Posted by: christinelaennec | April 19, 2013

The ultimate shopping experience

Great news!  We have managed to find a house in Glasgow.  I’m so excited!  And I’m SO grateful.  I haven’t lived on the ground floor since I came to Scotland nearly 21 years ago now, and I haven’t had my very own garden in that time either.  Our house-to-be is a terraced house (so shares a wall with its neighbours either side), built about 1910.  In terms of square metres and rooms inside it’s a bit smaller than our double-upper flat, but it has a front and back garden and is in a very friendly neighbourhood.   It is described by the estate agent as a “villa” and my sister says it is what Americans would call a “townhouse”.   Sort of like this, only you have to imagine another house adjoining the one on the right, all the way down the street.

Glasgow terraced houses (from

Glasgow terraced houses (from

There are shops and parks nearby, and good bus and rail connections to the city centre.  Michael will be able to cycle to work.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get back on my bicycle some day as well?

If anyone’s interested about how one goes about buying a house in Scotland, the process is more or less like this:

1.  Sign up to about six different agencies who sell houses.  Some of them are sollicitors and some of them are estate agents.  (In Aberdeen, they’re all sollicitors.)

2.  Watch your emails and the internet like a hawk.

3.  The moment a new property comes up on the market, book a viewing.

4.  If, as happened to us, the house is bought from under your nose before you can even see it, next time have your sollicitor note an interest before you’ve even seen a property so that they can’t sell without telling you and giving you a shot at it.

5.  Read the surveyor’s home report and try to understand the difference between woodworm, dry rot, wet rot and damp.  Similarly, try to work out which repairs are deemed critical, and which are only recommended, and why.  After reading a dozen or so of these reports, conclude that the valuations of properties are hugely subjective and vary enormously.

6.  Go to view the property.  If only one of you can view the property, have a very clear idea of what your priorities are, which unchangeable things you require, and how much you are willing to compromise on the rest.  Arrange a number of skype and phone calls to discuss the relative merits and demerits of the property.  Try to reach a frame of mind where you realise that having a utility room, open fire, guest room that fits a double bed, and other such luxuries are actually not the very most important thing.  Discuss the indefinables such as how the house feels at some length.

7.  Do as much research as you can about the school catchment area.  It helps if you’re willing to leave schooling up to divine intervention.

6.  If after steps 3 to 7 you want to try to buy the property, look at your budget and pick a number over the “offers-over” price, which you think might beat the other bidders’ own bids.  The number should end with -999 or -499, or you might opt for some startling figure that ends in -714 for example.  Discuss this number with your sollicitor and agree that No One Has A Crystal Ball.

7.  Pay for your sollicitor to prepare your bid.  Wait anxiously for the day and time of the bidding.  It may happen (as it did to us) that once all the bids have been opened, the seller decides they don’t want to sell after all.

8.  Begin again at step 2.

Once you’ve managed to agree a sale, you can relax a little bit, but you must remember that nothing is set in stone until your Missives Have Been Concluded.  This is a mysterious process best left to sollicitors.  It may involve more investigation of wet rot, possibly at your expense, or paperwork relating to Certificates of Completion and the like.

You will also need to attend to the matter of transferring (“porting”) your existing mortgage to your new property, and this may require you to do handstands down at the bank.  However, I won’t go into that now.  Or ever, at least not on this blog.

It’s wonderful to have a place to move into – they have agreed to a moving-in date of 1st of August, just what we needed.  Now we have a real focus for the start of our new life.  We can start transferring the Dafter’s medical care and education team.  I am so thankful!  Thank you for your good thoughts and prayers, we really appreciate them.



  1. So very pleased for you all, Christine. Happy days!

  2. I just tried to post a message here but it didn’t work, did you get it? Just wanted to say congratulations on your wonderful news – very exciting, and three months sounds to me like a good length of time for organising a move. Hurrah!

    • Hi Lorna,
      Thanks very much. Hurrah indeed! Only this message got through – sorry about that. I hope that sort of thing isn’t a regular occurrence.

      • Ah, good. I didn’t want to retype it in case I did it twice but I did want to say that sometimes people choose curious amounts when bidding for a house (your point no.6). When I bought a flat I put a friend’s birthday as the last three numbers (for ‘luck’ and my bid was accepted), and when I sold it the price I got also had three strange numbers at the end. I think it’s a bit like playing the lottery, people sometimes choose meaningful dates or numbers. It adds a small amount of harmless fun to the proceedings.

  3. Couldn’t be better, could it? Ah, so pleased for you all! 🙂 xxx

  4. Well, welcome, glad you got a place and so hope you enjoy Glasgow and all its rich ‘life’

  5. What absolutely wonderful news!!!!! Hurrah!!! So lovely for you to be able to start planning in earnest. Good luck and thinking of you xx

  6. Wonderful news! x

  7. Fingers crossed all goes well this time. So pleased for you all and lovely to have a garden too.

  8. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you!! The house sounds lovely and I’m so glad you will have the ground floor and a garden, etc.! I think i would be put off buying a house, the trouble that it is!! So happy for you that this decision is behind you and you can look forward to that move-in date!!! August is coming with big things for both of us!

