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 Solicitors for buying a house

Solicitors for buying a house

We have one of the largest residential property teams in Scotland and decades of experience of helping clients buy their homes.


Purchasing a home in Scotland

Buying a new house is always a major investment, both financially and emotionally. Our conveyancing solicitors can assist you through this complicated process so that your stress levels remain as low as possible.

Our Residential Property team are specialists with wide-ranging experience and a clear focus on all the issues. We can advise you about the different areas you may be interested in and point you in the direction of estate agents with a strong presence in the area. Our own estate agency teams in the Highlands, Moray and Shetland are ideally placed to advise you in the North of Scotland.

We have helped thousands of satisfied clients move in the last year, to all sizes of property. Each client is equally important to us, no matter the purchase or sale price.

With offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Thurso, Moray & Shetland but covering the whole of Scotland we are ideally placed to help you wherever you are.

7 steps to your new home

The Law Society of Scotland has created a useful video which shows you the step by step process to buying a house in Scotland.



Meet the team

As one of the largest teams delivering personal legal services in Scotland, our experience and approachable lawyers can handle all types of enquiries.

The Property Conveyancing process


Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property. It involves various steps from initial property search to the final transfer of funds. Engaging a trusted conveyancing solicitor ensures the process is seamless and that all legal aspects of the transaction are addressed.

Here are fundamental steps detailing the conveyancing process:

  1. Instruction of a conveyancing lawyer
  2. Property searches and inquiries
  3. Review of draft contract
  4. Negotiation of contract terms
  5. Exchange of contracts
  6. Arrangement of property insurance
  7. Completion
  8. Payment of stamp duty/land tax
  9. Registration at the land registry

Financial considerations when buying a house


  • Stamp Duty and Buildings Transaction Tax: Stamp duty is a tax paid upon buying a property. Its amount varies depending on the property price and region. In some areas, you might encounter the Buildings Transaction Tax instead. It’s vital to understand these costs to budget effectively. Your estate agent or your financial adviser will be able to advise you on the tax applicable to the property of interest.
  • Purchase price and monthly mortgage payments: The purchase price of a house is what you agree to pay to the seller. Monthly mortgage payments are periodic payments made to your mortgage lender, encompassing the loan’s principal and interest.
  • The importance of mortgage valuation: Mortgage valuation ensures that the property is worth the purchase price and helps in determining how much a mortgage lender is willing to lend.
  • Financial advisers & their role: Working with mortgage or financial advisers can bring great benefits as such specialists provide insights into mortgage decisions, ensuring you secure the best rates and terms suitable for your circumstances.
  • Costs beyond the purchase price: Apart from the house price, buyers should anticipate other costs. These include buildings insurance, survey reports, conveyancer fees, and potentially unforeseen costs that might arise in the buying process.

Mortgages demystified


From preliminary steps to a full mortgage application: Mortgage application is a journey. It begins with a preliminary assessment, understanding your credit score, and culminates in the full mortgage application where all documents are presented to the mortgage lender for approval.

A mortgage broker bridges the gap between borrowers and lenders. Choose one with good reviews, a vast network of lenders, and who understands your specific needs.

Mortgage interest rates and the mortgage market: Interest rates influence monthly repayments. Understanding the mortgage market and prevailing rates helps buyers anticipate future payments and select suitable mortgage products. Discuss all available options with your financial advisor or mortgage broker.

Property transactions


Exchange of contracts and its significance: This legal step signifies a binding agreement between buyer and seller. After exchanging contracts, backing out usually has financial repercussions.

Navigating the land registry and associated fees: The land registry records property ownership. When buying a house, it’s essential to ensure the property is correctly registered, and buyers should be aware of the fees for this service.

Factors influencing house prices


When it comes to determining the value of a property, several factors come into play. These variables not only influence the immediate cost of a property but also its potential appreciation or depreciation over time.

