Buying a House in Scotland

Buying a House in Scotland

29 May Buying a House in Scotland

Buying a house or flat may be the most important financial transaction you’ll ever make. It can be complicated but throughout the process your solicitor can help guide you and offer expert advice.

There are 7 steps to buying a property in Scotland, though these steps can vary for example with new build houses.

Step 1 – Your Finances

Even before you begin searching for a property it is recommended that you speak to a mortgage lender and agree how much you can borrow. Once you have an idea of the price range that you that you are interested in, you’ll have to arrange a loan. A formal offer can quickly lead to a binding contract, so it is essential that your loan arrangements or other funding are in place. Your solicitor will ensure you understand what it is you are agreeing to before any contracts are concluded. Some solicitors are also mortgage brokers and can assist in arranging a mortgage.

Step 2 – Finding a Property

Your solicitor can provide general information on property in the area and use local knowledge to help find a property to suit you. You can also look online, in newspapers or simply spot a for sale sign in the street.

Step 3 – Noting Interest

Once you’ve found a property you like, ask your solicitor to note interest with the selling agent. This lets the seller know that you’re interested in the property. It doesn’t restrict the sellers or oblige you to buy but ensures that you are kept informed. Once you’ve noted interest in a property, you’ll be provided with a copy of its home report. This will contain a property questionnaire, a report on the condition of the property and an energy performance certificate. You may also wish to have an independent survey of the property you’re considering, or your mortgage lender may require one. Your solicitor will inform you on the best type of report for the property you’ve chosen.

Step 4 – Making an Offer

Your solicitor may be able to advise you of local information and recent sale prices in the area to help you decide how much to offer for a property. They will also prepare the formal offer, sign it on your behalf and submit it to the selling agents. If there are other people interested, the sellers may set a closing date when all interested parties must submit their best offer. If you are the only person interested or if the property is advertised for sale at a fixed price, it may be possible to put in an offer right away. If your offer is accepted verbally it will be followed by a written acceptance by the seller’s solicitor. The written acceptance may contain a number of points about the property which your solicitor will discuss with you in depth.

Step 5 – Agreeing the Contract

It may take some time but once all points have been agreed in writing, a binding contract calling ‘concluding missives’ will have been formed. Although you will not have been asked to sign anything at this stage, you will still be bound by the terms of the contract. Your solicitor will make sure that the contract reflects exactly what has been decided and that you understand what you are agreeing to.

Step 6 – Documents of Ownership

Your solicitor will check the documents of ownership or ‘title deeds’ and report to you on the description of the property, any rights relating to it and any conditions that will have to be observed by any owner. These conditions can include parking restrictions, a ban on putting up a satellite dish or obligations to pay common repair costs. A new title deed called a ‘disposition’ is required to transfer the title of the property into your name. This is prepared by your solicitor, checked by the seller’s solicitors and signed by the seller. If you have a loan arranged, you’ll sign a mortgage document which gives your mortgage provider certain rights over the property including the right to take ownership if you fail to meet your repayments or other conditions. Your solicitor will advise you about the implications of the mortgage agreement.

Step 7 – Completion

Your solicitor will ensure there are no issues with the title of the ability of the seller to sell the property. Then they will request the funds from the mortgage provider to pay the purchase price to the sellers’ solicitors. It’s important to note that there are other costs involved in buying a property in addition to the purchase price such as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). These costs are depending on the value of the property and your solicitor will calculate them for you. The transaction is completed on the date of entry, when the deeds are delivered to your solicitor. The price is paid to the sellers’ solicitors and you get the keys to your new home. Your solicitor can help deal with everything involved in finding a new home from the start of the transaction to the moment you move in.

So, if you’re thinking of buying a house or a flat the best advice is to see your solicitor before you do anything else.

Alternatively, if you are looking to sell your property, the first thing you’ll need is a Home Report. We are RICS Charted Surveyors specialising in Home Reports across Scotland from as little as £85. Get in touch today to arrange a time to suit you. We offer early morning or evening and weekend appointments. Call us on 0131 608 0175 or email us at

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