  9. Congratulations, must feels so great!!

  10. CONGRATULATIONS!! Fabulous news. I know I am going to sound ignorant here and I truly do not mean to be that way but I did not really understand that home buying process at all. I found it very confusing. I would certanly have to psend some time figuring that all out before I was able to purchase property in Scotland. I certainly glad that you have an understanding of it and now have a date to start your exciting new life in Glasgow. 🙂

  11. This looks like a beautiful little house. I hope you manage to survive to the end of the purchasing process I am sure you will, and how lovely to have your own garden. The Dafter will be able to grow all sorts of vegetables and flowers, and the area sounds just right looking forward the details of your journey to your new home


  12. I’m delighted that you have found your house. The whole business is so stressful, both in Scotland and in England in different ways, that it’s a relief to get it over. And it’s great that it’s well situated for transport and so on. Location does matter.

  13. yeah yeah — wonderful, wonderful new of a new home – this sure has been a bit learning for me — wow wee all that you go through..

  14. Congratulations, I’m so happy for you all…
    Erna x

  15. Fantastic news!!! Congratulations! And what a relief it must be. I have an inkling through looking for a student flat for our son last summer, while he was in Nepal. As you say, things go from under your nose.
    Being able to step out of your door straight into the garden is one of life’s essentials. I never realised quite how miserable I was living in a flat in Edinburgh until we bought our house.
    It will be such wonderful momentum to be able to plan for all being together and as you say for transferring the Dafter’s medical and education teams.

  16. Before all readers are put off from buying one of our properties here in scotland – the solicitor you choose deals with it all for you! It’s not as complicated as it’s been made to sound by this post.

    If you view a house and decide you would like to buy the first step is to tell your solicitor, he’ll then notify the sellers solicitor of your interest. You can then tell your solicitor how much you want to offer for the house, he’ll tell you whether your bid was successful, if it was he’ll then do all the work required to complete the sale.

    so there are 3 steps :

    Tell your solicitor of your interest.
    Tell him how much you want to offer.

    The solicitor takes care of the rest of it!

  17. Ah, this is such good news! Congratulations!

    Must confess to having a good chuckle at your overview of the Scottish system ..and to being more than a little jealous that you’re moving to my favourite city.

  18. Do the solicitors all charge some “standard” fee or is there competition between them such that you need to shop around to get the best value?
    In Australia there is a substantial “stamp duty” (i.e. tax) levied on the sale of a property too. Do you have to pay a tax? I imagine our system comes from the UK somewhere!
    The Scottish system does sound quite complicated to me and stressful to the purchasers…and you’ve clearly mastered it! Great news.

  19. I’m so glad you have a home to go to now and it looks lovely! Can’t wait to see pics of the inside. I must admit buying a home in Scotland does sound a bit complicated! I know you and your family are excited!

  20. It’s so beautiful, Christine! Congratulations – I’m so happy for you and your family. ❤

  21. Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll all love living in Glasgow!

  22. Congratulations sounds perfect! It will suely be easier for your daughter. A “house to be” sounds the equivalent of a terrace home in England. We live in an “end of terrace” and find the street so friendly. I think the proximity of neighbours means we all come into contact with each other more and are like minded people!

  23. Buying in England is harder in some ways, because you can have a sale agreed, and then find that the seller pulls out. In Scotland, once your bid is accepted, you know that the house is yours.

  24. Congratulations! May you have many happy years in your new home. I always thought that the Scottish system was skewed in favour of sellers rather than purchasers, but well done for sitting it out. I’m so glad you will be able to walk out of your back door into your own little green space – having grown up in a flat in London I can’t tell you how much I love having a garden, no matter how small. Judy.

  25. Congratulations on this happy occasion! It is lovely and so nice that you are so close to Michael’s work and the city. It sounds a very arduous ordeal and I like your humorous take on it, but I am sure it was not so fun in actuality! You must be relieved to have found your new home and have a move in date. An exciting adventure to look forward to! xoxo

  26. Great news! I wish you every blessing in your new home.
    Catching up with everything and laughing at your trip to the Christmas shop. James had Christmas Carols playing today. Love to you all xx

  27. Thanks so much everyone, for sharing our relief and excitement!

    Yes, my description of the process of buying property in Scotland was meant to be humourous rather than a serious guide. Obviously every person’s experience will be different, and people selling and buying out in the Scottish countryside will no doubt have very different scenarios.

    Lorna, I love that you put a friend’s birthday on the end of your bid!

  28. I’m so glad for you! I hope you get the side with the red door. Or was that just a model? I didn’t know there were so many versions of rot. May yours be free of all varieties!

    Your flowers are lovely. Our daffodils got so horribly confused by wildly fluctuating temps, they just gave up. Better luck next year. The irises prevailed, however!

    • The photo isn’t of our actual house-to-be, just one that is quite similar. P.S. irises are real survivors, aren’t they?

  29. Hope your move will be smooth and your new house will be a lovely home to be.

  30. SO excited for you!! Best wishes for a peaceful and uneventful move.

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