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New Year • New Move Once the deposit is sorted it all comes down to finding the right mortgage, which is why advice from an IFA who can source from all the products on the market is so invaluable. First time round you will receive a mortgage in principle, which provisionally lets you know how much you can borrow subject to finding a suitable property within a specified time. Government schemes, such as Help to Buy (Scotland), mean it’s now possible to secure a mortgage with a deposit of just 5% to buy a new build property from a house builder participating in the shared equity scheme, but if you can put down even more you could secure a lower interest rate. The Scottish Government has several schemes designed to help people on low or moderate incomes to become homeowners under the Low-Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT). For more details visit The start of a brand new year is a key time for making – and invariably breaking – New Year resolutions. However, one that can become a reality is the resolution to make 2015 the year for getting onto the property ladder by buying your first home. Buying a house is the biggest single purchase most people ever make and first time round it can be a particularly daunting prospect. That said, there are lots of ways to make it easier and more affordable if you are prepared to be open-minded and set realistic goals, understand all the implications involved in buying property, and research all the options and schemes available, any of which could be the helping hand that makes your dream a reality. Before you reach for the property guides and websites that list houses for sale you need to know what you can realistically afford, which means talking to a qualified independent financial adviser (IFA) who can give invaluable advice tailored to your circumstances.

The good news is that mortgage loans for first -time buyers have reached their highest level for seven years, as a result of borrowers increasingly opting to fix their mortgage rate in preparation for a rise in interest rates. According to the data, almost 83% of loans advanced during a recent quarter were for fixed rate mortgages, making it the eighth quarter in a row that there has been an increase in the proportion of borrowers favouring fixed rates. The figure is also the highest proportion seen since the series began in 2007. However, while lenders may be increasingly willing to approve loans for first-time buyers, securing that all-important mortgage is not simply a question of asking for one - but there are ways of pre-empting some of the obstacles.

You’ll also need to do plenty of preparation to increase your chances of securing a mortgage. Make sure you are on the electoral roll. Go through your budget carefully, noting any areas you could cut back on to make sure you can prove affordability to your lender.

Flat 1, Kilmeny, Wilton Park Road, Hawick Offers Around £112,000

Saving for the deposit can never begin too soon – it may seem like an impossible task, but getting into the saving habit is the best way to go. It might also be worth asking your parents for financial help or if they might be prepared to consider acting as a guarantor for your mortgage.

Rowanside, The Row, Longformacus Asking Price £120,000 Longformacus is a picturesque small village in the Lammermuir Hills six miles northwest of Duns where the houses as well as the setting are rich in character and charm. Rowanside is a particularly pretty stone-built cottage that has been upgraded to create a home that combines modern and traditional styles to superb effect in a layout comprising two double bedrooms, bathroom, and spacious open-plan living/dining/kitchen area. Simply beautiful! • See page 49 for full details.

Reduced in price, this ground floor apartment is part of an impressive converted mansion house in a popular area of the town close to Wilton Park and the town centre. Ideal for first time buyers, it has two bedrooms, a large hall, living room (large bay window and gas fire), fitted kitchen, bathroom, and a garden - all presented in excellent condition. • See page 50 for full details.



First Time Buyers Special Having a good credit score is vital, so don’t apply for a mortgage without first checking your credit files held with Experian, Equifax and CallCredit to ensure the information they hold is correct – and if necessary, look for ways to build up your credit score. You also need to work out the true cost of buying, which means factoring in additional costs such as mortgage arrangement fees, survey costs, legal fees and stamp duty – or from April onwards the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which becomes applicable on houses priced over £135,000 (see page 7 for more details). Once you have a mortgage in principle secured, you can begin to search for a suitable property – and the BSPC’s website ( and Property Guide, published fortnightly and widely available throughout Borders region, are the first port of call for many house hunters. Now is also a good time to contact your local BSPC member firm, which provides both estate agency and legal services under one roof. Run by experienced staff with in-depth knowledge and experience of the local property market, they are in the best position to offer advice and information on areas and local house prices and once they know your budget and location preferences, they can suggest properties and ensure you are first to hear of new properties coming onto the market that match your requirements. Best of all, having a solicitor at the head of the team is infinitely reassuring and also saves time and energy once you find a property you want to buy.

20 Scott Crescent, Hawick - In Region of £89,000 Viewing essential to appreciate this two bedroomed semi-detached house situated in a quiet part of the town. Beautifully presented throughout, it comprises hall, living room, fitted kitchen, two double bedrooms and a tiled shower room. The property also has off-street parking and low maintenance front and rear gardens – an outstanding value-for-money home. • See page 55 for full details.

29 Meigle Street, Galashiels - Guide Price £85,000 This first and upper floor property ticks all the boxes as a starter family home with accommodation spread over two levels, an interior in pristine, move-in condition throughout, and a location within a popular residential area near the town centre. It has a hall, utility cupboard, living room, fitted kitchen, bathroom, two good-sized bedrooms, a boxroom, and a garden. • See page 56 for full details.

