Our residential property department is run by partner Bridget McLaren.
It is a source of great pride to us that much of our business comes from existing clients coming back to us, or recommendations from existing clients. This is the best accolade for our commitment to providing an exemplary level of service.
You can see a small selection of our client testimonials here.
What sets us apart is a willingness to spend time with our clients when they are house-hunting. You are welcome to discuss with us a property that you are interested in, and get the benefit of our experience regarding the property, the area, and most importantly, the value. We have an excellent track record of securing properties for our clients by negotiation or at a closing date. We do not charge for this advice – we only charge for a conveyancing transaction.
We like to be completely transparent about our fees. You can see our current fee structure for domestic conveyancing here. We are also very happy to provide you with a detailed quote for the legal fees involved in a purchase and / or sale: this will detail all the of the fees, vat, and outlays involved, such as registration dues of the documents transferring title, and Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (which replaced Stamp Duty in April 2015.) If you would like a quote just get in touch here.
Sorting Out Your Funding
It is best to know at the outset what you can afford to buy. We recommend that your first step is to find out what you can borrow by either speaking to a Mortgage Adviser or looking online at the best mortgage deals available.
We do not offer a mortgage service, however, we are happy to liaise with your mortgage provider or adviser.
The House Hunting
It may be obvious, but the next step is to get out there and find the property that suits you. This may be harder work than you think. Often, lots of time has to be spent on the net finding out what is on the market, arranging viewings etc.
Once you have found the property you like, contact us and we will note interest with the Estate Agent selling the property. This is just a telephone call from us to the Estate Agent, stating you are interested in the property and you wish to be kept informed of developments, such as the fixing of a closing date for offers.
Once we have noted interest on your behalf, the Estate Agent will generally correspond with us from that point onwards. There is nothing binding on you when you note interest in a property. You can note interest in more than one property and you can withdraw a note of interest at any time.
When you have decided you want to offer for a particular property we will discuss with you in detail what price you should offer. In doing so, we will take account of the current market conditions, recent sale prices in the area that you are buying, the level of interest in the property you have chosen and the Home Report for the property.
Sellers must provide a Home Report for buyers. A Home Report includes a single survey prepared by a Surveyor (which gives the condition and value of the property), an energy report (which contains a house’s energy efficiency rating and carbon dioxide emissions) and a property questionnaire (which includes general information such as a property’s Council Tax Band, factoring arrangements, the existence of any Local Authority Notices and information about alterations that have been made to the property). In many cases the Home Report will be sufficient for an interested party to submit an offer. However, a potential buyer may have to commission another survey at the request of a mortgage provider or if the original Home Report was prepared some time ago. Also, sometimes we recommend that our clients have their own survey done because the Home Report is not sufficient, for example, if the property is old or we think that the Home Report is not particularly thorough. We will discuss this with you.
Making an Offer
When to make an offer will depend on what other interest there is in the property. If you have decided that this is the property for you and we have noted interest for you to be told that we are the first note of interest, generally the time to offer is right away …. before someone else notes interest and you find yourself bidding against them at a closing date. Offering early allows us to negotiate with the Estate Agent. On the other hand, if we note interest in a property and there is already a note of interest (or two or three) then the Estate Agent will probably fix a closing date for offers, typically 12 noon on a particular day. Unfortunately when a closing date has been fixed there is no scope for negotiating. You have to submit your highest offer at the closing date.
The offer itself has to be in writing: it is a long legal document with lots of clauses to protect your interests. The information we need from you for the offer is the price, the date of entry (when the transaction completes) and what items you wish to be left in the property such as carpets, white goods etc. Furniture is not normally left in a property although you may be able to negotiate with the seller to buy certain items if you wish.
Once an offer has been verbally accepted by the Estate Agent, the Estate Agent passes our offer to the seller’s solicitor.
