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Buying a house in Scotland - what you need to know

If you are looking to buy a house, we understand you will have numerous questions about the process. Buying a residential property is likely to be the largest financial transaction you will make in your lifetime, which is why it is crucial to take time and consider all factors before committing yourself to the purchase.

In this article, we look to answer some of the key questions that homebuyers typically have - particularly those buying property for the first time. If you have any further queries or are looking for advice specific to your circumstances, get in contact with our team by calling 0141 551 8185 or complete our online enquiry form, and we will get back to you right away.

What costs are involved in buying a house?

In the early stages of the conveyancing process, you will need to find out exactly how much you need to buy your chosen property. House prices can vary dramatically depending on the area, however, you can get a good indication of how much it will cost by viewing any recently sold properties in your preferred location. This can provide you with some general guidance on the local market, the size of deposit you might need to save, as well as the kind of offer you would need to submit for a similar property.

While the property price plays a significant part in your overall costs, there are several expenses outside of the asking price you need to consider. The main costs involved in buying a house in Scotland are:

  • Mortgage fees
  • Optional surveys and reports
  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)
  • Interest on your mortgage
  • Land registration fee
  • Solicitors’ fees

What is a home report?

The home report is a vital part of helping you determine whether you wish to buy a property and must legally include a single survey, an energy report and a property questionnaire. The various elements of the report should highlight any repairs that need to be made and the overall state of the property. The surveyor will decide on the property value by looking at the results of the home report, as well as local market conditions. The amount listed in the home report can act as a starting point for both the buyer and the seller when deciding on the property price.

The Single Survey

The single survey is the surveyor's assessment of the property, including a valuation and an accessibility audit. The single survey is superficial, meaning the surveyor is not required to undertake a structural investigation of the property as part of this survey.

The Energy Report

The energy report is the surveyor's assessment of the energy efficiency of the property and its environmental impact - this includes an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The energy report will also make recommendations as to how the energy efficiency could be improved.

The Property Questionnaire

The property questionnaire provides additional details about the property such as the council tax band, factors agreements, parking facilities and local authority notices. Any shared costs you will have for the upkeep of communal areas will also be included.

Do I need to instruct my own survey?

In Scotland, the responsibility of instructing a survey lies with the seller and not the buyer. However, if you are looking for a more detailed assessment of the property, you may choose to instruct your own. The kind of survey you choose will depend on what you are looking for as well as the property type. For example, a building or structural survey is an extensive check of potential repairs and is particularly useful for older buildings, while a home condition survey is suitable for new build properties.

If you decide to instruct your own survey, you should do this before you make an offer. While it is still possible to put in an offer “subject to survey'', this may be off-putting to the seller.

What should my offer be?

Your conveyancing solicitor will advise you on the home report value, and what factors may influence your offer and decision to buy the property. Most properties in Scotland are advertised as ''offers over'', however, you may see some marketed as ''fixed price'' or ''offers around''. In each of these cases, the actual price can be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

If you have found a house and wish to put in an offer, get in touch with our team today. At Macnairs + Wilson, we can guide you through the process, providing you with professional insight as to what is a fair offer. While you don’t want to bid too high and potentially spend thousands of pounds more than needed, you also want to ensure that your offer is not rejected by the seller. With an excellent understanding of the local property market, our conveyancing experts can support you when making these important decisions.

For those who are looking to buy a home for the first time, you can find out further information about how to make an offer and what happens after its been accepted by visiting our FAQs page.

Going below the asking price

You may be able to offer below the home report value depending on how quickly the seller needs to move. Other scenarios in which you might offer a lower amount include whether a survey unveils a lower value than was expected by the seller or how long the house has been on the market.

Offering more than the home report value

If you have found your dream home in your ideal location, it can be very tempting to put in a high offer; especially when there’s a number of interested buyers in the property. It may be that you suddenly find yourself in a position where you need to move as soon as possible, and this sways you to go above the asking price.

Prior to making the offer, you should carefully consider any repairs or alterations you would need to do to the house, and whether this property is a suitable fit for you in the long-term. Our solicitors are on hand to provide you with guidance on what to offer, and ensure all decisions are in your best interests.

Buying a House Property Lawyers in Paisley & Glasgow, Scotland

At Macnairs + Wilson, we take a practical approach to helping our clients with all their conveyancing needs. We strive to complete your property transaction with a rounded service that meets all of your expectations. To get in touch, click here or call us on 0141 887 5181 for our Paisley branch or 0141 551 8185 for our Glasgow branch. We look forward to assisting you in buying your next home.

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