Owning a home

Last updated: 10/02/2020

Before you decide you are ready to buy a property, you will be considering where you would like to live, whether it is near the children’s school or your work, the size of property you need, as well as any other requirements that you can’t compromise on.

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Buying a home

Most importantly you will have to work out how much of your salary you are able to put to a mortgage each month and how much of a deposit for the property you have up front. At this stage we recommend you make an appointment with a mortgage lender to see how much you are able to borrow and the type of mortgage that is best suited to your needs. Once you have decided what you can afford you can have a mortgage agreed in principle and then start looking for your new home.

Help to pay your mortgage

If you are claiming benefits and are struggling to meet your mortgage payments, you might be able to get help in the form of a loan from the Government. This is known as Support for Mortgage Interest or SMI.

The maximum loan you will be offered is for a mortgage of £200,000. The loan will be paid if you are getting a qualifying benefit. It must be repaid when you die or sell your home. You can decide if you want to take up the offer of the loan or pay the interest on your mortgage yourself.

Who gets SMI?

To get Support for Mortgage Interest you must be out of work and receive:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit, or
  • Pension Credit.

There is a 39-week waiting period from the time you claim SMI until your first payment is made (unless you’re getting Pension Credit, in which case you can get help immediately).

If you do any paid work during these 39 weeks your waiting period will stop – and you can start it again the next time you are out of work. Contact Money Advice Scotland for details of local agencies to get free financial advice