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Completing Your Property Purchase During COVID-19 Posted: 14th April 2020

In our second blog, we look at some of the issues you may encounter if you are currently moving and we hope that this answers some questions you may have.

We work closely with Katharine Smith, a Director in the Residential Conveyancing team at Blackadders. She has been kind enough to offer some guidance to our clients at this time.

Please be aware that the situation is evolving rapidly and although this is a guide as of April 2019, it’s always best to contact us at Nicol Estate Agents, your solicitor or mortgage broker for the very latest information.

Q: Does my mortgage offer still apply?

A: Yes. Banks are continuing to release funds when necessary, but they are asking that as much notice is given as possible since they are short staffed at present.   You should consider carefully whether or not to complete your property transaction during the current restrictions as in most cases to do so will be in breach of the current guidelines issued by the UK and Scottish governments.  Check your offer of loan to see when it expires and, if necessary, speak to your lender about getting an extension.

 Q: An offer on my house has been accepted, what happens now?

A: If you haven’t already done so, you will need to appoint a solicitor to deal with the legal aspects for you.  The solicitor will explain the contract terms (known in Scotland as ‘the missives’) and issue a written acceptance of the offer to your buyer’s solicitor.  At the end of this process missives are said to be concluded and that means that the contract is binding on the seller and the buyer.  Severe penalties will apply if either party wishes to pull out of the contract following conclusion of missives.

Q: Does my Home Report still stand despite the delay?

A: Yes.  The only issue which might arise is if you accept an offer then the buyer’s lender may ask for the home report to be refreshed if it is more than 3 months old.

Q: When we come out of lockdown are further delays likely due to the backlog?

A: Hopefully not.  Most solicitors are still working from home and they are trying to keep transactions moving as much as possible so that when the restrictions are lifted people can start moving as quickly as possible.

Q: What is an advance notice?

A: An advance notice is applied for usually around a week before the anticipated date of entry.  It gives a level of protection to the person or persons named in the advance notice as no-one else can be given a better title than them.  Normally an advance notice is valid for 35 days so the expectation is that the application for registration will be made before the protected period expires.  The current closure of the application record has meant that applications for registration cannot be submitted at present.  Emergency legislation has now been passed to extend the validity of advance notices until 10 days after the application record re-opens.

Q: Can I conclude missives without a date of entry?

A: It is not advisable to conclude missives without a date of entry because there would be no effective means of enforcing such a contract.  Instead a number of solicitors are at present issuing missive letters in draft form to enable the terms other than entry date to be agreed.  There are other steps that can be taken to progress the transaction too, for example, looking at the title deeds, checking where funds are coming from and drafting the disposition.

Katharine qualified as a Solicitor in 2003 having studied for her LLB at the University of Glasgow. She has dealt mainly with the purchase and sale of residential properties throughout her career but also handles security work associated with a property purchase unless the mortgage provider requires otherwise. She has a wide range of expertise on the rules and rates of land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) and additional dwelling supplement (ADS).

Katharine also deals with re-mortgages and any transfers of title that might be required either following divorce, separation or bereavement.  Having lived and worked in Glasgow all of her life, she has unrivalled knowledge of the Glasgow property market.




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