Scottish house prices continue to outpace the broader UK property market, offering homeowners the assurance of steadily appreciating property value. The bigger gardens, spacious homes and family-friendly localities also offer good value for money. The drivers and dynamics of the Scottish housing market are unique, local and pleasantly surprising. which has proven that homeownership is a prudent investment. However, the home-buying process is not a doddle anywhere. And Scotland, too, has processes of its own in place. Let us give you a better insight into buying a home in Scotland.

Finding your property in the Scottish housing market

Location – It is generally about affordability, but it is not always the deciding factor. Buyers also look at accessibility, opportunities and lifestyle. Regional variations in properties in Scotland allow for a broader spectrum of options without major drawbacks.

Whether you are buying in Edinburgh, Glasgow or in the Scottish countryside, there are key factors to consider. The popularity of the Scottish countryside ignited by the pandemic has a lasting hold. There’s a paradigm shift in how buyers perceive prime locations.

Perthshire, for example, is one such hotspot. Its historic charm and natural beauty, amalgamated with the excellent transport links and urban amenities of Perth, attract those seeking the right balance of convenience and tranquillity. The stunning coastal towns of Aberdeenshire, too, are retaining their magnetic pull, bridging the gap between slow living and city provisions.

New build property – New build property prices have consistently grown over time in Scotland. In the last 10 years, the average price of a new build home in Scotland has seen a significant uplift  compared with all other residential properties.

Energy efficiency and contemporary specs have made them ultra-relevant to modern living. Scottish regulations require new homes to have renewable or low-carbon heating from 2024.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows you the estimated energy usage. It gives a home a rating from A to G (‘A’ being most efficient to ‘G’ being least efficient). An EPC certificate is valid for 10 years. The EPC is included in the Home Report sellers must provide to interested buyers. However, new builds do not need Home Reports as they are brand new. They must only carry an EPC.

You should consider the heating system, insulation, renewable energy sources, lighting and the energy efficiency of integrated appliances when buying a home. Without sufficient energy efficiency, retrofitting costs will add to the purchase price. New homes built to high environmental standards will remain energy efficient for longer, fetching better reselling prices.

Property search – You can get inundated with property listings, and it can be exhausting. Therefore, having filter criteria will give you more realistic and relevant options. Use a mix of filters, like budget, location and property type.

Let your estate agent know the specifics of your requirements. Use online searches. If you are considering a new build, visit developer websites for detailed information. Keep an open mind about the criteria that fit your perfect home.

New build homes are often listed off-plan, and it is helpful to research the builders and visit the neighbourhoods where the developments are underway. You may even be able to personalise your home with bespoke changes when reserving a property off-plan.

Getting a mortgage – It’s important to know how much you can borrow and how much you can put down as a deposit from very early on. You cannot make an offer for an existing home or reserve a new build without a Mortgage Agreement in Principle (AIP).

There is no charge or obligation to take out the mortgage when applying for an AIP. You can always switch your mortgage lender later. The lender will carry out a mortgage valuation to ensure the property is good enough to lend against.

Make sure to shop around for the best mortgage deals. Lenders reduced mortgage rates at the tail-end of 2023. Rates are now under 5% for fixed, variable and tracker deals. There are also special rates for first-time buyers.

Hire a conveyancing solicitor – You need a solicitor to make an offer for a home on your behalf or reserve a new build. Sometimes, developers help you choose a conveyancing solicitor. The reservation period is usually 4 weeks, within which your solicitor and the builder’s solicitor must conclude the missives. The reservation fee and deposit for a new build get deducted from the purchase price when paying the balance on the date of entry.

Preparing for homeownership

At the date of legal completion, when you get your title deeds, there are a few things to accomplish as your new homeownership begins. These include;

Paying the LBTT – Scottish property purchases are also subject to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). It replaced the UK Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland in April 2015. The tax charge is proportionate to the property price and type of property.

Registering for council tax – Look up your property on the Scottish Assessors website to find your council tax band and register to start paying the new charges. Learning about the council tax band of interested properties early will help you understand the costs incurred by the home annually.

Insuring your home – Take out home insurance to safeguard your investment.

Check your warranty – New builds carry a warranty from organisations like the National House Building Council (NHBC). It covers structural defects for a specified time (usually 10 years) after completion. It is helpful to familiarise yourself with the claims and processes.

What else should you consider when deciding to buy?

If you are buying a new build, your developer must have a proven track record of quality craftsmanship and successful completion of developments. Your home should not just be relevant to present standards but also to future standards. Therefore, consider sustainability. It includes energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, adaptability to future technology and versatile spaces.

Energy efficiency, contemporary specs and lasting build quality from GS Brown 

Buying a home has become more affordable this year with lower interest rates in a recovering economy. Seize the opportunity to become a homeowner as homes in Scotland continue on a steady trajectory of positive returns. We have chosen beautiful high demand locations in Scotland to build our high-quality GS Brown homes. Modern layouts, higher energy efficiency, aesthetic appeal, renewable energy, spacious interiors and exteriors, scenic surroundings and quiet neighbourhoods are hallmarks of our developments.