Experts’ Latest Advice On Buying A New Home In Scotland

Posted 18 February 2021 by Keith Osborne

Barratt Homes in Scotland has gathered some property market experts to gather the homebuying market intel and advice...

Buying your first home is a hugely exciting but often daunting process at the best of times, and for today’s first-timers, the pandemic has added some additional complexities. Nevertheless, the market for Scottish movers has remained extremely vibrant since it reopened in the summer, with many opting to take their first steps onto the ladder during this time.

In general, the ins and outs of buying a home haven’t changed for decades. It still involves the usual suspects – housebuilders and/or estate agents, solicitors, financial advisors and lenders. What has changed, however, is the levels of demand, the support mechanisms on offer, the borrowing landscape and the timescales for all the necessary paperwork to be completed.

For those in the market to buy their first home in 2021, Barratt Homes has consulted with a range of experts to gather the latest market intel and advice. From market dynamics and government schemes to prepping your finances and the buying process, this handy guide will help you prepare for that life-changing purchase.

Alan Cumming, national estate agency director at Aberdein Considine

“When the market reopened in the summer it bounced back with gusto, and this was very much driven by the time and headspace lockdown gave us to reassess our circumstances and needs. For many, the decision to move centred on the need for more space – perhaps for homeworking or a new family dog – or new surroundings to support better wellbeing. Rural or suburban destinations have rapidly increased in popularity, for instance, affecting availability and pricing in areas such as the Highlands and Deeside.

“Fortunately, new build developments have helped to increase availability in many of these in-demand locations. Barratt Homes certainly has an extensive offering covering Ness Castle and Culloden West in Inverness, Huntingtower in Perth, Osprey Heights in Inverurie, and Riverside Quarter and Hopecroft on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

“In terms of advice, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to engage with an independent financial advisor. They are the number one source for the latest information about finance options, including deposit levels and government incentives.

Ness CastleNess Castle

“I’d also suggest doing some research into your market place, specifically the size or type of property you’re after and its availability in your desired location. Given that the usual seasonal peaks and troughs have gone out the window, this will help you understand availability and price so that you can assess what you can achieve with your budget at a time of increased competition.

“Finally, it’s a good idea to start monitoring and improving your credit score. There are now lots of apps available that allow you to do this without generating a search footprint on your profile. This is a sure-fire way of increasing your chances of securing the property (and mortgage) of your dreams.”

Grant Thoms, senior relationship manager, First Mortgage, Independent Financial Advisors

“Alan is correct to highlight the value that consulting an independent financial advisor can bring, especially for first-time buyers. Our role is to act as an objective intermediary between the customer and the lender, and this often gives us access to better interest rates, and therefore, lower monthly mortgage repayments. Likewise, we are experienced in managing transactions involving government or housebuilder incentives, so we can guide first-timers through the paperwork and other requirements.

“On incentives, the Scottish government’s recent announcement concerning the end of the Help to Buy Scotland scheme may have proved disappointing for some, but it is nonetheless reassuring to know that existing approved applications will go ahead as planned. We also welcome the extension of the First Home Fund, which helps first-time buyers purchase a property with a low deposit based on an alternative shared equity scheme.

“The fund has now re-opened for applications with the first customers able to move in from 1 April 2021 and run until 31 March 2022. Under the scheme, the Scottish government will provide up to £25,000 interest free to help you buy your home. And, unlike Help to Buy, there is no cap on the maximum property price. What’s more the First Home Fund scheme allows buyers to make their purchase with a deposit as low as 5%, subject to lender requirements. to the only prerequisites are that the buyer must be able to secure a minimum mortgage of 25% of the property purchase price, and the equity stake from the Scottish Government must not be more than 49% of the property value.

“It's always worth getting in touch with an advisor at the start of your journey to find out what options are available and if they are the right fit for you.”

