Even though Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, the laws related to buying land in Scotland are not the same as in England, Wales or other countries. Before you buy land in Scotland, be sure to know the specific laws that apply in the country, so you don't encounter any unpleasant surprises. At first glance, the Scottish property-buying laws may seem like an unwelcome complication, but they can help you avoid gazumping, according to the Find a Property website.
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Things you need
Learn the terms used in Scotland to buy land and homes. Terms which you may not have come across before include, "fixed price," "note of interest," "offers over," and "disposition." If you see land for sale in Scotland marked "fixed price," it means that any offers made for that price will almost always be accepted. The term "note of interest" refers to when your solicitor tells the seller's legal adviser that you are interested in the property. "Offers over" is a property term unique to Scotland. If you see land advertised with a price stating "offers over," it means that the owner is looking for an offer above the price stated, according to the Prime Location website. It is very rare for the sellers to accept an offer at the stated price or less.
Get a mortgage. Before you can make an offer on property in Scotland you must have proof that a lender is going to give you the required amount of money. If you don't have this, any offers you make on land will not be seen as serious.
Get a solicitor. To buy land in Scotland, you must have a solicitor. All property negotiations and transactions are carried out through your and the seller's solicitors. Your solicitor will help you with all the required documents and advice you during the buying process. The seller's solicitor cannot legally accept other offers after he has accepted yours, so you avoid gazumping. If the seller wants to accept a higher offer after he has agreed to your offer, his solicitor must step down.
Get a valuation and survey done. When you have found land that you are interested in, ask your solicitor to organise a survey and valuation. These are important, as they can tell you if the price is in line with the market and the land is usable for your needs.
Make an offer through your solicitor. He will submit a formal written offer to the seller's solicitor, which contains the conditions of the purchase. When the seller accepts your offer, his solicitor will send your solicitor a letter of acceptance. According to the Prime Location website, neither you nor the seller are obligated to follow through on the transaction until a final letter is sent to your solicitor.
Pay for the land. When a sale has been agreed upon, you need to provide payment becoming the official owner. Your payment must include any fees, including stamp duty.
Tips and warnings
- Don't hesitate to ask questions. Your solicitor is there to help you and to make the Scottish land-buying process go smoothly.
- Make sure you hire a solicitor that has lots of experience in dealing with property transactions.
- The process for buying land in Scotland is the same used for buying a house.
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