We regularly receive requests for advice from prospective purchasers as to the procedures involved in buying a property in Scotland. We hope that the following is of some assistance.

Instructing a Solicitor
Some years ago the Law Society launched an advertising campaign with the slogan “It’s never too early to call your Solicitor” and this is certainly true when it comes to buying a house. We can provide you with valuable advice and assistance in purchasing a property long before you have identified the property you wish to buy.

Many prospective purchasers wish to establish at the outset the likely costs involved in buying a property. We are happy to provide on request a no obligation written quotation in respect of our charges and the outlays which we will incur on your behalf.

Finding a Property
We market many properties in Dumfries & Galloway through our own estate agencies at 38/40 Albert Street, Newton Stewart and the Old Bank, Buccleuch Street Bridge, Dumfries. Furthermore, as members of the Dumfries & Galloway Solicitors Property Centre we can provide information on a considerable number of other properties for sale throughout the Dumfries & Galloway area and can also employ our extensive knowledge of the local property market to assist you in identifying suitable properties.

Noting Interest
Once you have found a suitable property you should formally note your interest in that property with the marketing agents which we are happy to attend to on your behalf. Once you have noted your interest in a particular property the seller should not then sell that property to anyone else without first giving you the chance to offer for it.

Arranging a Loan
Unless you have funds of your own available to buy a property you will be required to arrange a loan to assist in the purchase. Most lenders will insist on taking out a Security over the property being purchased and this Security is generally referred to as a mortgage. There are many different mortgage providers and even more mortgage products on offer. For most people taking out a mortgage is the biggest financial commitment they will ever undertake. It is important therefore that you choose the mortgage package best suited to your particular requirements.

Instructing a Survey
It is advisable to obtain a Survey Report on a property before you commit to its purchase. A Survey Report will advise you on amongst other things the market value of the property, it's structure and condition, it's suitability or otherwise for mortgage purposes and it's reinstatement value. Where a property is being purchased with the assistance of a mortgage the mortgage provider will insist that you obtain at least a Mortgage Valuation Report on the property. There are several different types of survey available and we will advise you on the most suitable type for the property you are buying. We are also happy to instruct a survey on your behalf should you so wish.

Putting in a Formal Offer
Assuming that you are satisfied with the terms of your survey, you should then instruct us to submit a formal Offer for the property on your behalf. If there are other interested parties then it is likely that a closing date for Offers will be fixed. This is essentially a date on which all interested parties submit their best Offers. Where there is no closing date it should be possible to submit an Offer immediately. It is important to note that an Offer is a legal document. Accordingly you should not instruct us to submit an Offer until you have received confirmation that your Mortgage Application has been approved or you are satisfied that you have sufficient funds available to pay the purchase price. When discussing the Offer, we will give you such advice as we can on how much to Offer for the property. Matters to be considered include how much you can afford to pay, the market value of the property, the asking price and the length of time it has been on the market.

Negotiating the Terms and Conditions of the Contract
If your Offer is successful then a period of negotiation of the terms and conditions of the contract will usually follow. Matters to be negotiated can include the date on which you will require to pay over the purchase price (the date of entry), the moveable items to be included in the price and how to resolve any Title or other difficulties. It is important to note that it is only after all the various terms and conditions of the contract have been agreed that a binding contract will exist. Before then either party is free to withdraw from negotiations without penalty.

Examining the Titles and Attending to the Conveyancing of the Property
We will then examine the Titles to the property to ensure that the seller is entitled to sell everything that you have contracted to buy and that there is nothing which might adversely affect the value or your enjoyment of the property. We will also prepare all deeds and documents necessary to transfer Title to the property into your name and all relevant mortgage documentation.

Settling the Transaction
Finally, we will make arrangements with any mortgage lender to ensure that your loan funds are available when required. We will also write to you in advance of settlement with instructions for payment of any contribution you are making to the purchase price from your own funds. You will require to arrange buildings insurance for at least the current reinstatement value of the property commencing on the date of entry as well as contents insurance. We are happy to arrange your buildings and contents insurance policies on request. Once the price has been paid over and you have moved into the property we will notify the Local Council of the change of ownership for the purposes of Council Tax. We are also on hand to offer such other practical advice as we can, particularly if you are new to the area.

Making or Updating Your Will
If you do not have a Will then your estate will not necessarily be divided in accordance with your wishes on your death.  With this in mind, if you instruct us in a property purchase then we would suggest you take this opportunity to make a Will or update your existing Will.  Details of the procedures involved in making a Will can be found on our other information page, Making a Will.

Should you have any further queries, or if you would like a quote for fees for a property purchase then please e-mail us at advice@abamatthews.com.


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