Solicitors and Legal Process
The legal process in Scotland is unique and convoluted. Legal advice for a qualified solicitor is required to navigate your way through the ins and outs of making bids and all the legal hurdles that need to be crossed between your bid being accepted and the missives being conducts, or in other words until the contracts are signed and the property is yours.
Appoint a Solicitor
The best way to appoint a solicitor is to phone around for quotes based on what you are expecting to pay for a property. You may also wish to take advice from friends/family that have recently purchased a property. They will usually ask a series of questions to determine your financial position such as whether you have a decision in principle in place and understand a bit more about the property you are interested in.
Note Interest & Closing Dates
To formally submit your offer your solicitor must make contact with the seller’s solicitor/agent to make them aware of your intention to submit an offer. Most solicitors do not charge a fee for making initial bids or noting interest so if you are not successful with your offer you should not be out of pocket. If however you make a number of lowball offers that are rejected on several properties your solicitor may choose to begin charging for this service.
Generally if there have been more than two notes of interest made on a property it is likely to go to closing date. This means that everyone who has noted interest will be given one opportunity to submit their best offer and generally the highest offer will have their offer accepted. However it is up to the seller to decide this as there may be other terms such as flexibility in moving date that could influence their decision.
Making a Formal offer and Negotiation
Your solicitor will draw up your written offer for the property. This will contain legal terms and conditions of the offer including your bid, move in date, whether it is subject to survey and what else is included in the sale such as white goods, light fittings and carpets. There may then be several counter offers and on-going negotiation on terms made until agreement can be reached.
Verbal Offer Acceptance/Rejection
If the offer is accepted, congratulations! Your solicitor will get in contact to give you the good news, usually as soon as they hear from the seller’s solicitor. It is now time for filling in a lot of forms and getting the rest of the legal process underway.
If the offer is rejected, commiserations, but don’t get disheartened, keep your eyes peeled for new properties coming onto the market. There will be something for you eventually!
Qualified (Written) Acceptance
There is then usually a bit of time, sometimes even a few weeks between verbal acceptance and the written confirmation of acceptance. This time will allow you to get your finances in order and find the ideal mortgage that suits the purchase price of the property. You don’t need to go with the mortgage provider that provided you with your decision in principle so make sure to shop around to find the best deal for you.
There will continue to be back and forth between solicitors which will make any adjustments that might arise from surveys etc. which will eventually result in the Missives. Solicitors may not progress this written application until evidence of finance for the property being available so make sure to get your mortgage in place as soon as possible.
Once both parties, buyer and seller, are in full agreement that the sale will go ahead the Missives will be signed. This is the point where the property is then legally yours! A lot of time and form filling has gotten you to this point, so it’s time to celebrate!