David Clarke interviews Turcan Connell Land and Property Associate, Antonia Scott and Senior Solicitor, Laura Sinclair on the contrasts in property law between Scotland and England & Wales, at Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9EE.
Antonia Scott and Laura Sinclair discuss the contrasts in property law between Scotland and England & Wales.
Hello and welcome to the Turcan Connell video cast on property. I'm David Clarke and I'm here with Antonia Scott and Laura Sinclair and we're going to be talking about the difference between buying property in Scotland and in England. Antonia there are differences, can you tell me a bit about those?
There are differences and it's of particular interest to myself and Laura cause I'm dual qualified and Laura is qualified in England and Wales currently. To market a property in Scotland it has to have a Home Report, which comprises a survey, an energy performance report and a seller's questionnaire, so there's quite a bit of information there for the buyer to go and have a look at before they make an offer on a property. Properties are marketed with either a fixed price or offers over a certain price and when a buyer wants to make an offer they first get their solicitor to note an interest with the estate agency and then once there is sufficient interest in the property, a closing date will be set and the buyer's solicitor will submit a formal offer.
In contrast in England and Wales properties are marketed through independent estate agents, they are marketed at a guide price and the only thing you need to put a property on the market in England and Wales is an energy performance certificate, so there's not that much information there for prospective buyers to go and have a look at. The way the pricing system works is it is just a guide price, so in a slow market the buyer may go in under, but in a strong market you may have to offer the guide price or higher to secure the property and it is actually the potential buyer themselves who goes and makes the offer to the estate agents, there is no solicitors involved in that stage. So it's, I suppose, more informal than Scotland at the start and solicitors only become involved in England and Wales once a buyer and seller have negotiated and agreed a price.
And the key point I suppose that you're saying there as well is that a Scottish solicitor has to be qualified in England and Wales to work down there on this subject?
Yes you do, obviously there's two separate jurisdictions, so if a client wants to purchase a property in England and Wales they do need a solicitor who is qualified in that jurisdiction.
So Laura, once an offer has been made on a property how does the procedure differ then between England and Scotland?
The offer is made in Scotland through a formal letter between the solicitors and the process then goes back and forth in a series of letters known as the Missives. So there's typically an offer and then the seller's solicitors will come back with a qualified acceptance and those go to and fro until Missives are concluded, at which point there's a binding contract.
In England and Wales it is open to the rule of caveat emptor which means the buyer is aware and it is over to the buyer and their solicitors to make enquiries all about the property and satisfy themselves that they are happy with it before exchange of contracts, again at which point there is a binding contract.
In Scotland that process happens quite quickly, whereas in England it's open to delays from those searches carrying on.
Okay, thank you very much Laura, thank you very much Antonia. So for more information on how Turcan Connell can help you with the buying and selling of property, go to the website turcanconnell.com or check us out on Twitter or LinkedIn.