Our team of experts have compiled a list of things to do when considering buying a property in Scotland:
Once you have found your ideal home you should get in touch with us right away. This will allow us to contact the selling agents and formally “note your interest” in that property, which ensures that the selling agent will keep us fully advised of any of the developments regarding that particular sale.
No one should consider purchasing a property without a surveyor’s report. As from the 8 December 2008 most houses which are advertised for sale require a Home Report which is then made available to all potential purchasers. The onus of providing the report rests with the seller who is also responsible for the costs involved. The Home Report consists of three parts:
- A property questionnaire which is completed by the seller and contains useful information to a purchaser such as whether there have been any alterations to the property or whether any specialist treatment work has been carried out in the past.
- A single survey which is instructed by the seller and carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who will report on the condition of the property and provide a valuation. A prospective purchaser can rely on the terms of the Home Report and if the purchaser and the purchaser’s lender are happy with the report then there is no need for the purchaser to obtain or pay the cost of an independent report.
- An energy report is also prepared by a Chartered Surveyor and contains information regarding the energy efficiency of the property and its impact on the environment.
At this point we can assist you in interpreting the Home Report and put you in touch with other professionals such as surveyors, timber specialists and mortgage advisors.
Making on Offer
The time to make an offer will depend on whether you are the only interested party or whether the selling agent has received other notes of interest. If no one else is interested or the property is being sold at a fixed price then an offer can be put in immediately. If, however, the selling agent has a number of notes of interest then it is likely that a “closing date” for offers shall be fixed. This is a date and time by which all offers in writing will be submitted. If a closing date has been fixed then you should wait until that closing date before submitting an offer. Prior to issuing an offer our conveyancing solicitors will guide you on the amount you should be offering, the date of entry most suitable for you and any extras you would wish to be included.
If your offer is accepted the seller’s solicitor will issue a written acceptance containing legal qualifications. It is very unusual for an offer to be met with a totally unqualified acceptance; normally your solicitor would receive what is called a “qualified acceptance” deleting or amending some of the conditions in your original offer. Your offer, the “qualified acceptance” and any other letters dealing with the terms of the contract are called “the missives”. Once all of the terms of the contract are agreed one of the solicitors involved will issue a final acceptance letter. “The missives” are then said to be concluded and a legally binding contract will now be in place with neither the purchaser or the seller being able to pull out. It should be understood that an individual purchaser or seller does not usually sign the missive letters which are usually signed by the purchaser’s and seller’s solicitors. At Mitchells Roberton we give thorough advice on all the contract letters and take full and careful instructions from our clients before proceeding with the completion of the contract. We take the time to explain any jargon while trying very hard not to use such jargon ourselves. Our conveyancers understand that the complexities of the house buying process can be daunting and aim to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible.
Once there is a legally binding contract, the seller’s solicitor will send the title deeds of the property to us for examination. One of our conveyancers will check the title deeds in detail to make sure the seller owns the property, that the extent of the property being sold is correct and to ensure that there are no unusual or onerous conditions. Various other documents will also be looked at, such as a Property Enquiry Certificate to confirm there are no local authority statutory repair notices or planning proposals which affect the property and a Coal Authority Report to verify the property is not in an area which has been affected by past mine workings or is likely to be affected in the future from such workings. Any Building Warrants and Certificates of Completion will be examined to make sure everything is in order. Checks are also made to ensure there are no mortgage deeds affecting the property which have not been discharged and that there are no court orders which may prevent the seller from granting to you a good and marketable title. We will send a report to you about the title deeds and detail to you any relevant information we have noted from the other documents we have examined. Our expert property team will happily answer any questions you may have.
Preparing the Disposition
If the title deeds and other documents are in order we will then prepare a document to transfer the title from the seller to you. This is known as a “Disposition” and it sets out the parties, the price, the date of entry and also usually refers to an older title deed or Land Certificate which contains a full description of the property. This deed is signed by the seller.
The Loan and Balance of the Purchase Price
If you are receiving a loan to enable you to purchase the property the loan is likely to come from a Building Society or Bank. The Building Society or Bank will normally also instruct us to act on their behalf in completing all the loan documentation which includes a Standard Security (the lender’s security over the property) and associated documentation. Of course our conveyancing solicitors will fully explain the meaning of these documents before you sign them. Once the Standard Security has been signed and the transaction is ready to settle we will request the mortgage monies from your lender who will send these monies directly to us. If you require to pay a balance of the purchase price we will advise you of how much this will be as early as possible and these monies along with any Land & Building Transaction Tax, registration dues of the Disposition and Standard Security and our fee will need to be paid to us in time to have cleared by the date of entry. For money laundering purposes we will require to know the source of the monies being paid to us by you.
On the date of entry you are obliged to pay the full price for the property via us and in exchange you will get your keys. The seller’s solicitor will deliver the title deeds and the signed Disposition to us. This is called “settlement”. We will then complete a Land & Building Transaction Tax application on line and send the Disposition and Standard Security to be registered in the Land Register of Scotland.
Have more questions about Residential Property? Go back to the Residential Property page for help from our expert team.
Need more help for yourself or your family? Visit our Services for Individuals page for details of how our experts can help you.