  • Property condition and age: The state of the property itself, its age, maintenance level, and architectural style can influence its price. Well-maintained or recently renovated properties tend to receive higher offers.
  • Local amenities: Proximity to amenities such as parks, recreational centres, quality schools, and healthcare facilities can enhance the attractiveness of a property. An area known for its good schools, for instance, can command higher property prices than a comparable area without such institutions.
  • Local area developments: Proximity to infrastructural projects such as transport hubs, new shopping centres, schools, and hospitals can increase property prices. Conversely, developments that might negatively impact the area’s aesthetics or functionality can lead to a decrease.
  • Environmental factors: Natural amenities, like beaches, lochs or mountains, can enhance property values. However, areas prone to natural disasters like floods or wildfires might have reduced demand and lower prices.
  • Supply and demand: Like any market, the property sector is governed by supply and demand dynamics. When demand exceeds supply in a particular area, prices tend to rise and vice versa. Factors like urban migration, population growth, and economic opportunities can amplify demand and increase prices.
  • Interest and mortgage rates: ~7/10 domestic properties in Scotland are purchased with the help of mortgages. The interest rates set by mortgage lenders can influence a buyer’s ability to purchase, affecting demand and, consequently, property prices.
  • Crime rate: Safety is a priority for many homeowners. Areas known for low crime rates are generally more desirable, leading to increased property values. Conversely, neighbourhoods with higher crime statistics might see suppressed property prices. You can get a better idea of recorded crime rates in the area of your interest by using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation[].
  • Government policies and regulations: Tax incentives for first-time buyers, stamp duty land rates, zoning laws, and other regulatory measures can influence the attractiveness of property investment in a particular region, thereby affecting prices.

In conclusion, while the local area plays a crucial role in influencing house prices, it’s a combination of numerous factors that determine the true value of a property. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, staying informed about these aspects can help you make educated decisions when buying a house.

Tips for first-time buyers


Buying a house is thrilling but comes with challenges. First-time buyers should research thoroughly, engage professional help, and be patient in their house-buying journey.

  1. Budget wisely: Understand all the costs involved, not just the purchase price. This includes stamp duty, conveyancing fees, survey costs, and potential renovations.
  2. Save a solid deposit: The required deposit can vary based on the property price and the lender’s terms.
  3. Research the market: Familiarise yourself with property prices in your desired location. This will help you recognize a good deal when you see one.
  4. Secure pre-approval: Before house hunting, get a mortgage pre-approval. It gives you a clear picture of what you can afford and shows sellers you’re serious.
  5. Consider future needs: Think long-term. Will the house suit your needs in 5 or 10 years?
  6. Location matters: Research the neighbourhood. Consider factors like safety, schools, amenities, and potential future developments.
  7. Hire a professional: Engage a reliable estate agent and a conveyancing solicitor to guide you through the process.
  8. Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price. Even a small reduction can save you a significant amount over the life of a mortgage.
  9. Understand contracts: Before signing, ensure you comprehend all terms in the purchase agreement. If in doubt, consult your conveyancing solicitor.
  10. Emergency fund: Once you buy, set aside some money for unexpected expenses. Owning a home can bring unforeseen costs.

Remember, buying a property is a significant commitment. Take your time, do your research, and ensure you’re making a well-informed decision.


“Our solicitor, Andrea Ross, guided us through the process from finding a perfect home, to completion of the purchase, and afterwards. Andrea was very supportive and always available to answer queries and provide guidance. I would highly recommend Harper Macleod and Andrea if buying or selling property.”

– HM Client

“This was the first time we bought a house and I think we would have been lost without Laura, our solicitor. She was amazing from day one, extremely knowledgeable, professional, and reachable. We got to this company by reading reviews online, and we were so lucky to find her. We took a gamble as we were moving from England to Inverness and we didn’t know anything about Scottish laws or purchasing process, but she made it so easy for us: she explain everything, had our backs when needed, had advice. I really felt she cared, and she was in the process with us all the way. She made us trust the company she works for, to go there for any legal services in the future. Thank you again Laura! What a pleasure to work with you. You raised the standards of service we want to receive in the future.”

