Most of the legal firms in Shetland are also estate agents. If you instruct this firm to market your property, we will endeavour to provide a service which is both professional and friendly. Buying or selling a home is the biggest financial transaction most people ever get involved in, and is often set against the backdrop of other worrying events – eg moving to a new area, starting a new job, getting married (or divorced), etc. You therefore want the process of selling and/or buying your property to be straightforward and stress free. We aim to provide such a service, with prompt, good quality advice and regular communication.
Our estate agency package includes:
- preparation of a Sales Schedule
- advertisement in our Property Windows on Commercial Street and at our office at North Ness Business Park
- website advertising
- advertising on Facebook and Twitter
- advertisement in our Property Column in The Shetland Times newspaper and elsewhere when required
Our Property Assistants, Angela Thomson or Ashlea Tulloch, will be happy to assist you.
The following note is intended to provide you with useful information on the marketing and selling process.
1. Preparing your House for Sale
Once you decide to sell your property, you should spend some time ensuring that your house is in the best condition for viewing by prospective purchasers. First impressions are very important if you are determined to get the best price for your house. Both the exterior and interior need to be neat and tidy. It is a useful exercise to de-clutter and depersonalise the house as this gives the prospective purchaser a better idea of how the house will look with their own belongings in place of yours.
Whilst this may not add significant value to your home, it can make the difference between securing a sale and putting potential buyers off.
2. Home Report and Survey
You must obtain a Home Report for any property that is advertised for sale. This is a pack consisting of three documents:
- a Single Survey – this contains an assessment by a surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for people with particular needs. By highlighting any major problems to the seller at an early stage, it provides an opportunity to address them early in the process.
- an Energy Report – this contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact. It also recommends ways to improve its energy efficiency.
- a Property Questionnaire – this is completed by the seller of the home. It contains additional information about the home such as Council Tax banding, details of any alterations.
This is the link to the Property Questionnaire on The Scottish Government’s website. You should choose the pdf format, print it off and then complete it in pen.
We will be able to assist should you require any help in completing the Questionnaire. As a matter of policy, this firm will not be able to represent anyone who has not obtained a Home Report and intends to advertise a property for sale, as to do so would be in contravention of the law.
In cases where a Home Report is not required it may be advisable to get a Pre-sale Valuation. We will be happy to discuss the valuation received and the level of offers you are looking for, but we cannot provide an actual valuation.
Please call Angela Thomson or Ashlea Tulloch to discuss what may be required if you intend to sell your house.
There are 2 local firms of surveyors who can carry out the Single Survey and provide an Energy Report for you. They would also be able to provide a Pre-sale Valuation. Their details are as follows:
David Adamson & Partners
4a North Ness Business Park
Telephone: 01595 696788
Stuart J Masterton AssocRICS
Telephone: 01595 890291/07471 760914
3. Estate Agency
If you decide to use this firm to market your property, one of our Property Assistants will visit your house to take details and digital photographs so that a Sales Schedule can be prepared. Once the Schedule has been approved by you, we will prepare further copies of the Schedule to be issued to interested parties.
Copies of the Schedule will also be issued to anyone on our mailing list who may be interested in the type of house being sold.
We will display advertisements in our two property windows and upload the full details, including a Sales Schedule to our website. We can instruct advertisements of the property in the local newspaper if required. The advertisements will usually include your telephone number for prospective purchasers to arrange a viewing. We also provide information on Facebook and Twitter.
If you wish us to do accompanied viewings, we can do this for you. Please ask us for an estimate for this service. Usually a property is advertised for a couple of weeks in the newspaper to gauge what response there is before deciding whether to fix a closing date for offers.
4. Notes of Interest and Offers
People who have viewed your property and are genuinely interested usually instruct their solicitor to “note their interest” with us, so that they can be informed if a closing date for offers is fixed.
We will make every effort to notify parties with a noted interest of any closing date, and allow them the opportunity of making an offer before accepting an offer from another potential buyer unless instructed otherwise by you. Prospective purchasers may decide to have a survey carried out, in which case you can expect to be contacted by a surveyor to arrange to inspect your property.
5. Closing Date for Offers
Sometimes there may only be one party who is interested in submitting an offer for your house. You would then need to decide whether the offer is the best price you can obtain, in which case we would recommend accepting such an offer. However, you may decide to continue advertising in the hope that you secure a higher selling price, although there is no guarantee that this will happen.
If there are 2 or more interested parties, it is best to fix a closing date for offers so that all of the prospective purchasers can submit their highest offer for your consideration. Usually the highest offer would be accepted, but you are free to accept or reject any or all of the offers.
6. Conclusion of Missives
Once you decide to accept an offer, we will issue what is known as a “qualified acceptance” to the purchaser’s solicitor, having taken detailed instructions from you. Further exchanges of “formal letters” may follow until both sides reach agreement on the terms of the sale. More information regarding this process can be found here.
When both parties have agreed all of the details of the offer, the “missives” (contract) is concluded. This means that there is a legally binding contract in place requiring you to sell the property at the price agreed on the specified date of entry. Failure on your part to do so or failure by the purchaser to pay the price is likely to result in financial or other penalties being imposed.
7. Conveyancing Process
When you instruct us to sell your property, we will need your title deeds. If you have a mortgage, we will request your title deeds from your lender (if appropriate). Once we have received these, we will need to obtain a Plans Report from Registers of Scotland (if this is the first time that the property has been sold since “Land Registration” was introduced in Shetland in April 2003). This is a report which compares the boundaries of the property as shown or described in your title deeds with the most recent version of the Ordnance Survey for the area. It is not required where the title has already been registered in the Land Register of Scotland, as Land Certificates/Title Sheets contain a plan based on the Ordnance Survey.
We will then send the titles, Plans Report and other searches and certificates to the purchaser’s agent for examination. He will examine the titles and certificates and prepare the draft Disposition (title) in favour of the purchaser for checking (“revisal”) by us. The principal Disposition will then be prepared for signature by you in time for completion of the sale. We will also deal with any queries that the purchaser’s solicitor may have and will keep you informed of progress.
If you have a mortgage over the property, we will also prepare the “Discharge” of your Standard Security (mortgage) which will need to be signed by your lender. We will also obtain a “Redemption Statement” from the Bank or Building Society which gives details of the amount required to pay off your mortgage at the “date of entry” (ie date of sale of the property). This may include penalties if you have a fixed rate mortgage and you are repaying it early.
8. Settlement Date
You must be ready to vacate the property on the agreed date of entry, otherwise you will be in breach of contract. On this date, the purchaser’s solicitor will pay the purchase price of your property to us. In exchange, we will deliver to him the signed Disposition, the supporting title documentation, searches and certificates and all keys to the property.
Once the purchase price has cleared in our Client Account (which is likely to be on the date of entry, as most firms now settle transactions by electronic transfer rather than cheque), we will redeem your mortgage, if requisite, and account to you for the balance of the sale price, either by electronic transfer or by cheque. We will provide a detailed fee note giving a breakdown of the estate agency and conveyancing charges, VAT and outlays. We are entitled to deduct these from the balance of the sale price before remitting the free proceeds to you.
Next Steps ...
We hope this information is of some assistance to you in understanding the conveyancing process.
If you require any further advice, please get in touch with us. We aim to provide an efficient, friendly and personal service on a range of legal matters. Find out more here.