Welcome readers, to episode 4 of “Shall we move to Scotland”
So the story so far is… watched a national TV programme giving us the idea to move to Scotland and have spent a weekend looking at properties…..we now come to Monday 9th May – our last day Scotland on this visit
I’d arranged to see 5 properties on Monday. The friends that we were staying with had asked, over the weekend, if we could keep their grandson occupied on the Monday morning as they had a meeting to attend. We asked the grandson if he’d like to spend the day with us and he was over the moon to do so.
We headed off to a couple of properties in Taynuilt. This is the next closest large village to Dalavich – 13 miles away on a humpy bumpy road that takes 30 minutes to travel. The first house we looked at was in a cul-de-sac. It was a semi-detached with a modest garden. The outside was very well kept – the inside, not so much. The owner showed us around. I was intrigued when we went upstairs to see 2 normal sized bedroom doors and one that was half width. I opened the door and realised that the only way I’d fit through was to turn sideways!! It opened to a smallish room that the owner had turned into a childs bedroom – it would make a small office but access was difficult. We took our leave and walked down the road to the 2nd house.
This was the total opposite of the first, yet the original floorplan was identical. This one had a corner plot garden giving them more scope for extensions. This house had a wonderful light and airy full length extension to the rear and a cosy lounge to the front. The bedrooms were sensibly laid out upstairs but still felt small. While this was a wonderful property for someone, it was not for us.
We popped back through Dalavich and picked up the grandson and headed back down for Lochgilphead. We were running ahead of time. I remembered someone saying that Oban was 30 mins away – we had 90 mins before our next appointment so I suggested that we head on over to Oban for lunch. The grandson was delighted- he loved Subway – so off we headed…… It soon became very evident that Oban was actually an hour from Lochgilphead and this was going to make us late for our appointment. A quick phone call sorted that out and after lunch in Subway, we headed back down the road to see a flat that I’d picked out as a possible rental property.
We liked the property from the kerb – it had real kerb appeal and was right opposite Loch Gilp. The views were stunning. Once we entered the property we were amazed – it was easily as big as our Devon bungalow. Beautiful high ceilings, great size lounges. Newly refurbed Kitchen. The bedrooms were a little cramped and the bathroom would need sorting but we really liked it.
We then popped into a cafe for a drink and finally the time had come to drive to our final viewing. This property was a 3 bedroom detached bungalow with wide ranging views. It had a long lounge diner and 2 of the 3 bedrooms were spacious, the 3rd bedroom lending itself to an office. The kitchen was horrendous – cramped and ill-equipped. Roo and I spent about an hour wandering round, looking at the rooms, imagining, deciding what changes we can make.
We thanked the Estate Agent for his time, he lives next door so didn’t have far to go!! We drove back to Dalavich discussing our options and decided that we would put in offers on the Flat we’d seen just after lunch as a rental and the 3 bed bungalow as our permanent home.
We had to do a bit of negotiation but finally we had 2 offers on the table, acceptable to the vendors. Now this is the part where Scottish and English law. In English law, your verbal offer is accepted and you work through the process of searches and questions until the English Conveyancers are satisfied at which point contracts are exchanged and the sale is legally bound.
In Scotland, a verbal offer is not sufficient. A letter from a Scottish conveyancer seals the deal and locks you in. If you had a mortgage, then no problem, that would be sufficient to lock in the process and move through but as a cash buyer, you have to have the money in the bank to complete on the given date or be held in breach of contract. This meant that we had to exchange on the Devon Bungalow and get a completion date set before we could put in a legally binding offer.
Our verbal offers went in on 9th May.
Our Devon exchange did not happen until 5th June, with completion on 20th June.
The next hurdle is Scottish Land & Buildings Tax. This is levied at 3% on all 2nd homes. The rental flat was significantly cheaper than our 3 bed bungalow and it was important that we completed on the bungalow first. We notified the Scottish solicitor about the purchase of the bungalow on 5th June and he was swift to act, offering us a completion date on bungalow of 23rd June! This back-footed me a little and mindful of the breach of contract clause, I asked for 30th June, which was agreed. The wheels were in motion.
We then got a call from the estate agents regarding the flat. On 25th June, they took a formal offer on the property and it was no longer in our grasp. I was sad but knew that something else would come up.
The legal wheels moved and at 11am on 30th June, I received a call that 5 Fernoch Park was ours and we could pick up the keys at our leisure.
Tune in next time to see how the hunt for the rental apartment has progressed!