The term 'conveyancing' covers all the legal and administrative work needed when buying and selling property or transferring ownership of land and buildings from one person to another. For a standard transaction in Scotland this might include:
- Investigation of and reporting on the title of the property
- Document preparation
- Concluding missives (ie the contract for the purchase or sale)
- Submission of Lands and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) Returns
- Registration at the Land Register of Scotland
There are many legal requirements which need to be met before a change in ownership of any property can take place. The process can be complex but our team of specialist conveyancing solicitors will help make your transaction as smooth as possible.
The exact costs will depend of the nature of your transaction but can include:
- Conveyancer's fees plus VAT
- Search expenses - this may include a Property Enquiry, Coal Report, Plans Report and Property and Personal Searches
- Lands and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)
- Land Register of Scotland fees
We charge a fixed fee for our conveyancing services, which is based on the value of the property being purchased. There will also be some outlays to pay, such as search fees.
We will always discuss the fee with you at the outset of your case and provide details of the likely outlays in your particular transaction. At the start of the process we will also provide you with a copy of our Terms of Business so that we're completely transparent at every step.
Read more about our fees for conveyancing in Scotland
The process for buying or selling a house falls into three main stages:
Putting in an offer
The official legal process usually starts with the buyer making a legal offer to purchase the property.
Before that, a buyer may have already noted interest in a property with the estate agents. This means that the estate agents should keep the buyer informed about any developments, such as the fixing of a closing date.
If a closing date is fixed, all interested parties will be invited to submit a legal written offer by a certain date. Usually, but not always, the highest offer is accepted and anyone who made an unsuccessful offer will not have the opportunity to increase or amend the offer.
If there are no other interested parties, then a buyer may wish to go ahead and submit an offer. As matters can proceed quickly, a buyer should have arrangements in place to finance the purchase. If you need a mortgage, we recommend getting an agreement in principle from your chosen lender before making an offer.
After the offer is accepted
Once an offer is accepted, the solicitor for the buyer will examine the title deeds and also the conveyancing reports to ensure that there is a good title to the property and that there are no matters which might adversely affect the property, for example planning proposals. The solicitors for both the buyer and seller will also draft and adjust the formal letters which will constitute the contract between the purchaser and seller. This process is referred to as concluding missives.
Before completion the solicitor for the seller will get a statement from any lender, confirming the balance of any outstanding mortgage. The buyer's solicitor will also request funds from any new lender. Both solicitors will prepare completion statements, confirming any balance due to be paid to or by their client to complete the transaction.
Please note that you may be asked to provide evidence of the source of any deposit. This is to ensure that the solicitor complies with any money laundering requirements.
If you are financing part of any deposit from a gift or loan from a family member, please make sure that tell your mortgage adviser. You also need to tell your lender before drawing down any loan funds.
Exchange of keys
On completion, the solicitor for the buyer will send the funds to the seller's solicitor. When the funds have been received and the seller has vacated the property, the keys will be released to the buyer, usually by the estate agents.
The solicitors will then both attend to registration at the Land Register of Scotland and will complete any as the payment of Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) formalities.
Every transaction is different and each can take a different amount of time. The average time period is between 6-12 weeks depending on factors including the availability of mortgage offers, the other parties in the chain and the complexity of the transaction.
We understand how important it is to resolve property matters quickly, especially when they concern your family home. Our expert property solicitors will always work to complete your transaction as quickly as possible.