Compare & Save on Conveyancing Solicitors

Speak to accredited Conveyancers & save today!

Compare My Move Fact-Checking Standards

The Compare My Move team follows strict guidelines to ensure that every piece of content is accurate, trust-worthy and adheres to the highest standard of quality. Each article is expertly reviewed by members of our author panel before being published to promote accurate and quality content.

All Compare My Move articles adhere to the following standards:

  • Expertly reviewed - Our articles are reviewed by an industry expert with in-depth knowledge and experience of the article topic.
  • Data supported - All statistics, research and data must link or reference to the original source.
  • Accuracy - All research and data are taken from high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative sources.
  • Quality checked - Our content writers ensure every Compare My Move article is written to the highest of standard.

Guide to Buying a House in Scotland

Adele MacGregor

Written by

28th Oct 2021 (Last updated on 28th Oct 2021) 5 minute read

When it comes to buying a house, there are various stages and expenses to consider. If you’re buying a home in Scotland, a number of these factors differ from the rest of the UK.

Conveyancing is often completed by a Solicitor Estate Agent, the seller is responsible for the survey and there are a number of technical terms that aren’t found in the process across the rest of the country.

Compare My Move works with property experts to bring you the most relevant information when it comes to the process of buying a house in Scotland. From Note of Interest to the Home Report and Missives, we’ll take you through the steps of buying a house in Scotland.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Hiring a Conveyancer
  2. What is a Note of Interest?
  3. Making an Offer
  4. What is a Home Report?
  5. Do You Need an Independent Survey?
  6. What are Missives?
  7. How Much Does it Cost?
  8. How Long Does it Take?
  9. Next Steps of Buying a House

Hiring a Conveyancer

Once you have completed the mortgage process and found a property you want to purchase, you will need to hire a conveyancer.

Conveyancing is a key part of buying a house, which is why it is so important to enlist the services of a verified and trusted professional. In Scotland, many conveyancing firms are also estate agent companies, working as Solicitor Estate Agents. This means they will handle both the legal aspect of the sale and the marketing and negotiation of the property on behalf of the seller.

As a buyer, your conveyancer will liaise with the seller’s conveyancer, making you aware of any updates and important aspects of the sale. This includes submitting a note of interest, the date to make an offer and its closing date and the process and conclusion of missives. Your conveyancer will be part of the buying process right up until the property is in your name.

To read more about the conveyancing process in Scotland see: A Guide to Conveyancing in Scotland

Compare Local Conveyancers

Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

What is a Note of Interest?

A Note of Interest is when your solicitor formally notes your interest in a property with the selling agent. This does not commit you to purchase the home but it will mean you will be kept updated on developments, including when an offer needs to be made and the closing date for offers.

Making an Offer

Making an offer in Scotland is another aspect of the house buying process that differs in Scotland. Written offers are submitted to the seller once they state that they are ready to accept them, effectively a blind bidding system. These must be submitted before the closing date set by the seller. After this date, the seller decides which offer to accept.

It is worth noting that a seller may not always accept an offer based on the highest amount offered. Other factors such as the circumstances of the buyer and whether they are in a chain may also contribute to their decision.

What is a Home Report?

Unlike the rest of the UK where the buyer organises a survey on the property, in Scotland, it is the seller who is responsible for the Home Report. This is then distributed to prospective buyers.

The Home Report is made up of three parts which include the Single Survey, an Energy Report (including an Energy Performance Certificate) and a Property Questionnaire. The Single Survey and Energy Report must be conducted by a RICS registered property surveyor, with the seller completing the Property Questionnaire.

Each part of the report is designed to provide essential information about the property to potential buyers, allowing you to make an informed decision when it comes to making an offer and completing the purchase.

For more information on the Home Report read: The Home Report: Sellers Survey in Scotland

Compare Local Conveyancers

Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

Do You Need an Independent Survey?

A survey is not mandatory in any part of the UK, but it is strongly recommended. As a Home Report is supplied by the seller, many buyers will not arrange for their own survey on the home. For newer properties and those in good condition, the Single Survey conducted as part of the Home Report will most likely suffice.

However, if the property is older, had extensive work completed on it or is in poor condition, it may be work considering a RICS Home Survey Level 3. This survey will look at the condition of the property in-depth, from the construction to the fittings, grounds and neighbouring land. It will outline any defects with the property and the urgency in which they will need to be remedied.

What are Missives?

Missives are a series of letters that are exchanged between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitors. The purpose of these letters is to negotiate and agree on the final terms of the sale. This is the equivalent of exchanging contracts in the rest of the UK.

Within the letters, the parties involved agree to various terms and conditions, and the seller will formally accept your offer. Missives will go between parties until a qualified acceptance has been reached, known as “the conclusion of missives”. Once this happens, neither you nor the seller can legally pull out of the transaction.

Compare Local Conveyancers

Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

How Much Does it Cost?

When buying a house, you need to consider more than just how much deposit is required. Below we’ve provided a table of the cost of buying a home in Scotland. These are based on the average property price in this part of the country which is currently £180,832 according to the UK House Price Index.

ServiceCost

Deposit (10%)

£18,083

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)

£3,616

Conveyancing

£1,040*

Removal Company Cost

£1,181*

*based on UK averages

What is LBTT?

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) is essentially Stamp Duty in Scotland. It replaced Stamp Duty in April 2015. This is required for all first homes over £145,000 and on all second homes. The exception is first-time buyers who do not need to pay LBTT on properties costing under £175,000.

Details of LBBT rates and thresholds can be found in the table below:

House PriceFirst HomeSecond Homes

Up to £145,000

0%

3%

£145,001 to £250,000

2%

5%

£250,001 to £325,000

5%

8%

£325,001 to £750,000

10%

13%

£750,001+

12%

15%

How Long Does it Take?

It can take between four and eight weeks to buy a house in Scotland according to Huuti Money. In the rest of the UK, the average time is eight to twelve weeks. Be aware that some transactions can take longer than others depending on individual circumstances.

Next Steps of Buying a House

This article is part of our house buying guide. We work hard to inform you of the latest moving house advice and news through our series of articles.

Our next article in the series will help you decide where to live, from the local schools to crime in the area, we've covered it all. To find out more read choosing an area to live in.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.