Our dedicated residential property team provide a clear, concise and professional service. We understand that dealing with your property is a stressful and challenging time and we will support you through the process.

Whether you are moving home, buying your first property, remortgaging or changing the ownership of your property we can assist at every stage of the journey and will work closely with the estate agency, mortgage broker and lender to ensure that your transaction progresses smoothly and as quickly as possible.

We can advise on

Buying and selling property  |  Gifts of property and transfer of equity
Land Registration  |  Shared Ownership Schemes
Equity Release Schemes  |  General Property Advice and Disputes

While based in Glasgow, we can advise on property sales and purchases throughout Scotland.


Sarah Sheldon
Elizabeth McDade
Darya Burton
Paul Carnan

You are only legally bound to sell or purchase a property once the missives (known as the contract) are concluded. There are usually two main reasons the missives are not concluded:-

(1)  the purchaser is waiting on their own sale missive to conclude, and/or

(2)  the purchaser is waiting on their mortgage offer to be issued.

It is very common for missives to be concluded very close to the settlement date.

Your solicitor will be in touch to let you know the amount of funds they need from you and when it needs to be paid to them. If you have a HTB ISA/Lifetime ISA please see our answer below. If you have gifted funds please see our answer below. You must accumulate all of the funds into your account. You will always pay the funds into your solicitor’s Client Account. The Client Account details will never change during the course of your transaction and we recommend that you double check the account details by telephoning your solicitor before transferring any funds to their account.

This varies depending on what stage your transaction has reached. At Macdonald Henderson we provide you with regular updates and you will be aware of what stage has been reached with your transaction.

This will depend on your agreement with the estate agent. In our experience most estate agents will want some of their fee paid up front with the balance due to be paid once the sale has settled – the balance is usually paid by your solicitor to the estate agent from the proceeds of the sale. It is up to you to negotiate your agreement with the estate agent, your solicitor will not normally get involved with this.

Your solicitor will advise you when to close your account.

With a HTB ISA, the balance in the account will be transferred into your current account and you will receive a closing statement – this statement will need to be provided to your solicitor along with a Declaration (your solicitor will provide you with this) in order for your solicitor to apply for the bonus. The bonus is paid directly to your solicitor.

With a LISA, your provider will usually send you the account closure forms which you will need to complete and then send on to your solicitor as they will need to complete a Declaration. Your solicitor will then return the forms to your provider – all of the funds will be paid directly to your solicitor.

If you are receiving gifted funds that will be used towards the purchase price then you must note this on your mortgage application. Your solicitor will contact the gifting party to ask for their ID, a gift mandate and bank statements.

Once a written Offer has been submitted, the seller will not normally allow any further viewings of the property until the missives are concluded.  You will need to contact the estate agent to make arrangements for any viewings that are permitted.

You will need to check if the smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and up to date. It will be a matter for you to agree with the seller if any upgraded alarms are needed and who will pay for them.

In Scotland your solicitor will sign the missives on your behalf. If you are buying a property you will have a security document to sign in connection with your mortgage, for selling you will have a disposition to sign which transfers title to the purchaser. Your solicitor will let you know when these documents are ready for you to sign. The documents will need to be witnessed at the time you sign them and your solicitor will give you guidance on who can/cannot act as your witness.

Your solicitor will let your mortgage company know when the mortgage funds are required. The mortgage funds will be transferred directly to your solicitor for settlement. Once your solicitor has settled your purchase, your mortgage repayments will then become due in terms of your mortgage offer.

Your solicitor will repay your mortgage on the date of settlement from the free proceeds of the sale. If you repay during a fixed rate period there will be an early redemption charge due. We recommend that you check with your mortgage company about any early redemption charge before you put your property on the market for sale. If there are insufficient funds from the free proceeds of the sale to repay the amount due to your mortgage company then your solicitor will let you know how much the shortfall is. The amount due which must be paid to your solicitor before the settlement date.

Where possible, we aim to settle by lunchtime on the date of settlement but it depends on when the seller has vacated the property and their solicitor has provided us with the final searches. If you are using the free proceeds of your sale to pay towards the purchase price, it will also depend on when we receive the sale price from the purchaser’s solicitor. We will call you on the date of settlement to confirm when you can collect your keys. These are normally with the selling estate agents.

We would suggest that a set of keys is left with the estate agents prior to settlement and the remainder are put through the door when you leave the property on the day of settlement. Where possible, we aim to settle by lunchtime on the date of settlement (subject to receipt of final searches and the sale price). You should try to ensure that you have vacated the property by that time on the date of settlement. We recommend that you organise your removal van for first thing on the morning of settlement. Once you have vacated the property we ask that you telephone us to let us know that you are clear of the property.

You will need to take meter readings and notify the gas and electric companies – if you are unsure who the current suppliers are you can check the OFGEM website. We recommend that you take a photograph of the meters. When selling, you will need to notify your telecoms company (wifi, telephone and television package) that you will be moving home – this will need to be done in advance of your settlement date as most telecoms companies have a notice period (eg 30 days’ notice to bring your account to and end). If you want telecoms live for moving in to your new property you will need to contact your preferred supplier to discuss a new account with them a few weeks in advance on your settlement date.

Yes, you can but we recommend that you organise this for mail to be delivered after your settlement date.

The seller or their solicitor will notify the Council Tax office of the change of ownership. If you are purchasing a property and you want to apply for a rebate then they you will need to contact the Council Tax office to make the application.

Buildings and contents insurance should be live from the settlement date and you must send a copy of the policy to your solicitor prior to settlement. If there is a property factor for the property, they may have a common insurance buildings insurance policy in place. Your solicitor will advise you of the details if there is a common buildings policy although you will still need to organise your own contents insurance.

You should speak to your solicitor in the first instance. This must usually be done within 5 working days after settlement.

If there is a property factor, the seller’s solicitor will contact your factor. The seller’s solicitor will also advise the factor of the seller’s new address following settlement to allow the factor to send the final account to the seller. It will be the seller’s responsibility to

ensure that any float paid is credited to their final account. If you are purchasing the property then the factor will be in touch with you following settlement with their Welcome Pack and to request any float payable.

The seller remains responsible for the maintenance of the property until settlement. So, for example, if there has been storm damage since the purchaser viewed the property, it will be for the seller to pay for the necessary repair work, even if that repair work is not due to be carried out until after the settlement date.