Is the Scottish Property Law actually all that?

Is the Scottish Property Law actually all that?

Introduction

If you ask a number of people in England, even estate agents about the Scottish property law they will generally be complimentary. For example they will state it is more secure because no-one is allowed to back out of the agreement once a price is agreed. However, how true is this?

Selling a property in Scotland

The Marketing

Before a property is marketed in Scotland a vendor’s solicitor or estate agent must provide a home report. The home report comprises of three sections;

  1. A single survey and valuation
  2. A property questionnaire
  3. An energy report
  • The single survey is what it says it is. Basically it’s a summary of the condition of the property, its accessibility and also identifies any remedial works that may need doing to the property. It also gives the buyer an opinion of its value, (valuation). The surveyor will also offer a standard mortgage valuation report. This will obviously be beneficial to buyer’s who need a mortgage to finance the property. Buyers should check with the lender that the valuation report is acceptable.

The property questionnaire covers a vast amount of information. For example

  1. the council tax band
  2. issues that have affected or may affect the property, such as fire
  3. alterations, additions or extensions to the home
  4. details of specialist works and guarantees
  5. details of any notices that affect the property.

The Energy Report is a survey which illustrates the energy performance of the property. For example it will look at how efficient the boiler is, how good the double glazing is.

Making an offer

If a buyer is seriously considering making an offer for a property they must make sure their solicitor notes their interest with the vendor’s solicitor or estate agent before arranging finance. However, before a formal offer is put forward it is necessary to arrange the finance for the property. A formal offer should be prepared by a solicitor. An offer to buy should include a brief description of the property, the proposed date of entry (the date you want to get the keys), the price and any items they wish to buy from the seller. Once the formal offer has been presented to the sellers solicitor they will issue what is known as a qualified acceptance. This basically confirms they are happy to accept the offer as long as certain conditions are changed. The Buyer’s solicitor will then reply confirming if they are happy with the conditions or outline what they don’t agree with. These letters of communication are known as missives.

When all parties are happy a concluding missive is composed making a binding agreement between you. Please note up until the formation of the binding agreement any party can pull out of the agreement.

Selling a property in England

The Marketing

Before a property in England is marketed the vendor must authorise their estate agent to instruct an energy assessor to conduct an energy rating of the property. If a vendor decides to sell a property privately this can be organised by their solicitor or is something they can do themselves by finding a company online for example. The assessor will produce an energy performance certificate. This document illustrates how efficient the boiler is, how well insulated the property is etc. Once the energy performance certificate (EPC) is available on the on-line register the property can be marketed.

Making an offer

If a buyer is interested in a particular property they will make an offer to the estate agent. However, if the property is sold privately negotiations will take place between the buyer and vendor direct. If the offer is accepted by the vendor the buyer will be asked to provide an agreement in principle (AIP). This document proves the lender is happy to lend the buyer the funds. Once this has been proven solicitors will be instructed by both parties. This is generally done by the estate agent in the form of a memorandum of sale. The solicitors will then communicate with each other until all parties are happy when a contract will be signed by both parties and a date for completion set.

Conclusion

This summary illustrates that the system in Scotland is very similar to the one in England. The only significant difference is that the vendor must provide a lot more information before the marketing can take place. However, the main thing to remember is they are both as volatile as each other as the buyer can pull out at any time until contracts are satisfied which is right at the end of the process.

Fast Move, move into Scotland

It is because of the weakness in the Scottish system that has allowed Fast Move to enter the market. People in Scotland are also looking for more secure ways to sell their houses as they are constantly been let down by the buyers. There are more people than ever  typing phrases such as we buy any house into the search engines to try and find a company that actually buy houses direct, saving them all the hassle and heartache of advertising their property only to be let down at the last minute.