Gavin Pearson, Director of Conveyancing Services, answers some of the most frequently-asked questions from buyers and sellers.
Do I have to pay LBTT (Land and Buildings Transactions Tax) as a first-time buyer?
It depends. Currently, purchase prices of £145,000 and below do not trigger LBTT liability, and first-time buyers in Scotland are exempt from paying LBTT on any purchase price between and including £145,001 and £175,000. For first-time buyers purchasing above £175,000, there is liability for LBTT – we can help you do the sums.
What are the costs when buying/selling?
When buying, the typical costs include the conveyancing fee and any incidental costs incurred to process the conveyancing, referred to as outlays, such as LBTT (if applicable) and registration dues for the title and mortgage deeds. For selling, the typical costs will be estate agency fees and outlays, a conveyancing fee, search costs and registration dues.
Can I offer on two properties at the same time?
Only if you can afford to purchase both! Until missives (the contractual letters that are exchanged between the solicitors of a property buyer and seller in Scotland) are concluded, you are not in a binding contract, however, solicitors operate under etiquette which makes an offer a serious commitment by the purchaser. Any conditions of purchase (such as needing a mortgage, or selling an existing property) should be disclosed when offering.
If you did wish to offer for two properties (for instance, if they had the same closing date) you’d need to decide which you preferred, and the other offer would need to make clear that it was subject to your first-choice offer not being accepted.
How do I make an offer?
Engage your selected specialist solicitor and find out what information they’ll need from you. Any conditions of your offer, such as a mortgage, or sale of a property, need to be disclosed and discussed. If you need a mortgage, arrange a mortgage in principle, otherwise it might prejudice any offer you make. If you wanted to submit an offer, but did not have mortgage approval in principle, then your offering solicitor would have to disclose that to the selling agent. In that case, even if the price you were offering was acceptable to the seller, the seller may be very wary about accepting such an offer (particularly if other similar offers have been received, for instance, at a closing date) given the lack of mortgage approval.
In the current market, it’s key to act quickly, otherwise there could be other interest in your chosen property, meaning all you can do is note interest and wait for a closing date (when all interested parties submit their best offer). Read the Home Report and discuss any concerns with your solicitor before deciding on your offer terms.
Why are properties selling so quickly, and how can I buy successfully?
Many are reconsidering their living arrangements post-pandemic, and are reluctant to put their property on the market until they’ve successfully offered for their next home, affecting stock levels. This means many people can be competing for one property – very good news for sellers, but difficult for purchasers.
As an ESPC solicitor we have excellent knowledge of current market conditions and can provide valuable insights and advice. Also, consider being flexible on property types and locations, to give you the best chance of success.
We’re here to help
If you are thinking of buying or selling a property, MOV8 is perfectly placed to help. Our 5-star rated team of property experts can help guide you through each stage of the property process.
Thinking of selling your property?
Fill in our online free home valuation form here
Call us on 0345 646 0208 (Option 1)
or email [email protected] to organise a free valuation of your home or to get a full, transparent breakdown of the costs of selling your home.