We will then liaise with the seller’s solicitor to conclude the contract and carry out the conveyancing. The contract or “missives” are made up of the formal written offer for the property, which we have submitted, and all written acceptances of the offer. It is highly unusual to receive a straight written acceptance of an offer to purchase a house (although it is possible.) Instead, the solicitors acting on behalf of the sellers will issue what we call a “qualified acceptance”. A “qualified acceptance” is just that – it is an acceptance of the offer, but with qualifications attached. Given that our offer contains some thirty clauses or so, it is not surprising that the seller is unwilling to accept all of them! It may be that we will recommend that not all of the qualifications made by the selling solicitor are accepted. Further exchanges of letters may well be necessary before we reach a final agreement with the sellers.
When we reach this final agreement, the missives or the contract is said to be concluded. It is only when the contract is concluded that there is a binding agreement between the parties which can be enforced through the Courts. Until the contract is concluded either party can withdraw from the deal without penalty.
When carrying out the conveyancing we will check the Title Deeds and advise you on any “title burdens” or conditions that must be obeyed by the owner, such as common repairs, rules on keeping animals or uses for the property. We will examine all of the usual searches (coal miming reports etc.) to ensure that all is in order. A new title deed will be prepared and signed by the seller which transfers the title of the property into your name. We will also liaise with your mortgage provider to prepare the necessary mortgage documents you have to sign. The mortgage provider will provide us with the loan funds and you will also be asked to let us have your deposit in time for completion. Payment of the price is made by us directly to the seller’s solicitor on the date of entry and the keys will be released to you on that date.
After settlement of the transaction, we will pay any land building transaction tax and register your title with the Land Register of Scotland. It is up to you to unpack the boxes and settle into the property!
Selling a Property
One of the many advantages in instructing Pattison & Co to sell your property is that we have a busy and highly experienced Estate Agency Department which liaises closely with our legal team. We can handle the sale of a property from start to finish including advice on advertising and the conveyancing.
Sellers are required by law to provide a Home Report for buyers. A Home Report includes a single survey, an energy report and a property questionnaire. We can arrange for the Home Report to be prepared for you or if you wish you can arrange that yourself.
Marketing Your Property
Our Estate and Letting Agency section details what steps we will take to market your property. Our property negotiators Maureen Ferguson and Kara Dawson will negotiate the selling price and other matters, such as the date of entry before accepting any offer to purchase your property. Our partners are very hands on in the estate agency department and are always at hand to advise should that be required. Once an offer has been accepted it will either be passed to Bridget McLaren in our Legal Department or alternatively you may have your own solicitor who you wish the offer to be sent to. We can undertake the estate agency side of your sale only, if you wish.
The Legal Work
Having received a written offer for your property which has been verbally accepted, our legal team (or your solicitor) will now proceed to conclude the missives, undertake the conveyancing and proceed to settlement of the transaction.
In Scots Law, the contract for the purchase or sale of a property takes the form of an exchange of letters between solicitors, and signed by the solicitors (the letters are often referred to as “the missives”). It is only when the contract is concluded that there is a binding agreement between the parties which can be enforced through the courts. Until the contract is concluded either party can withdraw from the deal without penalty. We will try to have the contract concluded as quickly as possible.
As a selling solicitor, we require to show your purchaser that you have a valid and marketable title to the property which you can pass on to them. The Title Deeds for the property will be exhibited to the purchaser’s solicitor and we will also require to exhibit various searches over the property, such as Local Authority Certificates and Coal Mining Reports. If there have been any alterations to the property we will have to give the purchaser’s solicitors all necessary permissions for those alterations. This is called The Conveyancing.
We describe completing the transaction on the date of entry as settlement of the transaction. The date of entry is the date when the purchase price is paid, the keys for the property are handed over and the purchaser becomes the owner of the property. At settlement, we will receive the price from the purchaser’s solicitor and shortly thereafter, we will arrange to repay your existing mortgage and let you have the free proceeds of sale.