Our team of experts have compiled a list to do when considering selling a property in Scotland:
Get your property ready for the market
Now that you have decided to sell you should be aware that first impressions are crucial. You want a potential purchaser to walk up the path already feeling impressed and wanting to see more. Here are a few tips.
- Increase your property’s kerb appeal. Make sure your garden is clean and tidy, an overgrown jungle could see a purchaser running a mile. Put up hanging baskets, move bins out of the way and remove anything which is unsightly. If your gate or fence looks tired brighten it up with a lick of paint. A well maintained or newly painted front door will create impact. Make sure your doorbell works. Make sure there are no slipped roof tiles or leaky gutters. Exterior problems can put potential purchasers off if they think there is a larger underlying problem which simple maintenance and attention before putting the property on the market could rectify.
- Spruce up. Making your house attractive does not mean an expensive decorative overhaul. The chances are that the purchaser will not like your decor in any event but you should freshen up rooms with a coat of paint in a neutral colour making them as light and airy as possible. Are your carpets and floor coverings clean? You could add a few vases of flowers or some plants around the house. Also don’t forget small details either and get round to those annoying little maintenance jobs like a long overdue light bulb change and a clean of the grouting and sealant in the bathroom.
- De-clutter. This is a must. Purchasers need to be able to picture themselves living in the house so it is essential that each room is shown off to highlight its original purpose .If your dining room table is covered in work papers or an exercise bike is in the room then move them out and return the room to its first use. It is also important to depersonalise. Try to remove personal pictures and ornaments and clear kitchen surfaces so potential purchasers can see where they would put their own items.
Choosing an Estate Agent
Selling a house is a stressful business so choosing the right estate agent who is going to minimise worry and maximise results is vital. When you want to sell your property, in almost all situations, it is advisable to use a solicitor or estate agent to act as a selling agent. It may be more expensive to have a selling agent but he/she can provide essential advice about the asking price that would attract the greatest interest and whether there are likely to be any problems, for example, unauthorized alterations or any necessary repairs. The selling agent will also take responsibility for producing the Home Report, advertising, negotiating a price for your property and if necessary showing potential buyers around. This is where we at Mitchells Roberton can help. As solicitors and members of GSPC we provide an outstanding sales service. We have an impressive track record of selling houses. Our experience, together with probably the best property advertising package available ensures your home will get maximum exposure.
If you would like a free, no obligation valuation of your home please contact Bridie Gillan or call us on 0141 552 3422.
Obtaining a Home Report
As from the 8 December 2008 most houses or flats which are advertised for sale require a Home Report to be made available to all potential purchasers. There are some circumstances when you do not have to produce a Home Report, for example if you are going to sell your property to a private individual without putting the property on the market. The onus of providing the report rests with you and you will also be responsible for the costs involved. The Home Report consists of three parts:
- A property questionnaire which is completed by you and contains useful information to a purchaser such as whether there have been any alterations to the property or whether any specialist treatment work has been carried out in the past.
- A single survey which we will instruct for you and which is carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who will report on the condition of the property and provide a valuation.
- An energy report which we will also instruct for you and is again prepared by a Chartered Surveyor and contains information regarding the energy efficiency of the property and its impact on the environment. From the 9 January 2013 when you advertise a property for sale you must include Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) information in the advert. The EPC must include details of any Green Deal plan as the purchaser will have to take over any repayments for the Green Deal loan. If you are producing a Home Report the EPC will be included in the report. If you are not required to produce a Home Report, you still must obtain an EPC from an agency accredited to Scottish Building Standards.
By instructing Mitchells Roberton as selling agents we can take care of obtaining all this necessary paperwork allowing you to concentrate on having your home ready for sale.
Your solicitor or estate agent will receive offers from the agents of prospective buyers. If an estate agent is selling your home then she/he will pass the offer on to your solicitor. A variety of offers may be made depending on whether you were asking for a “fixed price” or an “offers over” price. If two or more purchasers are interested in the property for sale then it is likely to go to a “closing date. This is when a date and time are set when all offers in writing should be submitted. On the “closing date” you can then choose which offer you want to accept. You do not need to take the highest offer. You can sell your house to whoever you wish, but it could be unlawful to treat people unfairly by discriminating against them. If only one person is interested in the property then a price can usually be negotiated by the purchaser’s agent and your solicitor.
An offer for a house contains certain basic terms such as a price, a proposed date of entry, what moveable items are included in the sale and a large number of technical legal clauses, for example about common repairs or alterations to the property. At Mitchells Roberton we can advise you on the terms of the offer and take your full instructions on the conditions contained therein before framing an acceptance on your behalf. This normally means the preparation of a “qualified acceptance” where many of the offer clauses are deleted or amended. There is usually a period of negotiating between the solicitors acting for you and the purchaser about the terms of the offer and during this time the sale is not legally binding and either side can break the agreement.
Our property experts can also guide you on who may be the most reliable purchaser. Safer buyers include ones who have already sold and are in rented accommodation, chain free first time buyers and cash purchasers, but you might not have the luxury of this choice if you have only one offer. The sale of the property is not concluded until full agreement has been reached between your solicitor and the purchaser’s solicitor on the terms of the contract. This is achieved by a number of formal letters passing between the solicitors until one of the solicitors issues a final acceptance letter, technically known as “concluding the missives.” Once this stage is reached then neither you or the purchaser can breach the contract without having to pay compensation to the other party.
Once there is a legally binding contract in place we will send the title deeds to the purchaser’s solicitor. We will order up other documents as required to fufill the terms of the contract, such as a Property Enquiry Certificate, a Coal Authority Report and a Legal Report and also send these to the purchaser’s solicitor. We will answer any questions the purchaser’s solicitor may have on the title or any of the other documents sent to him/her. We will check the deed of transfer called the “Disposition” and once it is approved we will arrange for you to sign this deed.
The sale is completed on the “date of entry” to the property when you must have left the property and handed over all keys to your solicitor. Your solicitor must deliver the keys along with the “Disposition” to the buyer’s solicitor in return for the full purchase price being paid.
Discharging the loan
If you still have an outstanding loan on the property this must now be paid off. We will deal with this on your behalf. We will receive a redemption statement from your Bank or Building Society, repay the loan from the proceeds of the sale of the property and obtain a Discharge of the Standard Security you had granted over the subjects of sale and have this registered in the Land Register of Scotland.
Need more help for yourself or your family? Visit our Services for Individuals page for details of how our experts can help you.