16 Bridgend, Duns – In Region of £95,000 Rarely available, this first floor apartment within a stone-built terraced property was completely upgraded in 2014 and has a stunning contemporary interior as a result. It’s also spacious – open-plan living area, beautifully fitted new kitchen, new bathroom fittings – and a private entrance with access to the garden. • See page 54 for full details.

76 Forest Road, Selkirk – In Region of £90,000 Fully refurbished, this first floor main door apartment boasts superb views over the town from alcove bay windows and a show-house-style contemporary interior that could grace the pages of a magazine. Accommodation-wise it has a high -gloss fitted kitchen open to a large living and dining area with additional study space, and a newly fitted tiled bathroom. Wow factor guaranteed! • See page 55 for full details.

Townhouse Apartment, Gordon - Offers Around £80,000 Style and space in abundance are the hallmarks of this quite exceptional two -storey apartment within a landmark building in Gordon. Off the ground floor hall is a 20ft dining-size kitchen, while upstairs on the first floor, a broad landing and hall give access to a living room, three double bedrooms, and a modern partially tiled bathroom. Fresh decor, wood-effect laminate flooring throughout and an area of garden ground complete this desirable home. • See page 58 for full details.

The good news is that mortgage loans for first -time buyers have reached their highest level for seven years

Keep up-to-date with the latest properties coming to market daily on



First Time Buyers Special Having found a property you would like to buy, your BSPC solicitor can advise on how much to offer and will take charge of closing the deal and completing the legal conveyancing. Viewing is the fun part but it’s very easy to get carried away and see a property through rose tinted glasses or be swayed into buying by something completely irrelevant, like the Borders’ resident who bought a house 20 years ago because it had a lovely garden and apple trees . . . yet overlooked the fact that it also had a pre-war kitchen and original metal -framed windows that were about to fall into the garden. Fortunately the house selling system in Scotland now makes the three-part Home Report compulsory. These are prepared on behalf of the seller and made available to potential buyers at the initial viewing stage to provide details of the property’s condition and value – assessed by an independent qualified chartered surveyor – as well as general information concerning any property improvements, guarantees, warrants, and an energy rating. It’s still good to bear in mind that homeowners want to sell, therefore it’s in their interest to try and make their home as appealing as possible any which way – and there are occasionally reports of subterfuge that has involved painting a stained enamel bath with gloss paint!

26 Wester Row, Greenlaw Offers Around £69,950

View a house at least three times, ideally at different times of the day to get an idea of what the property and neighbourhood are like. Visits during the daytime make it easier to spot external and internal flaws but won’t alert you to after-work parking difficulties or the next-door neighbour who likes to play loud music when he gets home from work. Finally, don’t be afraid to be a nosey viewer. Bearing in mind the cost of a house, you have every right to open cupboard doors, lift mats and rugs and audit the attic. Also take a good look at neighbouring properties; if these are unkempt and run down then their problems might become your problems and unless you plan to live in the property until you die, it’s wise to consider re-sale value. Having found a property you would like to buy, your BSPC solicitor can advise on how much to offer and will take charge of closing the deal and completing the legal conveyancing. After all that comes the momentous day when your solicitor hands over the keys to your new home – at which point you know that all the effort was worthwhile.

Perfect as a starter or retirement home or weekend retreat, this semi-detached bungalow in the village of Greenlaw has a delightful rural outlook and refurbished accommodation – hall, living room, fitted kitchen with integrated appliances, double bedroom and modern bathroom with over-bath shower. The property also has off-street parking, a front garden, and a separate quite charming garden area that includes a timber-built shed. • See page 60 for full details.

33 Rennie Court, Kelso Asking Price £28,500

8/4 Gladstone Street, Hawick In Region of £79,995 A three bedroomed home at this price is a rare gem, especially one that is newly decorated and carpeted and benefits from being only a short walk from the town centre. Over two levels the accommodation includes a hall, attractive living room, a fitted kitchen with dining area next to a window, two double bedrooms, one single bedroom, bathroom and generous storage. The property also has a shared rear garden and outhouse. • See page 58 for full details.

49 High Street, Eyemouth Fixed Price £75,000 A charming double-upper flat in a good location with unobstructed sea views, good storage, and accommodation that includes an entrance hall and staircase leading to an attractive living room with study/third bedroom off, a beautifully fitted kitchen/dining room, two double bedrooms and a bathroom with over-bath shower. This property is ideal as a comfortable family home or a holiday let in a popular coastal location. • See page 59 for full details.

Shared ownership on a 25% basis with Eildon Housing is the key to acquiring this modern first floor apartment located just off the main square and opposite the town’s iconic abbey. Perfect for a first time buyer struggling to get onto the property ladder, it has an entrance hall, living room, attractively fitted dining kitchen, two double bedrooms and shower room. It also benefits from residents’ parking, shared drying area, and external store. • See page 62 for full details.

BSPC First Time Buyers Special  

The start of a brand new year is a key time for making - and invariably breaking - New Year resolutions. However, one that can become a rea...

BSPC First Time Buyers Special  

The start of a brand new year is a key time for making - and invariably breaking - New Year resolutions. However, one that can become a rea...