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Legal Guide for Scotland

Scottish law is quite different from the law in England and Wales and for your purchase you will need to use a Scottish solicitor. If you do not have a solicitor in mind, we have a list of Scottish solicitors who we know to be effective and reasonably priced for conveying (transferring) woodland and agricultural land.

Purchasing woodland could be seen as a step-by-step process, but with us it starts differently than with a conventional estate agent: we don’t conduct auctions or involve you in final offers and closed bids. If you offer to buy from us at the price we are selling at then we do not consider selling elsewhere as long as you get on promptly with the legal process.

So, you tell us that you want to purchase woodland or meadow and we write a letter to all parties (you, your solicitor and our solicitor). This letter will set out what you are buying, how much it is costing and who the parties are, and the likely timescale.

Your solicitor will then make a formal offer to our solicitor agreeing to buy at the stated price and stating the conditions of that offer. This in effect means the things he/she is going to check up on. A correspondence is then entered into between the solicitors, which is described as “the missives” which are simply formal letters between the lawyers to agree the terms of the contract. When full agreement is reached then a binding legal contract exists (described as “conclusion of the missives”).

Part of this exchange of missives includes agreeing a date of “settlement” - when you will pay and “entry” will take place . This is the equivalent in English law of “date of completion” – the date when you take possession of the property.

Once “missives are concluded” neither party can withdraw without serious implications, as they are both bound by the contract.

Following conclusion of missives your solicitor will examine the title to the property check documentation including property searches and rights of access and he/she will prepare a “Disposition” (equivalent to a “transfer” in English law). This is the formal document which transfers the property into your name.

After your solicitor is satisfied that you will be obtaining a clear, valid and marketable title to the property he/she will proceed towards the next stage of the purchase which is Settlement.

On the date of entry the ownership of the property transfers to you and your solicitor transfers the purchase money to our solicitor.

After the date of entry/settlement your solicitor will register your title at the Register of Scotland, who may take several months to fully process your title. When the title has been processed, the record is kept centrally and you can get a full copy from them by post or download and print your own copy on line much more cheaply.

Please feel free to offer improvements to this guide to buying a Scottish property as we want our guide to be as clear as possible. Please email angus@woodlands.co.uk

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