How to buy a property in Scotland – Part one

How to buy a property in Scotland – Part one

author: Dan Griffiths

By Dan Griffiths


If you’re gearing up to purchase a property in Scotland, you might be wondering what the full process is like.

Whether you’ve lived in Scotland for your whole life or you’ve moved there from elsewhere, it’s a good idea to clue yourself up on the ins and outs of making a purchase – from scouting out a mortgage deal to the moment you pick up your keys.

Remember, even if you’ve bought property in England and Wales before, there are some key differences as to how you go about making a purchase in Scotland. We’ll guide you through this process step by step so you know everything to expect.

Scouting out a mortgage “in principle”

Unlike in England and Wales, you’ll have to get a mortgage “in principle” agreed prior to making an offer on a property in Scotland. This simply means you’ll need a lender to agree to lend you money for your home purchase. You won’t be able to put an offer in on a property unless you have this. Although a mortgage in principle is an option in England and Wales, they’re compulsory in Scotland.

When you search for a property, it will either be offered at a fixed price or “offers over” a certain price. This means you’ll have to make sure your mortgage and deposit will be enough for the home you want to purchase.

The mortgage lender you decide to choose may charge you to reserve your mortgage in principle, and the costs can range from around £99 to £250.

It’s important to factor in the additional costs you’ll have to pay at different stages of your home purchase when you apply for your mortgage. Borrowing too much can lead to your finances becoming stretched and may mean you struggle to repay in the future. Some important costs to bear in mind include legal fees, mortgage fees and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax if the property costs over £145,000.

Find yourself a solicitor

If you want to make an offer on a property you’ve found, you’ll have to look for a solicitor first. A good place to start is by heading to the Law Society of Scotland website. Your solicitor will be in charge of going over the contract, putting an offer in on the property, negotiating a price if needs be and overseeing the transfer of the money and the Title to the property.

Once you’ve shown an interest in a property and decide you want to buy it, the solicitor can register what is called a note of interest with the seller – this keeps you in the loop about any developments regarding the property.

Next, your solicitor will conduct searches on the property and any personal registers to see if there are any reasons that will prevent the seller from selling the property. In addition to this, they should check for any planning issues via the local authority that could influence the value of the property, as well as any nearby roads that have been adopted by the local authority. Roads that have been adopted are looked after and maintained by the local council, where private streets are in the hands of the local residents as is no public cash set aside for repairs or cleaning work.

In most cases, your solicitor will usually ask you to settle the payment for their services after you’ve paid for the property and been handed the keys, but you may be required to pay an initial deposit or pay for their searches on the property. If possible, it’s a good idea to ask your solicitor to carry out the search on the property after your offer has been accepted, as you may still have to pay for the search if your offer is rejected after the solicitor has already done it. This is dependent on the seller agreeing to this, however. You can expect to pay between around £250 and £300 for these searches.

That’s it for part one, check here for information on the Home Report, carrying out your own surveys and getting a mortgage valuation survey. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Dan Griffiths

By Dan Griffiths

How to buy a property in Scotland – Part one How to buy a property in Scotland – Part one