Buying Residential Property in Scotland

Typical process of buying property in Scotland

The initial step in the house buying process (of course) is finding a suitable property to buy. This is commonly done through a solicitors or estate agents.

Once a property has been selected, a solicitor should be instructed to submit a note of interest to the selling agent; noting interest advises the seller of interest in their property, it also ensures that a potential buyer remains informed throughout the selling process of that property.

Following noting interest, a Home Report must be provided by the selling agent to the potential buyer. This has been a requirement by law since the 1st December 2008. A Home Report consists of a Survey (details of property condition), an Energy Report (covering efficiency) and a Property Questionnaire (sellers letting you know information about the property since their ownership).

Following review of the Home Report, an offer should be made on the property. Where a property has several potential buyers, selling agents will often set a closing date whereby all interested parties should submit their final offers. Where there is no other interest in the property, or the property is for sale at a fixed price, there may not be a closing date which means that an offer can be submitted at any time.

Where an offer is successful, the next stage, to begin the Missives of Sale, will usually involve a qualified acceptance or an acceptance. A qualified acceptance will list any conditions set out by the seller and their agent that the buyer will be required to meet before the Missives of Sale are concluded (items negotiated between buyer and seller during the transaction).

Upon conclusion, the Concluding Missives will be submitted. In turn, a legally binding contract will be formed between the buyer and seller which will create several obligations for both parties.

The next step in purchasing property in Scotland is conveyancing, where ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Once the documents of ownership, commonly referred to as the title deeds, have been handed over, a disposition, which is a new title deed, will be required before the property can be transferred into the buyer’s name.

Once the property has been transferred, the date of entry, amongst other details, will be arranged. Upon the date of entry to the property, the transaction between the buyer and seller will be settled.

Q & A – Buying Residential Property in Scotland

How do we get started?

To get started, you will need to get in touch with us to give instruction. In turn, we will provide you with a Letter of Engagement which will include an outline of the work to be completed; who will carry out this work for you; an estimate of the total fee or the basis upon which this will be charged; information regarding Legal Aid; and who you should contact if you have any complaints. We will need you to sign and return this to us, along with two valid forms of ID.

How long does buying a property take?

The length of the process will vary on an individual basis, it can happen quickly where both parties are willing and efficient, however the average time around 6 – 12 weeks from start to finish.

How long do the Missives of Sale take?

This will be dependent on whether the property is registered under the Land Register of Scotland. If the property is registered, the process can take a few weeks; where the property has not been previously registered, the process can take longer. New build properties may also take longer for this reason.

How much do you charge for purchasing property through Nellany and Co?

Prices will vary on an individual basis and depend on the complexity of the purchase or sale and amount of time needed to do the work. Our prices are competitive and we will not charge for making offers.

What costs aside from the cost of my property purchase will I pay?

You will have additional costs aside from the purchase of your property. These may include: mortgage arrangement fees; a Land Registry fee; survey fees; and Land Tax. Exact prices for these additional costs cannot be quoted and will vary dependent on the purchase price of your property.

Can you explain the legal jargon used?

Here are a some commonly used phrases explained:

Closing Date – the specified date set by the selling agent whereby all offers for the property concerned must be submitted by all interested parties.

Concluding Missives – the final Missive as part of the Missives of Sale. The Concluding Missives will create a legally binding contract between the parties involved.

Conveyancing – the legal process regarding the transfer of legal ownership of property or land from one person to another. 

Date of Entry – the specified date laid out in the Missives whereby the transaction will be concluded. This may also be referred to as the Date of Settlement or the Date of Completion.

Disposition – the title deed which transfers the land or property from one person to another.

Home Report – a document required in Scotland, supplied by the seller to potential buyers which details information on the property.

Land Register of Scotland – official records regarding the ownership of land and property in Scotland.

Land Tax or LBTT – property tax which is applied to properties in Scotland when purchased (AKA Stamp Duty).

Letter of Engagement – a document which covers the services between a solicitor’s firm and a client.

Missives of Sale – the formal letters exchanged between the buyer and the seller which eventuate to conclude a contract of sale.                                                          

Note of Interest – a notification to the selling agent which is advising the seller of the interest in their property.

Qualified Acceptance – an acceptance which is subject to conditions that must be met before the property can be sold.

Title Deed – a document which evidences the ownership of a property.

I have another question that has not been covered – what can I do?

We can be contacted by telephone on 01294 464175 or alternatively, visit our website and complete a contact form by following the link below:

We would be more than happy to help with any other queries.

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