Step by step guide to selling in Scotland

It’s a good idea to start preparing your property for sale before you involve an estate agent. This will give you time to take care of any jobs that need doing, such as de-cluttering, DIY and repairs, gardening and giving selected rooms a fresh coat of paint. Although such tasks might seem insignificant, the overall finish and appearance of a property can affect its achievable selling price, so it’s a good idea to do them before an agent is invited to suggest a market valuation –  ‘What Can I do to Make My Property More Appealing to Buyers?’

Every homeowner wants to achieve the best price, with the least amount of stress, within their desired timescale. At Northwood, we strive to make that a reality for you. Our local property experts apply their intimate knowledge of both your area’s specific market conditions and their active database of buyers, to recommending an asking price and marketing strategy that will maximise viewing activity and the level of offers received. Be wary of agents suggesting inflated asking prices to try to secure your business. Your property could remain unsold for many months, with a lack of buyer interest resulting in you accepting a lower offer than you would have originally achieved if you had come to the market at the right price.

To book a valuation, you can either complete our valuation request form or get in touch with your local Northwood office.

Selling a property can be a complex process. From setting the right price and promoting the property effectively, to negotiating the best offer and liaising with solicitors to ensure a steady legal process through to Completion. That’s why most sellers choose to employ an estate agent, who can act on their behalf from start to finish, alleviating the stress and confusion.

So what should you look out for when choosing an estate agent?

You need to consider the reputation of the agent, and their place within the local property market. Have they been successful in selling similar properties? What are their marketing techniques? Will they ensure that your property reaches a local, regional, and national audience? Are they regulated by any professional bodies? How many staff do they have compared with the number of properties on their books? Will they accompany viewings? Will they keep you updated regularly, even after the property has been sold? Do they charge a fair fee? Are there hidden costs or restrictions in their contract? Choose the agent in whom you feel confident to achieve you the full market value by their promotion of the property, to provide you with the most comprehensive and efficient service and to offer you the best value for money in their fee.

Before you can market a property in Scotland it is a legal requirement to have a home report, all potential buyers must be provided with a copy.

The home report consists of three parts:

A single survey and valuation, this provides an indication of the property condition and market valuation and is carried out by a chartered surveyor.

An Energy Performance Certificate providing information on the energy efficiency of the property, usually carried out by the surveyor at the same time as the single survey.

The property questionnaire, which is designed to provide key information on the property such as the council tax band or any alterations that have been carried out and completed by you.

Your Northwood agent will assist you in obtaining the home report.

You should now inform your solicitor that you have decided to sell your property and it is about to be marketed.

If you have a mortgage on your property, you should provide the solicitor with a note of your mortgage account number, this will allow them to obtain your title deeds. You should also provide all other necessary documents that a buyer will require, such as any guarantees or certificates for works that have been carried out on the property.

You should ask your agent how they plan to market your property. At Northwood, we believe that each sale, each seller and each prospective buyer is unique, and that’s why it’s about publicising your property to the right prospective buyers at the right time in the best possible way. We use the following methods:

  • Window displays that invite onlookers inside to enquire further
  • Direct contact by phone and email to registered buyers, for viewings and feedback
  • Email alerts to those with a registered online search that matches your property details
  • Bespoke brochures with detailed floor plans, dimensions and professional photography
  • Advertising on the Northwooduk.com website, which receives 120,000 visitors each month
  • Advertising on the main property portals, such as Rightmove, Zoopla, On the Market and Prime Location Optional upgrades on these property portals, proven to attract more viewers
  • Eye-catching ‘For Sale’ signs Advertising in select publications

 

Viewings are all about first impressions – so you need to make sure that property gives a good one. Here are some tips on how to prepare your property for viewings.

Outside

The outside is the first thing the prospective buyers will see, so creating ‘kerb appeal’ is vital. This means ensuring that you have clean windows and clear paths as part of a well-maintained front.

Inside

You should try to make potential buyers feel at home by ensuring that the property is a comfortable temperature, spotlessly clean and free of clutter. Keeping the lights on is also a good way to brighten up the rooms and to make them seem more spacious.

Where possible, at Northwood we accompany all viewings. Our sales negotiators are trained to identify and highlight the unique features of your property that will appeal to the viewer that they are showing around.

If there are a number of potential buyers interested in your property, we will ask them to note interest through their solicitor.

With sufficient notes of interest, we will set a closing date. This is the deadline that all potential buyers must submit their best offer for the property.

When we have received at least one note of interest we will not accept any other offers on the property without offering the first interested buyer a chance to submit an offer.

If there is not much interest in your property you can wait for interest to gather or consider individual offers

When we successfully secure an offer on your property, we shall:

  • Provide full details of the offer and the buyer submitting it, both verbally and in writing
  • Verify the buyer’s financial position and seek evidence thereof
  • Confirm the details of the entire chain, if one exists
  • Work for you, to negotiate the best offer
  • Make recommendations on the next course of action and an unbiased comparison if more than one offer is received
  • Provide honest, professional advice and guidance on accepting the offer that is best for you

Whether you accept or reject an offer is your choice. Aside from the price offered, you should also consider other aspects, such as the financial ability of the buyer to proceed, whether they are in a chain, their desired timescale and whether they have placed any conditions on the offer. If the initial offer is rejected, the prospective buyer may come back with further offers and negotiations will continue.

Once the negotiations have reached a positive conclusion and you are happy to accept an offer, we will send the offer to your solicitor so they can do the conveyancing.

Your solicitor will send the buyer’s solicitor a letter called a ‘qualified acceptance’ setting out the particulars of the sale, such as the agreed selling price and any conditions you want the buyer to agree to.

The solicitors will send each other a series of letters called ‘missives’ dealing with the particulars of the sale, negotiated conditions and any issues with the title or other documentation.

We will liaise with you and your solicitor throughout the process, keeping you up to date on:

  • The update of the survey and its outcome.
  • Status of the legal process.
  • The rest of the chain where applicable.

Once the buyer’s mortgage offer is received, the buyer’s solicitor is satisfied with the responses to the enquiries raised and a date for completion is agreed by all parties, we can look to sign the missives.

The missives will be signed by your solicitor on your behalf and by the buyer’s solicitor on their behalf.

Once the missives are signed you have a concluded bargain, and the transaction becomes legally binding.

Completion, put simply, is ‘Moving Day’.

The sale price will be paid over to your solicitor by the buyer’s solicitor.

You will be required to vacate the property and to hand over all the keys to Northwood. Once we have confirmation from the solicitor the sale price has been paid, we shall telephone the new owner to collect the keys.

Your solicitor will deduct any fees, redeem your outstanding mortgage (if applicable) and transfer the balance to you.

Congratulations – you have sold your property!

Make sure you take meter readings and redirect your post; you can use our change of address checklist to make sure everyone who is important knows that you have moved.

The above is only meant as a guide, and no two sales are the same. If you have any specific questions about selling your home, or to arrange a property valuation, get in touch with your local Northwood office.

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