Apply for a mortgage Agreement in Principle
Before you start looking for a house or flat, it’s a good idea to get a mortgage Agreement in Principle from a lender.
A mortgage Agreement in Principle lets your estate agent know you’re serious about buying and offers a chance to see how much you might be able to borrow for a mortgage.
Making an offer
Once you’ve found the ideal property, you can make an offer. Your offer can be above or below the asking price set by the seller. Depending on how popular the property is, there may be other buyers making an offer.
If there’s more than one offer, the seller may ask you to give your ‘best and final’ offer. This should be the last offer you’ll make at the highest price you’re willing to pay. The seller then decides which offer to accept.
Making an offer in Scotland
In Scotland, your solicitor will note your interest with the seller. Once all the interested buyers have noted their interest, the seller will set a date for offers.
When making an offer in Scotland, as well as the price you want to pay, you’ll also have to provide a date you want to move in, items you want to buy from the seller and any conditions you may have.
Arranging a solicitor and surveyor
Once your offer has been accepted, a solicitor handles all the legal work around buying the house. This usually goes on behind the scenes and includes contacting the local council to find any issues that might affect the property’s value.
A valuation survey will be carried out as part of the mortgage application to check it’s worth the price you’ve agreed. There are other surveys you can commission at this point:
- RICS condition report – Suitable for new-build and conventional homes. Provides ‘traffic light’ ratings for different parts of the building.
- RICS homebuyer report – A more thorough survey that includes a valuation of the property.
- Building or structural – Identifies every element of the house, defects, urgency and cost of repair. The cost of this survey varies – generally the more detailed surveys are the most expensive.