Borrowing Money in Scotland

Help to Buy schemes in Scotland:

First Home Fund:

The First Home Fund is a £150 million shared equity pilot scheme to provide first-time buyers with up to £25,000 to help them buy a property that meets their needs and is located in the area where they want to live. 
It is open to all first-time buyers in Scotland and can be used to help buy both new build and existing properties.
The funding provided by the scheme will help up to 6,000 first-time buyers purchase their first home. This is in addition to the more than 32,000 households that have already used the existing Scottish Government shared equity schemes since 2007.

In order to take part in the scheme, you will be required to provide a minimum deposit of around 5% (subject to individual lender requirements) and your mortgage must be at least 25% of the purchase price. Although the Scottish Government will have an equity share in the property, you will own the property outright. There are no monthly payments to be made towards the Scottish Government and no interest will be charged.

  • There is a limit of one application per property. 
  • You can submit a joint application however you will be limited to one award of £25,000. 
  • Your mortgage must be at least 25% of the purchase price. 
  • Your mortgage must be capital repayment. 
  • The property must be the sole residence of all applicants. The scheme is not available for buy-to-let properties. 
  • You cannot apply to other Scottish Government shared equity schemes. However you are able to use a Help to Buy: ISA or Lifetime ISA to go towards your deposit

Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT)

There are two LIFT schemes:

1.    the Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme, which in 2019/20 will provide £80 million to help people buy a home – within certain price thresholds – for sale on the open market

2.    the New Supply Shared Equity scheme (NSSE), which helps people buy a new-build home from a council or housing association. Although buyers will own the property outright, our interests will be covered by a standard security on their property

1.    OMSE: You’ll be able to buy a home without having to fund its entire cost and will get assistance from the Scottish Government. You’ll pay for the biggest share – usually between 60% and 90% of the home’s cost – and the Scottish Government will hold the remaining share under a shared equity agreement which it will enter into with you. For example, if you pay for 75% of the home, the Scottish Government will provide assistance of 25% of the purchase price. Although you’ll have ‘complete title’ to your home and your name will be on the title deeds for it, there will be a mortgage (or ‘standard security’) on the home to make sure the Scottish Government’s share is protected. It also means that if you ever choose to sell the home, the Scottish Government will get a share of the money.

The OMSE scheme is available across Scotland. It’s open to first-time buyers and these priority access groups:

·         people aged over 60

·         social renters (people who rent from the council or a housing association)

·         disabled people

·         members of the armed forces

·         veterans who have left the armed forces within the past two years

·         widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel for up to two years after their partner has lost their life while serving.

You can’t buy a home for more than a certain ‘maximum threshold’ price.

There are different threshold prices across Scotland, so before you apply to buy through the OMSE scheme make sure the home falls under the threshold price for that area.

2.    NSSE The same people apply for this as with the OSME, with one exception: the NSSE scheme is also available to people who have previously owned a home and have experienced a significant change in circumstances – for example, a marital breakdown. Through the NSSE scheme you’ll be able to buy a new build home without having to fund its entire cost, and will receive assistance from the Scottish Government. You’ll pay for the biggest share – usually between 60% and 80% of the home’s cost – and the Scottish Government will hold the remaining share under a ‘shared equity agreement’, which it will enter into with you.

Affordable New Build Scheme

-pay at least 85% of the total purchase price for the home

-enter into a shared equity loan with the Scottish government for the remaining %

-capped at £200,000 homes

-need to contact a participating homebuilder – not all new builds will be part of the scheme

-you can increase your share at 5% per year upto 100%

-you must submit your application no more than 9months in advance of the dates you expect to finish buying the property

-you must have a repayment mortgage and cannot have an interest only mortgage for these homes.

Stamp Duty in Scotland is now called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).

The cost is different to England as not all first-time buyers are exempt. It depends on the cost of the property. For first time buyers, LBTT is paid on value of home over £175,000. 

Debt problems/Bankruptcy:

CCJs = ‘decrees’. Money judgments issued by sheriff courts in Scotland are called decrees. Decrees are the Scottish equivalent to money judgments, known as county court judgments or CCJs, in England and Wales.

Details of Scottish decrees are supplied by the sheriff courts to the Registry Trust. The Registry Trust maintain a public register containing all small claims and summary cause money decrees granted in the sheriff courts during the preceding six years.

The Registry Trust notifies credit reference agencies of all decrees, recalls and dismissals on a regular basis and the credit reference agencies update your credit file accordingly.

More details on this can be found here:

Localised signposts

·         Scottish Government set up a free Debt Arrangement Scheme to help people pay back their debts in a manageable way – more info here:

·         Citizens advice in Edinburgh has its own website to help find most local branches:

·         Falkirk council have their own debt advice services: debt advice team: 01324 506 735 or