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Everything You Need Know About Selling Your Home

March 13, 2019 Residential Conveyancing

Step by step guide to selling your home

Deciding to sell your home is a significant undertaking, and for those who haven’t navigated the intricacies of property sales before, it can be an intimidating prospect.

However, this step-by-step guide is designed to simplify the entire process, offering comprehensive insights and valuable information to guide you seamlessly through every stage and the legal process of selling your house.

The initial step in this journey is the pivotal task of arranging a Home Report before your property hits the market. This isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a legal requirement in Scotland. The Home Report is essentially a comprehensive pack of documents meticulously assembled to provide potential buyer with crucial information about the property on sale.

Covering aspects ranging from structural soundness and energy performance certificate (EPC) to details about land registry and council tax band, the Home Report serves as a comprehensive document that not only complies with legal mandates but also enhances transparency in the property sale process.

Understanding and addressing these details upfront significantly streamlines the selling process and ensures that the potential buyer has all the essential information they need to make informed decisions when purhcasing a new home.

Estate Agents

In Scotland you will need both an estate agent and a conveyancing solicitor , it is important to remember that they both work for you. Whatever you decide they will carry out the action, you are the one in control and they are here to help you sell your own property.

When you are trying to decide which is the right estate agents for you, you might feel overwhelmed by just how many estate agents there are in your local area and how many online estate agents there are now too.

When trying to decide who would be the best estate agents and solicitors speak to family and friends if they have ever sold property before they may be able to make a recommendation. Another way to compare estate agents is to have a look at how quickly they sell properties and how they will promote your home as well as taking into account the current market conditions.

Estate agents Fees

When it comes to paying for an estate agent they will tend to take a percentage of the selling price of your property. You can ask them for written estimates in advance taking into account things such as commission, advertising and VAT.

Pricing strategies

When selling your property you can ask for one of 3 pricing strategies, ‘offers over…’  a ‘fixed price’ or ‘offers in the region of’

The difference between ‘offers over…’ and a ‘fixed price’ is that ‘offers over…’ mean you want more than the price you’re asking for. For example, the house you are selling might be worth £110,000 so your asking price would be for offers over £100,000. A fixed price is the first offer of that amount that will secure the sale and own the propety.

Whereas the ‘offers in the region of’ gives the potential buyers an idea of what you expect but also shows that you are willing to be flexible with the asking price. When you are getting the formal estate agent’s valuation for your property your local estate agent will take everything into account from to recently re-modelled kitchen and bathrooms and and how much properties nearby have recently sold for. It is important to take all these aspects into account to get the best value for your property and getting the estate agents estimated valuation.

If there is more than one offer on your property then what would usually happen is that there would be a ‘closing date’ for all offers. This means that all offers from the potential buyers would need to be in before that date and then you can choose the offer you want to accept.

Accepting offers

So you’ve put your property on the market and you are waiting on the offers rolling in but what kind of offers can buyers make and what do you need to do.

If someone is interested in buying your property they can instruct their solicitor to make a written offer on their behalf. The offer could be subject to a survey or inspection but will specify the price they are willing to pay for the propeerty.

A note of interest is a way of trying to make sure that you get a chance to make an offer on a property. The local estate agent will then fix a closing date for offers but allowing for the parties who has made a Note of Interest to make their own offer.

The closing date is set when more than one potential buyers have put in note of interest and is set by the estate agent under your instruction and gives all the parties a chance to make a formal offer.

If someone likes your property then they will instruct their solicitor to make an offer on it, this could be subject to the Home Report or a survey.

Once the closing date has passed your solicitor will go over the offers you have received (if there are more than one) and send the solicitor of the purchaser a written acceptance.  This accepts the price but qualifies the list of purchaser’s legal clauses by amending some and adding in extra clauses to protect you.  If the buyer decides to purchase your property the purchasing solicitor will then go over the acceptance and the additional clauses with his/her client and make the contract binding.

Signing of the missives

Once you have agreed a buyer, next comes the missives. The contract of purchase for the house will be constituted of formal letters between your and the other parties solicitors, these collectively are known as ‘the missives.’

Once the missives have been finalised, the seller and buyer then exchange contracts the contract between you and the buyer is legally binding. Depending on the missives this could mean if you change your mind and don’t want to sell the property anymore you could be forced to pay a penalty.

Once the missives have been concluded your solicitor will transfer the ownership (title deeds) of the property from you to the buyer. They will also agree the disposition, which is the document the buyers solicitors have drafted which transfers the ownership of the property from you to them.

Once you sign the disposition you will be asked for a date to hand over the keys.

Once you have packed all your belongings, make sure you lock all windows and door and where possible tag the keys so the new owner know which key is for which lock.

It may also be helpful to leave notes as to where certain things are in the property like electrical metres and gas metres. You should then drop the keys off at the estate agents where the new owner will be able to pick them up.

When you move out of the property if there are any outstanding loans or debt, then these will be paid off using the money you have made from the sale of the property. Your solicitor should deal with this on your behalf.

Conveyancing solicitors

If you have any questions on moving home, or are looking to buy or sell a property, then our team of residential property lawyers are always on hand can advise you on the best legal option for your specific set of circumstances.

Using an Estate Agent or selling the property myself?

You may buy the property directly from someone else, or you may contact an estate agent to do so. Before deciding you should consider the costs of the different methods and your available time.

When you work with an estate agent this can be more costly, but the estate agent takes charge of advertising the property to a prospective buyer and negotiations the sale price. It’s cheaper and you have time to do all this and deal with all the issues yourself.

Do i need to tell my mortgage company if i sell my house?

Yes. You’ll also need their help in describing different options unless you have used another consultant. But this could also be an important point of contact for you when seeling your property.

If you have a ‘portable’ mortgage product, you may be able to transfer your current mortgage to a new property.

Do I have to inform HMRC when I sell my house?

Upon selling an existing home you may not have to inform HMRC. There is no need for HMRC to notify the owner that your principal residence meets the private residence exemption criteria.

Should you sell your house before buying a new one?

The decision to sell your house before buying a new one depends on factors like your financial situation, market conditions, and personal preferences. Selling first may be necessary for financial reasons, but in a buyer’s market, you may have more time to find a new home after selling a house.

Contact us

Selling and buying property is a very important decision and professional advice should be taken to make sure all the necessary legal boxes are ticked. Here at Jones Whyte, we have a wealth of experience in guiding people through the buying and selling process successfully. We get the balance right between offering a high-quality service and competitive conveyancing fees. There are not many law firms in Scotland that can compare to our outstanding service and fair pricing structure.

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