– Ileana Simion, HM Client

“Thanks very much to Harper Macleod LLP for the assistance in the purchase of our new home. Shannon Webster, our paralegal who was dealing with this matter for us, was absolutely fantastic. She kept us informed and updated during the whole process, which went very smoothly. We would just like to personally thank Shannon from the both of us for the hard work and we have no hesitation in recommending her services and Harper Macleod services to anyone.”

– Maira Milne, HM Client

“Andrea Ross is an exceptional solicitor. Her professionalism, expertise and dedication make dealing with her a truly remarkable experience. I highly recommend her. I received the excellent professional and efficient service. I very much appreciate Andrea’s hard work and commitment to progressing my sale and purchase as quickly as possible.”

– Oksana Khusainova, HM Client

“I genuinely feel like we have won the lottery finding Harper Macleod. Despite being first-time buyers, I’ve dealt with several solicitors in the past and I’ve never received this level of service… anywhere… Laura was absolutely incredible. Her professionalism and tenacity were consistent throughout. She kept us informed about every detail, no matter how big or small. She summarised everything in layman’s terms so we always understood what was going on, she was always waiting on us – never the other way round (I don’t think she ever took longer than 15 mins to reply to every single email – of which there were hundreds), and on top of all of that, she genuinely cared about our case and the outcome. Just amazing. People say that buying a house is a stressful process but for us? It was a breeze. I wouldn’t go anywhere else again.”

– Jack Smith, HM Client

“We were very impressed with Harper Macleod who handled the purchase of a property for us. Having bought and sold a number of properties in the last 12 years, this was head and shoulders above all the previous solicitors. Everything moved very smoothly and we have to commend Janna for her communication skills which explained every step so clearly.”

– Janice Halcrow, HM Client

“Excellent service from Susan Shand with my recent house purchase. Quick to respond to both email and phone calls. Smooth transaction.”

– Alison Thow, HM Client

“We recently used Harper Macleod for conveyancing when moving house. Karen Lang and her team were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Karen is organised, efficient, easily contactable and has great attention to detail. Verbal and written communication was excellent. Thank you for helping us buy our home and for reducing the stress involved in moving.”

– Kathleen O’Reilly, HM Client

“Excellent advice and service from Karen and her colleague Nicola during a recent property purchase. Would not hesitate to recommend their services.”

– David Oliver, HM Client

“I recently purchased my home with the support of Andrea Ross, from Harper Macleod. Andrea was fantastic throughout the whole process. She was thorough and kept me updated at every opportunity. I would highly recommend her service.”

– Tabitha McKenzie, HM Client

“Great experience with Scott King who handled our Shetland house sale and Dumfries and Galloway purchase.”

– Dawn Smith, HM Client

“A big thank you to Harper Macleod in Inverness and especially Gary Campbell. Very professional service delivered in a friendly and courteous way. Would not hesitate to recommend HM to any prospective client looking for conveyancing services.”

– HM Client

“We are delighted with the service provided by Will in our house purchase, highly recommend!”

– Struan Henderson, HM Client

“Andrea Ross at Harper Macleod has helped us with selling our house and then buying a new one. She has exceeded my expectations and provided good advice which helped us with decision making. All legal work was concluded ahead of schedule. Highly recommended.”

– David Roberts, HM Client

“We received outstanding service from start to finish in the sale and purchase of our properties. The marketing was excellent and very professional. All legal services was exemplary and handled in a most convivial manner. Communication was excellent throughout and everything was handled smoothly and efficiently. Shannon was an absolute delight to work with and ensured all was on track for the legal matters and Karen marketed our property superbly.”

– Hoss Cartwright, HM Client

“Susan at the Elgin branch was brilliant! My house purchase was completed within 8-9 weeks, start to finish, and the price I paid was the price quoted at the outset. Previous experiences of house buying/selling made me expect complications, delays and endless communications but this time, it seemed so straightforward and quick! Susan carefully explained the legal jargon and answered my questions promptly. I will definitely use Harper Macleod again and highly recommend to others.”

