Hopefully the following will give you a better understanding of some of the terms used in purchasing and selling property. More detail is available in our guide to selling property and our guide to buying Property.
The meaning of this term will vary significantly depending on where the property is and what the state of the market is at the time. It can be misleading to apply a general rule to the interpretation of this term as a property may be deliberately under or over priced. If you are pursuing your interest in a property then at the time of noting an interest your solicitor would request a property schedule to be submitted to him. After reviewing this and after ascertaining the position with regard to any other interests in the property from the seller's agents he would advise you of the likely level of offer which would be expected.
A closing date is fixed when there are two or more parties who are interested in a property at the same time and a closing date provides the opportunity for the interested parties to offer on an equal basis. The sellers agents will appoint a specific time and date when offers are to be received. It should be borne in mind however that the seller is not obliged to accept the highest or indeed any offer at a closing date and this despite the fact that the purchaser may have undertaken costs such as valuation fees before lodging their offer.
Offer to Purchase and Missives
If an offer is to be accepted then the seller's agents will provide formal written acceptance of the offer. With this acceptance, title deeds and plans may be submitted in order that your solicitor may make you aware of the extent of the property to be included in the sale and any particular conditions of title of which you should be aware. The formal letters which are exchanged between solicitors are collectively called 'missives'. These letter constitute a formal contract between the parties. It is important to appreciate that once the missives have been concluded then there is a formal contract in place, which can only be varied at a later stage by mutual agreement. The main obligation on you as a purchaser is to settle the price on the due date and with every contract there will be severe financial penalties incorporated which will apply if the purchaser cannot pay the price on time.
Timescale for Completion / Date of Entry
Most offers submitted provide for a date of entry, anything from four to ten weeks away from the date the offer is lodged. This allows time for the seller then to make arrangements regarding their move and also gives time for the conveyancing aspects of the transaction to be processed. It also allows time for the mortgage arrangements to be finally put in place in order that the purchaser's mortgage funds can be assured of being available in time to effect payment of the price. The date of entry is the date when the price is paid over in exchange for the keys and when ownership of the property passes to the purchaser.
Legal Fees and Costs
From the time of our first interview with the purchaser we are always anxious to ensure that our clients are made fully aware of all costs which will arise, including our fees. It is difficult to give a generalisation on fees and we would always prefer to provide a specific quote for a particular transaction level. Please give us the opportunity of providing a fee quote for you.
One specific cost we would mention is the application of "Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (formerly known as "stamp duty") which only applies when the purchase price of the heritable property exceeds £145,000. For more information on the latest LBTT rates, see the Scotgov website.
Our aim is to make your house purchase experience an enjoyable one. Due to the considerable experience our property partners have we are very aware of the concerns buyers have and the normal questions raised. We try to present informed practical advice in an understandable manner. Our substantial knowledge of the local market in particular is such that we would often have dealt with specific properties, certainly streets, in which you are interested in and can provide background advice to you on the merits or de-merits of purchasing in that location. We are here to provide a total property purchasing service and hope we can be of assistance to you.
To summarise our advice is to:-
- Obtain proper advice
- Make mortgage arrangements
- Visit ASPC and explore other property marketing outlets
- See as many properties as you can
- Contact your Solicitor
- Enjoy your new property
Conveyancing is the process involved in effecting the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. Part of the process involves the instruction of title searches and the production of Local Authority Clearance Certificates, either of which could alert the purchaser to a potential problem which may affect their title or peaceful enjoyment of the property.