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House Purchases

Legal Services Property

House Purchases

The house-buying process

As property experts, we will guide you through the house-buying process. Whether you need advice on local market conditions, explaining the Home Report in more detail, tax or offering strategy we can help.

How does the Scottish house-buying system work?

When someone decides to sell their home in Scotland they (or their estate agent) must arrange for a Home Report to be carried out. The Home Report contains basic information about the condition of the property, a valuation and an Energy Performance Certificate and the Report can be relied upon by the purchaser to obtain a mortgage. The property can then go on the market.

The property is likely to be marketed at either ‘Offers over £x’ or ‘£x Fixed price’.

‘Offers over’ indicates that the seller expects to receive offers over a certain minimum stated price. The percentage over the stated asking price that properties sell for varies from area to area and even depends on the type of property and the general level of market activity. In any market the laws of supply and demand apply and where there is a lot of demand purchasers have to ‘bid up’ to try and secure properties. We can advise you of the current market conditions.

Where a property is offered for sale as a ‘Fixed price’ this indicates that the seller should accept the first unconditional offer they receive for the price stated. Time is therefore of the essence if there is more than one interested party.

Offers must be submitted in writing by a Scottish solicitor. The [vast majority] of Scottish Solicitors use an agreed form of purchase contract. The main reason for doing this is so that the buying and selling process can happen as quickly as possible. It is therefore important that you consult us as early as possible in your search for a new home and have the following ready:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Written confirmation that you have funds in place which will include proof of the source of the funds. So, typically we need to see a copy of your mortgage offer and bank statements showing the source of your deposit.

The offer becomes legally binding when there are no outstanding conditions or qualifications on either side. In straightforward purchases this can happen quickly so it’s important to be ready for this. Often, however, the process of reaching a legally binding agreement (known as ‘the conclusion of missives’) can be protracted if unexpected issues crop up, such as a lack of planning permission for a recently added extension or the water supply to the property turns out to be a private supply not mains supply as previously thought.

In advance of the agreed date of entry we will send you a statement showing how much money you will require to send us to allow us to settle the transaction.

Top tips if selling in another part of the UK and buying in Scotland

  • Consult us early!
  • Try to avoid making the date of your sale and the date of your purchase the same day. Not only could this be incredibly stressful for you but it presents a logistical challenge to get the money from the solicitor dealing with your sale to us in good time. The financial penalties for not settling the transaction in time (breach of contract) are not insignificant.

What is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax?

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced the Stamp Duty regime in 2015. It is essentially a purchase tax which applies to residential and commercial land and buildings. Current rates (with an online calculator) can be found on www.revenue.scot

What is Additional Dwelling Supplement?

The Additional Dwelling Supplement is a supplement you pay on top of any LBTT payable and it applies when you purchase a second home in Scotland (it applies regardless of where your ‘first home’ is located) for more than £40,000 whether it be a holiday home, a buy-to-let property or you simply buy your next home before you’ve sold your current home. Repayment of the Additional Dwelling Supplement is, in certain circumstances, possible and we can advise you further on this and make a claim on your behalf. Current rates can be found on www.revenue.scot