising. Typically we are finding that most first time buyer properties are very popular. You will need to offer at a Closing Date and will need to offer substantially over the home report value. Knowing your budget and knowing the market will give you a better idea of what properties you can afford and so narrow down your search.

3. Ignore the asking price and go straight to the Home Report value

In the current Edinburgh property market, as solicitor estate agents in Edinburgh we generally market our properties at prices which are 'offers over' but at a price set a little below the Home Report value. The home report value is the starting point for offers and is an important factor in knowing how much you can borrow.

We therefore recommend that you ignore the asking price and go straight for the Home Report value. Not all property portals offer you the Home Report but the ESPC website does. So, once you see a property you like, always download the Home Report. You will find the valuation at the end of the Single Survey section.

4. Save as much as you can

In the current market you will need extra savings to be able to compete with the other first time buyers in the market looking at the same properties you will be viewing. So, save as much as possible. And if you have the additional help of the Bank of Mum & Dad, so much the better.

5. Help to Buy ISA

If you haven't already got one, we recommend you find out about and think about opening a Help to Buy ISA. It's free extra money from the government. Again, we have written about this recently, so have a look at that our 2-part article to find out more.

6. Get yourself an experienced solicitor

I know this sounds like self promotion and in a way it is. But since you will need a solicitor in any case, we recommend that you make this an early priority when you start you property search in Edinburgh. Why? Because like no other person in the property industry, as solicitors we see on a daily basis what the market is doing. So it makes sense to make use of all our experience.

7. Get a mortgage agreement in principle

Whether you get this from your bank, building society or through a mortgage advisor, it is always a good idea to get this agreement in principle. Mortgage offers change all the time. Getting a mortgage agreement in principle doesn't tie you to anything but it will give you an accurate idea of what size mortgage you could be offered and you will also get a better idea of what a mortgage is.

8. View quickly

There will competition for the properties you will see online and those properties will sell quickly. So make a viewing as soon as you see a property come onto the market. Putting off that viewing by a week can sometimes be too late as that property may have already come under offer. Then contact your solicitor to note your interest so that you don't lose out on any closing dates.

9. Fixed Price Properties

If your budget is tight, look for fixed price properties or properties that have been on the market for a while. There are not that many fixed price properties for sale at the moment but look out for them. Also look out for properties that have been on the market a while without selling. Odds are there is nothing wrong with those properties but if you can avoid offering at a closing date, the more likely you will be being able to negotiate and agree a price with the seller that is lower than you would have to offer if in competition with other buyers.

10. If you are being outbid, why not consider buying a new build?

Buying a new build property might be a sensible choice if you find yourself being outbid at closing dates. The advantage of a new build is that they are fixed price. If you buy off plan you may need to wait six months or so for the property to be built, but that time can be used to your advantage by increasing your savings and opening a Help to Buy ISA.


What can we do for you?

Cameron Stephen & Co. solicitors and estate agents in Edinburgh are experts in helping First Time Buyers get their foot onto the property ladder.

Every year we help many first time buyers buy their first home. And we offer a very competitive fixed fee of only £660 (£550 + VAT) for first time buyers (T&Cs apply). Find out more about our First Time Buyer Special Fee Offer.

Our First Time Buyers advice articles are also a great place to start if you are in the early stages of buying your first home and looking for some advice and guidance.

Passionate about property and providing great service at value for money.

Cameron Stephen
Partner with Cameron Stephen & Co solicitors and estate agents Edinburgh
Direct Dial 0131 555 1296


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