In this brief blog, we are going to discuss problems after buying a house in Scotland.

Problems after buying a house in Scotland

There are several problems which may occur after buying a house in Scotland as they could in any other part of the world. We will briefly describe what some of those problems may be, how to avoid them and what to do about them if it is already too late.

When you buy or sell a house in Scotland there is more protection as you legally have to disclose certain information about the property as a seller and the transaction is handled by conveyancers(solicitors) who could be liable if they don’t do their jobs effectively.

If you are looking for a conveyancer (solicitor) to use you can find one at the law society of Scotland.

If an agent is involved with the sale of the home and they discover some problems with the home then they must notify you (the prospective buyer) of these issues immediately. They must also notify you of any issues they are already aware of in relation to the property.  There is a legal obligation through the consumer protection law to inform you about what they know about the property and what they should expect you to know.

A few of the things which could cause a problem after buying a house include:

Being intentionally misleading to the buyer

Intentionally omitting things to the buyer

Applying undue pressure on the buyer to buy the house

If you misrepresent yourself. Example: by claiming to be from a professional body when you aren’t

Negligence: If you fail to carry out basic checks on the information provided then you may be liable to your client (the buyer)

Another important point to note is that a property may be damaged after the missives have finished but the sale of the house itself has not been completed. If this is the case, it is still the responsibility of the seller to ensure that the property is described accurately to the prospective buyer and is still insured until the sale has occurred and the responsibility is no longer that of the seller.

Once the completion date has passed the responsibility of maintaining and ensuring the property is now that of the buyer and any problem resulting from here on is theirs to bear (within context).

High costs of a solicitor

One of the problems you can face after buying a house in Scotland is the high costs of the solicitor. If the Solicitor charges very high costs then you should ensure you go over every itemized cost to be sure they can be attributed towards you and work carried out on your behalf.  If you are still not happy with the costs then you can dispute the bill with the solicitor and ask the courts to examine the bill. A solicitor’s bill must be fair and reasonable.

Solicitor did not follow instructions

If you have given your solicitor very clear instructions which they have failed to follow then your solicitor could be liable. Whenever instructing a solicitor you should always do this in writing if not this could become a problem if you find any issues after buying a house in Scotland. If you asked the Solicitor to ensure that certain things were included in the sales contract and they didn’t, then this is a problem. You should first report this to the solicitor to see how they plan on remedying the situation. If the solicitor doesn’t give you any remedy options which you find acceptable then you may seek legal advice or alternatively speak to your local Citizens Advice bureau.

You can also complain to the Scottish legal complaints commission.

If the seller didn’t disclose information

If you have bought a house in Scotland and then you find out new information which the seller and the selling agent should have known but did not disclose then they could be in breach of the consumer protection law and be liable to you. If you find out that your solicitor or conveyancer was also in some way complicit in this negligence then they may also be liable to you.

This could be the case regardless of the information that was left out, as long as it could affect your buying decision.

If the selling solicitor failed to provide vital information which could affect your buying decision such as proposed development in the area, a road widening scheme which may cut into your garden or driveway etc then they may have breached the consumer protection law and may be liable to you. They may also be liable to you if they have not accurately described any parts of the house.

The home survey report was inaccurate

Since December 20018 every house which has been listed for sale in Scotland was required to have a homebuyers survey report. There could be a problem if this report was inaccurate and you find out after you have bought the house. In this case, the surveyor who carried out the home survey may be liable and your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer may also have some liability if they were in any way complicit.

The surveyor won’t always be liable and it is important to seek help from a legal professional or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The central heating isn’t working

Another problem after buying a house in Scotland could be that the central heating for the property isn’t working. It is a legal requirement that the central heating in a property must be working at the time at which is it sold in Scotland. This is part of the “Scottish standard clauses”.  If you find that the central heating in your property isn’t working, immediately after you move in then you should contact the seller through your solicitor and they should resolve the issue immediately but within the timescales written in the sale contract. If this isn’t done then you may have a legal claim against the seller.

The property was left in a bad state.

Another problem after buying a house in Scotland could be the state the property was left in but there isn’t much you can do about this as there is no requirement to keep the property in any particular state by law.

If you agreed with the seller then they are usually legally obliged to remove all of their furnishings, property and fittings from the property. If they have left things in the house then you could ask to remove those things. If you incur any costs removing things from the house after asking the seller to remove them then you can claim these costs back from the seller by simply asking them and if that doesn’t work then you can claim this money back through the courts but this may not be worthwhile.

The property you bought was repossessed

If you have bought a house in Scotland, only to realise that it was actually a repossessed property then this could be a serious problem as the person who old it to you may not have had any legal right to sell it and you may find that you may be unable to sell the property. In this case, it is clear that both your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer may be liable for not spotting such an obvious issue which should form the basis of their initial inquiry into a property.

Fixtures and fittings were taken

In some cases, you may agree with the seller of the home to leave certain fittings and furniture as part of the sale of the home. If you arrive after buying the house and realised that the fittings and furniture which should be present have been taken then this may be a problem.

You should first ask your solicitor to resolve the matter but you can also seek advice from your local Citizens Advice bureau.

New build properties or converted properties

New build properties could be plagued with a host of issues from damp walls to uneven doors etc. If you buy a new build property in Scotland then you will be happy to know that they will all come with a warranty and if there are any issues with the new build property during the warranty period then you can refer back to the property developer who sold you the property and they will deal with the problems. 

If they fail to do so then you can seek advice on how to proceed from your local Citizens Advice bureau.

Using a mortgage broker to buy a Scottish house

You may want to consider using an independent mortgage broker to get your mortgage for your Scottish home purchase.

Mortgage brokers are important as they can access single person mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases. This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages than going directly to a mortgage lender.

A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which single person mortgage products may be suitable for you.

After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle. 

This will allow you to shop for your home easier as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously or it will give you confidence that your remortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. 

Once you have found a home you want to buy or are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your remortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.

This will come with a key facts illustration document which details out the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.

If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your mortgage with the help of a conveyancer. 

Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it, they will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.

In this brief blog, we discussed problems after buying a house in Scotland. If you have any questions or comments about this guide then please let us know.

John Bate

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.