The House Buying Process in Scotland
Purchasing a property is one of the biggest financial transactions most people will enter into in their lives and for this reason it is understandable that people look for reassurance that they are proceeding in the correct manner. This does not just apply to first-time buyers; there have been many recent changes to the house buying process in Scotland which, even prior to such changes, was very different to the process in other parts of the UK. As a result even those who have been through the process of buying a property before can be in need of a little initial guidance.
Of course, the experienced residential property team at Macleod & MacCallum are always more than happy to discuss the house buying process with potential clients, whether in person, over the phone or by email, so please do not hesitate to contact us. However, this short briefing is designed to give you some basic information which will help you through the initial stages of buying your ideal property.
In the current economic climate it is best to begin with your mortgage arrangements as having these in place early can make the process much quicker and smoother later on. You should approach your chosen mortgage lender with a view to obtaining a “decision in principle” or “mortgage promise” (the names vary from one lender to another but they amount to the same thing). Your mortgage lender should be able to advise you on the level of mortgage you could expect to obtain and this will in turn help you focus on a price range when viewing properties later.
If you have not yet decided on a particular mortgage lender then please do not hesitate to contact Macleod and MacCallum Wealth Management on 01463 258058 and they will be delighted to assist in finding the best mortgage deal on the market for you.
Once you receive your decision in principle, it is time to move on to the fun part – finding your ideal property! Without doubt the best way to find properties for sale by firms of Solicitors in the Highland area is through the Highland Solicitors Property Centre (HSPC) of which most firms of solicitors in the area are members. Visit their website or drop into their property shop, next to our offices on Queensgate. You can also find the properties we have for sale on the Macleod & MacCallum’s website www.macandmac.co.uk
If you find a property that seems right for you, it is best to contact the selling agent to arrange a viewing as soon as possible. You should aim to have two or more viewings of any property as you often spot something about a property on a second or third visit that you missed initially.
Assuming all goes well and you have decided on a property you wish to purchase, you should request a copy of the Home Report from the selling agent. As you may be aware, all properties advertised for sale on the open market in Scotland since 1st December 2008 have required a Home Report. Principally the Home Report is a fairly detailed survey of the property together with a statement of its market value at the time of the survey.
Whilst the information in the Home Report is detailed and can be relied upon to be accurate, you should be careful to check the age of the report. Properties which have been on the market for a while can have slightly dated Home Reports and the information can therefore be a little inaccurate. Do not worry about this, however, as your solicitor can arrange to have the Home Report updated if required.
Please note your solicitor will also go through the Home Report and explain any aspects of it which are not clear and discuss any points of concern.
If you have come this far then it is likely you have found the right property. You should then instruct your solicitor to “note interest” in the property on your behalf which involves advising the selling agent of your formal interest and should mean that you are informed of any offers received on the property and given a chance to submit your own. However, you should always bear in mind that this is a non-compulsory service provided by selling agents and can not be 100% relied upon.
That is why it is advisable to make a formal offer if you are sure it is the property for you. Once again, simply speak to your solicitor who will be happy to discuss the level of the offer and other matters with you in detail before submitting the formal written offer to the selling agent on your behalf. This is the first stage of negotiating the written contract between purchaser and seller and your solicitor will guide you from this point right up to completion when the keys to your new home will be waiting for you to collect.
Should you wish to talk over the purchase process with one of our experienced team of residential property solicitors, or if you have found a property you are keen on, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help. Call us on 01463 239393.
Disclaimer: The information in this publication is based on our current understanding of the law. It has been produced for information purposes only. Professional advice should always be sought before taking any action.
Macleod & MacCallum cannot take any responsibility for loss incurred through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this publication.