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Buying a House in Scotland – What You Need to Know

Whether you are stepping onto the property market for the first time or you have bought property in other areas, you might find that buying in Scotland could be a little different to what you are used to. With a different set of laws and regulations to follow, it can be a confusing experience for some. Here are some of the most important points you need to know when purchasing property in Scotland.

The Home Report

When you go to view a property, you should always make sure that you request a copy of the home report. This is a document that the seller legally has to provide – the only exceptions occurring for new builds and any properties that have recently been converted into residential ones.

The home report will consist of three separate parts, which will contain important details such as an assessment of the property’s current condition, and the energy efficiency of the property. It should also contain details such as council tax bands – all crucial information a buyer needs to know when they live there. Though you might love a property on viewing, reading the home report could change your mind.

Submitting an Offer

Unlike in England where offers tend to come in at under market value, you will find that most properties are advertised at either a fixed price or for offers either around or over a certain benchmark. With the latter, there may be a closing date set for offers. Where there is a closing date set anyone who wishes to buy the property will have to make a sealed bid, which will include not just the amount the buyer wishes to pay but any conditions such as it being subject to the purchase having a mortgage issued. Where there is not a closing date then an offer can be submitted and the price be negotiated.

A solicitor will be key in helping you make your offer. They will tell you what needs to be done to complete the purchase, and will submit the offer on your behalf. Finding a good solicitor will be crucial in your property search, so make sure you find one as soon as you can in the process.

Concluding the Missives

The final step in this transaction is referred to as concluding the missives. This is the legally binding contract. Only once you have concluding missives do you have a definite date of entry and be tied to buying the property. The date may change up until this point depending on your own circumstances. Sometimes conclusion of missives can happen very close to the date you move.

Your solicitor will, during the time between submitting the offer and settlement (the day you pay the purchase price and receive the keys) check the deeds of the property, check for local planning developments and other issues that could affect a new owner, and of course paying the cost of the property to the solicitor of the house’s seller.

Once the settlement has taken place, they will pay the Land and Building Transaction Tax (Scotland’s version of stamp duty) if there is any to be paid. They will also register you as the new owner of the property, and will lodge the title deeds with your mortgage lender.

Are you looking to buy a property in Scotland? Get in touch with MM Legal today. Our team are experts at conveyancing and Scottish property law. We have already helped many secure their dream property, and we are ready to help guide you through the process from beginning to end.