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Guide to selling a house in Scotland

City view of Edinburgh

Thinking of selling your house in Scotland? Here’s a step-by-step guide to make your move that little bit easier. We not only look to save you money, we want to make the sale as smooth as possible.


Arranging a Home Report

As soon as you decide you want to move, the first step is to produce a Home Report. Without it you can’t put a property on the market, and a copy of the report should be provided to prospective buyers within nine days of them asking. The Home Report consists of four parts: a Single Survey, an Energy Report, a Property Questionnaire and a Mortgage Valuation. The Single Survey is an assessment of the structural condition of the property. The Energy Report provides an energy efficiency rating for the home and gives details of how well it is insulated, the type of heating and the level of emissions. The Property Questionnaire outlines key information about the property such as the council tax band, parking and any alterations that have been made. The Mortgage Valuation details the amount a lender is prepared to loan to a prospective buyer, which is either all or a percentage of the valuation price. Some companies offering cheap deals leave this out but it is crucial to the smooth sale of a property. Purplebricks can help with an RICS qualified surveyor who will provide a complete report. Charges start at £385 on a sliding scale depending on the size of the house. A Home Report is required within 12 weeks of the house going on the market and should contain the most up to date information about the property. It isn’t required for a new build or newly converted flats. The report is valid as long as the property is on the market, or there is a 28 day window if the property is withdrawn and then goes back on sale. A mortgage company can request a new valuation if the property is unsold after three months.


Man sorting through documents contained in a box

Deciding on the right price

The Home Report provides a good guide to an achievable price as a mortgage lender will look at the valuation figure when considering how much to loan a buyer. You can advertise the property for a ‘fixed price’, ask for ‘offers over’ or ‘offers around’. How to choose what to do can depend on where you live in Scotland and whether you’re after a quick sale. Your dedicated Purplebricks Local Property Expert will advise on achieving the best possible price. ‘Fixed price’ means the property is sold to the first person to offer this price. ‘Offers over’ means you are looking for the best bid. ‘Offers around’ is essentially a guide price and can indicate that you’re willing to negotiate. If you receive two or more offers it is common to set a closing date when ‘best and final’ bids need to be submitted, again your Local Property Expert will advise. The Home Report prevents overpricing and having a closing date means that once all is agreed, it is rare for the deal to break down. Gazumping or gazundering is regarded as unethical and is virtually unknown in Scotland.


Putting your property on the market

Your Local Property Expert will prepare an advert which consists of a floor plan, a full description giving details of the property and take photographs. As the saying goes, “first impressions matter” so make sure your home is presented in the best way possible. The internet has become a powerful tool when selling with almost all buyers now starting their search online. Your agent will list your property on the best-known search websites making it available to a potential 10 million buyers. As well as its own website, Purplebricks uses the popular S1homes.com in Scotland along with Rightmove and Zoopla. All this is included in Purplebricks’ low fixed £899 fee, which can be deferred until completion.


Image of Purplebrics App on a mobile device

Finding a buyer

The Purplebricks app makes selling and buying easier. It allows both parties to deal directly with each other at any time during the day, at evenings or weekends.  The app gives the seller the option to arrange their own viewing diary or you can ask your Purplebricks agent to conduct viewings for you. According to Rightmove, 98% of buyers use the internet to start their search for a new home and the Purplebricks app means they can book a viewing or make an offer directly through the app. In addition to our website and app, you can get in touch with our customer services team or talk to your Local Property Expert meaning you’re always up to date with the progress of your sale.


Receive an offer and deciding what to do

The next step is to appoint a conveyancer or solicitor if you haven’t already done so. Your Local Property Expert can help organise a conveyancer, again payment can be deferred, or you can use your own legal representative. It’s advised that you hire someone who can do the legal side of the sale to make the process faster and easier. Documents need to be prepared which include dealing with the Land Registry. A contract will be drawn up to transfer legal ownership of the property and the cash needs to be sorted. The app provides a constant update of the conveyancing journey and you can log in and see every letter, email or phone call made on your behalf by the conveyancer. You might receive a ‘note of interest’. This simply means you keep the interested buyer informed should a closing date be set to receive final offers. Closing dates are set when two or more buyers are interested in your property. Traditionally the closing dates would be set for 12 noon on a Friday, however, with Purplebricks the closing date can be at a time that suits everyone. Your Local Property Expert will be on hand to talk through the offers and guide you on what’s the best steps to take. There are several things to consider including the amount you are being offered, the financial position of the buyer, and your own timescales. At the end of the day it’s your choice what offer you decide to accept.

 

The Missives and completion – the legal process

Once you’ve agreed on a buyer, your conveyancer takes over the legal process. It’s different from England where an offer will be “subject to contract” meaning the deal is not binding until contracts are signed and exchanged. In Scotland the contract is made up of formal negotiating letters, known as ‘missives’, exchanged between your legal team and the buyer’s. These contain all the legal issues that apply to the sale right down to when the buyer gets the keys. While offers are not legally binding it's rare for sales to fall through. In Scotland the buyer will already have the money in place to go ahead compared with England where a sale can depend on a chain. Once legal negotiations are finalised, the final stage of the sale is agreeing to the contract called ‘concluding the missives’. This is the stage where the contract becomes legally binding. Should you change your mind, you would need to pay the buyer compensation.  Your legal representative will now transfer the title (ownership) of the property from you to the buyer.  You’ll sign a document called the disposition and arrange a ‘date of entry’ or ‘completion day’ to hand over the keys. It’s now time to relax, as the deal is completed. Your conveyancer receives the mortgage funds from the lender and any outstanding loans on the property that you are selling are paid off. Generally this takes six to eight weeks but depending on the situation, can take a little longer. Your Local Property Expert will keep you informed throughout everything and you can always stay up to date yourself via the app.