A Guide to Selling your Home in Scotland

Get the most out of selling your home

Selling your house can be a daunting prospect, but is something which we can help turn into a positive (and hopefully profitable) experience. Between us, we have many years experience in guiding clients through the property minefield, and will help you ensure that you obtain the best possible price for your property.

Picking a selling agent

Property can be sold either by solicitors or estate agents. If you were to instruct McArthur Stanton, we would place your property on the market and advertise it not only in our windows and website, but also via Right Move, the UK's Number 1 property website, OnTheMarket.com and the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre (or GSPC for short).

As we indicate in our quick guide to buying property, the GSPC is a very popular weekly list which comes out every Friday, containing all the properties currently on sale via law firms around the area. It can be picked up from any of our offices below, or from those of other member solicitors in Glasgow and the surrounding areas. To ensure that your property is advertised in the best way possible, our marketing department can help you prepare the schedule (in other words, the page detailing the description, price and location of your home), and will guide you through the process of advertising and showing your home. Simply give us a call today on 01436 672212 or 01389 762266.

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The Home Report

Before your property can go on the market however, you also have to prepare a Home Report. This is made up of a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire, and our property team can guide you smoothly through the process. The GSPC will provide copies of the Home Report to any interested purchaser who registers with them, although you can give us details of anyone to whom you do NOT want a copy of the report to go to should you wish.

The Single Survey is a detailed survey of your home prepared by a surveyor, and gives details of the condition and value of your home. The Energy Report provides an Energy Efficiency Rating together with useful advice on how to cut fuel bills and increase home efficiency. The Property Questionnaire will need to be filled in by you and includes questions on alterations, factoring costs, council tax banding and various other matters. You must fill this in as carefully and accurately as possible. The Home Report is designed to give the purchaser as much information as possible about the house and the costs of running it before they make an offer to buy it. You do not have to accept an offer at the price in the valuation report, but remember that the report will be available to the purchaser and they will take it into account when they work out their budget.

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How your home will be priced

Setting a value for your home can be difficult, and that is where the experience and knowledge of our property department can make a difference. With access to records of sales, and a knowledge of the local market, we can suggest what a property should be marketed at, and what you might expect to achieve in a sale. Do remember that prices can fluctuate, and we will not guarantee that you will achieve a particular price, but if you present your property well, and make it look its best, you may well be surprised at the results!

Most properties are priced as 'offers over'. This means that you expect to achieve a price higher than that stated in the sales particulars. If you get several people expressing interest in the property, you may chose to set a closing date. At the deadline, all the interested parties submit a formal legal offer, and you are free to chose your preferred offer. Please remember that you do not have to take any of the offers, and can chose to go back to the market, or withdraw the property. You cannot however play one buyer off against another, unlike in England.

If you are anxious for a quick sale, you may prefer to put the property on the market at a 'fixed price'. The first clean legal offer for the property at that price should then be accepted, so you should think carefully about the price which you set. Have a look at our quick guide to buying a home to see what the prospective purchasers will be thinking about.

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Presentation and the House Doctor

You may have noticed a whole swathe of programmes on TV and articles in magazines almost every week about how to present your property for sale. If you've been ignoring them up to now in favour of Eastenders or Coronation Street, we would suggest that you have a look, as some of them contain many helpful hints and tips to assist you in selling your place quickly for the price you want to achieve.

To cut a long story short however, remember that first impressions count, so it pays to clean up the front garden, touch up the paint with neutral colours, and generally make the house look welcoming. Wherever possible, remove clutter, toys and personal effects and keep children and pets out of the way, no matter how annoyed it makes you feel living in a home that looks as though it's come straight out of a catalogue! By doing this, you will increase your chances of having the place sold quicker anyway.

Potential buyers will be trying to imagine their own furniture in your home, so try to make it look as spacious and attractive as possible. Do think carefully about what you will leave in the house, such as white goods in the kitchen, curtains, fires etc and let us know this so that it can be stated clearly in the sales particulars.

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What happens when an offer is made?

When a viewer has seen your home and wants to take things further, they will be advised by their solicitor to 'note interest'. This lets us know that there is a buyer who may want to make an offer. The buyer may then go on to instruct a survey before making their offer, or may make an offer 'subject to survey'. If you have several people who have noted interest, we would normally suggest setting a closing date, in other words a deadline on which all offers are to be submitted to us.

Once you have accepted an offer, the paperwork will be handed on to us, and following your instructions we will issue a written response to the offer that has been submitted. There may be several letters between the buying and selling solicitors (which are commonly known as 'missives') before all the terms of the contract are agreed and the bargain is tied up. Once the bargain is concluded, neither party can withdraw from the bargain.

If an offer is accepted 'subject to survey', then the buyer will have a reasonable time (usually a few days) to get their survey instructed and to consider the report. If the survey shows up any problems, they may either amend their offer or withdraw it. If the survey is clear however, that clause will be deleted from the offer and the solicitors will carry on with the exchange of letters.

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What does the solicitor do in all this?

First of all, we will check through the successful offer and make sure that it contains the conditions which you want or need to protect your interests. We will discuss with you the price offered, the date of entry, and the other clauses, and incorporate any changes which you need or would like in the formal reply. Whether or not the purchaser has a property to sell, or has their loan arranged in advance, will dictate how quickly a binding contract can be achieved.

We will also carry out the 'conveyancing', which includes the preparation of formal documents and checking those produced by the purchaser’s solicitor, to make sure that the title is transferred to the purchaser when the price is paid.

Also, we will deal with your current mortgage company or lender to make sure that your loan is paid off at the date of entry. Please make sure that you let us know as early as possible the name of your mortgage lender and account number, so that your title deeds can be ordered up to get the ball rolling. Please also tell us of any other loans which you have secured against your home, as these will also need to be paid off.

On the agreed date of entry, we will collect the purchase price from the purchaser's agents, pay off all the secured loans and the expenses of sale, and will then release the balance of the money to you. Once the price is paid, the keys will be handed over to the purchaser and they will move into the property.

You will then be free to move on to bigger and better things!

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Contact our Property Solicitors Dumbarton, Helensburgh, Scotland

At McArthur Stanton, we can help you every step of the way, and would be delighted to discuss with you any aspect of your proposed sale to ensure that you get the best out of selling your home.

Contact us today on 01436 672212 or 01389 762266.

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