House buying process in Scotland
Our helpful guide takes you step by step through the process for buying a house in Scotland.
1. Speak to a qualified mortgage advisor
If you need to borrow money to purchase a property, you will need to source a suitable mortgage. Premier Properties Perth can put you in touch with a Mortgager Advisor to see what kind of mortgage you can afford based on your income and outgoings. They have access to thousands of mortgage products from a comprehensive lender panel, so are in a fantastic position to advise you on a range of options. Usually our adviser will then help you to obtain a “Decision in Principle” from a suitable lender. A “Decision in Principle” means that a lender is willing to consider a mortgage application from you and therefore will give you some confidence to start looking for a property.
2. Choose and instruct a solicitor
It’s important that you feel you can speak with your solicitor whenever needed, so ensure you find one that you have researched thoroughly and feel you can trust, as well as compare prices. They will undertake the conveyancing aspect of the purchase on your behalf – the transfer of legal title of a property from one person to another.
3. Decide on a Property
When you find your ideal home, visit the property a few times before you commit to a purchase. Take your time, move furniture around, ask questions, open doors and generally get a really good feel for the property.
4. Request the Home Report
If you viewed the property and loved it, it’s time to request the Home Report from the seller. A Home Report (which is provided free of charge to the buyer) contains three elements: the single survey which assesses the condition of the property; the energy report which gives the property an energy efficiency rating; and the property questionnaire which gives an overview of other useful information such as the property’s Council Tax band and alterations that have been made. You may also wish to arrange for a separate survey of the property yourself. More information about the Home Report can be found on the Scottish Government website at www.scotland.gov.uk.
5. Note your interest
If you want to proceed after seeing the Home Report, it is usual to ask your solicitor to note your interest to the seller’s estate agent. Once this has been done your interest will be noted and you will be advised if a closing date is arranged.
6. Offer on the property you wish to purchase
Once you’ve obtained a mortgage in principle, you’re ready to put down an offer on a property you wish to purchase. Instruct your solicitor to make a written offer. If the property is advertised at a Fixed Price this means that the seller is willing to accept the first firm offer at the price specified. If the property is advertised at an ‘offers over’ price this means the figure specified is the minimum the seller would be willing to accept. The seller will normally wait until a number of people have expressed an interest in making an offer and then announce a closing date. Sealed offers are submitted on that date and the seller chooses the best one, which is often the highest amount. ‘Offers over’ means the seller will usually sell to the highest bidder. ‘Offers around’ means the seller will be willing to negotiate.
7. Offer accepted
If the seller accepts your offer, their solicitor will send a qualified acceptance letter to the buyer’s solicitor.
8. Complete your mortgage application
Now is the time to get back in touch with your mortgage advisor to agree on a suitable mortgage deal for you and complete the application. You’ll receive your mortgage offer, plus all the terms and conditions surrounding your mortgage. You will need this before the sale can be concluded.
A binding contract has been agreed when all the conditions of the offer have been accepted. This is called ‘concluding the missives’. Your solicitor will complete the conveyancing procedures and prepare a number of documents, particularly a ‘disposition’ which will transfer ownership of the property to you. The contract or Missives will specify the date of entry to the property. This is the date on which you will have to pay the seller the purchase price of the property in return for the Disposition and the keys to the property. Your solicitor will make all the arrangements for settling the transaction on the date of entry. This is called ‘completion’ of the purchase.