Scottish buying process(31 Posts)
I also have a (slightly different) thread on Scotsnet, but this topic seems to get a little more traffic so...
We are at an early stage of considering a move to Scotland. I've had a look online at some buying process overview pages but have some queries:
1) It says you view houses and if you want to proceed on any you then request the home report for that house containing the valuation. As I understand it, in an offers over system this means I won't know if I can afford or want to stretch to that amount depending on the % difference between those 2 figures eg 5%, 10%, 20+%. Can I not get the home deports up front to help me decide whether to even view?
2) Again in offers over, does it always take notes of interest, waiting for closing date & then blind offer or can I just put in an offer should I want to?
3) I do sometimes see offers over with price reduced. Are 'over' offers always achieved / a must or can you still treat it as a guide price?
Grateful if someone could help me get better insight on process.
1. Home reports are often available online as part of the listing. You are often best asking your solicitor as to what a reasonable offer would be. In our area certainly a year ago when we were buying we purchased for about 5% under asking price
2. you don't have to wait until closing date to make an offer but if the sellers receive more than one offer they may push to a closing date (though not necessarily)
3. Reduced price I think is to drum up more interest if it has been on the market for a while, again ask your solicitor what would be a realistic offer would be.
Thank you m0jit0. It seems solicitors often also act as estate agents though which does feel like trying to accommodate conflicting interests. Where they are both is this different people / departments under one brand or the solicitor actually acting as selling agent?
1. They may show the home report as part of the listing or the solicitor/estate agent may tell you the valuation if you phone and ask. It’s not really confidential info as they give it to everyone anyway. Look out for any 2s or 3s and consider how much money it will be to replace, but bear in mind that it may say 2 for eg tired decor, which you might not mind about. You won’t be able to get a mortgage for above the home report value.
2. You can just put in an offer, and they will decide whether to proceed with you or go to a closing date. If no one else is offering then it might be very straightforward!
3. In Scotland the offers over figure is likely to be seen as lower than people actually hope to get. We liked a house that needed a lot of cosmetic work plus new boiler, which had been on the market for 6 months without an offer. The offers over figure was £245k, but the home report valuation was £260k. We offered £240k initially and the seller was quite offended, and we went up to £245k and got it, but she was desperate to move. I think the home report was wildly out (was done by an English company not familiar with the local market) and our offer reflected that, but the seller had been sure she would get £260k. In our situation we had approx £250k to spend and were looking at anything on at o/o £225k upwards.
You can usually see the home report online or access it quite easily. On the back pages there's a valuation for mortgage purposes which gives you a guide to what the lenders think the property is worth so be guided by that with your offer.
I've bought and sold in Scotland several times and never paid over the 'offers over' price, usually under after a bit of negotiating with the seller
There's never been a closing date unless there have been a few interested parties. Unless you're in a really competitive area where properties are going fast then I wouldn't offer over at all but if there is lots of interest and it goes to a closing date you might need to go over
Your solicitor is different to the sellers solicitors
1. Use ESPC to get immediate links to home reports
2. Yes def put in a cheeky offer if you like something
Thank you all. I got the impression that the offer over price is significantly below to what is actually paid, based on a blog post from an estate agent. I've seen mentions before about looking on espc but when I looked it didn't restrict houses to the region that I was interested and it seemed to have far fewer listings for that region than rightmove. The opposite of what I'd read.
I'm still confused as to how the role of estate agents and solicitors overlaps / differs. Do all conveyancers act as selling agents too? I assume the estate agents don't do conveyancing?
Your solicitor acts on your behalf. The seller’s solicitor may also do estate agency - they’re trying to sell the house and do everything connected with that task. No conflict of interest!
If the sellers estate agent is also a solicitor they will only act on behalf of the seller, you would appoint your own solicitor to act on your behalf as a buyer
So people can't get a mortgage for more than the Home Report valuation. But then banks wouldn't offer 100% mortgage so say you have a house valued at 500K, regardless of offer over / asking price. You pay 500k. You then couldn't get mortgage for that full amount?
