Can I Buy a Home in Scotland?
But buying a home in Scotland is NOT like buying one in the U.S. I’ll have to do some research on other countries too, but because I sold real estate in a former life and do have a fairly good understanding of property law here, I think it fair to just speak to purchasing in Scotland.
Several years ago, Randy and Cheryl Mcfarland and Steve and I stayed in Bridge of Allan in a lovely B&B. The owners told us all about their adventure in purchasing their stately home. It did not sound anything like a real estate deal in the U.S.
In the U.S., usually, a seller posts their home for sale with a price listed. The seller can sell the home themselves or go through a realtor. In either case, the seller considers “offers” from buyers. As soon as the seller finds an offer that is acceptable (even after some good old-fashioned negotiating), the buyer formally accepts the offer, and that deal is binding unless something happens preventing THAT deal from completion. Watch the movie “My Cousin Vinnie” if you would like to hear a very down-to-earth explanation of “offer and acceptance.” There might be contingencies such as passing a home inspection, but even if something fails during the inspections, the parties do what they can to get the deal to work and get to closing so that everyone is satisfied. That is a rather simplistic description of purchasing property in the U.S., but it will work for the moment.
However, we learned that in Scotland, that is not the case. Found a great article that goes through all the steps. Wait until you get to step 8: At any time, either party can pull out of the deal. https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/buying-a-house-in-scotland-67964
And…. There is a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (aka Scottish Stamp Duty).
That aside, I did find a website, similar to Zillow, Realtor.com, or Trulia, for properties in Scotland, if you want to take a look. https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property/Scotland.html
By the way, I found many of the properties listed would state “offers over.” At first, I thought this would mean that offers were no longer being accepted. It actually means the seller or realtor are hoping to receive offers over the listed price. Don’t you just love language?
Other websites to consider:
Love this website because it lists properties in both U.S. dollars and Pounds.
So dream on and have fun looking. I actually found a pub with a 2 bedroom upstairs apartment available in my price range. Wondering how I would feel about running a Pub. Now THAT’s an interesting idea! Cheers!
Scotland and the Space Race
Dad worked for NASA in the 60’s. He moved us from Waldwick, New Jersey to Merritt Island, Florida when he took a position, with countless other engineers, at the Kennedy Space Center.
Some of my best memories from my childhood are from the years we lived in Florida. We lived in what I considered a mansion, but in reality, was a 4-bedroom ranch home that backed up to the Indian River citrus orchard, and was close enough to the Banana River, I could picnic on a dock and reel in blow fish any time I wanted to. I try to push back the memories of the nasty mosquitos, palmetto bugs, hurricanes and snakes. I remember long bike rides down island and exploring new construction homes and pick-up games of baseball with other kids in the neighborhood. Those were great memories from an important time in our lives.
So many of the kids in my then 5thand 6thgrade classes had parents who also worked for NASA. Our teachers made a point of ensuring we were outside on the playground whenever there was a rocket launch. The playground would fill with children looking towards the sky waiting to see the tell-tale sign of the trail of smoke from each launch. We vied to be the first to spot the rocket. As the earth rumbled, we all knew our parents were part of something really important. We had no idea just how important.
50 years later, I have a much better sense of just how important the space race was and continues to be. As Steve and I cleared out the last few boxes from the garage that once held all my Dad’s “stuff” we found one box that had been squished among other prized possessions (blow-up rafts, duct tape, various nuts and bolts, and golf shoes). I glanced through the box and decided it alone would be the one box I would take to our new home on wheels to see what was inside. I’m glad I did. Inside was a small posted envelope from the 16thof July 1969 (50 years ago) with the Apollo 11 emblem, postmarked from Kennedy Space Center, to my Dad. We had moved back to New Jersey in 1968, and a fellow engineer had posted it the day Apollo 11 launched. A small note inside told my Dad “… hang onto this it might be worth something someday.” I gave the envelope to my younger child, who in turn just donated it to the NASA International Space Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The museum was very pleased to receive it. Due to the timely receipt of their new acquisition, it will be on display with other Apollo 11 items this weekend to commemorate the launch 50 years ago. I’m so glad my Dad kept it.
No doubt some of us are old enough to relive the moment we watched American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step onto the moon. Do you remember where you were when you watched that moment? I do. Music Camp, University of Kansas (French horn).
