Help available for first-time buyers in Scotland

Buying your first home can be both exciting and overwhelming.

While a Uswitch report says deposit levels for first time buyers have decreased purchasing your first home remains a major financial commitment.

To help, there’s a government scheme that makes things that little bit easier.

LIFT Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE)

First time buyers are among the people the OMSE scheme helps purchase a home and provides a government contribution of 10-40% of the property price, depending on your circumstances.

This table on the Scottish Government website sets out the area-based limits on the price of homes that can be bought under the Open Market Shared Equity scheme.

Since 2007, LIFT has helped more than 12,000 people purchase their first home through government-funded shared equity schemes. It operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can apply to the scheme for free and you don’t have to buy a property if you change your mind once you’ve been approved.

The LIFT scheme also includes the New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE) Scheme, which assists in buying new-build homes from councils or housing associations.

How can LCEA help?

Whether it's your first time or your fiftieth, we keep things simple and straightforward. We'll walk you through the current market trends in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the types of properties available, and what to expect throughout the buying process.

We're with you from noting an interest and submitting an offer to negotiating the best price, finalising contracts, and picking up the keys. We'll keep you updated every step of the way.

We'll provide an up-front estimate so you know what to expect, and our detailed cost breakdowns make it easy to compare quotes and ensure all essentials are included.

Currently, we have 240 properties for sale on our website, and we’re adding more all the time.

First time buyer testimonial

Being a first-time buyer, I had to rely heavily on your expertise... Your advice on what to bid and throughout the conveyancing process was professional, friendly, and efficient — LCEA client

Buying your first home FAQs

How do I apply for a mortgage?

If you need mortgage advice, we have easy access to a network of independent mortgage advisors who can help.

How much LBTT will I pay?

LBTT (Land and Buildings Transaction Tax) is applicable to property purchases in Scotland. How much you’ll pay depends on how much you buy the property for.

For first-time buyers, LBTT relief is available for properties of up to £175,000, so you won’t pay any LBTT if you pay less than that for your first home.

You can calculate the tax due on property transactions here.

Where can I find more information for first-time buyers?

For more detailed information and resources tailored for first-time buyers, you can visit this guide on the ASPC website.

Scheme FAQs

Who is eligible for the OMSE scheme?

To apply, you must be a —

  • First-time buyer
  • Social renter
  • Disabled person
  • Member of the armed forces, or a veteran

If you are over 60-years-old, you can apply to the scheme using savings and sale proceeds rather than a mortgage if you —

  • Are living in a property that is too large and you need to downsize
  • Need to move closer to family or friends to receive care and support
  • Your existing property is no longer suitable, for example, due to stairs
  • Are living in private rented accommodation

Your household income will also be assessed to determine eligibility.

What happens if I want to sell the property in the future?

If you decide to sell, you’ll need to repay the government's share. What you’ll pay depends on how much you sold the property for ­— it’ll be the same percentage as the initial government contribution you received of the purchase price.

Can I increase my share in the property over time?

Yes, you can purchase additional shares in your property over time, gradually increasing your ownership until you own the property outright.


Visit the Scottish Government website to find detailed information and application procedures for the OMSE and NSSE schemes.

If you are looking to buy your first home or find out more about how to start the process, we’re here to help. Call us on 01224 632 500.

Are you looking to sell?

Get in touch for an expert view of what your home’s worth.