Below is the advice given by The Law Society of Scotland. Solicitors can ease the strain and help to avoid the pitfalls of the complete house-buying process, from noting interest in a property to concluding the deal. Their local knowledge can also be useful in helping you find a property.For a more detailed description of the process, please download our Buying a property information sheet.
A solicitor can ‘note interest’ in a property you like. This shows you are interested in the property and want to be kept informed of developments, such as the fixing of a closing date for offers.
Sellers must provide a home report for buyers. These include a single survey (which gives the condition and value of the property), an energy report (which contains a house’s energy efficiency rating and carbon dioxide emissions) and a property questionnaire (which includes general information such as a property’s council tax band, factoring arrangements, the existence of any local authority notices and information about alterations that have been made).A surveyor instructed by the seller will provide the survey contained in the home report pack. In many cases this will be sufficient for an interested party to submit an offer. However the potential buyer may have to commission another survey at the request of a mortgage provider or if the original survey was carried out some time ago. Your solicitor can provide further details and advice.
There are many types or mortgages available, which can be confusing. Some solicitors can offer advice on what is best for you and then arrange the loan.
A formal offer to purchase in Scotland is a complicated document containing a number of clauses for your protection. Your solicitor will prepare and sign this document for you and give guidance on offer price and other conditions.
Further negotiations are likely after an offer has been accepted, for instance, the date of entry, details of additional items included in the sale and issues such as permits for alterations.
Your solicitor can advise on any ‘title burdens’, or conditions that must be obeyed by the owner, such as common repairs, rules on keeping animals or uses for the property. A new title deed will then be prepared and signed by the seller, transferring the title into your own name.
Your solicitor will be able to give you advice about other important matters, such as insuring the property and its contents and drawing up a will, which is highly recommended. Also, he or she can provide you with a quotation for the cost of the house-buying process, including legal fees.
Most solicitors can handle the sale of a property from start to finish, including advice on advertising and the conveyancing. It is best to consult a solicitor even if you are selling a property yourself.
Sellers are required by law to provide a home report for buyers. These include a single survey, an energy report and a property questionnaire. Your solicitor can provide further details and advice.