Once you have found the property you wish to purchase, you should contact a Scottish solicitor. They should be able to advise you fully on all the ins and outs of purchasing in Scotland.
Your solicitor will provide you with a detailed written estimate of costs for your proposed purchase, including legal fees, VAT, recording dues and, where appropriate, Stamp Duty.
Noting an interest:
As soon as you see a property which you are interested in and may want to buy, your solicitor can note an interest on your behalf. This does not commit you to anything but informs the seller that you are interested and wish to be kept informed if a closing date is set.
The Closing Date:
If several people are interested in the same property, the estate agent may set a closing date. All interested parties are invited to submit a sealed offer for a specific time and date to the selling agent. All offers are opened at the same time and the seller decides which offer to accept, if any.
For simplicity we could say that there are two basic types of offer. A conditional offer is one whereby the offer to buy is conditional on a satisfactory finance package being available to the purchaser or subject to a satisfactory survey on the property. A clean offer is where no conditions are stipulated and the purchaser is happy to proceed without a survey and has no need of a finance package, i.e. mortgage or loan funds. A clean offer is usually the most favourable to the seller, but it is normally in your best interests to have a property surveyed to ensure there are no unseen defects. Once you have decided on a price and date of entry, the offer is submitted to the seller or their solicitors.
Acceptance of the Offer:
A verbal acceptance of the offer is usually available fairly quickly backed up afterwards with a written acceptance. At this stage the contract is not binding on either party. Letters are exchanged between the seller’s solicitors and your own solicitors until agreement has been reached on all the clauses in the offer. These letters are known as missives. When final agreement is reached on the terms of the contract, conclusion of missives takes place. This is the stage at which the contract becomes legally binding.
At the date of settlement the agreed purchase price is paid over to the seller’s solicitors and once these funds have been received by them, the keys of the property are released to you.
The above is a condensed version of various aspects of purchasing in Scotland. It is never too early to contact a solicitor for advice.
As Solicitors, Anderson MacArthur, Somerled Square, Portree, Tel: 01478 612197, will be happy to assist you with any enquiries you may have regarding purchasing or selling and can provide you with a written fee quotation on request.