Alex Hutcheon, Partner, Alex Hutcheon & Co Solicitors

“When you are doing your research, it’s a good idea to consult your local conveyancing solicitor or estate agent to get an idea of what’s selling and at what price so that you can set realistic goals.

“They should also be able to give you an up-to-date view on completion timescales so that you can plan your move, especially if your property is ready.

“It’s also a good idea to identify your chosen solicitor early on so that you can get the ball rolling as soon as you reserve or make an offer. In many cases, the solicitor will have worked with the agent or housebuilder before and will know exactly how to get the deal done with minimal fuss.”


Lynne Calder, sales advisor, Riverside Quarter, Barratt Homes

“As a sales advisor, my job is to guide customers through the process from beginning to end, and this often involves being a critical friend. It’s a big decision, so it’s important to be 100% certain that what you’re buying will suit your needs. I’d recommend thinking long and hard about how long you wish to stay in your new home (indeed people don’t move as often as they used to), and making a list of all the ‘must-haves’ that the property needs to satisfy in that timescale.

“A new build home is a great option for first-time buyers and movers alike because of the clean slate and flexibility they offer. The process of buying is also a lot simpler with fewer chains, more incentives and timescales are often a lot clearer in that they are dictated by the build if bought off-plan. This gives buyers time to save, plan and personalise their home when choosing final fittings and added extras.

“Ultimately, we’re here to help, and if you’re planning a move this year we can point you in the direction of all the information and advice you might need to get mortgage fit and ready to take that first leap onto the property ladder.”

There’s a range of home types for sale at developments from Barratt Homes in the north of Scotland, with the new First Home Fund widely available.

At Ness Castle in Inverness, some of the four-bedroom homes will be ready to move into this spring. Prices range from £249,995 to £309,995. Residents will be just three miles from the city centre, around 17 minutes by bike. It’s under 20 minutes’ drive to Loch Ness.

Under three miles from Inverness city centre, Barratt at Culloden West currently has detached four-bedroom houses priced between £249,995 and £315,995. Family buyers will appreciate the local schools and academies nearby. Good transport connections mean a 16-minute cycle to Inverness city centre and nine-minute drive to local train station. Part Exchange is available here.

Huntingtower in Perth is at Phase 2 and offers three- and four-bedroom homes priced from £238,995 to £274,995. Some will be completed this spring. It is ideally located off the A85 and well connected to the city centre. For families, there are schools, academies and colleges nearby.

A sixth phase has just been released at Osprey Heights in Inverurie and expanded the range of three-, four- and five-bedroom homes for sale there. Prices currently start at £289,995, rising to £424,995. Some are ready to move into now. The development is just a short walk to the town centre and local schools yet surrounded by countryside. and views of Bennachie hill.

Riverside QuarterRiverside Quarter

Riverside Quarter in Aberdeen offers a collection of two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom houses with prices ranging £154,995 to £265,995. With a primary school and academy nearby, it is just a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Some of the apartments are ready to move into with selected plots available with upgrades or a special offer.

Hopecroft on the outskirts of Aberdeen has three- and four-bedroom homes from £265,995 to £339,995. It’s close to new P&J Live complex, surrounded by countryside and has easy access to the AWPR.

Six miles from the centre of Aberdeen, the growing new community of Countesswells is also well connected to Kingswells (eight-minute drive, 12-minute cycle ride) and Cults (seven-minute drive, 11 minutes by bike). Brand new schools, parks, commercial, medical and retail amenities will all be coming to the area. There current selection of three- and four-bedroom houses there are priced from £239,995 to £379,995. Barratt Homes’ Part Exchange Xtra initiative is available on some properties.

Royal Cornhill Apartments at Westburn Gardens is a collection of one- and two-bedroom homes in the heart of Aberdeen, with prices ranging from £139,995 to £244,995. There’s lift access to all floors and private parking available. The development is just a short walk from the hospital, Rosemount, and Victoria and Westburn Parks. Homes will be ready to move into this summer.


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