But what does all this walk down memory lane have to do with Scotland? Well… it turns out that Scotland has recently taken a very active part in the Space race. A quick search for Scotland and the Space Race reveals that Glasgow is a leader in Europe. Cally Russel has written a nice article in Forbes that you can read in detail here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/callyrussell/2019/03/06/glasgow-from-ships-to-the-space-race/#562f0854b598
Companies such as Clyde Space, Alba Orbital have been taking the lead. Producing as many as 6 small satellites a month, Scotland has certainly taken their seat at the table of countries that will be at the forefront of space exploration.
Glasgow has produced more satellites in the last 2 years than any other city in Europe, and Scotland will also be home to the UK’s first Spaceport. Located in Sutherland (A'Mhòine peninsula), it will be optimal for satellite shots for polar orbits and more. Wiki has good information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutherland_spaceport
With the uptick in the number of satellites produced in Glasgow, there is also the need to analyze the data that is gleaned by the satellites. So this is the other large role Scotland is participating in. Bird.i, a start-up, is providing new data that will update some of the now outdated Google Maps imagery. (8 years old data, in some cases.)
Universities in Glasgow are also taking a lead in the exploration of space. Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities have world-class facilities focusing on space. They’ve opened up to companies to provide commercial opportunities in Scotland.
So, although I always think of Florida when I think of the space program, it is wonderful to realize that Scotland has stepped up to take a lead a short 50 years after that moment in time we all remember.
Thank you Neil and Buzz and Michael Collins.
If visiting the U.S., you can take a plane, train or automobile (motorcycle, car, RV) to get around. And if you take the train, that would be our AMTRAK. You can visit their website to see about various excursions, prices and much more at : https://www.amtrak.com/home.html. And if you want to dig deeper, check out the history of America's Railroad at: https://history.amtrak.com/amtraks-history I happen to use Amtrak to travel from Lawrence, Kansas to Albquerque, New Mexico when visiting my children. I enjoy the very tiny private compartment due to the overnight trip. I can't say a traveler can plan on a good night's rest. Every little town that the train travels through gets the obligatory blast of the train's horn. So while traveling in Western Kansas, in particular, there are lots of little towns that must be warned of the train "a'coming," even at 2:00 a.m. Most folks eating breakfas in the dining car in the morning, look a little bit travel weary.
Randy and Cheryl MacFarland and Steve and I took a train in Scotland from Bridge of Allan to Stirling during one of our visits. Although just a short jaunt, it was fun to experience the train. According to my favorite website on all things of Scotland: https://www.visitscotland.com/travel/getting-around-scotland/train/. There are connections to Scotland's seven cities. But there are numerous other trains connecting travelers from small locations to the larger cities.
There are 3 types of tickets: Anytime; Off-Peak; and First Class. Per Visiting Scotland:
Anytime tickets are unreserved standard class tickets which can be used at all times of day.
Off-Peak tickets allow for cheaper travel during specific hours when the trains are not as busy.
First Class tickets allow for travel in carriages with extra space, electrical sockets for laptops etc, and sometimes include complimentary refreshments.
To get to the ticket website, go to the Scotrail page: https://www.scotrail.co.uk/tickets/leisure
- Feel free to Bring Rover With You.
You can bring your pet with you. The Scotrail page says you can bring 2 of your pets with you, but you must have them on a leash, even if they are a turtle! https://www.scotrail.co.uk/plan-your-journey/stations-and-facilities/luggage-and-pets
For the Young of Heart Too
You can bring your elderly parents with you too... No leash is required, but if you want to save money, check out the BritRail Pass with discounts if your family members are over 60 (a whopping 15% discount). https://www.britrail.net/passes/britrail-pass. Oh! And if you are between the age of 16 and 25, you can get a 20% discount. If you are under the age of 5 and reading this - you are a terrific reader! But you can also travel for free. And if you are between the ages of 5 and 15, and if you bring an adult with you, you too may travel for free. (Looks like if you travel by yourself and under the age of 5, you are free... check out the link.)
Happy travels! And if you haven't looked at the information on our website about the trip to Scotland and/or Ireland for 2020, make sure you take some time to scroll around to see it!