House Buying – The Scottish System 

Welcome to our brief guide to property purchase in Scotland. When buying a property in Scotland, consideration should be given to the differences in law between the English / Overseas system and the Scottish house buying system. Our experienced office staff will assist you in securing your chosen property and in sourcing an experienced scottish solicitor who will be able to formally act for you in your property purchase. All formal Offers or Notes of Interest must only be submitted by your solicitor to the Highland Property Services, Aviemore office.  

HPS will ensure our website is regularly updated to ensure the latest selection of properties are on-line. This information will also include the current Home Report information including the EPC rating for the property. Once a suitable property has been selected, we will arrange a viewing at a mutually convenient time. We always recommend arranging appointments in advance prior to travelling.

Due to the rural nature of the area, there is normally only a limited selection of available properties for purchase, so do not be surprised if it takes some months to find something suitable. Our office will forward details of any new properties coming onto the market, normally by e-mail, for so long as you wish to remain on our mailing list - you can remove your details from our current database at any time.

We do not have property chains in Scotland so until you have secured a definite sale in England or Overseas, it may not be advisable to even consider instructing your solicitor to offer for a property in Scotland until cleared funds are made available.

Offers Over  merely advises that an offer over the asking price should be submitted.  A lower than advertised price will not normally be considered but please ask our office for advice.

The Offer   In summary, the legal system in Scotland is geared to a fast moving exchange of formal letters, known as missives. The purchaser’s solicitor makes an offer including a price, date of entry, and a series of conditions covering, e.g. common burdens, rights of way and a host of other practical points. The seller’s solicitor replies, accepting some conditions, rejecting some, and qualifying others. The exchange of letters goes on until differences have been settled, at which point the magic phrase is used we hold the bargain as concluded.  From that moment there is a binding contract. The whole process can be completed within a few days but normally will take a number of weeks – frequently 4 / 6 weeks.

The speed and finality of the Scottish system imposes responsibilities on both buyer and seller. Unless both parties agree otherwise, the date of entry in the offer is the actual date on which the seller must make his property available, and the buyer must have the full price available to be paid to the seller's solicitor. 

The Seller has the responsibility of exhibiting local searches and proving his title is good. It has to be remembered that what is not covered in the Missives does not form part of the contract. It is vitally important therefore to either party, buyer or seller, that they check the terms of the missives being prepared in their name, and discuss them fully with the estate agent and their solicitor. The buyers’ principal responsibility is to ensure that they have made arrangements for the price to be available on the date of entry. This is relatively straightforward where there is no other sale involved, or the other sale is through the Scottish system. If however a person is selling in England and buying in Scotland this should be drawn to the attention of the estate agent and solicitor acting in Scotland so that suitable arrangements can be made.

For most people buying and selling a house is one of the biggest transactions they will ever undertake. Nobody can say that the process will be problem free: no two people will see things in quite the same way! It is nice to know however that by buying your house the Scottish way you cannot be gazumped, stuck in a chain, or have the other side pull out the day before the furniture van arrives because contracts have still not been exchanged. What the Scottish legal system generally attempts to offer is peace of mind.

On the completion / settlement date it is important to liaise with our Aviemore office and respective solicitors prior to arranging to collect keys etc. We are unable to pass over the property keys until all funds are seen to have cleared into the appropriate account and been verified by the acting solicitor. Thereafter, you can relax in you new home.

Holiday Home purchase  We are now able to offer a potential purchaser a Holiday Home Rental Projection Report which has been acceptable to a number of lenders - please ask for more information.  

Call us on 01479 810 020 or email us on            

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