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Georgesons Solicitors

Georgesons Estate Agents
22 Bridge Street
Wick KW1 4NG
T: 01955 602222
F: 01955 603016

22 High Street
IV19 1AE
T: 01862 892555
F: 01862 894861

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an offer?
Can I make an offer before I have sold my house?
Should I wait until I have had a survey carried out before submitting an offer?
Is there freehold and leashold in Scotland?
What are missives?
Can foreigners buy Scots property?
What is a croft?
What about taxes?
What kind of surveys are there?
The information contained on our pages is necessarily general and no Solicitor/Client relationship is to be held as created. Common sense will dictate that you should not act upon the information contained in these pages without obtaining specific legal or other expert advise before hand.
How do I make an offer?
A formal offer in Scotland is submitted in writing by your Solicitor. You give him instructions and he signs the offer on your behalf. You sign nothing at all except, perhaps, loan papers. For further information try Making an offer and Homebuying info.
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Can I make an offer before I have sold my house?
It is possible but probably not advisable. In Scotland a Contract is formed within a relatively short time. If your offer is accepted you may find yourself in a position of having to pay the price on a particular day without having sold your house. This is particularly so if you live in a jurisdiction such as England where you can be let down by a buyer at the last minute.If this is a difficulty for you, you should not make an offer until you are certain of a sale. It would be equally unwise to enter into an arrangement for bridging finance unless you were 100% certain of your sale.
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Should I wait until I have had a survey carried out before submitting my offer?

Now that we have a system of Home Reports, most people do not have their own survey carried out. On our website, the Home Report can be seen by clicking the link on the particular property page. With other agents, you may have to ask, specifically, for it to be e-mailed/posted to you.


If, unusually, you should want to have a survey carried out, normally this would be carried out before the offer is submitted but if a closing date has been set (a deadline for offers to be received) then you may not have time.


Your Solicitor can often find out, informally, if the price you want to offer would be acceptable. This course would, probably, be the best course if you are wanting to offer less than the asking price as it might save you the cost of a formal offer.

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Is there freehold and leasehold in Scotland?

In Scotland there is a concept of “Absolute ownership” similar to freehold. Leasehold is fairly rare for domestic properties in Scotland.

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What are missives?
When a Solicitor submits an offer for you he does so in letter form. The acceptance is also a letter. These letters form the missives. Sometimes an offer is accepted subject to certain conditions that the seller wants in the contract. This is called a qualified acceptance. Once all matters are agreed we say the "bargain is concluded" and a contract is formed.
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Can foreigners buy Scots property?
There is nothing to stop a foreigner buying Scots property. There is no residence requirement and the property taxes are the same. Many foreigners own property from the smallest crofthouse to the largest of hunting Estates. Similiarly there is no reason why a foreigner cannot obtain a loan here, secured over the property, to fund part of the purchase. Please contact us for further information.
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What is a croft?
Land which is registered croft land is available for anyone to purchase but under the restriction that an administrative body called the Crofters Commission regulate the occupation of crofts and may, if the land is not being properly utilised impose a tenant upon the owner. That tenant would have rights to buy the land (but not the house if you were occupying one on the croft) usually for a very small sum.

The Crofting Acts were social engineering designed to ensure that there was land available for small scale agricultural enterprise and to ensure that rural areas remained populated.

Buying land which is registered croft land, if it is not to be used for traditional activities such as keeping of cattle and sheep or growing crops could result in dispossession of the land. Anyone buying and carrying out the traditional type activities should not have a problem.

If all you want to do is buy a house without anything beyond a garden and it is described as a croft there really is nothing to worry about.

Be sure to select a Solicitor from the North of Scotland if you are buying a croft or crofthouse as they tend to have more experience in this subject.
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What about taxes?
There are taxes on profits made on sale of any property (land or buildings) which is not your main residence (Capital Gains tax).

There is a tax relating to residential property as opposed to bare land. This Council Tax is payable whether the house is occupied or not and is levied on a sliding scale depending on the value (banding) of the property. The scale is different in each district and it therefore not possible to indicate the taxwithout knowing the property. Generally it is in the region of £1000 - £2000 per annum but this is a very rough guide only.

There is a tax on buying your property which is called Stamp Duty Land Tax ("SDLT").

For purchases of domestic properties (houses) the rates of this new tax are currently the same as under Stamp Duty. For commercial properties, there is a change in that the nil band is up to £150,000.

The rate is as follows:-

Value (£) Rate of Stamp Duty
0 - 120,000 Nil
120,001 - 250,000 1%
250,001 - 500,000 3%
Over 500,000 4%

However, a major change is that the Purchaser (or each purchaser where more than one) must sign an SLDT return form - this cannot be signed by us as your agents.
The form, together with any tax payable, must be submitted to the Inland Revenue within 30 days of the earliest of either the payment of the price or entry into the property, whether or not any tax is due. Failure to submit the form will incur an automatic fixed penalty and additional charges - again even if no tax was payable. Also your title deed cannot be recorded in the Land Register without an SDLT certificate, so you could even risk losing ownership of the property.
Therefore (unless you instruct us otherwise in writing) we will prepare an SDLT form as part of our normal conveyancing service and supply it to you for signature and return. We will require a note of your National Insurance number for this form (unless you do not have one).

If you are purchasing with a secured loan (mortgage), we must have the completed signed form before the date of settlement, and funds for any tax no later than at settlement. Otherwise we can not use the loan funds to settle your purchase, even if this leads to you paying penalties to the seller or being homeless.

If you are not using a loan in your purchase, we recommend you let us have the form and funds before settlement, but we will settle without these. However, we will not pay the tax on your behalf unless you have let us have the funds for this, even if this means you will be charged penalties.

There is a charge made for recording of your deeds on the Government land register which is charged at the rate of £11 per £5000 of value of the property.
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What kind of surveys are there?
There are 3.

The first is not a survey at all but a Valuation. It cost usually about £90 but is very limited in scope. It is usually prepared for a lender. If it is wrong you may have no comeback.

The second is a Homebuyer's Report and Valuation. This is much more detailed. It costs about £300 to £400. It is the one that we recommend. You have a direct relationship with the surveyor and if the survey is incorrect in a major way then you will have an opportunity to make a claim on the insurance of the surveyor.

The third is a Structural Survey but this is only normally instructed if the first survey indicates a serious problem. A structural survey can be quite expensive depending upon the problem
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If your question has not been answered why not ask a question. You will not only help yourself but others too as we add the most frequently asked questions to the above list.



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