The process of selling your home can be unnecessarily stressful by some of the jargon thrown around during the sales process. It’s our job at Umega Estate Agents to make seller’s and buyer’s lives as easy as possible and an important part of this is demystifying the process.
Here is some of the most commonly used jargon that surrounds selling and buying homes in Scotland and what it means.
An estate agent can provide an approximate desktop valuation of a property without visiting. This will be based on evidence of recent sales nearby which the estate agent will have access to via a number of online archives. This isn’t an official Market Valuation but it’s helpful at an early stage to help potential sellers do their sums.
A pack that provides information to prospective buyers about the condition and value of a property and is made up of 3 sections; A single survey & valuation, a property questionnaire and an energy report. A surveyor will complete the first 2 parts but the seller themselves needs to complete the property questionnaire before the surveyor assembles the 3 parts. A Home Report is required for every property prior to going on the market but is not required for New Build properties or properties sold off market.
Building reinstatement value
This is the amount it would cost to rebuild a property from scratch, for example, if it became completely run down or was ruined by a fire or other catastrophic event. This figure is required when organising building’s insurance and is found within the home report, on the same page as the market valuation. The building reinstatement value will normally differ from the market valuation depending on the age/construction of the property.
This is a term many estate agents use to describe all the visuals they’ll create for marketing. The depth of marketing assets can range depending on the estate agent and the property to be marketed. With one shot to make an impact on potential buyers it’s worth investing in high quality marketing assets including; 3D tours, floorplans, professional photographs including aerial photography and videos including drone footage; all created to show each property off at its best.
“Offers over” versus “fixed price”
In Scotland, it’s most common for a property to be advertised ‘Offers over’. The offers over price is normally set just below the Home Report valuation and this strategy is used to attract as much interest as possible, not just restricting people who are searching at the Home report valuation level. If a seller is looking for a quick sale or increased certainty, they may choose to advertise with a ‘fixed price’. This is normally set around the Home Report valuation although sometimes it will be set below the valuation to catch the eye of interested parties. If a property is not receiving as much interest as hoped, switching to a fixed price is often a way to attract a buyer more quickly.
Note of interest
When a property is on the market it’s normal for buyers to ‘note interest’ and subsequently a selling agent will keep each note of interest informed of any closing dates or other significant events relating to the property. While an estate agent can still accept an offer from another party, even when others have noted interest, it’s normal that the agent would wait until several notes of interest have been received before setting a closing date to try to generate competition and to drive the best price for the property.
Closing dates are normally set for 12pm on a specific date and a buyer’s solicitor will submit an offer before this deadline. Normally it takes several hours to hear back following a closing date as the selling agent will discuss offers with their client before going back to the successful party. If there are several sellers involved (i.e. if it’s an executory sale) it can take until the next day, however most offers have written into them that the offer must be accepted by 5pm that same day otherwise it may be withdrawn. A seller does not legally have to accept any of the offers received on a closing date.
Once an offer has been accepted it’s over to the solicitors to carry out due diligence relating to the purchase/sale. Conveyancing is this due diligence and is essentially the legal transfer of home ownership from one party to another and the conveyancing process runs right through to when keys are released to the buyer.
Missives is a series of letters between buying and selling solicitors which form the contract for sales of the property. By law, a contract for the purchase/sale must be in writing and in a specific format. It’s normal for missives not to conclude until close to the date of entry as the contract cannot be agreed until everything is in place including all terms and paperwork being agreed and often for lending to be approved. No party is legally obliged to complete the transaction until missives conclude.
Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) is a tax due when purchasing residential property. LBTT rates can be viewed here. If buying a second home or investment property then Additional Dwelling Supplement is also due, although there are some exceptions.
Take a look at our other recent blog outlining the timescales you should expect when selling your home.
Hopefully that helps explain a bit more about the selling process which can appear daunting. At Umega Estate Agents we don’t do traditional. We explain things as they are, we communicate quickly, and regularly, in plain English and by the most suitable means for each situation be that phone, email or whatsapp. Carry out a free valuation for your property on our website or contact our Estate Agency team today at [email protected] or on 0131 221 8289 to find out more about how we try to make the selling and buying process as stress free as possible.