Buying a property? We’re here to help.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or not, buying a property can be daunting. We have helped thousands of property buyers get on the ladder or move their way up, and we’re ready to help you do the same. In our guide to buying property in Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, and Fife, we share the steps you need to take when buying a property in Scotland.

Obtain a mortgage ‘in principle’

Before placing an offer on a property, you need a mortgage lender to confirm that they are willing to offer you a loan.

First, you should work out your budget.

There are many Mortgage Affordability Calculator tools you can use online to determine how much you can afford to borrow based on your income and expenses. 

Don’t forget you’ll have extra fees on top of the mortgage to consider in your expenses, including mortgage fees, legal fees, and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax if your property costs over £145,000 (£175,000 if you’re a first-time buyer).

Once you have agreed on all of this with your lender, you may need to pay a booking or reservation fee. These typically cost £99-£250.

Hire a solicitor

Your solicitor will be responsible for making the offer, checking the contract, any negotiation that takes place and organising the transfer of money and the Title. 

Most solicitors ask for payment after the process is complete, but you may have to pay a deposit or pay for services upfront which typically cost £250-£300. You won’t get this back if the sale falls through, so choose carefully. We always advise choosing a 'No Sale No Fee' solicitor.

If you’re interested in a property, your solicitor will register a ‘note of interest’ with the seller’s estate agent. This will keep you in the loop on any development with the property, including the arranged closing date to submit an offer.

Your solicitor will check the property to ensure it can be sold legally before checking with the local council whether the value of the property will be affected by any planning issues.

Review the Home Report

The seller will need to show you a Home Report, and you should read this carefully as it gives a good idea of how much running costs are for this property. Every Home Report includes:

  1. The Survey - an assessment outlining the condition of the property and a valuation

  2. The Energy Performance Certificate - a band rating from A-G and any potential improvements

  3. The Property Questionnaire - including the property’s Council Tax band, any alterations made, and repair and maintenance arrangements.

If you have a 'mortgage in principle’, your lender may arrange their own property valuation if the one supplied in the Home Report isn’t independent. This usually costs between £250-£1,500, although some mortgage deals include free property valuations.

You may also choose to arrange your own survey. There are different kinds that you can choose based on the property and how comprehensive a survey you’re looking for. These cost upwards of £250.

The Scottish system

While some Scottish homes are sold at a fixed price, you’ll find that most use an 'under offer' system. The seller asks for offers around a minimum price, and your offer is considered against all the other bids. 

Selling too? Put your property on the market

Before seriously starting your search for a new home, you should have your current property on the market and ready to sell. Some sellers may not consider you as a buyer if your property isn’t on the market or hasn’t sold.  

Start your search

When you register with us, we will send you alerts to keep you in the loop for new properties that might suit you – even before advertising begins. You can book viewings of suitable properties, and we will take you around the property, answering any questions you may have.  

Find a solicitor 

To purchase a property, you will need an experienced solicitor to make the process seamless. Our agents can recommend some experts. 

Make an offer

When you have found your dream home, you can make an offer via the agent. You can let the agent know any offer conditions, and they will discuss them with the seller. Don’t forget that the Scottish ‘under offer’ system means you’ll need to rely on the best advice as you make a realistic offer. 

Offer accepted 

If the seller accepts your offer, the agent will prepare a memorandum of sale, confirm the offer, and confirm your solicitor and mortgage information. You will then ask your solicitor to start the conveyancing process and your mortgage broker (if using) to make your application.  

Conveyancing, survey, and mortgage offer

Your solicitor will handle the conveyancing process, and your agent will assist them, keeping you updated all the way through. A surveyor will survey the property you’re buying to identify structural problems and confirm the property's value. When the valuation report is received, you will have a mortgage offer letter to sign and return.  

Exchange and completion

The seller’s solicitor will ask for the remaining balance owed from your lender prior to the date of entry (if you’re a cash buyer, you’ll pay the rest of the balance via your solicitor). Your lender may ask you to pay fees for transferring the funds or for setting up, managing, or shutting down your mortgage account.

Your solicitor will arrange for the signed title deeds to be sent to the Land Registry, which will cost £60+, depending on the property.

Completion checklist:

  • Sign the Land Transaction Return that is issued by the seller’s solicitor.

  • Pay your remaining solicitor’s fees - this may cost £400-£900 plus 20% VAT.

  • Pay your searching costs if you haven’t already

  • Pay your Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

Tips for buying property in Edinburgh and Glasgow

This guide on how to buy property in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, and the surrounding areas should give you an idea of the house-buying process. If you want more advice and insight, get in touch with our expert property professionals who will be more than happy to guide you on your buying journey.