– Steve James , HM Client

“We recently used Harper Macleod to purchase a BTL property and found their service to be “exemplary”. We dealt with both Gary Campbell and Laura Archibald, who guided us through the various stages, providing a responsive, highly professional service, with excellent communication. Highly recommend – thank you Laura and Gary.”

– Warwick Samuel, HM Client

“I had a very positive experience working with Andrea Ross. She very professionally and efficiently completed my home purchase. I was in the new cottage in just over one month with all of my questions answered and my mind at ease. I would not hesitate to recommend Harper Macleod and Andrea Ross.”

– Christine Campbell, HM Client

“Andrea has been extremely helpful with assisting us in purchasing our first home. No request was too big for her to come back with an answer or a plan. Everything was dealt with in a very timely manner and when issues arose Andrea ensured that things were investigated and resolved appropriately. We’d highly recommend Harper Macleod to anyone in need of legal services.”

– Shannon Marvell, HM Client

“Being first time buyers we were unsure of the whole process involved in purchasing a property. Rebecca was extremely helpful and patient answering our questions in a timely fashion and going through all relevant paperwork clearly. This made the whole experience less stressful and made us feel we were in good hands. I would highly recommend Harper Macleod to anyone looking for a good solicitor.”

– Christina Petrie, HM Client

“Super conveyancing service from this highly organised and communicative company. Their service was superb and we cannot praise them high enough. They made our the buying of our cottage so much easier than we imagined, and always with a super friendly approach. Special mention to Janna Macdonald, who not only knew her stuff, but was totally amazing throughout the whole process.”

– Keith Edwards, HM Client

“I cannot recommend Harper Macleod highly enough. Our solicitor Andrea Ross was excellent in soliciting our purchase of a property in The Highlands: communicating clearly, following up any queries, chasing the seller’s solicitor for answers and overall a very professional, calm and reassuring presence. Brilliant for my wife and I who were first time buyers.”

– Scott Brindley, HM Client

“Shannon at Harper Macleod, has been outstanding during the process of us selling our house and purchasing a new one. She has been diligent, keeping us well informed every step of the way. Nothing has been too much trouble and she has often gone out of her way to make the process as stress free as possible. We have not hesitation or reservation in recommending Harper Macleod, and Shannon in particular, to anyone seeking legal assistance in moving house!”

– Jackie Smith, HM Client

“Harper Macleod made our house sale very straightforward from start to finish. Everything was explained in detail and the level of service that was given by Kira and Robert was exceptional. Their communication and advice was excellent throughout and nothing seemed to be a bother to them. Our experience with their legal team was also very similar with prompt and detailed communication. On the whole, we were extremely satisfied with the care that was given to us as customers. Thank you!”

– K. Smith, HM Client

“Completely recommend Harper Macleod, Susan at the Elgin office has been so helpful, and super professional with great communication about the process of selling and buying my home. I cannot recommend Susan and the team enough and would thoroughly recommend the company if you are considering using as a legal agent.”

– Scott McKnockiter, HM Client

“Andrea Ross was very patient and explained everything in a very understandable manner with excellent communication throughout. She made a stressful thing flow smoothly with the minimum of fuss.”

– William Leslie, HM Client

“This is the 4th flat I have bought with your help and I cannot fault you staff or processes. Efficient, sensible, accurate and where necessary they point out risks and challenges.”

– HM Client

“I have nothing but praise for the way everything was handled. It is a rare treat nowadays to work with people that do what they say they are going to do, call you back when they say they will and generally work in such a professional manner.”

– John, HM Client

“Service was excellent – very personalised and professional. No recommendations for improvement – would highly recommend Harper Macleod.”

– Mr & Mrs Howick, HM Clients

“Delighted with the service – 5 star. Please thank all of your team on the conveyancing side. It has been minimal stress, lots of compassion and understanding which I am truly grateful for.”

– Mrs Shand, HM Client



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Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.

Speak to us today on 0330 159 5555

Get in touch


Get in touch

Call us for free on 0330 159 5555 or complete our online form below to submit your enquiry or arrange a call back.