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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

Making an Offer

Buying A Property

Useful Addresses

Acting For You

Buying From Us

Disclaimer: The information on these pages is necessarily general and commonsense dictates that you should take legal or other advice before acting upon it. No solicitor/client relationship is created by the reading of the pages.
Buying a property
Once you have a found a property in which you are interested you should contact a Solicitor so that an offer can be made for the house. Formerly all offers had to be made in writing as a handshake had no legal significance in Scotland, however, this is no longer the case. Avoid making informal agreements as the terms of the formal offer we make for you are very important.  They underpin the whole transaction.

The offer will not only state that you wish to buy the property and that you are willing to pay a certain price for it, it will also have numerous conditions which are designed to ensure you obtain a good title, to protect you from claims by neighbours and the local authorities and to ensure that you encounter no problems when you move into the property.

Offers nowadays generally run to seven or eight pages due to the complexities of the law which have greatly increased in recent years.

In Scotland, once an offer is accepted a binding contract is formed "Gazumping" has never been a feature of the Scottish scene because of the speed at which a contract is formed. As soon as the offer is acceptedwithout qualitfication you are bound by it and there is no opportunity for second thoughts. It is for this reason that it is so vital that you ensure that you have easy access to advice.

If you are buying from a large firm of builders then they may give you a preprinted form of offer. These documents are generally biased towards the builder and do not contain all the necessary conditions to protect your position. Never sign these documents but instead take advice on them. They will almost certainly be altered in order to protect your investment.

Included within an offer must be:-

Properties are often advertised in Scotland at "offers over", "offers around", or "a fixed price". There are no specific rules governing this and just because the seller implies that he wants to receive a certain figure does not mean that he will not accept a lower amount. The property is not necessarily valued at the price the seller puts in the paper and he may well be willing to accept a price which is lower than this.

To Survey or not to survey
For the above reason alone, before deciding to purchase a property, you should consult a Surveyor. He will inspect the property and after seeing his report you will be in a better position to consider what price to offer for the property. If you are taking a loan speak to the lender first as they have lists of their preferred Surveyors.

Surveyors carry out different types of surveys. The first is known as a Valuation and this is done wherever you are getting a mortgage. The Surveyor merely looks at the property and decides whether it is valuable enough to cover the amount of the loan. Although you will pay for this type of survey it is done for the lender's benefit and will only protect the Lender's interest. It is possible for you to get your own survey done and there are various types of survey which a Surveyor will do over a property. For more advice on this contact your Solicitor who will advise you of the different types of survey and what type of survey is necessary. As a general rule, the older the house the more complete the survey needs to be.

Working out a price
You must clearly offer a price that you can afford. Look at it this way:-

Take the maximum amount of mortgage you are being offered for this property and add your savings and any loans or other money available (perhaps from the sale of a house). Then deduct the money you need for removal costs, furnishings etc and the expenses of the purchase. The sum remaining is the maximum amount you can afford.

Then look at it another way:-

What would you be prepared to offer so that if you are unsuccessful you would not kick yourself afterwards and say "I should have offered £1000 more".

The lower these figures is the most you should offer. Remember that you may not get a second chance to offer.

You will need to specify in the offer the date when you wish to get the keys and pay the price in full. If you are selling a previous house, and have not yet done this then you may have to get a Bridging Loan. This is a temporary loan at a higher rate of interest than a mortgage. Remember that in Scotland there is no gazumping and even if you have not sold your own house then you must pay for your new house in full at the date of entry. Clearly you wish your offer to be accepted and therefore it is best to try and fit in with what the seller would like. The seller may be prepared to take a lesser sum of money if you fit in with his plans for when you will take entry to the property. Remember thatthe date of entry is the date when you move into the property and an early or a late date will suit the seller depending on when he is due to move into his new house.

When you make an offer for a house you are only offering for the bricks, mortar and ground. The law on moveables is complex but basically the position is that any item which is not firmly attached to the house is counted as a moveable. As this is not included in your offer then the seller is able to take all moveables with him. As an example you may move into your new house only to discover that the bathroom fittings, the cooker, the fridge and even the electric light bulbs have been taken away by the previous owner. If you specify in the offer exactly what moveables you want then these are included in the sale and your Solicitor will advise you about this. He will also guide you on what is and what is not a moveable.

There is normally no deposit payable in Scotland (except possibly for new properties).

Go to Homebuying info for more detailed information on this.
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Useful addresses

Council of Mortgage Lenders, 3 Saville Road, London, W1X 1AF. 0171 437 1655
The Council supply lists of lenders and leaflets for homebuyers (remember to mention that you are interested in buying in Scotland).

Law Society of Scotland
, 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. EH3 7YR. 0131 226 7411
The Society maintains a list of Property centres around the country. Property Centres have lists of the properties being sold by their Solicitor/Estate Agents members. Most properties in Scotland are sold by Solicitor/Estate Agents.

National Association of Estate Agents, Arbon House, 21 Jury Street, Warwick CV34 3EH. 01926 496800
The National Association maintains a list of all Estate Agents in the Association. Not all Estate Agents have joined the National Association.

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7DN. 0131 225 7078
The Royal Institution maintains a list of qualified Surveyors throughout Scotland.

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Acting for you
If you would like us to assist you in buying a house on your behalf then contact us by phone, fax or send us an email and we will be happy to assist you.
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Buying a house from us
Unfortunately, if you wish to offer for a property we are selling whilst we shall be happy to assist in giving information we cannot submit the offer itself. We can, however, recommend another Solicitor to you. Please send us an email telling us which house you are interested in and we will give you a list of Solicitors.

Still got a question?
Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Also try our What you need to know about buying your home in Scotland page.
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