IME banks don't offer 100% mortgage. We just bought in Scotland for the second time. House worth £170,000 on home report and on for offers over 170, we negotiated with the seller and bought for 174,000. We were desperate for this house so didn't mine doing a little above. However that £4000 came from our own money as the mortgage only covers home report value.
I've not seen any houses that are on for a significantly different price than their reports either so you have a rough idea when viewing how much the seller is expecting
Thanks, that's helpful @jomalone. Well actually be buying without a mortgage so it's more about trying to work out where the right and realistic price sits.
Estate agents don’t do conveyancing - the seller will have a solicitor to handle that regardless of whether they are also a firm that offers estate agency or not. Most do.
I think posters saying that they have never bought a house for above the offers over price aren’t really representative. I worked in a solicitors for a while as a property assistant and it is really common to offer over the stated amount. The home reports have actually improved things as people are a lot more reluctant to offer over that amount.
By the way, the ESPC only covers Edinburgh and surrounding area - you might want to try the A(berdeen)SPC or G(lasgow)SPC depending on where you’re looking! RightMove is getting more and more popular, though. Also, vair posh houses tend not to be on either - they’ll be on with Strutt and Parker or Savills or similar. Depends on your price bracket!
Also new builds are usually fixed price, if that helps. People may put fixed price if they want a quick sale - nothing stopping you offering under that to see if they’ll take it! Fixed price means first to offer that price gets it. No closing dates.
Looking at East Lothian but rightmove had far more listings than ESPC. There are so many new builds all over! Mostly nice houses but tiny plots so likely not for us.
May also look at Borders if we couldn't get what we want in East Lothian but I think that would push the move out by a few years.
East Lothian is lovely. Good luck with the house hunt.
The offers over thing also depends on where you are buying and what;s on the market at the time - for example, central Edinburgh flats always have and always will go for more than the offers over price. Out of town, it depends on a number of factors - the property, the state it's in, similar properties nearby how long it's been on the market and how many other people are interested in it. Your solicitor (if they are good) will guide you on what's sold in the vicinity recently and for what price and they will help you determine what offer to make.
Ah yes if you’re looking for a naive house in East Lothian then check out simpson&marwick, coulters and other individual agents
East Lothian is lovely. Some areas will go above the asking price & to a closing date eg North Berwick.
Places like Dunbar are cheaper & less likely.
The market here is a bit subdued, to say the least. A year ago it was really busy but things have changed.
Do you think that is largely because of Brexit Makemine or some other reason? Here in North Yorks it is very, very quiet.
Challenge in a subdued market is that often not much comes on either. Saying that, we have a few exploratory trips to make yet before being ready to commit to a house / move.
According to the estate agent I spoke to recently, it's been a combination of low supply, uncertainties about Brexit plus the usual quieter time of year.
In property hot spots most property goes over Home report value but for most parts of Scotland it does not
Perfectly normal to offer subject to sale of own property,TBH the differences between Scotland and England are becoming increasingly difficult to spot
From what I’ve seen on MN it seems that English estate agents do more than Scottish ones do, with offers being made to the estate agent. In Scotland, the estate agents really just deal with the marketing of the property, acting as point of contact for vendors and potential buyers, eg, liaising with both to arrange viewings. Offers made in writing by your solicitor to the vendor’s solicitor, and by that point the role of the estate agent is pretty much done.
Whether or not a property goes to a closing date and sealed bids will depend on the local market. The first couple of times I bought I had to offer over, but that was over 20 years ago in a sellers’ market. More recently I’ve bought for less than the asking price.
It’s interesting to look at the sold prices on Rightmove. If you monitor the market over time you start to see that properties can sell for under, sometimes substantially less, than the asking price.
The Home Buyers Report is valid for a limited time, 3 months, I think.
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